The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
September 22, 2020 8:13 AM   Subscribe

When we first did the RS 500 in 2003, people were talking about the “death of the album.” The album —and especially the album release — is more relevant than ever. Of course, it could still be argued that embarking on a project like this is increasingly difficult in an era of streaming and fragmented taste. But that was part of what made rebooting the RS 500 fascinating and fun; 86 of the albums on the list are from this century, and 154 are new additions that weren’t on the 2003 or 2012 versions. The classics are still the classics, but the canon keeps getting bigger and better. [Rolling Stone]
posted by chavenet (206 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
I checked, and Stevie Wonder's Innervisions is incorrectly swapped with Songs in the Key of Life, the rest are objectively correct. Probably just a typo when they were setting up the page, considering how difficult it is properly to rank all the albums ever released.
posted by skewed at 8:29 AM on September 22, 2020 [7 favorites]


Pssht. They've been doing this list for almost 20 years and they still got it wrong.
posted by chillmost at 8:32 AM on September 22, 2020 [17 favorites]


I enjoy lists like this and debating what albums are awesome, but it's sooooo skewed to a very specific subset of genres, levels of commercial success / support, and of course leaving out huge amounts of music from around the world. Should be re-titled "500 albums that are popular with industry wonks, critics, producers, and musicians."

As much as I love them, The Beatles are heavily over-represented. Other bands missed entirely or under-represented... ah well.

Maybe we should do a Metafilter 500, I'd be curious how that'd turn out. Are there any Rolling Stone equivalents around the world that produce these lists? I'd be curious to see a top 500 albums list produced by people from Iran, India, Pakistan, Chad, Peru, Finland, etc.
posted by jzb at 8:33 AM on September 22, 2020 [19 favorites]


Also if anybody has scraped this to produce a diff between the last list and this one, and a one-pager of all 500 that'd be fantastic. If nobody does by this evening, I'll take a whack at it.
posted by jzb at 8:36 AM on September 22, 2020 [11 favorites]


Sometimes I worry that I'm getting too wishy washy I get older and losing my old record store clerk contrarianism. It is a huge relief to me that I opened his list, was immediately like, "Ugh. Arcade Fire. Like the Most Overrated Band of the last 20 years" and gleefully scrolled through the res and saw that I hated on at least 30% of the bands on the list.


HAVEN'T LOST MY EDGE, GANG.
posted by thivaia at 8:51 AM on September 22, 2020 [32 favorites]


No.
posted by bassomatic at 8:54 AM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


In the top fifty:

Five female artists.

Four albums by guys named Bob.

I'm never entirely surprised, exactly, but I'm still always a little bit shocked.
posted by Kattullus at 8:55 AM on September 22, 2020 [31 favorites]


Why does everything need to be ranked?
posted by bondcliff at 8:59 AM on September 22, 2020 [8 favorites]


But seriously: As the parameters of pop music expand exponentially beyond three-minute, verse-chorus-verse songs played on a standard rock n roll instrumentation, lists like this become increasingly meaningless. If you're putting Rush's Moving Pictures one place better than Mingus's Mingus Ah Um, how do you objectively (or even subjectively) compare the two and position them relative to each other? (And how is Green Day's Dookie better than both, but anyway.) Why not throw classical into the mix? Mariachi? Gregorian chant? This lists are fun to debate but with such an arbitrary sense of what is and isn't up for consideration, it's just well written clickbait.
posted by bassomatic at 9:04 AM on September 22, 2020 [7 favorites]


This lists are fun to debate

I mean, that’s it - if it’s not the only reason anybody still bothers writing these, it’s the reason they still get posted, for sure.
posted by atoxyl at 9:07 AM on September 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


Why does everything need to be ranked?

CLICK HERE AND WE'LL SEND YOU THE EIGHT REASONS EVERYTHING SHOULD BE RANKED - OUR TOP PICK WILL SHOCK YOU!
posted by bassomatic at 9:10 AM on September 22, 2020 [37 favorites]


Needing to click through multiple pages makes reading the list a chore. I prefer the simplicity of Yacht or Nyacht.
posted by emelenjr at 9:10 AM on September 22, 2020 [8 favorites]


Is it really fun to debate? I usually look at these kinds of things for ideas of new albums I might like.
posted by skewed at 9:12 AM on September 22, 2020 [9 favorites]


No They Might Be Giants? Flood doesn't rank in the top 500? Baloney.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:13 AM on September 22, 2020 [21 favorites]


What; no G G Allin?
posted by TedW at 9:15 AM on September 22, 2020 [17 favorites]


Yeah also there are a bunch of good albums on the list, even if the ranking methodology is incomprehensible.
posted by atoxyl at 9:19 AM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


I scrolled through this thing pretty quickly - I guess continuing to include some of the less essential Beatles albums is compensation for having them no higher than fifth place, this time? - but am I correct that John Contrane gets one album and it’s not A Love Supreme?
posted by atoxyl at 9:21 AM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


Is it Ascension?
posted by box at 9:26 AM on September 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


no, A Love Supreme is in there. I'd pick Live At Birdland over it though.

My axe: no XTC.
posted by thelonius at 9:26 AM on September 22, 2020 [11 favorites]


....and This Year's Model over Armed Forces or Imperial Bedroom? Synchronicity over Regatta de Blanc also troubled me; then, I remembered that it has "Miss Gradenko" on it.
posted by thelonius at 9:28 AM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


Fiona Apple gets 3 entries in this list, she didn't get any in the 2012 version but all of those three albums did exist back in 2012, did they suddenly get better in the last 8 years?
My guess is that Fiona is back on the radar because she has a successful album in the charts.
Like all industry awards, they will protest otherwise but really it is all about the sales, it is all about the money.
posted by Lanark at 9:29 AM on September 22, 2020 [7 favorites]


am I correct that John Contrane gets one album and it’s not A Love Supreme?

I saw A Love Supreme on the list.

I've learned that to save my sanity I need to completely ignore the ranking element in lists like this. That lets me focus more on "yay So and Astral Weeks are in there" without getting hung up on "Nevermind over So? Please".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:31 AM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


I think that these lists get increasingly less tenable over time. It's not just that in 1990, say, you had around 30 years of post invention of the teen popular music to select from, whereas now it's around 60 years, it's also that the task only ever really made sense in the rockist paradigm, where it was still tenable to pretend that there was some central canon of guitar records made by white guys on drugs, in relation to which all records, including non white guy on drugs guitar records, could meaningful be assessed. At this point it's not only apparent that there is no central and underpinning rock or pop canon, but in fact an act of chauvinistic absurdity to seriously believe that such a thing exists.
posted by howfar at 9:32 AM on September 22, 2020 [16 favorites]


I'd pick Live At Birdland over it though.

Great album, but not as perfect a fit for the Great Album paradigm if you know what I mean.
posted by atoxyl at 9:36 AM on September 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


My axe: no XTC.

Yeah, my all-time favorite album is Skylarking, and IMO several of their albums deserve placement on the list over some of the others. But I'm not surprised they get short shrift here, they just never quite got the commercial or critical traction their contemporaries did.
posted by jzb at 9:38 AM on September 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


short shrift

I didn't even bother looking for "Spilt Milk"
posted by thelonius at 9:47 AM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


Is it really fun to debate? I usually look at these kinds of things for ideas of new albums I might like.

Same here. And what's most annoying about these kind of lists, beyond the pointless ranking as people have already noted, is that they're never sincere listings of how the writers actually feel. There's always some purposeful element of "ha ha, now this will piss people off!" to them. I'm so tired of hot takes and clickbait and the like. It's exhausting.
posted by star gentle uterus at 9:49 AM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


The John Mayer album should be at like 600.
posted by pxe2000 at 9:51 AM on September 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


Four albums by guys named Bob.

Did I read correctly that three of those are Dylan? Boomers gonna boomer.

To be fair, I tend to have low expectations of RS, this exceeded them, at least a little bit. I'll have to page through the whole thing later. The upper ranks do have a decent summary of works that were influential in one way or another. I did like seeing Kendrick Lamar in the upper echelons there.

And it's not a daring choice to put Joni Mitchell at #3, but you will get a nod from me on that one.

Also:

Stevie Wonder's Innervisions is incorrectly swapped with Songs in the Key of Life

Agree, agree.
posted by gimonca at 9:56 AM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


It's funny that this comes out now, my partner is 200 into the 2013 list and has made it a project to listen through the list and really actively engage with the albums. She was pretty bummed today because she'd hoped, and was well on her way, to be be finished before 2023 when they might update the list again. It's been nice to have fun project.

From what I've picked up, the 2013 list had issues where they included a number of compilation albums because the logic was the music was important, but it was odd because it was a top album list not an important music list.
posted by Carillon at 9:56 AM on September 22, 2020 [7 favorites]


These lists, just like explainers of last night's episode of TV Show-You-Really-Like, exist primarily because they drive more traffic than anything else media publishers can produce. Importantly, compared to actual journalism or creative writing, these things are also far cheaper and easier to make.

