I was thinking of making this forum for a few weeks and the favorite albums forum inspired me to actually put it up.
It started when I realized I didn't have any Fairport Convention albums with Sandy Denny. Lisa wanted to get me an album for Festivus and I knew I wanted FC but didn't know which one to get so I asked Pete Kennedy, who I knows is a huge fan, "If I were to get just one FC album which should it be." He told me Liege and Lief
So that is the idea of this forum, you ask people what one album by a group is the essential one. Not your favorite, but if possible a consensus choice. With someone like Dylan that can be tough but I think it really would come down to three, Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde and Blonde and Blood on the Tracks. So that really narrows down the field for a potential buyer.
OK so ask away.
Well, if we're talking about the most important album of the last 50 years or so, it could very easily be Beatles - Revolver
Wintress · 19 years, 10 months ago
(Bear with me, I'm buzzin'.)
Define "important" as it relates to music. Is that a political, social, other stance?
Curious, actually. Not picking a fight.
I think that's an interesting question, and I'm sure it can be seen in more than one way. For instance, there's the matter of cultural literacy: does our culture expect people to be familiar with certain albums? In general, I would say our culture tends to emphasize individual songs more than albums, but still, I think someone could make a reference to the white album or Sgt. Pepper, and expect everyone to know what they were talking about. There's also the matter of an essential album for a particular band or artist. In this case, if you're a fan of the artist, you should have this album, but if you don't care about the band, there's no need for you to have the album, either. And I think this is more the case with, say, the essential Früvous album. Bargainville (or whatever album you pick; that would be my choice) isn't a significant part of our culture, but anyone who's a fan of Früvous should have it, or at least be familiar with it.
That's the way I see it, anyway. Maybe I'm just full of crap.
There's also the matter of an essential album for a particular band or artist. In this case, if you're a fan of the artist, you should have this album, but if you don't care about the band, there's no need for you to have the album, either.
I liked your reply, but this line is just sticking in my craw. I can agree that if you're a fan of a particular band, then you should have their essential album. But if you're already a fan, wouldn't you have most of their albums? This is subject to your buying power and your priorities, but , if you're a fan of any band, you probably have some version (legal or otherwise) of their essential album.
I think this is sticking with me because I see the essential album as the one you should have, regardless of your interest level (assuming that your interest has ever been greater than zero). To put it another way, the essential album would be the one you use to "spread the word" to the less-enlightened masses. As an example, I, as a fan of Green Day, have several of their albums. If one of my friends noticed my ardent fandom and wanted to jump on the bandwagon, which disc would be the best to bring them into the fold? Do you start them at the beginning, with their best, or with their most popular? For Green Day, the earliest I have is 1039/Smoothed Out LP (which is not that good), the best is Kerplunk!, and the most popular is Dookie. I would start them with Dookie, leading me to say that Dookie is their essential album.
Am I making sense, or am I full of Dookie? :-)
goovie is married! · 19 years, 10 months ago
well, i think gordon's talking about "essential" albums for different artists. like if a person could only afford one beatles cd, which one do you think they should have? i'm with you--i'd say revolver all the way. but i bet others might disagree.
lawrence · 19 years, 10 months ago
Sgt. Pepper pepper pepper pepper pepper pepper pepper pepper pepper pepper pepper pepper, revolver REVOLVER, pepper pepper....... ARGH, it's LET IT BE! ohhhh, Let it beeeeeee.
ok, I'm done now.
the Beatles are another hard band to do this for. I'm a Pepper but Rubber Soul and Revolver are essential in their own way. I think there isn't a consensus but most people would say oen of those or the white album.
WOw you scared me when you said "The Beatles, Revolver," because that's what I'm listening to right now, out of pure coincidense! :D
How about Bruce Springsteen?
Tunnel of Love
Greetings from Asbury Park
Sandy Denny and Fairport-How about Unhalfbricking?
I'm a big fan of The live album with the E Street Band done in the 80's.
