WFNY Curates: Top Albums of All Time

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WFNY Podcast LogoIn the latest of our episodes discussing music, Craig and Andrew decided to take some time to talk about our favorite albums of all time. As always, these are just our own personal picks and not so much a declaration of the universal best albums of all time. With that in mind, we thus implore you guys to leave us some comments with your personal favorite albums of all time. We hope you enjoy.

Craig’s Top Ten (In no particular order):

  1. Radiohead – “OK Computer”
  2. Mineral – “End Serenade”
  3. Acid Bath – “When the Kite String Pops”
  4. Pearl Jam – “Ten”
  5. Death Cab For Cutie – “Transatlanticism”
  6. Nine Inch Nails – “The Downward Spiral”
  7. Tool – “Undertow”
  8. Pink Floyd – “Dark Side of the Moon”
  9. Smashing Pumpkins – “Siamese Dream”
  10. Sigur Ros – ( )

Andrew’s Top Ten (In somewhat of an order)

  1. Pearl Jam – “YIELD”
  2. Titus Andronicus – “The Monitor”
  3. Radiohead – “Kid A”
  4. Nine Inch Nails – “The Fragile”
  5. Soundgarden – “Down On The Upside”
  6. Rancid – “…And Out Come The Wolves”
  7. Dead Confederate – “Wrecking Ball”
  8. Weezer – “Pinkerton”
  9. The Thermals – “The Body, The Blood, The Machine”
  10. Drive-By Truckers – “The Dirty South”

Last 5 Out:

  1. Refused – “The Shape of Punk To Come”
  2. The Stooges – “Funhouse”
  3. Queens of the Stone Age – “Songs for the Deaf”
  4. PJ Harvey – “Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea”
  5. Jerry Cantrell – “Degradation Trip Volumes 1&2″

 

 

 

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  • Du

    Here are my top 10 of all time (in no particular order):

    1. U2 – The Joshua Tree

    2. Pearl Jam – Ten

    3. The National – Boxer

    4. Fleet Foxes – S/T

    5. Bon Iver – S/T

    6. Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo

    7. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

    8. Radiohead – Kid A

    9. TV on the Radio – Return To Cookie Mountain

    10. DJ Shadow – Entroducing

    Ten Honorable Mentions:

    Phosphorescent – Muchacho (this stunning album may move into my top ten in time)
    Real Estate – Days
    Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream
    Deerhunter – Halycon Digest
    Tame Impala – Lonerism
    The Walkmen – You & Me
    James McMurtry – Where’d You Hide The Body
    Sufjan Stevens – Illinois
    Beastie Boys – Check Your Head
    Father John Misty – Fear Fun (This album is criminally underrated)

  • Kildawg

    I’ll include some older ones like Craig did, and in no real order.
    1.Huey Lewis and the News- Sports
    2.Pearl Jam- Ten
    3.Bruce Springsteen- Born in the USA
    4.Metallica- Metallica (the Black Album)
    5.Elton John- Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
    6.Rob Zombie- Hellbilly Deluxe
    7.Stone Temple Pilots- Thank You
    8.Three Days Grace- One-X (all their albums are good though)
    9.Van Halen- 1984 (album art gets props too)
    10.Puddle of Mudd- Come Clean

  • saggy

    including the other readers’ responses i don’t think there is a pre-1975 (non-greatest hits) album in the bunch. Strange for an “all-time” list.

    so don’t forget these (and, I know they’re “cliches” but there’s a reason for that):

    Bob Dylan – Highway 61, Blood On The Tracks
    Led Zeppelin – IV
    The Beatles – Revolver, Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper
    The Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed
    The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
    NWA – Straight Outta Compton
    Nirvana – Nevermind.
    Jay-Z – The Blueprint
    Michael Jackson – Thriller
    Bob Marley – Catch A Fire
    and my personal fave: Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    Bon Iver is the most recent one to challenge for a top spot. That album could eventually find its way into my ten…

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    Wow.. STP “Thank You”

    I’d love to know more. If I had to choose an STP album “Tiny Songs” would be tough to beat, but would probably narrowly get beat out by “Purple” almost exclusively because of “Kitchenware and Candybars.”

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    I had “Dark Side of the Moon,” but I had a tough time with The Beatles. I grew up on the red and blue greatest hits albums. The first Beatles album album I ever listened to was the white album. The rest all came through greatest hits records which is a different category for me.