Given just how brutal the media landscape was even before COVID-19, it makes sense Rolling Stone will keep polishing the same rockist turd.
posted by Ouverture at 9:56 AM on September 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


I know that MetaFilter is gonna Metafilter, but I am seriously side-eyeing everyone who is clicking on a post about ranking only to complain about ranking. Seriously, if I can manage to keep my disdain for superheroes out of superhero posts, maybe others can exercise some similar self-control with a post clearly labelled "Rolling Stone" and "list".
posted by betweenthebars at 9:57 AM on September 22, 2020 [40 favorites]


I’d like to see a version of this done more like citations or PageRank. Every artist in the top ??5%?? of listens is asked what their ??20?? most listened albums are. Every artist in a formative list is also asked. (Or old interviews trawled, etc). So sometimes - maybe - something far more obscure than the Velvet Underground turns out to be vital two generations after it was cool. Or some seemingly weightless pop is in every artist’s list for a generation and we can listen for how the pop flowed into less accessible stuff.

All of which people love doing in interviews and arguments and musicology and all, but we’re in a data trawling age, so maybe that will be interesting too.
posted by clew at 10:09 AM on September 22, 2020 [8 favorites]


any Can on the list? I doubt it. And the Stooges debut at 488? Seriously?

Well, it's Rolling Stone a magazine that was probably right about something at some point. Though nothing springs to mind.
posted by philip-random at 10:20 AM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


My personal "you have to be fucking kidding me"s:

Blur, Parklife—this is, objectively, at most Blur's fourth-best album
LCD Soundsystem—you'll never convince me that LCD Soundsystem is anything but an elaborate joke being played on me specifically
Vampire Weekend—see entry for LCD Soundsystem
Coldplay, A Rush of Blood to the Head—it's okay to admit that this album is bad
Weezer—ahahahahahahahahahahahah
RHCP, Californication—the scourge of late '90s alt. rock radio
Green Day, American Idiot—it's okay to admit that this album is bad
Metallica, The Black Album—it has been okay to admit that this album is bad almost since the day it came out nearly thirty years ago
Oasis, two of their fucking trashcan albums—fuck Oasis
The Strokes, Is This It—see entry for LCD Soundsystem
Nirvana, Nevermind—not even the best Seattle grunge album released that year, yet somehow the sixth best album of all time?

Generally:

- it's not necessary to put every single Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, and Black Sabbath album on these lists

- metal bands other than Metallica have existed and continue to exist, and many of them, unlike Metallica, are good

- ah, it's been too long since I got to be angry about a list
posted by sinfony at 10:20 AM on September 22, 2020 [32 favorites]


As I gave up listening to music on the radio many years ago (except a couple of college radio stations online), I no longer read any music journalism, have no interest in streaming services telling me what I should listen to, I look at these lists as way to see how out of touch I am with the music scene, given the number of people on the list I have never heard of, or who I’ve heard of but have never heard their music. Each time these lists come up, the percentage rises. But given my propensity for liking what isn’t popular, pop culture sort of doesn’t mean much for me. I learn more from all the opinionated people here on the blue. So thanks for all your comments.
posted by njohnson23 at 10:21 AM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


Given just how brutal the media landscape was even before COVID-19, it makes sense Rolling Stone will keep polishing the same rockist turd.

The massive number of pop albums on this list puts the lie to at least part of this sentiment.
posted by sinfony at 10:22 AM on September 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


I’d like to see a version of this done more like citations or PageRank.

It's not quite that, but the Best Ever Albums aggregator seems to at least be pulling from a wider range of sources. Any way you slice it, though, it's going to be a popularity contest.

(That said, although They Might Be Giants doesn't crack the top 1,000 albums, they do make it into the top 500 artists)
posted by belarius at 10:22 AM on September 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


anyway my list is better ... though it's individual tracks, not albums
posted by philip-random at 10:23 AM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


I love these lists. I don't care about the ranking. I'll usually find a gem I never knew existed.
posted by night_train at 10:24 AM on September 22, 2020 [11 favorites]


sure St. Trane is all genius, but I listen to Ballads more often then anything.

I'm okay with this debate.
posted by ovvl at 10:24 AM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


To be fair, I tend to have low expectations of RS,

I think Henry Rollins once acidly observed that it is a great source if you want to find out what that guy from The Eagles is up to lately.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:38 AM on September 22, 2020 [18 favorites]


MetaFilter: ah, it's been too long since I got to be angry about a list
posted by curious nu at 10:48 AM on September 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


*idly scrolls through counting albums she owns, or has owned in the past*

Huh, that was a larger number than I expected. 41 out of 500. Thirteen of which feel like the are albums that are/were actually important to me as opposed to just "stuff I have purchased in the past".

I will be honest though; the main reason I went down this list was to see how closely my taste corresponds with that of the aggregate of Rolling Stones' editors behind this list. A score of "has owned less than 1/10 of these" feels pretty good.

also how the fuck does Floyd's messy debut album get ranked higher than the sublime Wish You Were Here geez, that and the proto-noise incoherence of Ummagumma, or, We Are To High To Name This Album the only goddamn Floyd albums that ever really said anything to me.

*picks a random Metallica and Beatles album and replaces them with Skinny Puppy's "Last Rights" and "The Process"*
posted by egypturnash at 10:48 AM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


Honestly I like these posts because people bring up what they think SHOULD have been there, and I always get some new music out of it, so I appreciate both the topic and the comments. =)
posted by curious nu at 10:48 AM on September 22, 2020 [7 favorites]


Needing to click through multiple pages makes reading the list a chore. I prefer the simplicity of Yacht or Nyacht.

Not only that, it's seemingly very accurate:

Pablo Cruise = yacht rock.
DeBarge - boat adjacent, but not quite a yacht.
posted by The_Vegetables at 10:50 AM on September 22, 2020 [7 favorites]


Vampire Weekend—see entry for LCD Soundsystem
Vampire Weekend write so many legit songs about god that the entire genre of Christian rock need not exist. That's worth at least spot #500 on the Rolling Stone list, and good for all of humanity.
posted by The_Vegetables at 10:53 AM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


When some terrible pop-punk band covered Don Henley's 'The Boys of Summer,' they updated the Deadhead-sticker-on-a-Cadillac line to one about Black Flag.

I like that these lists tend to become more diverse and inclusive over time, but this year's model seems to lean heavily on compilations and greatest-hits albums, which I feel like maybe isn't in keeping with the 'album' part of things.

Also, The Temptations are 'indisputably the greatest black vocal group of the modern era'? I mean, if you say so, but I'm not going to be the one to tell that to Diana Ross.
posted by box at 10:53 AM on September 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


1985 was an underrepresented year in music.

497. Various Artists, 'The Indestructible Beat of Soweto' (Earthworks, 1985)
428. Hüsker Dü, 'New Day Rising' (SST, 1985)
418. Dire Straits, 'Brothers in Arms' (Warner Bros., 1985)
357. Tom Waits, 'Rain Dogs' (Island, 1985)
249. Whitney Houston, 'Whitney Houston' (Arista, 1985)
240. Sam Cooke, 'Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963' (RCA, 1985)
68. Kate Bush, 'Hounds of Love' (EMI, 1985)

(I parsed RS’s JSON, and I could post the whole list here, if people want that.)
posted by 1970s Antihero at 10:53 AM on September 22, 2020 [10 favorites]


philip-random > any Can on the list? I doubt it.

I was very surprised to see that there is some! 1972's Ege Bamyası, at 454.

I am not sufficiently versed in Can's output to know how the average Can-head would rate it amongst their discography, but this list actually acknowledges that Germany is a place that some influential musicians have come from.
posted by egypturnash at 10:56 AM on September 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


I could post the whole list here

Please do or put it on pastebin if its unreasonably long.
posted by Lanark at 10:57 AM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


Pastebin.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 10:59 AM on September 22, 2020 [29 favorites]


And the Stooges debut at 488? Seriously?

Too low or too high? That album has some great songs but it’s the next two that are stone cold classics. It doesn’t look like Raw Power even made the list, which is a bigger issue.
posted by atoxyl at 11:00 AM on September 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


Breaking news: music is very personal, and some people are very upset with ranked lists of music

I join the glass-is-half-full folk who are happy to find a single thing in this list that they may check out and enjoy.
posted by elkevelvet at 11:03 AM on September 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


Wait, U2 doesn't even make the top 100? Are we sure this is Rolling Stone?
posted by octothorpe at 11:03 AM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


In the top fifty:

Five female artists.

Four albums by guys named Bob


I was going to ask about this. Thanks for commenting on it, I'm not going to click through.

It's about what I expected from Rolling Stone, but I'm tired of paying attention to sexist "best of" lists. I'm tired about how they perpetuate a male-dominated canon, and everything that means for how female artists are perceived.

If they can't give female artists a fair amount of attention, I'm not going to give them any attention at all.

Fuck 'em.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 11:08 AM on September 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


Green Day, American Idiot—it's okay to admit that this album is bad

Oh god, the placing of this one is actually funny.

LCD Soundsystem

I don’t have anything against this band - to be honest I never listened to them that much - but I keep seeing them get, like, three albums in the best of whatever lists and I’m always surprised that they are that acclaimed?
posted by atoxyl at 11:09 AM on September 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


I pretty much only paid attention to the top 10 and was 90% fine with it.