Hrm - are live albums cheating? Because Live music is inherently better, I think.
I think that most people would agree that Frampton Comes Alive is his most important album, and clearly that's not studio
I think Bargainville would have to be called the essential Moxy album, even considering Live Noise.
A great point! Live is always better than studio. I always by live albums as a first choice for any artist. Though not always as polished they are much more enjoyable. A good example is Sandy Denny's final concert Gold Dust. Its almost painful to listen to because its so personal. Iistened to it again today and it made me wish she was still here recording and performing so I could see her in concert. I don't think any videos exist of her performing live.
Beware the absolute statements! I disagree completely. I think that live albums sound worse, and generally don't capture the truth of the performance. In short, what's the point?
Live Noise is a great album... easily one of the best live album's I've heard. But in almost every case, I'd take a studio version of the song before the live. Same for GBS' Road Rage.
I think they generally sound better what they lose in polish they gain in capturing the band as they really are. The personality of the band comes through and also the level of talent. Granted some bands are studio bands but even with the imperfections I like live albums better than studio. Live music is always better than studio. I go to alot of concerts so maybe thats why. Anyway thats my opinion but if you enjoy studio stuff better good for you. I agree that there are exceptions and I probably exaggerated about live being better every time but I can't remember being disappointed by any live album I have bought
I think in my case, it's a case of hearing bad live albums. I used to get/borrow/check out live albums because they were (and still are) a "greatest hits" type of collection. You get to hear a groups work over the years, and it guides your purchases to other points of the catalog. It's been my expereince that the personality of the CROWD comes through, rather than the personality of the band. Again, that may just be the choices I've made. Part of my hatred of live albums comes from my old radio show. It's much harder to mix in a live cut than a studio cut, and it's next to impossible to get a definite break of the song.
With everything I've said against live albums, it seems odd that I can't come up with any live albums that I hate, or any in my collection that I don't listen to regularly. In one case (Ellis Paul 'Live'), I prefer the live album to his studio releases.
Which others should I check out?
EFOhio - Portable EFO Show
Livingston Taylor - Unsolicited Material
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones - Live Art
Neil Young - Unplugged
Peter Frampton :)
Myself, I think Three Rooms is a much better album, but that's based mostly off the fact that I like more of the songs on Three Rooms than I do on Portable.
Of course, if I were introducing someone to EFO, I'd have them borrow Fishbowl, but that's just me.
I like Portable EFO show more because it's all at one venue. There's a disconnected feeling about Four Rooms that doesn't do it for me. Also, not big on the addition of keyboards, though I'm sure many will disagree.
I like the selection of songs on Portable EFO show better as well. I LOVE the "I Know You Rider Medley"
On the whole, I think it's a better representation of what the band sounds like live, because when you go to see EFO, they're not likely to have a horn section or keyboardist.
I think that the multiple venues hurt Three Rooms, but pulling out the stage chatter hurt it more. It was nice of them to add it at the end, but I think it would have been better in-line.
That I do agree with. Honestly, I'd rather not have the banter than have it at the end. I like the banter, but it just seems out of place as an extra track (expecially when you can hear the song start just before the fade). Rock Spectical has the same problem.
Severe Tire Damage is kinda gray on that for me. I like the apes being all together, but I'd rather not have the long pause. Of course, while TMBG isn't known so much for their banter, I would have liked some more song intros in there.
I agree that some banter would have been nice on Severe Tire Damage, but I think John Flansburgh has said that the band does humorous stuff in concert that wouldn't really work on an album, so that might have something to do with why they left off the banter, as well as why that version of "Why Does The Sun Shine?" on there was done "straight," rather than with the usual improvisational bits.
I tend to think the worst problem with Severe Tire Damage is lack of preparation. If they wanted to include the Apes songs, why didn't they record them themselves, instead of getting some lousy fan recordings after the fact? And could they REALLY not find a better version of "Ana Ng"?
