As opposed to the previous countdowns on this site, I don’t consider myself particularly passionate or all that knowledgeable about music. I neither listen to nor seek out music like I did when I was an angsty teenager, and I find myself to be incredibly picky in my old age when it comes to new stuff. However, when compiling this list, I did find some gems so not all hope is lost.
What makes an album worthy of being on this list for me? While most have a song or two that are amazing, the common thread among the albums on this list is consistency. If I can listen to the whole album without cringing or having to skip a song or two, I am impressed. And while I have many soundtracks, greatest hits and live albums that I adore, this list is intended to honor those artists who can create a whole bunch of amazing material all at once. Many artists can string together ten hits over ten years and put them together, but there’s something special about a single great album.
Like I said, I am not a music critic. My reviews will likely sound pretty uneducated. Hopefully, you’ll find a gem or two yourself while reading the list. Several genres are represented, including rock, folk, bluegrass, country, grunge, punk, R&B, hip hop, pop, and one band that’s kind of bluesy. Five decades are represented. To help guide you with any new music you might be interested in, I’ll specify key songs on each album.
Red: 5-star songs. These are in my top 100.
Orange: 4-star songs. Top 500 or so.
Blue: Garbage. I most likely skip past this song if I’m listening.
To illustrate, here’s an album that is not making the countdown.
Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revivial
1. Pagan Baby
2. Sailor’s Lament
4. Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
5. (Wish I Could) Hideaway
6. Born to Move
7. Hey Tonight
8. It’s Just A Thought
10. Rude Awakening #2
Pendulum is probably the most frustrating album I own. Two of my top 100 songs are here, the fourth and fifth tracks. Have You Ever Seen The Rain? is stunning in it’s catchiness considering what a mournful song it is. Pagan Baby and Born to Move are pretty decent rockers. And It’s Just a Thought is a great melancholic tune about John Fogerty’s resentment towards his brother (as is Hideaway, actually).
But as you can see there are four songs on here that I just cannot listen to. Sailor’s Lament sounds off-key, Chameleon is dull, and Molina has an awkward rhythm with banal lyrics. But what really takes the cake is Rude Awakening #2, CCR’s only avant-garde offering. The first ninety seconds is actually a pretty good instrumental, and then it devolves into random noise for five minutes. It’s truly horrifying.
Monday we’ll kick this off the list. I hope you can enjoy it with me.