I imagine RS thought it would be a bad look not to have a woman of color up there. Okay with that possible sentiment but I would've swapped Aretha Franklin from #13 and put her in Lauren Hill's spot.
posted by fuse theorem at 11:15 AM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


but I keep seeing [LCD Soundsystem] get, like, three albums in the best of whatever lists and I’m always surprised that they are that acclaimed?

LCD Soundsystem tickles every good memory you had about Bowie, Roxy Music, Talking Heads, Eno, and everything connected to all of that. It doesn't have to be good, just...familiar.
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:26 AM on September 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


It's a fine-ish list, and I remember pouring over the RS 100 list that came out in about 1989 and, in those pre-algorithm days, getting so many ideas from it of new things to hear. The Feelies come to mind.

My rub with this list is that they make sure to represent certain bands but then not pick what I'd consider their best albums.

80s thoughts:
R.E.M. Murmur and Automatic for the People. Nope-- Lifes Rich Pagent is their best.
U2 Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby! Fine, I guess, but War and Unforgettable Fire are probably at least equals
Peter Gabriel So! no way-- Security is the seminal Peter Gabriel album.
No INXS or The Fixx is a shame

One they got exactly right: Talking Heads Remain in Light. That album is a masterpiece.
Same genre, one they missed: David Byrne and Brian Eno - My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. One of my favorite recordings ever.

Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique at #125 is correctly placed highest of the 3 Beastie Boys albums. For me it'd easily make top 50.
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:27 AM on September 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


If they can't give female artists a fair amount of attention, I'm not going to give them any attention at all.
In 2017, 83.2% of artists were men and only 16.8% were women. I agree these lists are mostly BS, but to be fair on RS they can't review or rank artists if their work never gets released in the first place.
posted by Lanark at 11:27 AM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


Nahhh--Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is the best hip-hop album ever recorded, and it isn't even that close.

If you want to trade Aretha Franklin into the top ten (a sentiment I completely endorse, though I'd probably go for Spirit in the Dark or Amazing Grace instead of I Never Loved A Man the Way that I Loved You), trade her for Nevermind.
posted by box at 11:28 AM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


I owned the first Rolling Stone Record Guide and read it from cover to cover. It really expanded my horizons when all I had access to was FM radio in a small town.

The idea of a canonical list is absurd. There are too many musical traditions and they hybridize all the time.

I wouldn't read this list to see what the "best" albums are; I would read it to find new music that has ties to the music I grew up with—that's all it can really be, if it's mining the same cultural vein as previous RS lists. But I don't feel like I really want to read the list. There's so much more out there and I'll never have time to explore all of it.
posted by Wilbefort at 11:29 AM on September 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


No Enya, no credibility
posted by lefty lucky cat at 11:30 AM on September 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


Is Conference of the Birds on there ?
posted by y2karl at 11:33 AM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


Said to a friend... "if nothing else the list is an amazing example of music in the last 60 or 70 years. and this is (mostly) just rock and roll (and the genres adjacent). Not included are classical, gospel, worship, all the jazz, etc. etc. Music is amazing."
posted by tayknight at 11:37 AM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


trying to decide what the Boomeriest record on the list is....either Rumors, or the Big Brother and The Holding Company slab, I guess.......Eric Clapton if there is any.
posted by thelonius at 11:48 AM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


I took the pastebin and reduced it to 341 unique artists (340 but I was kind to Bob Dylan and The Band), which is exactly how many albums have been released ever, so they got that part right.

Also:
The Beatles 9
Bob Dylan 7 +1
Kanye West 6
Rolling Stones 6
The Who 4
Kedrick Lamar 3
Fiona Apple 3
Big Star 3
Madonna 3
Bob Marley 3
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:50 AM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


trying to decide what the Boomeriest record on the list is....either Rumors, or the Big Brother and The Holding Company slab, I guess.......Eric Clapton if there is any.

Using "boomer" as defined by Kids These Days, the most boomer record is Radiohead's Kid A.
posted by betweenthebars at 11:54 AM on September 22, 2020 [10 favorites]


Prince + Prince and the Revolution: 4
posted by 1970s Antihero at 11:57 AM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


I was very surprised to see that there is some! 1972's Ege Bamyası, at 454.

I am not sufficiently versed in Can's output to know how the average Can-head would rate it amongst their discography,


thanks for digging. I'd rate Ege Bamyasi as the sort of obvious choice, but it's a kind of inconsistent album in terms of its sound. By which I mean it's all over the map and maybe arguing in favor of it being a two record set to really do justice to what they were up to at the time. But given that their previous album Tago Mago was a double set (and feels a little long in places), I'll just continue to make mixtapes of fave Can stuff, which also allows me to dig into archival stuff that wasn't released at the time.

Future Days (the album after Ege) is probably their most consistently beautiful work to my ears ... but it ends up lacking some in dynamics. Fitting I guess for a group whose motto was "There is no Can song that is ever finished".
posted by philip-random at 11:59 AM on September 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


Heres a chart of the album placings by year.
posted by Lanark at 12:04 PM on September 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


And the Stooges debut at 488? Seriously?

Too low or too high?


way too low (as in high numbered). All time top thirty or don't even bother trying. But then I guess I feel that way about all their stuff ... and I'm not even what I'd call a huge FAN*. More an appreciator of the impact they had on EVERYTHING FOREVER.

* though I am an unabashed fan of I Wanna Be Your Dog and We Will Fall (opposite sides of a profoundly thick coin).
posted by philip-random at 12:04 PM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]



In the top fifty:

Five female artists.

Four albums by guys named Bob.


Not that your point isn't a good one, but I went back to count and get seven, not including bands like Fleetwood Mac or Nico on the Velvet Underground and Nico.
posted by Carillon at 12:09 PM on September 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


the most boomer record is Radiohead's Kid A.

it's not OK Compuboomer?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:09 PM on September 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


I often feel that Marvin Gaye is under-accoladed by white institutions, so this pleases me. What a glorious gift of an album.
posted by nakedmolerats at 12:12 PM on September 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


Heres a chart of the album placings by year.

which, given the preponderance of albums from 1969-72 supports this comment big time

but to be fair on RS they can't review or rank artists if their work never gets released in the first place.

there just weren't that many female artists getting their music released in those days. A few years back, I had to put together a long-list for a soundtrack album* set in 1972 and this reality was unavoidable, particularly if you wanted stuff that was considered cool at the time (as opposed to top 40 pop stuff). If it's any consolation, I still do a radio show these days and find that non-male artists (or groups that include non-male artists) generally constitute at least half of what I'm playing. Things have improved.

* movie and album never happened in the end
posted by philip-random at 12:14 PM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


...you'll never convince me that LCD Soundsystem is anything but an elaborate joke being played on me specifically

At the time I remember thinking the popularity of LCD Soundsystem was a clear expression of collective anxiety by generation X as the bulk of that cohort tipped into middle age during the aughts.
posted by theory at 12:14 PM on September 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


While What's Going On at #1 is very well deserved, they did manage to under-accolade the shit out of Here, My Dear.

(Side note: as Let's Get it On also makes the list, Marvin Gaye is another member of the 3-album club.)
posted by box at 12:21 PM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


This does make me want to listen to albums both on and off the list, so in that respect it is a success. And there's a lot of good stuff in there for sure.

But if the point of opinions is that everybody has their own, here’s mine: Janelle Monáe should be on this list, and Dirty Computer especially should be in the top 100. (Though I can understand why not many albums from the past year or two make the “best of all time” list. I’ll check back in ten or twenty years.)
posted by mbrubeck at 12:23 PM on September 22, 2020 [9 favorites]


No Janelle Monae or Fiona Apple in the top 100, boo.
posted by supercrayon at 12:25 PM on September 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


(Though I can understand why not many albums from the past year or two make the “best of all time” list. I’ll check back in ten or twenty years.)

A few years back, I read the argument that all pop-culture-stuff goes through a fifteen year half-life. So an album has its moment of playing in the zeitgeist (sometimes it's a hit, oft times it isn't), but five years later almost everything that was remotely zeitgeisty just sounds ... wrong. But jump ahead a further ten years and we're starting to know what the real classics are.

So ... maybe this is the list we should be discussing ... for better or worse.
posted by philip-random at 12:31 PM on September 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


carillon: Not that your point isn't a good one, but I went back to count and get seven, not including bands like Fleetwood Mac or Nico on the Velvet Underground and Nico.

Damn, I somehow jumped right over Carole King and Patti Smith. I'd blame the sticky page down button on my computer, but that was my old computer.

Thanks for the correction.
posted by Kattullus at 12:34 PM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


Picking Sonic Youth’s Goo over Sister is just bizarre.
posted by sjswitzer at 1:04 PM on September 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


trying to decide what the Boomeriest record on the list is....either Rumors, or the Big Brother and The Holding Company slab, I guess.......Eric Clapton if there is any.

Rumours deserves it, though. The others I could take or leave.

way too low (as in high numbered). All time top thirty or don't even bother trying. But then I guess I feel that way about all their stuff ... and I'm not even what I'd call a huge FAN*. More an appreciator of the impact they had on EVERYTHING FOREVER.

Fun House should definitely be in the top 50 (personally, top 10). And Raw Power should definitely be on the damn list, and it’s certainly in my top 100.