Speaking of TMBG, I guess I'd have to say Flood is their most essential album in a certain sense. That's not to say it's necessarily the best representation of TMBG, but it's their most popular, and they tend to play quite a few songs from it in concerts, so it's more essential in that way. My personal favorite is actually Lincoln, although I might argue that John Henry is their best in some ways.
Josh Woodward · 19 years, 10 months ago
Ditto for Peter Mulvey's live albums, especially Glencree. There's not a word of banter in it, and you know damn well that Peter likes to chatter. :)
Andrea Krause · 19 years, 10 months ago
Yeah I feel the same way. Glencree in no way represents live Mulvey to me and it bugs me. It's like...I want the fully produced stuff, or I want the live experience in full. I have a problem with halfway there. :) I'd honestly love to have the songs on that album redone in the studio. I LOVE a lot of the songs but I barely listen to the album because it's a disappointing experience for me.
That and the packaging sucks ass and it's hard to remember it exists on the shelf. :)
Chris Smither live as I'll ever be
Sandy Denny Goldust
John Prine Live
Steeleye Span Live at Last
I think it really depends on the artist, and even the song. Some bands really benefit from the studio treatment, while others have a lot more energy and spirit live, and some sound pretty much the same either way. Overall, though, I would say that it's not a good idea to start with a live album. A live PERFORMANCE, maybe, but there's usually a dynamic there that you can't get with a recording. I think it's best to get acquainted with the studio versions first, and then listen to the live ones. As I said, though, it depends on the band.
My wife thinks maybe rubber soul though she likes revolver alot too
she ads the white album or abbey road
I agree with Rubber Soul... not that I'm Beatles fan enough to own it.
I'm sure I opened up a can of worms by bringing in the Beatles to this discussion, but it's definitely interesting.
I think the white album and Rubber Soul are also great pics, Sgt Peppers is a great album, but I'm not sure it's the "essential" album.
It will be 40 years ago that The Beatles came to North America!
I plan on listening to all of my albums, and probably will get together with all my other Beatles fan friends :)
Kris 'engaged' Bedient · 19 years, 10 months ago
Actually, on February 7, 1964 the Beatles made their first visit to America. Therefore, it was 40 years ago TODAY!
Haha I've been singing that all day! Kind of like "Sgt. Pepper's" only instead of "20 years ago today," "40 years ago today" ;)
Well I think there's some confusion about when the actual day is anyway, because the newspaper says it's Monday, and I saw a guy in a concert who said it was 2 months ago! So really, I'd have to look in a more reliable source, maybe the Beatles Anthology book ;)
Kris 'engaged' Bedient · 19 years, 10 months ago
My source was the NPR website, not to say that that it is absolutly correct, but I would expect it to be pretty reliable. Here is what the History Channel has to say on the matter:
On February 7, 1964, Pan Am Yankee Clipper flight 101 from London Heathrow lands at New York's Kennedy Airport--and "Beatlemania" arrives. It was the first visit to the United States by the Beatles, a British rock-and-roll quartet that had just scored its first No. 1 U.S. hit six days before with "I Want to Hold Your Hand." At Kennedy, the "Fab Four"--dressed in mod suits and sporting their trademark pudding bowl haircuts--were greeted by 3,000 screaming fans who caused a near riot when the boys stepped off their plane and onto American soil.
Two days later [which would be Monday the 9th], Paul McCartney, age 21, Ringo Starr, 23, John Lennon, 23, and George Harrison, 20, made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, a popular television variety show. Although it was difficult to hear the performance over the screams of teenage girls in the studio audience, an estimated 73 million U.S. television viewers, or about 40 percent of the U.S. population, tuned in to watch. Sullivan immediately booked the Beatles for two more appearances that month. The group made their first public concert appearance in the United States on February 11 at the Coliseum in Washington, D.C., and 20,000 fans attended. The next day, they gave two back-to-back performances at New York's Carnegie Hall, and police were forced to close off the streets around the venerable music hall because of fan hysteria. On February 22, the Beatles returned to England.