  • Du

    That album is sneaky good. Not one track really stands out. Yet when you listen to it in full, it is a masterpiece.

  • saggy

    I’m a Floyd fan. Meddle is my pick – not because I am trying to be “different” but because “Fearless” is one of the greatest songs I have ever heard.

  • Kildawg

    They are pretty good albums but the acoustic version of ‘Plush’ put ‘Thank You’ on the top of STP albums IMO. Acoustic versions are a dying breed anymore.

  • Kildawg

    Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road came out in 1973.

  • Yup

    As a producer/engineer/songwriter this thread has made me wish we had stuck to sports on this blog. Super sad face…

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    Why? Now’s your chance to teach us something.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    I think Holocene sticks out for me, but other than that you’re right. So good.

  • WFNY_DP

    I followed the same protocol of one-per-artist. In no particular order:

    Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
    Pantera – Vulgar Display of Power
    Muse – Absolution
    Pearl Jam – Ten
    Soundgarden – Badmotorfinger
    Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream
    Mew – Frengers
    Sigur Ros – ( )
    Metallica – Master of Puppets
    Radiohead – The Bends

    Honorable Mention (these were some formative ones that haven’t necessarily stood up over time, but helped shape me in high school/college/beyond):

    Grandaddy – The Sophtware Slump
    Sunny Day Real Estate – How It Feels To Be Something On
    Sunny Day Real Estate – The Rising Tide
    Mogwai – Young Team
    Helmet – Meantime
    Nine Inch Nails – Broken
    Alice in Chains – Dirt
    Led Zeppelin – II

    Dada – American Highway Flower

  • WFNY_DP

    Also, to Craig’s and Andrew’s point, I taught myself to play drums. But, a huge, HUGE assist goes to Pearl Jam’s “Ten” because I literally learned it inside and out on the drums as a sophomore in high school.

  • Porkchop

    Not going to do a whole list some would be repetitive but throwing some love out for. Massive Attack: Blue Lines. Modest Mouse: Lonesome Crowded West Not to pick sides but Im firmly with Andrew on The Fragile best “headphones album” since Dark Side. Also Punch Brothers: Whose Feeling Young Now. Will eventually joinbut needs a few more years

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    That Kurt Vile album is amazing! I’m stoked for his new album, as the first 2 songs I’ve heard off it have been incredible as well.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    I absolutely love Blood on the Tracks. Definitely on my extended list. The funny thing is, I don’t really care for much else that Dylan has done.

    Good call on both Revolver and Rubber Soul. I would replace Sgt Pepper with Abbey Road, though. “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” is my jam.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    I don’t listen to a ton of Sunny Day Real Estate, but my go-to album of theirs is Diary. I find it interesting how many bands we have in common, yet we pick different albums for all of them. Although you did pick my favorite Metallica and Pantera albums, so I guess we agree on those.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    I’ll echo Craig here. I’m not offended by people not sharing my taste in my music, but by all means, if you’re going to criticize, please at least give us your picks.

  • thepaledragon

    I agree that we need more older classics on this list. My personal top 10 (which seems to change every 6 months):

    1. Derek and the Dominos – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
    2. Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street
    3. Black Keys – El Camino
    4. Led Zeppelin -Physical Graffiti (I could put any Zeppelin album here, though. If we’re playing the Desert Island game, I’m cheating and going with a double album)
    5. Allman Brothers Band – Live at the Fillmore East (also probably cheating by going with a live album, but screw it. The 30 minute “Mountain Jam” is heavenly)
    6. Joe Cocker – Mad Dogs & Englishmen
    7. Traveling Wilburys – Volume 1
    8. Delaney & Bonnie and Friends – On Tour with Eric Clapton
    9. U2 – Achtung Baby
    10. Dave Matthews Band – Under the Table and Dreaming

    Very hard to leave some of the following artists who I love but couldn’t put a single album up here: Beatles, Black Crowes, Faces, Warren Haynes, Gov’t Mule, Derek Trucks Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Booker T & and the MGs, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Blind Faith

  • mgbode

    my top10 (no order – 1 album per artist):

    John Lee Hooker “On the Waterfront”
    Rolling Stones “Let It Bleed”
    Cream “Disraeli Gears”
    Soundgarden “Down on the Upside”
    The Doors “Waiting for the Sun”
    Aerosmith “Toys in the Attic”
    Nirvana “Nevermind”
    Beatles “White Album”
    Robert Cray Band “Strong Persuader”
    Smashing Pumpkins “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness”