Damn, I somehow jumped right over Carole King and Patti Smith.

And Carole King certainly belongs. I have to say I’ve never got why Rolling Stone loves that Patti Smith album as much as it does, though. Do other people love Horses as much as Rolling Stone does?
posted by atoxyl at 1:05 PM on September 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


Not that I think they deserve it, but very surprised Deep Purple didn’t make this list.
posted by sjswitzer at 1:06 PM on September 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


Seriously, if I can manage to keep my disdain for superheroes out of superhero posts, maybe others can exercise some similar self-control with a post clearly labelled "Rolling Stone" and "list".

This is, I would suggest, a pretty clear false equivalence. Lists are a form of criticism, not a form of art. The purpose of criticism is to illuminate understanding and foster discussion, including about the nature, purpose and validity of criticism. One does not detract from the enjoyment and value of criticism by critiquing it. I'd say that the opposite is, in fact, the case. Your complaint, to me, seems like saying that people should keep their disdain for New Criticism out of a post built around a link to Eliot's 'Tradition and the Individual Talent'.

The criticism of lists as critical endeavour seems to me to be plainly a more interesting, substantive and enduring commentary on a list than pondering exactly how many Beatles albums should have made the entirely subjective cut.
posted by howfar at 1:07 PM on September 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


I don’t want to make it sound like I don’t think Marvin Gaye is worthy of the number one spot but it is certainly the most Rolling Stone possible way to signal that you are in touch with current politics to pick the guy we already know is in the Rolling Stone canon of Black/protest music and bump him up a few notches.
posted by atoxyl at 1:10 PM on September 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


The Meat Puppets surely deserve a slot.
posted by sjswitzer at 1:12 PM on September 22, 2020 [9 favorites]


The list featured way too much Kanye for me. But to be fair my dislike is less about the music and more about his continued and unabashed support for a shit-for-brains president.

It did tick a lot of my "this is a list of albums" boxes though. Because (a) it was a list of albums, presented in a sequential order of low to high on said list; (b) it featured a lot of albums where I said to myself "fuck yeah, this is a good album"; and (c) it featured a lot of other albums where I said "WTF is this garbage, that artist and album are bullshit".
posted by caution live frogs at 1:12 PM on September 22, 2020 [9 favorites]


There's also a whole lot of Neil Young on this list, not even counting CSN&Y
posted by Windopaene at 1:14 PM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


I often feel that Marvin Gaye is under-accoladed by white institutions, so this pleases me. What a glorious gift of an album.

A counterpoint to my comment, I guess. I suppose I feel like that album always gets a credit from these publications, while the rest of his career doesn’t get enough.

they did manage to under-accolade the shit out of Here, My Dear.

Yeah.

There's also a whole lot of Neil Young on this list

Lots of Neil Young yet I feel like the best ones are probably being underrated?

trying to decide what the Boomeriest record on the list is

Honestly I think the Boomeriest thing might be the cumulative effect of the amount of Bob (you know which one) that makes the list.
posted by atoxyl at 1:19 PM on September 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


The list featured way too much Kanye for me.

As mad as people are at him for good reason these days it would be a joke not to give him at least three or four of the top albums of the 21st century

(In the context that lists like this define “great albums.”)
posted by atoxyl at 1:21 PM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


Like I 100% agree that the list is Rolling Stone in exactly all the ways that you'd expect (primarily too many old white dudes, on the list and one assumes making the list), but here is, I swear to God, the top 10 from the 2012 version (to be fair, the 2012 version was almost the same as the 2003 version, just switched in around 40 mostly newer albums, none in the top 100):

1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles
2. Pet Sounds, The Beach Boys
3. Revolver, The Beatles
4. Highway 61 Revisited, Bob Dylan
5. Rubber Soul, The Beatles
6. What's Going On, Marvin Gaye
7. Exile on Main Street, The Rolling Stones
8. London Calling, The Clash
9. Blonde on Blonde, Bob Dylan
10. The Beatles ("The White Album"), The Beatles
posted by Superilla at 1:23 PM on September 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


Do other people love Horses as much as Rolling Stone does?

Radio Ethiopia gets far more airplay in my home.
posted by philip-random at 1:29 PM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


So I count roughly 95 female artists (or all-female groups) on this list, depending on who you count as a female artist. (I included PJ Harvey, for instance, which I think is technically a trio of musicians, but left out Blondie and The Pretenders and X-Ray Spex as they're not all-female bands.) (In retrospect, I probably should have included The Pretenders, but whatever.) So ... one in five? That's obviously not great, but I think it's not out of line for what this list is. As was mentioned above, women are and have long been under-represented in the music industry. My list would have more women on it, but the foundational days of modern rock music being what they are, the Rolling Stone list is always going to lean fairly heavily on LPs from the late 1960s and early 1970s, an era that was (I think) especially unfriendly to female artists. Even so, they called out albums from that era by Laura Nyro, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Alice Coltrane, Roberta Flack, Loretta Lynn, and more.

Thanks to Superilla for making the next point I was going to make, which is that this list is way more diverse than what we could have expected from Rolling Stone not so many years ago, which is also a good thing. The window is shifting.

Anyway, I was especially happy to see women like Solange, Lorde, SZA, Rosalía, and Rihanna get the nod for great music from the last five years or so that tends to get underrated by the rockists. I'm surprised that The Weight of These Wings is the Miranda Lambert album that gets the nod, but it's good to see she made the list at all.
posted by Mothlight at 1:30 PM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


Do other people love Horses as much as Rolling Stone does?

(Raises hand) Horses was immensely influential in its day. It came out in 1974, and had a reputation of being years ahead of its time, and blazing a path for many artists who followed.

New wave, post-punk, 80s college rock, all variety of people in those channels who made albums over the next couple of decades looked back to Patti Smith as an inspiration. (Bono comes to mind as a Rolling-Stone-friendly celebrity, but there were many others.)
posted by gimonca at 1:31 PM on September 22, 2020 [7 favorites]


but I keep seeing [LCD Soundsystem] get, like, three albums in the best of whatever lists and I’m always surprised that they are that acclaimed?

A substantial amount of LCD Soundsystem's music is about how cool you are if you listen to cool old and obscure music; of course it's catnip for music critics. If the people who make best albums lists made a listing of the best movies of all time, High Fidelity would invariably be ranked about as high as The Godfather, which could be improved if there was a scene or two where Fredo dug through some crates looking for an obscure Sinatra single.
posted by Superilla at 1:31 PM on September 22, 2020 [8 favorites]


Thank you all, because I know:
-- I'm going to enjoy reading the comments here more than reading the list itself

-- As much as i'd like to think i'd find something new to listen to, it's RS, so i'm pretty sure i won't

-- I'd rather see 10 essential albums from 50 different genres than a list called 500 GAoAT
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:33 PM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


Boomeriest? To me it would be The Band's "Pink House" album. That, or the dreaded Dylan box set that found its way into so many slots in the list.
posted by gimonca at 1:33 PM on September 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


Big Star 3

wut?

I mean, I'm like OG GenX college radio hipster where I could have given you a Master's thesis on exactly to what degree Big Star influenced bands A through Q inclusive, but having all of their albums on here makes no sense. Hell, Third/Sister Lover isn't even an album.
posted by soundguy99 at 1:37 PM on September 22, 2020 [11 favorites]


I would have picked Ascension by Coltrane, there is nothing quite like it in music hisory.
Also, I did not read the whole thing, so I am wondering is Repeater from Fugazi made the cut? Somehow I doubt it.
That's it, that's all I have.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 1:39 PM on September 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


Jumped ahead to No. 1 -- it wasn't the stooges/Fun House... thus, the entire list is invalidated...
posted by AJaffe at 1:39 PM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


The 1987 top-100 got me into Roxy Music. Siren was their highest-ranked album on that list, and it's become one of my favorites. Love Is the Drug is the cut everyone knows, and Nightingale has the best use of oboe on a rock album. Very surprised to see it wasn't on the 500-album list at all now.
posted by AbnerRavenwood at 2:02 PM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


So I count roughly 95 female artists (or all-female groups) on this list, depending on who you count as a female artist. (I included PJ Harvey, for instance, which I think is technically a trio of musicians, but left out Blondie and The Pretenders and X-Ray Spex as they're not all-female bands.)

Do you count, say, Hole or The Breeders (both 3/4 women in their most famous incarnations)?
posted by atoxyl at 2:05 PM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


I’m not really sure greatest hits collections should be on a list like this, but if you are going to allow them… are there really 300 albums better than the collected ABBA?

Although actually it seems like a cop-out to go for the Definitive Collection. ABBA Gold is the one that should be on the list.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 2:19 PM on September 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


[did] Repeater from Fugazi made the cut?

No Fugazi on the list.

There definitely is plenty to gripe about on that list. I'll refrain myself (for now) to PJ Harvey. Instead of Rid of Me, they should have gone with 4-Track Demos which is essentially what Rid of Me would have been if Steve Albini didn't shit all over it. I would also swap Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea for To Bring You My Love but I'm amazed there is any PJ on there, much less two albums, so...
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 2:42 PM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


Linda Ronstadt had 2 albums on the list in 2003. Heart Like a Wheel was #164 in the 2003 list but now it is 490. I guess the 70s are starting to fade. Interesting how Hotel California by the Eagles slid quite a bit, but their 1972 album moved up. Also, no more Jackson Browne.