Agent Scully · 19 years, 10 months ago
Also to mention that on that same ed sullivan show, Davy Jones (later of the Monkees) performed with the Cast of Oliver.
Yes you're right, they arrived on the 7th and then went on Ed Sullivan on the 9th.
I looked it up in the back of my Beatles book, "A Hard Days Write" where there's a timeline of sorts.
Anyway, now that we've gotten that cleared up...
I've been trying for years to assemble a definitive list of essential '80's albums. Albums by group [except for groups with exceptional or massive catalogs (Beatles, Rolling Stones, Ani DiFranco)] should be easy. Albums by genre would be too difficult. The '80's is a natural pick for me because of my age. So far, I have four.
Wham! - Make It Big
Cyndi Lauper - She's So Unusual
Michael Jackson - Thriller
Van Halen - 1984
In my opinion, that's the type of music people are talking about when they talk about '80's music. For better or for worse. Any contributions or comments?
Two of my favorite musicians are or were touring with Cyndi. Deni Bonet is in her band and Nellie McKay was opening for her.
The Talking Heads' probably belong in the mix somehwere, and maybe Duran Duran?
REM and U2 also made it huge in the '80's
Green might be a good REM pic, but I don't know U2 well enough to have a vote :)
Nice choices. I'd probably go with Document from R.E.M. and Rio from Duran Duran. U2 would be Joshua Tree for me. I don't think U2 really hit big until 1991, but that's opinion. :-)
Talking Heads... maybe Little Creatures or Stop Making Sense. I found them to be hit and miss, a few good tracks mixed with filler (not to be confused with fluff). I've also typically lumped the Talking Heads in with Blondie and The Cars as the founders of New Wave in the late '70's. Blondie's best would be Parallel Lines, released in 1979 (and better than their Best of collection). The Cars had a lot of good ones. Too tough to call. :-)
Nik Chaikin · 19 years, 10 months ago
for R.E.M. I'd say "Out Of Time", just a stelar album from start to finish, there is no song on that album i on't like.
I notice no one's even mentioned anything from Monster on. :)
Hrm - I was thinking about REM in the 80's. I forgot we had a topic :) In the spirit of the forum topic, Out Of TIme is probably their most noteworthy.
Automatic For The People is also great, but it's a very different flavor than the other albums. If I was trying to give someone a taste of REM's style I would hand them Green or Out of Time.
I was also thinking of REM in the '80's. For REM overall, Out Of Time. It's more accessible. I also noticed that someone mentioned Life's Rich Pageant, which is by far my favorite of their albums. I stand by Document, because it gives a better picture of REM's future course. LRP wasn't quite as moody.
Snow In Summer · 19 years, 10 months ago
the natural choice for U2 would be "The Joshua Tree." ...unless someone could provide a good argument for "The Unforgettable Fire." honestly, the rest of U2's '80s albums are kinda rough comparatively & while they have a couple good singles, only these 2 would really be in contention for essential.
goovie is married! · 19 years, 10 months ago
joshua tree for u2, murmur and automatic for the people for rem.
Sugar - Copper Blue
Social Distortion - Somewhere Between Heaven And Hell
The '90's... this is a tough decade for me, since my musical journey changed courses so often. I even spent two years as a country fan in the '90's. *shudder*
The Sugar album I listed was the first CD I could listen to, start to finish, without reaching for the skip button. Social D's is one of the best driving-at-night albums ever made. I agree that Dookie is the essential Green Day album, but I think Kerplunk! was much better.
Kerplunk!'s standout tracks are: "2,000 Light Years Away;" "One For The Razorbacks;" "Christie Road;" and a very early version of "Welcome To Paradise." It also has a cover of "My Generation," and a twisted little song called "Dominated Love Slave" (and I think Tre sings it.) It's also a bit rougher, but I think that's the difference between Lookout! and their major label (I think it was Reprise, but I may be mistaken.) It's a little more punk, a little less pop.