    Hardest to leave off:
    Audioslave “Audioslave”
    NIN “Downward Spiral”
    Pearl Jam “Vs”
    Robert Johnson (left off only because they are “best of” at this point)
    Eric Clapton “Slowhand” (only because Cream covers Clapton)
    Led Zeppelin “III”

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    As much as I love Nirvana, they were never that much of a personal favorite. I loved it for sure, but not this much. Mellon Collie is amazing. Love it. Just barely squeaked out by Siamese Dream.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    I don’t disagree with your take on The Fragile. Still, Downward Spiral brings me back to a time and place viscerally where I was in rock clubs every weekend and screaming and jumping around. The Fragile is probably the superior piece of art, but it just couldn’t replace The Downward Spiral for me.

    Splitting hairs though. Both are phenomenal.

  • mgbode

    I cannot help Nevermind. I was absolutely mesmerized by the perfect blending of tempo and volume throughout their songs.

    I’ve had alot of discussions on the merits of MC vs. SD. Basically, it boils down to if you appreciate the subtle guitar work more (SD) or the secondary instruments more (MC). They are both great.

  • WFNY_DP

    Some more thoughts as I finish the full podcast:

    1) I think sometimes we look at picking best albums differently. Andrew, I pick up a vibe from your discussion points that you like to apply the full context to an album (i.e., the Radiohead discussion, and Kid A showing what they’re fully capable of). I just can’t get there; I always come back to “this album causes me to completely lose track of whatever else I’m doing”. So, re: Radiohead, for example, that album for me is The Bends. OK Computer is awesome, Kid A was certainly ground-breaking, but when I listen to The Bends it’s still that perfect, blissful beginning intersection with the Pablo Honey guitar sound refined and the “here comes the technology!” future of the band. The last 45 seconds of “Planet Telex” sets the tone for that album. It still blows my mind, and the first time I heard it was almost half of my life ago (18 year old college freshman, about to turn 36).

    2) Can’t believe I omitted Tool from my lists. Aenima and Lateralus are about as complete as progressive-rock albums can be. And yes, as a drummer, Danny Carey is in the Pantheon. He’s unmatched in terms of his style, his meshing of acoustic drums and sample/triggers, and the rhythms he throws in. You can listen to a Tool album 50 times and pull out something new Carey does each time. The drum breakdown in the song “Lateralus” still boggles my mind. I’ve tried for years to break it all down, but still can’t play it like he does.

    3) I still can’t decide if I take umbrage with the moniker of “Classic Rock Kids” because I think I was a borderline case. My parents listened to music every morning while getting ready for work (and so me for school by extension), and I credit that experience with helping open my mind/ears up to a lot of different stuff. I loved Zeppelin and Pink Floyd all through high school. I loved the Doors, I loved Jimi Hendrix, I loved Boston, for God’s sake! But, I also loved a lot of other stuff (obviously). So, I don’t know if I fit into that mold of “Classic Rock Kid” or not. :-)

  • WFNY_DP

    SDRE is an odd case study, because their first two records are so completely different from their second two (obviously, lineup changes and strife abounded in between). The latter two are so much more polished, and incorporate some of the melodic, almost synth-y type of sound. The Rising Tide is a nice intersection of distorted guitars and synth-y, melodic sound. It’s sad to me that they never made anything else after that, but it was such a profound way to leave.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    Spoken like a true classic rock kid… :-)

    You probably weren’t one. Listening to classic rock alone doesn’t make you a classic rock kid. Saying that everything new isn’t as good does make you a classic rock kid.

  • mgbode

    as everyone already knows, I am an idiot. DP mentioned Jimi and that is an inexusable miss from my list. I have listened to Electric Ladyland more than any other album. I wore out the tape, yes tape, on 2 cassettes and refused to listen to my parents vinyl copy much because I was worried about damaging it.

    it’s not only in my top10, it’s probably at the actual top. stupid me and what I get for going “stream of consciousness” on this thing.