I don't suppose that there are any Spanish language albums on the list.
posted by eckeric at 2:51 PM on September 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


Or that part of the 70s, anyway.
posted by eckeric at 2:54 PM on September 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


I don't suppose that there are any Spanish language albums on the list.

There are Shakira, Selena, Manu Chao, Bad Bunny, and Daddy Yankee albums (among others, but I figured that was enough to make the point) that have Spanish titles and what appear to be at least some Spanish-language songs, at least.
posted by box at 3:20 PM on September 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


hey, I thought we were rating Coltrane albums.
posted by ovvl at 3:28 PM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


I am wondering is Repeater from Fugazi made the cut? Somehow I doubt it.

Spoiler alert: it didn’t. But, ya know, nothing by Deerhoof or Bardo Pond and no post-rock as far as I can tell. But it’s probably a category error to complain. This is a list of pop albums, so things have to be popular enough before they can be ranked as good or important.
posted by sjswitzer at 3:42 PM on September 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


Why is Station to Station on this list?

(and I like Bowie, but still.)

Also, OK Computer is better than Kid A and I like Kid A especially when I’m depressed.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 4:00 PM on September 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


500 is a lot of selections. I'm having trouble coming up with any super-obvious omissions from my point of view...but I did come up with a few.

I agree that Janelle Monae deserves a spot.

Paul Weller isn't represented anywhere on here that I can tell? Surely something he was involved in would deserve to make it.

OMD did several fairly cohesive, well-received albums in their day. Not seeing them here.

"Eden" by Everything But the Girl is a lovely, lovely mid-80s album that could have at least been in the lower rungs here.

Grimes doesn't seem to be represented here? I'll admit I only know her hits, not her full album output.

"Oracular Spectacular" by MGMT made the very end of the 2012 list, looks like it fell off this time.

Not a lot of love for the Smiths, "The Queen is Dead" is unavoidably on there, but nothing else. No Morrissey solo efforts. And extending that a bit, no Modest Mouse.

This is leaving out several personal favorites of mine that might or might not be in the running. Most of the "this person has to be on there" examples that I've though of....have turned out to be on there, maybe not always with the album I would have chosen.
posted by gimonca at 4:01 PM on September 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


Two Taylor Swift albums and no Janelle Monae?! In this economy?!!?!? YOU HATE TO SEE IT.
posted by zeusianfog at 4:09 PM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


Thanks Box! (I should have seen Shakira, she is right on the first page!) Making a playlist.
posted by eckeric at 4:11 PM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


Why is Station to Station on this list?

(and I like Bowie, but still.)


because it's probably the greatest album ever that the guy who made it pretty much forgot about making.
posted by philip-random at 4:16 PM on September 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


I did not think I'd live to see the day that Rolling Stone realized that not only is Sgt. Pepper not the best album of all time, but that it's not even the best album by the Beatles.

The other thing it just occurred to me to wonder... Monster sales, huge acclaim at the time unquestionably album of the year, and I can't remember of the last time I heard any track from that album, or anything that caused me to think "this reminds me of..." about it. The title track is on everyone's halloween mix, but that's because of Vincent Price, not MJ.

In short, enormous success and zero long-term cultural footprint: is Thriller the musical equivalent of Avatar?
posted by mhoye at 4:32 PM on September 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


Also, I love LCD Soundsystem and find most metal to be nigh unlistenable, so different strokes, I guess.
posted by zeusianfog at 4:34 PM on September 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


> is Thriller the musical equivalent of Avatar?

Also, both have IMAX® 3D versions.
posted by mbrubeck at 4:43 PM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


These "Best [number] albums" lists always trigger [angsty emotion] amongst the hordes. However, this list in particular is problematic. The top 10 doesn't include [album everyone owned on CD/.vinyl early on...now collecting dust in a bin several towns over], nor [artist you probably should listen to...just not now], or [who the hell is that?]. The lack of [indie artist that definitely doesn't belong...] in the top 20 destroys all credibility.

[artist in the 400s] deserves a spot in the top 30. Period. [Album name] was a masterpiece of production, and the use of [odd sample, patch, guest artist, production style or extinct instrument] influenced a generation of [positive term for "knockoffs" and "one hit wonders"]. Also, no love for [80s artist]. Sad.

[Artist with 3 weeks of heavy rotation on KEXP] probably deserves the [spot in top 50], though the first/second/third album is a better choice, if not the [EP/privately-circulated demo].

[Solo artist]'s albums should've been eliminated due to the [cancel campaign] controversy.

Bob Dylan's [album name] and Bowie's [album name] should swap positions. Everyone knows that [Dylan/Bowie] wasn't at the top of their game due to [power struggle/personal issue] on this album.

[Punk band] deserves a spot somewhere on the list. Nirvana should've been at [insert result of random number generator].

I suppose Rolling Stones, Doors and Pink Floyd are on point, but you could argue that [offensive rap artist], Arcade Fire, and [DJ/producer] could replace these dinosaurs no longer relevant in the age of [modern culture trend].

I'll [exit strategy] now, but we can all agree that Devo deserves the #1 spot.
posted by prinado at 4:45 PM on September 22, 2020 [18 favorites]


I think it's funny how RS put like three jazz albums on the list. As if just to say all other jazz recordings are inferior to any of the 497 rock, r&b and rap albums that made their list.
posted by bertran at 4:50 PM on September 22, 2020 [7 favorites]


I can't remember of the last time I heard any track from [Thriller], or anything that caused me to think "this reminds me of..." about it.

In Michael Jackson's case it has become increasingly hard to decouple the art from the artist. The Leaving Neverland documentary was for me pretty much the end of ever being able to enjoy, or wanting to play, any of his music.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:53 PM on September 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


I'll [exit strategy] now, but we can all agree that Devo deserves the #1 spot.

OK, I'll play your little game.

Pet Sounds is a perennial top-ten entry in these lists, and I have no idea why. It is a terrible album, absolutely spineless. Pet Sounds is music for people who wanted black eyeliner and Doc Martens but mom said no so all they have is cargo shorts and a receding hairline. It's music for people who nobody would be caught dead selling weed to and who ended up smoking banana peels instead. What If Emo, But Dad? Answer: Pet Sounds. It is completely gormless. It is utterly devoid of gorm. It is 100% gorm free.
posted by mhoye at 4:59 PM on September 22, 2020 [13 favorites]


The Cure seems woefully underrepresented here.
posted by sjswitzer at 5:00 PM on September 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


In the interest of peace and reconciliation, I think we can all agree it’s good and proper that neither The Offspring nor Smash Mouth made this list.
posted by sjswitzer at 5:15 PM on September 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


In short, enormous success and zero long-term cultural footprint: is Thriller the musical equivalent of Avatar?

If you really think Thriller had zero impact beyond its initial release I really would like to know where you came up with that and what music you listen to. That album and its impact
is cited as inspiration to this day, especially by black artists.
posted by girlmightlive at 6:33 PM on September 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


They should absolutely not include compilations, and I also think it would be better to not include live albums. As mentioned above, it is weird to only include a few jazz records, same with country albums, just don’t include genres that you don’t really know. If they are going to be allowed at all, then limit the number of “best since” albums to maybe 1%, New York is about as good as Lou Reed gets, but most others are just not that great.
posted by snofoam at 6:37 PM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


Also seem to be missing a UK correspondent: no Siouxsie and he Banshees, Psychedelic Furs, Soft Cell, Bunnymen, (English) Beat, Japan, Duran Duran, The Fall, Mekons, etc.
posted by snofoam at 6:49 PM on September 22, 2020 [9 favorites]


Also, no more Jackson Browne.
posted by eckeri

I know it's a real bummer.
posted by Carillon at 6:51 PM on September 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


That album and its impact is cited as inspiration to this day, especially by black artists.

I'm ready to believe you, and maybe I don't have the right ears for it, I just can't remember the last time I heard a song from that album, or one that sounded like it was inspired by it. What should I be listening to?
posted by mhoye at 7:00 PM on September 22, 2020 [1 favorite]


Do other people love Horses as much as Rolling Stone does?

it's not just love - when that album came out i was a college student and one of the folk singer songwriters from the folk scene i was hanging with insisted that we come to his dorm room and hear this right NOW!!

"jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine" - by the end of that album, we were all wondering one thing - should we pick up electric guitars instead?

that album started the move from coffeehouse folk to american indie electric - it was historic - we owe patti smith a lot
posted by pyramid termite at 7:08 PM on September 22, 2020 [12 favorites]


Way too much Kanye.

On the "why wasn't such and such on the list?" front, I'd offer Pat Metheny's Travels and Rickie Lee Jones' Pirates.

If you really think Thriller had zero impact beyond its initial release I really would like to know where you came up with that and what music you listen to. That album and its impact is cited as inspiration to this day, especially by black artists.

Yeah, I'd say The Weeknd has pretty much co-opted Jackson's whole act at this point. The only thing missing is the hee-hees.
posted by fuse theorem at 7:11 PM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


Wait, Pearl Jam's Ten is at #160 (with notes about it defining the sound of the genre), but Nevermind is #6?! Meh, I sez. Meh.