Nirvana - In Utero
An amazing example of a band that, while they put out very few (if any) songs I dislike... their albums kept getting stronger and stronger.
Pity it had to stop. :(
They were breaking the mold.
Because Nirvana has become one of my irrational hatreds. One of those things where I can't really explain why I can't stand them anymore. I have Nevermind (which I would call their essential), which is a great album... I just can't listen to it.
I have to agree with you about Nirvana. I can't really put my finger on why I hate them, but it could have a whole lot to do with screaming and power chords, senseless violence against musical instruments, heroin, lowering the standards of music played on the radio, and unintelligible lyrics.
I really don't think if Kurt hadn't killed himself, that they would still be on the map today. I think David Grohl would have still left the band, being the musician of the group, and Kurt would have OD'd anyway, rather like what happened to Alice in Chains' Jerry Cantrell and Layne Staley, respectively.
eh.. "oh the map" is unimportant.
christ, it's not like the majority of bands I listen to are "on the map"
Perhaps they were quickly chosen words, but what I guess I should have said is that their fans would outgrow them.
good music has lasting appeal and will make you want to listen to it for years. Who cares if they're famous
exactly my point.
I still often listen to nirvana... and have been for ... holy shit.... 1990... so 14 years.
God, I'm old. :D But, still... I don't see myself getting sick of their music.
Especially Dirt... er... well... pretty much only Dirt.
That was an amazing album.
Great to be a Nerd and Winnebago were definitly ahead of their times.
erm, wait, wrong Dirt ;-)
no, I said "Dirt" ... not "Dirt!"
(and yes, it took me a google search to respond... as I have never heard the worms.... still...)
dave "buh" · 19 years, 10 months ago
I am not a big fan of Nirvana, but the "Unplugged in New York" should dispel any "they weren't musicians" arguments. That album is pretty fine.
I won't say they weren't musicians (although I'm not sure about Crist Novocelic... or however it's spelled). I think that if Kurt was still alive, the grunge period wouldn't have lasted any longer and the band (in whatever form) would not be recording. It would have been nice to see their decline, rather than to see Cobain martyred.
Regardless, the worst thing Nirvana did was introduce Hole to a mainstream audience.
Re: courtney love..... see the primus song "On the Coattails of a Dead Man"
It's all about her.
(and also stars tom waits.)
Josh Woodward · 19 years, 10 months ago
I disagree. I think that their albums got progressively worse. Not that In Utero was bad, it just had a lot of songs that I disliked, and nothing that I really loved. Bleach, on the other hand, was just a face-crushing album.
Bleach was a great album, no doubt about that! But it was, like fruvous albums, a very different album from all the rest of their albums.
In fact, I think they compare a lot to fruvous, studio-wise.
Each album was a new direction unrelated to the last..... and all of them had gems.
Luckily, they never had an equivalent to Thornhill.....
(Not that Thornhill doesn't have its gems... but.. it was the weakest album by far... I can't say that about any nirvana album.)
If you only had 3 movie soundtracks, which 3 would they be?
My pics: Subject to change :)
- Blues Brothers
- Singles (What can I say, grunge was just hitting when I got to high school)
- Wedding Singer (which might be cheating)
It's a good thing that, in the real world, we aren't limited to three. But, for the sake of argument:1 - Xanadu
2 - Not Another Teen Movie
3 - Wedding Singer volume 2 (not cheating at all)
Rachel Marie aka RAI · 19 years, 10 months ago
Movie soundtracks? Oh yes.
- Forrest Gump
- O Brother, Where Art Thou
- A Mighty Wind
well, the obvious:
Buena Vista Social Club - sure, it's more of a documentary, but it counts.
O Brother Where Art Thou? - love most of it.
Then... umm.... I guess... the Singles sountrack? That had a lot of great early 90's music on it.
Also, on a related note.... the Malcolm in the Middle soundtrack!
It's freakin great.