  • Porkchop

    Totally agree Spiral is probably THE soundtrack of my high school. Im this case for me art trumps nostalgia but Id be happy with either or Pretty Hate to be honest, Down in It is my all time favorite Nails single

  • WFNY_DP

    “Everyone knows rock music achieved perfection in 1974!!” –Homer J. Simpson

  • Porkchop

    Wanted to add Frightened Rabbit: Winter of Mixed Drinks to the awesome but to soon list. Its like U2. Woke up as 21 year olds in the late 2000s

  • Jay

    No country music love in the WFNY universe. I’ll just keep my list to myself :)

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    I always kind of preferred In Utero, myself. I never fully appreciated Nirvana until In Utero came out. Unfortunately, we know what happened next.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    RE: 1) This is a testament of how amazing Radiohead is as a band. Craig and I spent all that time debating OK Computer and Kid A without even mentioning The Bends, which is a freaking amazing album in its own right. I take no issue with anyone who says The Bends is their favorite Radiohead album.

    I’d probably agree that I give context a lot of consideration in music. I always gravitate towards albums that showcase bands at what I perceive as their apex. It’s probably why my favorite albums are rarely the debut albums of bands.

  • mgbode

    I don’t think you get much darker than Nevermind though. outside of the MTv overplay, the songs were extremely well-thought out and visceral.

    Lithium, Polly, and Something in the Way are still 3 of my favorite songs.

    IMO, Lithium is really THE prototypical Nirvana song. Slow and fast, quiet and loud. The tempo and volume depicting the events in the lyrics. The lyrics themselves having a pretty deep meaning (this one about a man considering suicide, finding religion and it saving him because it was the drug he needed – and depicting religion as a drug itself with all of the benefits and pitfalls). And saying all of that with simple lyrics.

  • mgbode

    someone someday is going to explain to me why Radiohead is such a great band. if someone can do that here, then it would be appreciated.

    i just don’t get it. i like a bunch of their songs, they are in the 2nd or 3rd tier of bands i listen to, but i never get excited because one comes up on the radio or at an event.

    to me, while they are good, their songs always seem like they are trying too hard to do too many things and (for me) never quite get there. ah well.

  • WFNY_DP

    I can’t put Mellon Collie up with Siamese Dream, personally. It would have been better as one disc with a lot of junk taken out (again, just personally speaking).

    That said, “Bodies” might be my ALL TIME favorite SP song.

  • mgbode

    I do completely agree there is more junk in it. But, it was one of my first CD’s, so it really helped me learn how cool it was to have a “skip” button :)

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Craig Lyndall

    I’m sure you’d find some friends. :-)

  • Du

    For sure. “Walkin on a Pretty Day” is a great 10 minutes!

  • JRS19

    Great list, Du. And great discussion on here, WFNY. I’m in the minority amongst nearly everyone I know, but just can’t get into Bon Iver. Even seen him live, and just can’t do it. Can’t really put a finger on it, other than it just doesn’t work. Nevertheless, excellent choices with The Walkmen, Deerhunter, and Phosphorescent. I love Here’s To Taking It Easy and Pride, and am just starting to dive into Muchacho. So far, pretty damn good. Also check out War on Drugs. They all used to play with Kurt Vile, so they’ve got a similar vibe, just slightly more straightforward. I think I need to add a list below.

  • JRS19

    Not to veer off, but I’ll do the Top 15 of the 2000’s…in no particular order:
    -Dylan-Love & Theft
    -Ryan Adams-Heartbreaker
    -Gillian Welch-Time: The Revelator
    -Radiohead-Kid A
    -Outkast: SpeakerboxxThe Love Below
    -Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
    -Bright Eyes: I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
    -Drive-By Truckers: The Dirty South
    -The Walkmen: Bows & Arrows
    -The Strokes: Is This It?
    -Spoon: Girls Can Tell
    -Songs Ohia: Magnolia Electric Co.
    -Neko Case: Fox Confessor Brings The Flood
    -TV on the Radio: Dear Science
    -Ambulance Ltd.: S/T

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Andrew Schnitkey

    Very nice list!

    Pitchfork recently did a reader’s survey of the top albums from 1996-2011. Here’s my list that is kind of in order, but not really. (I spent a little time trying to think of an order, but I didn’t really think about it that hard to put near as much time into ordering it as I did my Top 10 for this podcast.

    http://peopleslist.pitchfork.com/list/af6fda8c/

  • Return of the (Alex) Mack

    The Chronic 2001: Dr. Dre

  • Return of the (Alex) Mack

    George Strait era types or Eric Church and Luke Bryan types?

  • Jay

    Actually I’ve been a huge fan of Eric Church since his ‘How Bout You’ days. But I definitely like my George Strait, Merle Haggard, Waylon, Cash, etc. I’m one of those love-all-kinds-of-music types, but country is the way I was raised so it will always be my favorite.