Also, no Slapstick, Op Ivy, or any other Ska-punk (or Ska for that matter). It just reminds me why I don't put much stock in Rolling Stone. They're quite good at promoting the music they like, but they're even better at being utterly oblivious about anything outside that umbrella.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:12 PM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


Not having anything by Alice Cooper seems ahistorical. I mean, they could have bumped Arcade Fire out of #500, right?

(Not stanning for him but he was ubiquitous in the early 70s and also very influential.)
posted by sjswitzer at 7:13 PM on September 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


two more things - i'm really happy laura nyro finally made it on this list

and there's nothing from brazil there
posted by pyramid termite at 7:18 PM on September 22, 2020 [5 favorites]


I'm ready to believe you, and maybe I don't have the right ears for it, I just can't remember the last time I heard a song from that album, or one that sounded like it was inspired by it. What should I be listening to?

As other people have said, public MJ plays may be down in the past year or so. But before that - you weren’t hearing anybody play Billie Jean??

There was a period a couple years back where I was listening to the local mostly-new-music hip-hop/RnB station driving to work and they were playing “P.Y.T.” every day - I assume because it’s the last single from that album everybody isn’t already sick of.
posted by atoxyl at 7:19 PM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


Wait, this isn't just a list of albums by The Fall?
posted by SystematicAbuse at 7:23 PM on September 22, 2020 [11 favorites]


The rankings don't bother me so much as the omissions.
Only one album from Richard and Linda Thompson (as luminous as "... Bright Lights..." is)? 500 slots, and there's no room for "Shoot Out the Lights"?
Nothing by Fairport Convention, who basically invented British folk-rock and were to the UK what The Band were to North America.
Nothing by The Pogues. C'mon guys...
But there's room for Arcade fucking Fire? LCD bloody Soundsystem?
Epick fayle.
posted by e-man at 7:51 PM on September 22, 2020 [4 favorites]


So ... maybe this is the list we should be discussing ... for better or worse.

It’s funny how much looking at a year-by-year list drives home how lazy and narrow the big RS list is. It’s not like I was expecting to see Bolt Thrower - I just take it as a given that there won’t be any non-crossover metal - but having basically zero instrumental electronic music newer than Kraftwerk?
posted by atoxyl at 8:03 PM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I'd say The Weeknd has pretty much co-opted Jackson's whole act at this point. The only thing missing is the hee-hees.
Bruno Mars too. He's the Prince/MJ cross.

In the interest of peace and reconciliation, I think we can all agree it’s good and proper that neither The Offspring nor Smash Mouth made this list.

Smash by The Offspring is better than American Idiot by Green Day (which is on the list) and if the Count 5 [Psychotic Reaction rules = stomps all over the dumber and lamer I'm a Man by The Yardbirds with similar structure] got on via a compilation album, then Smash Mouth deserves a slot via compilation album too. They could kick off a Bob Dylan record or whatever.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:25 PM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


Not having anything by Alice Cooper seems ahistorical. I mean, they could have bumped Arcade Fire out of #500, right?

They included KISS, and Alice Cooper was probably more of an original in essentially the same genre as KISS. But this might be about not getting on the bad side of the KISS Army.
posted by atoxyl at 9:12 PM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


Six Kanye albums? No.
posted by holborne at 9:24 PM on September 22, 2020 [10 favorites]


Wait, this isn't just a list of albums by The Fall?

No, but if you add it all up, it’s just about the number of people who have been in The Fall.

(I love The Fall)

(
posted by thivaia at 9:27 PM on September 22, 2020 [6 favorites]


Maybe we should do a Metafilter 500, I'd be curious how that'd turn out.

My playlist there's nothing like looking crazy to give you the edge will be the start of my best 500.
posted by bendy at 9:41 PM on September 22, 2020 [3 favorites]




Swap Stiff Little Fingers’ Inflammable Material for at least one of the Green Day entries, preferably both, and axe Arcade Fire for Metric’s Old World Underground Where Are You Now? maintaining the cancon level.
posted by rodlymight at 9:59 PM on September 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry, Kate Bush's Hounds of Love is at 68 but Kanye is at 17? Nope. Wrong.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:04 AM on September 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'd say The Weeknd has pretty much co-opted Jackson's whole act at this point. The only thing missing is the hee-hees.

Ok, I've caught up on some listening and yeah; this is definitely true. There are even a few moments in The Weeknd's work where the hee-hee is clearly implied, without being thrown all the way in. I withdraw my Avatar comment, it was under-informed.
posted by mhoye at 9:04 AM on September 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry, Kate Bush's Hounds of Love is at 68 but Kanye is at 17? Nope. Wrong.

That Kanye album, in particular, 100 percent should be in the top 20. But I have no objection to ranking Kate Bush a lot higher than she got.
posted by atoxyl at 9:26 AM on September 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


Not a lot of love for the Smiths, "The Queen is Dead" is unavoidably on there, but nothing else. No Morrissey solo efforts.

Morrissey has put himself into the Michael Jackson category of problematic pop stars who nobody want to support: There was a light, but it has now gone out.
posted by Lanark at 10:10 AM on September 23, 2020 [4 favorites]


Needs more Kinks in the top 50. Glad to see Wu Tang and PE way up there. Of course Coltrane is better than Pet Sounds.
posted by PHINC at 10:47 AM on September 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


I'm ready to believe you, and maybe I don't have the right ears for it, I just can't remember the last time I heard a song from that album, or one that sounded like it was inspired by it. What should I be listening to?

I definitely heard "Wanna Be Startin' Something" within the last month on one of the local "mix" stations, and didn't think "hey I haven't heard this in ages."
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:57 AM on September 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


All of the music nerds I know and/or am friends with fall into two camps; those who think Pet Sounds is the musical Bible, and those (including me) who think it's the most overrated album in the history of pop music.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:57 AM on September 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


No Genesis????????????
posted by Clustercuss at 12:00 PM on September 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


Is there a place where one can look at the entire list without all the graphics and shit? The Rolling Stone site is driving my poor laptop to exhaustion.
posted by holborne at 12:38 PM on September 23, 2020


holborne: 1970s antihero put the list on pastebin
posted by Pink Frost at 1:04 PM on September 23, 2020 [4 favorites]


Thank you!
posted by holborne at 1:09 PM on September 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


Also: I was kinda pleasantly surprised by this list. A LOT more black artists than I expected, and a lot less rockist than I expected (I make the top 50 only about half rock, and that's counting stuff like Rumours as rock not pop). I mean, it's still Rolling Stone, still dominated by rock, but in the old days they'd have maybe Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye (What's Going On) and maybe Michael Jackson or 1970s Stevie Wonder. It still might not look like a great list to us, but check the comments - they're full of people absolutely furious that Kanye is in there over U2 or Soundgarden, and that Sgt Pepper's isn't Number One, forever.

That said, as others have noted any list like this is difficult - only 3 jazz albums, as someone said? I'm minded to think you can't really attempt a greatest of all time list for all genres. There's too much music, too many good albums left out. And there's no real way to compare albums of different genres that are trying to do different things (thinking of Kanye getting mad that Beyonce lost to Beck a few years back; how do you even judge those albums against each other? I don't think you can). I'd almost rather see people acknowledge their biases and say these are the greatest albums from within our genre, which would still see some overlap - Prince, Hendrix, Funkadelic could make the same list as the Stones, say.

But ultimately, this makes me want to go out and listen to some new-to-me music (as a start Blue, Miseducation of Lauren Hill, and Songs in the Key of Life), which is all I could really ask for.
posted by Pink Frost at 1:12 PM on September 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


I bought Songs in the Key of Life recently, and was surprised to find that the songs I didn't already know are... not good.

Of course, this is consistent with my belief that all classic double albums could be edited down to a single album of really good stuff. (White Album, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, etc.)
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 1:24 PM on September 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


only 3 jazz albums, as someone said?

I count nine:

417. Ornette Coleman, 'The Shape of Jazz to Come' (Atlantic, 1959)
317. Billie Holiday, 'Lady in Satin' (Columbia, 1958)
282. Frank Sinatra, 'In the Wee Small Hours' (Capitol, 1955)
254. Herbie Hancock, 'Head Hunters' (Columbia, 1973)
232. John Coltrane, 'Giant Steps' (Atlantic, 1960)
191. Etta James, 'At Last!' (Argo, 1961)
87. Miles Davis, 'Bitches Brew' (Columbia, 1970)
66. John Coltrane, 'A Love Supreme' (Impulse!, 1965)
31. Miles Davis, 'Kind of Blue' (Columbia, 1959)

Additionally, if you’re going to assign a genre to Tom Waits, jazz is probably closer than anything else.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 1:34 PM on September 23, 2020 [2 favorites]


The Thriller album must be highly regional, because here in my neck of the PNW, it's actually notable that I hear almost every single (which is, also notably, most of the album) fairly regularly still, on the now "oldies" radio stations.
posted by nakedmolerats at 1:35 PM on September 23, 2020


( I realize radio is not nearly the whole story anymore, but my point is, I hear those songs in variation, as opposed to say Prince, who has a GIANT catalog and the radio here only seems to play like 3 of his songs regularly, which is...bizarre.)
posted by nakedmolerats at 1:39 PM on September 23, 2020


What songs on Songs in the Key of Life did you think were not good? 'Black Man' shows its age, and 'Saturn' is a little weird (maybe not as weird as Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants), but I don't think I'd go as far as 'not good' for either.