O Brother Where Art Thou I think I listened to twice, and it's been sitting on my shelf ever since. Might be time for me to give it another shot.
Never checked out the soundtrack from Malcom in the Middle. Thanks for the recommendation :)
The R.E.M. portion of this got me thinking about Fruvous albums. I remember in my Frufan days, I came here looking for suggestions for purchasing sequence. It was a very disorganized discussion. :-)
The big argument regarded the band's direction. Several people said that YWGTTM was a random offshoot, and that Wood was a true course that the band would follow.
After years of listening, it seems that with each album generated its own little spur. The course of the band doesn't seem to be a line so much as an asterisk, with Bargainville at the center. The only leg that really seems longer is the Bargainville-B-C leg.
Comments and heated discussion encouraged, that's what the forums are for. :-)
I think I'd probably have to agree with you. There doesn't seem to be any clear direction the band took; every new album was different. Really, I'm not sure B and C are even all that similar. They're both named after letters and are compilations of stuff that wasn't initially intended for album release, but B seems to have a certain sound and satirical theme running through a lot of the songs, while the stuff C is more varied.
yeah, I agree.... I love some stuff on B.. and dislike C almost entirely.
Also, I don't think either of them compare to bargainville...B and C were just goofy albums...
Bargainville had some amazingly beautiful songs on it.
100% dainty! · 19 years, 10 months ago
Yeah . . .b is acapella-y satire stuff, while C is mostly oddball songs and inside jokes.
And you're right about each album being completely different and unique. they each have their own style. that's why it's so hard for me to give an essential fruvous album. i'm like 'get them all!' because otherwise you'll miss out on how damn versatile they are.
I wasn't trying to compare B and/or C to Bargainville; merely that Bargainville is a starting point. B and C would be a direction. I do think that B directly contributed to C, in that I doubt C would have happened if B hadn't happened first.
As far as beauty, I'll agree that Bargainville had its moments. I think that Wood was a more beautiful collection (and better crafted). But that seems to be inviting debate. :-)
For me, I'd list Bargainville as the essential, Wood as the best, and YWGTTM as my favorite. Anyone else care to chime in?
Wood is definitely the most beautiful album of the bunch.
I agree completely.
But both bargainville and ywgttm had their moments.
100% dainty! · 19 years, 10 months ago
I'm all about Wood. Wood is my favorite of all time. it's the most cohesive, most beautiful. YWGTTM is probably the most ground-breaking. Bargainville does "have its moments."
XTC: Apple Venus vol. 1 is their strongest, but I think Skylarking is the best starting album (pretty much anything after they stoped touring would work though)
Dan Bern: Smartie Mine, but failing that, New American Language
Peter Mulvey: Trouble With Poets (although the new one might well take that spot)
Great Big Sea: Turn
Simon and Garfunkel: Parsley, Sage, Roesmary, and Thyme
Vance Gilbert: Edgewise
One thing I notice is that often my suggestions for most essential albums are not my favorites, although that's not always the case.
ya know, that's an interesting thing....
I *love* vance gilbert... like.... drool-worthy love.... I think the man is a god... and would travel to see him without question...
Yet I can't get into any of his studio stuff... at all.
I'd probably go with Skylarking for XTC. Albums I'd go with for other bands that I like would be:
Frank Black: Teenager of the Year
Pixies: Doolittle (I like Bossanova better, but Doolittle has more hits, so I'd say it's more significant in that respect.)
Camper Van Beethoven: self-titled
Young Fresh Fellows: The Men Who Loved Music
Doktor Pepski, kommie · 19 years, 10 months ago
I bought two new cds today anybody have either one: Ellis Paul & Vance Gilbert "Side of the Road" Great cd they work well together Weird version of "gentle arms of eden" really slow paced Greg Brown, Garnet Rogers and Karen Savoca Live -Greg sounded great as always Garnet was good but Karen Savoca horrible voice she sounded so raspy and off key almost like shrieking maybe she had the flu or something?? Opinions?
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