There were only two rules I followed for this list: 1) a song doesn’t make an album (meaning that I awarded points for a well put together album not just an album that featured one or two brilliant tracks) and 2) that an artist or band could only be represented once so I could gather up a bit of variety.
I’m sure there will be plenty of albums that you felt were as stiff as a honeymooners dick to not get a gig but to quote the great Mick Jagger ”You can’t always get what you want”. Enjoy!
10. Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run
The Boss sneaks in at number 10. Born To Run was his third studio album and in my opinion as an out and Springsteen lover, his best. The title track ‘Born To Run’ has claims to be one of the greatest rock and roll songs ever created, Springsteen said that he wanted the track to sound like “Roy Orbison singing Bob Dylan and produced by Spector”. Well I’m not sure how close he got to achieving that but my gosh it’s a great song. Other highlights include the epic ‘Jungleland’ which is the last song on the album and the lead track ‘Thunder Road’. Thunder Road was never actually released as a single which is a dreadful shame because I firmly believe it’s Springsteen’s best ever piece of work. The enchanting piano riff, the smoky harmonica and the flow of the song is just wonderful. Not to mention one of the Boss’ great vocal performances. An out and out classic and my all time favourite.
9. INXS – Kick
Doesn’t get the global love it deserves. INXS are a tremendously underrated band in my humble little opinion and this album is no exception. It is littered with wonderfully fun tracks and is perfect for a few jars and Sunday BBQ. ‘New Sensation’ and ‘Mystify’ are my two favourites but music fans will also recognise Aussie classics such as ‘Never Tear Us Apart’, ‘Need You Tonight’, ‘Kick’ and ‘Devil Inside’.
8. Jay Z – The Black Album
The album originally designed to Jay-Z’s last. At the time it was Jay’s most mature album to date and is just so rounded, clean and bloody perfect. Lyrically Jay-Z was on a tear, writing some of his best ever rhymes and delivering his message better than ever before. The Kanye West produced tracks ‘Lucifer’ and ‘Encore’ are absolutely brilliant. The first two verses of ‘Encore’ are as crisp as it gets. As is the gladiator inspired ‘What More Can I Say’ and ‘Moment Of Clarity. But the two highlights for me are the utterly rude ‘Dirt Off Your Shoulder’ and ’99 Problems’. My second favourite rap album of all time, thank god it wasn’t actually his last though.
7. Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon
Just a ripping all round album. Critically acclaimed and world renowned. It was eighth studio album released by Pink Floyd. The opening track of side two ‘Money’ is undoubtedly the standout but it’s the whole album experience that makes this such a favourite of mine. If I had to pinpoint a few other tracks I would suggest ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’ and the second single released from the album ‘Time’.
6. Dire Straits – Brothers In Arms
The 5th studio album by Dire Straits, Brothers In Arms has to be their best. It has great flow, features a few massive hits and most of all it’s just so damn easy on the ears. The distinctive Dire Straits sound and Mark Knoefler’s genius guitar work remains evident throughout. The emotion charged title track ‘Brothers In Arms’ may not be as popular as the MTV hit ‘Money For Nothing’ and ‘Walk Of Life’ but it is every bit as good! Other features would be ‘Your Latest Trick’ and the lead track ‘So Far Away’. An all round brilliant album that you’ll almost certainly find in your old mans record collection.
5. Nas – Illmatic
The debut album of the rapper coming straight out of Queensbridge… Nas. The best rap album of all time that delivers such a raw and unique sound. Brilliantly capturing the essence of the underground New York scene. It was a landmark album for east coast hip-hop and for good reason. Highlights are obviously plentiful but I have picked ‘NY State Of Mind’, ‘Life’s A Bitch’ and ‘One Love’ as must listens from this amazing album full of ground breaking, hard hitting, slick flowing East Coast hip hop.
4. The Beatles – Abbey Road
Picking your favourite Beatles album is like picking your nose with an excavator…it’s fucking hard to do. I sided with Abbey Road because out of all the Beatles albums I believe this one to be the most pleasant and the one you can listen to continuously until that box of beer disappears. ‘Come Together’ is a wonderful lead track that get’s the chocolates for best on, on the album. It was released as a single along with the track ‘Something’. Other highlights include ‘Here Comes The Sun’ which incidentally was written in Eric Clapton’s garden (nice bit of Laurence Olivier) and ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’ that has a clearly evident blues structure and is just cooler than the other side of the pillow.
3. Oasis – (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?
I am a massive Oasis fan, on and off the stage… There is just something about the arrogance, aura and humour of the Gallagher boys that makes me wish I too was banned from 3/4′s of London’s Hotels. This album was only the groups second album but clearly is their best. Heavily influenced by the Beatles the album has claims to be at the very least a co founder of the ‘BritPop/Rock’ movement of the 90′s. ‘Roll With It’ is a great rock song to get things started, ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ are the two big hits that probably propelled the album but ‘Some Might Say’, title track ‘Morning Glory’ and the epic ‘Champagne Supernova’ are just as good…if not better! If your not a fan of Oasis after listening to this little pearler then you never will be.
2. U2 – The Joshua Tree
The U2 vs Coldplay debate will continue for many years to come. I still have U2 ever so slightly ahead but Coldplay have written some unquestionably brilliant music over the past 10 years and they are now a genuine threat to the mantle. This album, ‘The Joshua Tree’ is the reason I still give U2 the slight edge (massive pun intended). The theme for the album is America and they attempted to follow on from what was a very successful mid 80′s both in the studio and live for the band. The first three songs on side 1 ‘ Where The Streets Have No Name’, ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ and ‘With Or Without You’ are pure musical genius and set the scene for an utterly brilliant album that is in my mind clearly their best.
1. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
The eleventh studio album by Fleetwood Mac and one of the most popular albums of all time. The Stevie Nicks written ‘Dreams’ is as close to a perfect song as you’ll find. ‘Never Going Back Again’ joins ‘The Chain’ as the big sleepers on the album. They are often overshadowed by the brilliant singles ‘Go Your Own Way’, ‘Don’t Stop’ and ‘You Make Loving Fun’ but are probably every bit as good. This album is the closest thing to musical perfection I’ve had the pleasure of hearing. Happy as a pig in mud to let this sit atop my list.
JW with The Cheap Shot