But then I really, really like Stevie Wonder.

(If you want a 100%-bangers Stevie album, there's always the compilation Stevie Wonder's Original Musiquarium Vol. 1. Or Innervisions.)
posted by box at 2:16 PM on September 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


I count nine [jazz albums]

I have to admit I didn't actually look, just went off the comment earlier in the thread. My bad!
posted by Pink Frost at 2:50 PM on September 23, 2020


yeah us rock-nerds gotta quibble, that's what we do...

Pet Sounds is an album that I didn't quite get the first time I heard it, I thought it sounded kinda old-fashioned, but it grew on me eventually. Some critics have a fondness for it because it represents a beautiful sunset at the end of innocent 50's-style pop music, blended with the future of modern studio technology.

Exile on Main Street is an album that I didn't quite get the first time I heard it, it's okay I guess but it mostly sounds like outtakes from Sticky Fingers. I should listen to it again sometime.
posted by ovvl at 4:41 PM on September 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


I'd love to see a chart showing the evolution of this list over the various years, as albums are added and shuffled around. A quick glance at 2013 suggests it won't be all that stable.

I think the real problem here is "Greatest" is meaningless. You may know Greatness when you hear it, but how can you compare albums across disparate genres for "Greatness"?

Now, how about 500 albums, each of which is great, but chosen to best cover the landscape of popular music. Don't make them an ordered list, make them a graph, joining the more similar ones with edges into a big N-dimensional explorable mess. Pick your favourite album and explore your way outwards.

That'd be fun, and there'd still be plenty to argue about.
posted by nickzoic at 6:06 PM on September 23, 2020


No room on this list for a single Guided By Voices album? Shame!
posted by sjswitzer at 6:37 PM on September 23, 2020 [1 favorite]


I count nine [jazz albums]

I made the original comment; about three; sorry, I was guesstimating when the problem occurred to me after going through the whole list. I did write there were 'like three', but still I'm sorry for the inaccuracy.

Also but Etta James is a blues singer, no?
posted by bertran at 6:59 PM on September 23, 2020


What songs on Songs in the Key of Life did you think were not good? 'Black Man' shows its age, and 'Saturn' is a little weird (maybe not as weird as Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants), but I don't think I'd go as far as 'not good' for either.

I'd have to go back and look, but my recollection is that much of it seemed meandering and almost prog-gy when compared to tightly composed tracks like "I Wish" and "Sir Duke." Not much that was memorable.

Of course, no album is perfect and everyone has some stinkers (as I mentioned above, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is one of my favorites but has several legitimately lousy songs on it, like "Jamaica Jerk-Off"). I was just surprised giving the amount of hype that Songs in the Key of Life tends to get.

This is not to take anything away from Stevie Wonder, who is legitimately amazing. And yes, I have the Musiquarium and it is great.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 6:41 AM on September 24, 2020


I'm sort of convinced that most music journalism misses the entire point of its subject: Rolling Stone misses it in a completely different way from Pitchfork misses it in a completely different way from the NME, but that whole stratum seems to be about performing being a music journalist, and making best-of lists is the apotheosis of that. All about demonstrating "taste", whatever that is. This one seemed to be about putting Marvin Gaye at number one and then waiting to be garlanded. Should it be there, or not? I don't know. It's a fine record, it certainly deserves to be lauded very highly, but the question is meaningless. There's no real context for what "greatest" means.

Looking at the list was, more than ever, like looking at a list that purports to be of the greatest books ever, that contained The Bible, Bleak House, the Haynes manual for the 1975 Austin Allegro, The Canterbury Tales, an atlas, the 1953 New York telephone directory, volume 4 of the fifth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Plato's Symposium and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone all cheek by jowl.

I suppose that's true of all lists ever, and not new now, but the spate of "all the whatevers ever - RANKED!" that have been appearing recently have made the exercise seem strangely pointless and dispiriting. Like building a house of biscuits, it's not a very good house and it spoils the biscuits.
posted by Grangousier at 7:19 AM on September 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


Coming at this from the point of view of an enthusiastic Beach Boys fan, what do I see?

Pet Sounds at #2: Apparently, if it falls out of the top 10 on any list then heads roll. Obvious, unexpected, and reasonably justifiable. There's a fair bit of flex on where it belongs but there's a good argument it belongs high.

Today! at #466: If you're going to highlight Beach Boys albums, this one's legit. It' marks more or less the exact point where they crossed from showing occasional flashes of brilliance in their fun-in-the-sun ephemera to making a serious effort to be musically complex.

Wild Honey at #410: I... what? No. If I were ranking Beach Boys albums, and only Beach Boys albums, this probably wouldn't crack my top 10, and would be way below Today!. Props for the experimental dabbling in R&B, and credit to "Darlin'", which is arguably the best new song they produced in their 1968-1971 slump (and just as arguably not --- "Forever", "Long Promised Road", and "Time to Get Alone" would certainly challenge it), but the album as a whole is straight up not good. No individual song on, say, Friends is as good as "Darlin'", but the general quality level, and the overall cohesion as an album, is better. No, Wild Honey isn't their worst, but it's distinctly below middle-of-the pack for their artistically rich years; weakest of the '68-'71 works, worse than most if not all of the pre-Pet Sounds fluff, and probably middle-of-the-pack even for the late 70s (better than 15 Big Ones and M.I.U., worse than L.A.).
posted by jackbishop at 8:33 AM on September 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


Wild Honey and zero Alice Cooper albums? I mean, seriously, Killer* is for the ages. This really is a dumb list. Though I suppose it offers an insight into a generational divide that seems to have been mostly forgotten now, but which was very real at the time, and which Rolling Stone mag always had trouble negotiating. It's the difference between the early boomers (the ones who've gotten most of the attention over the years) and the latter ones. The early ones, those are the Happy Days types -- Beach Boys, Beatles, Stones, Hendrix, Doors, Janis Joplin, Woodstock. The key point being that by the time 1970 hit, their teen years were mostly behind them. These were the original Rolling Stone readers -- the magazine's constituency.

Meanwhile, you had this other youth mass just kicking into puberty etc as the Beatles broke up, Joplin, Hendrix, Morrison died, the overall hippie dream fading fast. I was one of them, turned eleven in 1970. Just in time for the surly likes of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Alice Cooper -- post peace and love all the way (not that Led Zep didn't sport occasional flowers in their hair). And those older boomers -- they hated us. Angsty adolescents on a tear with no respect for their hippie ideals (even if our hair was still long, our jeans torn) - just sex-drugs-rock-and-roll-whatever. Jump ahead five or so years and we'd be inventing punk and whatnot ... and so on.

All getting on half a century ago now, but it sure f***ing mattered at the time. And like I say, I don't think the Rolling Stone crowd have ever really forgiven us. At least, I hope that begins to explain what that stupid Beach Boys album is doing on their list.

Credit where it's due dept. Rolling Stone did give Killer a good review at the time. But check the byline. It's Lester Bangs who never really fit in.
posted by philip-random at 9:38 AM on September 24, 2020 [3 favorites]


it sure f***ing mattered at the time. And like I say, I don't think the Rolling Stone crowd have ever really forgiven us. At least, I hope that begins to explain what that stupid Beach Boys album is doing on their list.

Do you figure they rank the objectively worse albums higher because of their longstanding antipathy toward late-boomers, or do they actually like the objectively worse albums more because of these feelings? Hard to figure.
posted by skewed at 12:01 PM on September 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


I often feel that Marvin Gaye is under-accoladed by white institutions, so this pleases me. What a glorious gift of an album.

a thing I learned in a history of rock & roll class is that Berry Gordy was initially skeptical about the prospects of the first concept album in existence* with such downer subject matter & told Gaye no, you're not making that

but Gaye was so insistent about it that Gordy said fine, go record a gold-selling album first & I'll let you make your weird liability

at which point Marvin Gaye went off & punched a gold-selling album onto his timecard then came back & recorded one of the best albums ever made

* if you wanted to argue that some earlier album was the first concept album this seems like exactly the thread in which you could do that

anyway I didn't read the whole Rolling Stone list but I'm assuming there's no Tatsuro Yamashita therefore it is wrong
posted by taquito sunrise at 12:06 PM on September 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


I'd probably say the first concept album is We Insist! Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite (here's a live performance) (it didn't make the RS list (it should've)).

I've heard arguments in favor of Frank Sinatra's Songs for Swinging Lovers, but I feel like the 'concept' in a concept album has to be a little more complex than 'uptempo songs about love.' Like, plenty of people have made that album without ever calling it a concept.

(Also, this guy says the first concept album was Woody Guthrie's Dustbowl Ballads.)
posted by box at 12:32 PM on September 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


I'm going to be the asshole and say that I don't think "What's Going On" is a great album. I think it has three or four great songs that are masterpieces, but apart from those, I think a lot of the album is just ok.

