A brief inquiry into my all time top favourites.
No. 1: IN / RAINBOWS : Not much else that I can say about this that I didn’t say on my Ranking Radiohead post. It’s a true masterpiece, blending elements of electronic music with experimental rock seamlessly. “Nude” is one of the most, if not, the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard and the rest of the tracks on the album are truly special. A concise 10 song album, nothing feels out of place blending and flowing perfectly, even better than this album is their performance playing it live from the Basement. A truly magical experience and a truly magical album.
No. 2: MEAT IS MURDER: If it wasn’t for Radiohead, The Smiths would be my favourite band of all time. I can’t say there is a single Smiths song I dislike. Really I could pick any Smiths album to take this place, but, none of them quite top Meat Is Murder. Morrissey’s lyrics are, as always, incredible and Marr’s guitar play is impeccable, especially on the track “The Headmaster Ritual” a song about the Belligerent ghouls that run Manchester schools and is possible one of the best opening tracks of all time. The album from start to finish is a must listen, what a shame Morrissey has become somewhat of a problematic character.
No. 3 IS THIS IT: This album again really needs no introduction. I pretty much wrote a whole article about this and where we would be if The Strokes hadn’t come about and released this masterpiece. The simplicity of the songs is what made them so effective, the production giving it a raw, organic feel. The Strokes marked the turn of the millennium and a new dawn for modern rock music.
No. 4 TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY: This is my favourite hip/hop album of all time. The level of production on this album is remarkable, truly. Kendrick tackles themes dealing with racism, discrimination, culture and race. All these themes he tackles with the utmost care and level of poignancy that not many others have achieved. Blending hip/hop with jazz seamlessly, one of the true great experimental hip/hop albums that pushed boundaries and delivered on the themes it set out to discuss.
No. 5 PURE COMEDY: This album was somewhat of a divisive one for fans of Josh Tillman aka Father John Misty. He has always been known for his eccentricity and outspoken views but here he takes them to a next level. The album at its core focusses on the human condition, tackling topics such as Religion, Politics, fame, social media and where he fits in it all. The opening track in particular “Pure Comedy” is one of my favourite tracks of all time, this track tackles many of the topics above in one swoop discussing Humans and how we are born with a half formed brain, looked after by older humans with half formed brains and the things we’ve designed to cope with the shit storm that life is. Its a truly remarkable track from start to finish and well worth a listen:
No. 6 IN UTERO: Again another album that I’ve already covered extensively. An album that needs to introduction, from a band that needs to introduction. A masterpiece of grunge rock, the bands magnum opus. Excellent song writing, hard hitting lyrics and excellent production. There isn’t much else to say.
No. 7 6 FEET BENEATH THE MOON – Archy Marshall aka King Krule’s incredible debut album. A blend of indie rock, jazz and post-punk, Marshall’s haunting voice and organic production gives the album that organic feel. To the opening “Easy, Easy” to the beautiful “Out getting ribs”, his has one of the most unique, distinguishable voices out there and is truly an incredible song-writer.
No. 8 ORIGINAL PIRATE MATERIAL – Lock down you’re aerial. Way back when in early 2000 NME touted Mike Skinner as the British Eminem, though their music actually bear little resemblance to each other. The Streets blended UK garage and Grime with US hip/hop into one big fusion and this album was the result. A masterpiece in storytelling with each song feeling like its own self contained story in one big narrative, funny, but, also dark and heartbreaking. Mike was one of the most original voices to come out in the early 2000’s. A true voice of the working class and working class life. An absolute must listen.
No. 9 KID A: Yes, that’s 2 Radiohead albums in my top 10 of all time. What else do you need to know, here they went more experimental than their previous 3 albums. Coming out with a brand new electronic sound that put off many fans, but, boy did it pay off. There isn’t much else to add here that I haven’t already said in Ranking Radiohead, check that out.
No. 10 13 – Last, but, by no means least we have Blur’s 13. If you had to ask me Oasis vs. Blur, Damon Albarn’s group would come out on top every time. I don’t dislike Oasis, I just think Blur had the better songwriting and also the benefit of not having written Wonderwall. Featuring the hauntingly, sad “No Distance Left to Run” and the excellent opener “Tender” and “Coffee and TV”. This album broke away from the glitzy Britpop mould going more artsy and experimental and it paid off well. It’s an incredibly dark album, Albarn having just split from Justin Frischmann of Elastica fame. They evolved here, this is the album that really set them apart from Oasis, whose songwriting began to fall flat. A true GREAT of the 1990s.
HONOURABLE MENTION: IDLES “Joy as an Act of Resistance” – This album could easily make my top 10, but, it has been out less than a year so still feels too soon to be making my top 10 of all time. Perhaps in a years time I will redux the list and IDLES will be on there, this is likely. Thanks.