I also loathe Pet Sounds. I do not get the apotheosis of The Beach Boys at all.
posted by holborne at 3:43 PM on September 24, 2020


I would love to see a Billboard style ranking next to the entries telling me what place that album was on previous lists, but that's probably a little too bright a light to shine on their biases.

Also, why is Kid A Boomer music? Did I miss something?
posted by ApathyGirl at 3:57 PM on September 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


I've heard arguments in favor of Frank Sinatra's Songs for Swinging Lovers, but I feel like the 'concept' in a concept album has to be a little more complex than 'uptempo songs about love.' Like, plenty of people have made that album without ever calling it a concept.

Personally I don't think it can be a concept album if you didn't write the songs for the concept.

Woody's counts, though.
posted by atoxyl at 11:22 PM on September 24, 2020


Also, why is Kid A Boomer music? Did I miss something?

Most of us are not social scientists, and so, the same way that lots of Gen-X-and-older people use 'millennial' to mean, like, kids-these-days-amirite, lots of Millennial-and-younger people use 'boomer' to mean, like, these-olds-I-can't-even.
posted by box at 5:36 AM on September 25, 2020


Tsk, tsk, tsk. No room for José Prates' Tam... Tam... Tam...!.

A shame, really. Anyway, track 3, "Nânâ Imborô", might sound familiar to some of you.
posted by droplet at 6:36 AM on September 25, 2020


I really doubt that any boomers I know have any idea who Radiohead is.
posted by octothorpe at 6:46 AM on September 25, 2020 [2 favorites]


I also loathe Pet Sounds. I do not get the apotheosis of The Beach Boys at all.

I will go as far as conceding that "Sloop John B" is a dumb name for a boat
posted by thelonius at 7:03 AM on September 25, 2020 [3 favorites]


I'm sure anyone dismissing Radiohead as "boomer music" would hate to realize that they were doing something that might potentially annoy both boomers and fans of Radiohead.
posted by skewed at 7:04 AM on September 25, 2020 [3 favorites]


I also loathe Pet Sounds. I do not get the apotheosis of The Beach Boys at all.

I wonder if you have the same take I do - where the vocal harmonies come across as a little overly-processed and slick. That's something I grant that is 100% a response that sits in my own head and there really wasn't anything the Beach Boys could have done about it; I just have this innate aversion to that kind of rich-vocal sound, probably born of my mother having played the Beach Boys' Christmas Album to death every December during my early childhood.

But there are a handful of individual Beach Boys songs that I've realized I do like, where the harmonizing isn't that slick 60's overproduced thing and where the songs are just well-written enough and innovative enough that I get over that aversion. And - most of them come from Pet Sounds. It's not enough to convince me to get the album, but it's enough for me to accept that okay, I understand its historic significance; I'll just take the songs I like and leave it otherwise. (Also, watching the film Love And Mercy was another bit of a revelation.)

Oh, and the name of the boat is just "John B." The "Sloop" bit refers to the kind of boat it is; it's "the sloop named 'John B.'" in the sense that it's not "The Yacht John B." or "The Dinghy John B." or what have you. My grandfather's boat was named "Sara B." after my grandmother so I totally buy "John B." as a boat name.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:19 AM on September 25, 2020


For what it's worth, "Sloop John B." is a traditional song that was a folk standard by the time The Beach Boys recorded it.
posted by octothorpe at 7:25 AM on September 25, 2020 [2 favorites]


Oh, and the name of the boat is just "John B." The "Sloop" bit refers to the kind of boat it is;

For what it's worth, "Sloop John B." is a traditional song that was a folk standard by the time The Beach Boys recorded it.


I stand by my judgement.
posted by thelonius at 7:26 AM on September 25, 2020 [1 favorite]


I will go as far as conceding that "Sloop John B" is a dumb name for a boat

It was the basis for a throwaway line in an amazing song that starts with the protagonist joining the army, has a legal contract (that is funny) read in the middle, and ends with the protagonist being shot, and a song concept that is still relevant today even though it's 33 years old, so I'll give it props for that.

"Feeling sicko hang on sloop john
Ugliest trip I've ever been on
We'll follow those dreams we're going to have each
Small and literal, well within reach"

posted by The_Vegetables at 8:16 AM on September 25, 2020


I remember singing it as a campfire song as a small kid and liking it a lot (great melody) then being surprised to discover the Beach Boys were singing a campfire song in among all the hot rods and beach babes and whatnot.
posted by philip-random at 9:05 AM on September 26, 2020 [1 favorite]


Sloop John B isn't the reason Pet Sounds is overrated. It's one of the good songs on the album.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 9:23 AM on September 26, 2020


It's a list for god's sake! You look down and remember some items with fondness, think "wtf" about others and think "hmm" about others. A lot of these I remember, many I own and many I will check out.

My cut-off is that anything on here less than 10 years old hasn't yet stood the test of time and is just there to pander to the yoof.
posted by epo at 2:09 AM on September 27, 2020 [2 favorites]


Twenty years ago, Edinburgh had a shop that specialized in 78 records. You could buy parts for your antediluvian gramophone player and rifle through of racks of records from distant decades. Its clientele were were no longer sprightly and these days both the shop and the customers are gone. So it will be for Boomer music before too long.

That doesn't mean that the music or its memories will die - merely that those who choose to listen to it will be the curious and the historians rather those who were bowled over by it when they were 16. It is that generation who, I feel, are going to be best placed to determine what was great and what was just fad.

I've been enjoying seeing these twins to experiencing a first listen to various boomer classics that people suggest to them (Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart" in this case). Would that we all learned to listen to music of a different generation like that.
posted by rongorongo at 2:29 AM on September 27, 2020 [1 favorite]


These twins are Tim and Fred Williams.
Make a note of it. I wrote them recently and made my own suggestion.
posted by y2karl at 3:04 AM on September 27, 2020 [1 favorite]


Twenty years ago, Edinburgh had a shop that specialized in 78 records...

The Gramophone Emporium is still trading through an Ebay shop.
posted by Lanark at 4:58 AM on September 27, 2020 [2 favorites]




The distortions in the representations of international artists are pretty woeful- the selection of French music eschews anything Serge Gainsbourg, Françoise Hardy, Edith Piaf, Jean Michelle Jarre and dozens of others in favour of 2 albums by Daft Punk. Brazil gets nothing - even in the face of this kind of compilation from Antonio Carlos Jobim - or a dozen other strong contenders. The African continent gives us nothing that is not Fela Kuti or King Sunny Ade...
posted by rongorongo at 11:44 PM on September 27, 2020 [2 favorites]


> Beach Boys' Christmas Album

*shudder*
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:38 AM on September 29, 2020 [2 favorites]


I just told a friend that I hated Pet Sounds and his response was “Fuck you. You’re dead to me.” Brian Wilson ruins another relationship! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by holborne at 1:21 PM on September 29, 2020


you hate it? Or are you just sick to death of all the over-egged love of it?

That's how I feel about Dark Side of the Moon.
posted by philip-random at 1:43 PM on September 29, 2020


I'm too old to get bent out of shape about what other people like or don't like (or think about what I like, although all of it is of course objectively perfect), but I actually do hate Pet Sounds; that orchestral/vocal chorus thing wedded with "rock" music is very much not my thing. And then there's Brian Wilson Presents Smile, which is everything I hate about Pet Sounds cranked up to 11.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:48 PM on September 29, 2020


I actually dislike The Beach Boys, full stop, and yeah, hate Pet Sounds. I dunno, after having listened to Palestrina and Monteverdi since I was 13 or so, I can't be all that impressed with Brian Wilson, and I think the lyrics are just stupid.
posted by holborne at 3:33 PM on September 29, 2020


the early Beach Boys never did anything for me (and still don't). Girls, cars, surfing = boring for a kid in the early 1970s who was drawn toward the weird and wonderful and expansively "progressive" and sometimes downright heavy sounds of Led Zep, Yes, Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper etc.

But I distinctly remember hearing Wouldn't It Be Nice on the radio around then and at least liking it. And then I read an interview with Yes's Jon Anderson where he spoke of Good Vibrations as maybe his favorite song ... and I guess my ears opened. I'm not going to argue that Pet Sounds isn't one of the most over-rated albums of all time, but I still at least like it. Most of it anyway.
posted by philip-random at 4:18 PM on September 29, 2020


Anthony Fantano: Rolling Stone's Top 500 Albums List Is Rough.
posted by Pendragon at 3:09 PM on October 15, 2020


Rolling Stone have also produced a list of the top 500 singles of all time - fun for those who want to make the same criticisms of narrower diameter discs of vinyl. For me, the chart would be much more interesting if it started from the point of "let's exclude all of the above as a starting point".
posted by rongorongo at 5:19 AM on October 21, 2020


I don't know what's more ridiculous--'Imagine' at #3, or 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' at #9. Probably 'Smells Like Teen Spirit.'
posted by box at 6:06 AM on October 21, 2020


top 500 singles of all time

Pastebin
posted by 1970s Antihero at 7:46 AM on October 22, 2020 [2 favorites]


« Older The P-Word   |   A fairy tale about loyalty, a quest, surprise, and... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments