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Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The Top 10 Albums Of The 80s

The Top 10 Albums Of The 80s

The Top 10 Albums Of The 80s: 11. Laurie Anderson - Big Science

11. Laurie Anderson - Big Science (1982)

Experimental Art Pop
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By description, Big Science could easily be dismissed as yet another album which gratifies itself into a pompous snooze-fest by punching way above its weight. It pushes the avant-garde pop-guard as far forward as it can, attacking the ‘conventional’ in hopes of camouflaging itself as some futuristic visionary, attempting to reinvent the wheel by throwing all the intellect and creativity Anderson can assemble into a 45 minute time frame. However, when surrendering to these synthy soundscapes and spoken words encompassing one apocalyptic mechanical world, it isn’t quite as bombastic as one may have initially assumed, rather freed from the shackles of unnecessary artiness by a minimalist apathy, like a friendly robot who has no interest in showing-off but merely wants to play, amused by your primitive shell and curious as to what makes your species tick. Nothing demonstrates this extroversion/indifference paradox better than the choice of instruments used, at times employing electronics you’ve never heard of (the farfisa organ, or the Oberheim OB-Xa, for examples) and at other times utilising tools you can already play (hand claps, bottles beaten with sticks, etc), which together depict the perfect image of the progressive computerised nature of the 80s, no matter how overlooked and misunderstood that may be.

Selected Accolades:
#44 in Slant Magazine's list the Best Albums of the 1980s.



10. Talking Heads - Remain in Light (1980)

New Wave Post-Punk
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The oft-uncelebrated hero of music’s most inventive periods is Brian Eno, his name suppressed in the linear notes of such masterpieces as Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy, and the three most important albums of Talking Head’s career. Which brings us to the time Remain in Light rolled around and our producer/co-writer had just about reached toppling point, initially unenthusiastic to stamp his label on yet another one of the band’s offerings. However, upon hearing the demos, he immediately changed his mind, enthralled by the more communal direction which no longer gravitated around Byrne’s awkward instability, but rather looped African grooves and unconventional funk values with a style no one had ever heard before (or even since, now that we mention it). So he joined their ranks once again, and I can only imagine how grateful Mr Eno still is for that decision, because (while Talking Heads were already notorious for their adventurous magic and improvisational introspective lyrical content) Remain in Light grew to become their magnum opus, defying time and age and defining experimental art-punk for generations to come. Unfortunately, Brian stayed true to his original threat eventually, leaving this as the final Eno/Heads collaboration, and the band quickly fell from their pedestal of glory shortly afterwards :(

Selected Accolades:
#27 in Q's list the 40 Best Albums of the 80s.
#11 in NME's list The 50 Greatest Albums Of The '80s.
#6 in Slant’s list the Best Albums of the 1980s.
#4 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list The Best Albums of the Decade.
#2 in Pitchfork Media's list the Top 100 Albums Of The 1980s.
#129 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
#88 in VH1’s list the 100 Greatest Albums.
#68 in NME's list the Greatest Albums Of All Time.
#43 in The Guardian's survey of the 100 Best Albums Ever.



The Top 10 Albums Of The 80s: 09. Prince and The Revolution - Purple Rain
I OWN THIS ALREADY :)

09. Prince and The Revolution - Purple Rain (1984)

Pop Rock Synth Funk

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. But do not fear if you discover yourself lost and directionless, for we can all find guidance from the ardent gospels screamed at us from the most elevated of altars, spurting out the mouth of our divine androgynous preacher, Prince himself. Praised be his name! Now watch as the front row break into fevers, the unholy spirit colourfully laminating their panicked visions with one hand, and pestering their loins with the other, a cheeky sermon designed to deliver the soul from evil by kindling a previously suppressed sexuality, ensuring we find God within these new intriguing feelings one way or another. To clarify: this is the best Church ever! As well as the frequently cited ‘best Prince ever’, a rare example of when a soundtrack has eclipsed its partner film so severely that many listeners aren’t even aware of the movie anyway, a unique feat achieved by pretty much doing everything, including the layers upon layers of distinct instrumentation smearing together an interminable array of popular 80s genres until pop threatens to erupt love all over itself. And that turns me on.
Please Note: I wrote this review whilst listening to said album on the morning of April 21st, unbeknownst to me perhaps the very moment Prince died. One very eerie (and painfully heartbreaking) coincidence. Rest in Peace, you legend.

Selected Accolades:
Becoming the sixth best-selling soundtrack of all time, at over 22 million copies shipped.
Deemed the Best Soundtrack of All Time by Vanity Fair.
#18 in VH1's list the Greatest Rock and Roll Albums of All Time.
#2 in Slant Magazine's list the Best Albums of the 1980s.
#2 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list the Greatest Albums of 1980s.
Deemed the Best Album of the Past 25 Years by Entertainment Weekly.
#76 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
#15 in Time's list the Greatest Albums of the All Time.
#2 in Entertainment Weekly’s list the 100 Greatest Albums Ever.
Won two Grammy Awards in 1985, as well as an Album of the Year nomination.
Included in the National Recording Registry (2012).



08. Joy Division - Closer (1980)

Post-Punk
Spotify


The story of Joy Division is so legendary that it almost reads like a tragic work of fiction written by an author who grew bored halfway through. Two uneasy albums were released in the space of two years, and in between their fruition, frontman Ian Curtis had already hung himself to death at the delicate age of 23. His reasons for the self-inflicted passing were a terrible combination of uncontrollable epilepsy (which at times caused embarrassing fits in front of large audiences), and a crippling depression that is well documented throughout Joy Division’s brief discography. His gloomy hopelessness and tortured pain left him weak, mumbling his black soul all over the slow gothic textures and claustrophobic production which, in hindsight, could not be considered anything but a forlorn sob for help. But while both their debut and swansong suffered by a comparable amount of troubled loneliness, and while the previous Unknown Pleasures did define the entire post-punk genre, it was the aptly named Closer which perfected the scene, as well as striking with an additional potency; the recently deceased stinging the fresh wounds inside of our guts. Oh, Ian. So sorry to see you go.

Selected Accolades:
#72 in NME’s list The 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.
#10 in Pitchfork Media’s list The Best Albums of the 1980s.
#8 in Q’s list The 40 Best Albums of the 1980s.
#7 in Slant Magazine’s list The Best Albums of the 1980s.
#157 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.



The Top 10 Albums Of The 80s: 07. Paul Simon - Graceland
I OWN THIS ALREADY :)

07. Paul Simon - Graceland (1986)

Worldbeat Pop Rock
Spotify


In a decade known for its artificially programmed audio, it’s refreshing when the roots of Mother Earth are dug up to produce an album which has maintained its relevance throughout forever. However, while much can be said about Graceland's content (including some of the best lyrics ever fused to tape), the backstory (and consequences) almost overshadow the music within. It started when Simon found himself captivated by the soulful arrangements and rhythms of the African land, and promptly set off to South Africa to refine his own sound towards that direction, weaving the intricate black spirit into his white arty-smartiness, collaborating with the locals to capture the severe yet upbeat vibes of the township, and connecting their culture to the big budget production of the west. Which seems friendly enough, but in reality was one controversial move, primarily due to South Africa’s apartheid regime at the time. He was accused of exploiting the country’s craft, taking advantage of resident musicians, and even plagiarising some of their compositions. A ban from South Africa loomed and Simon was blacklisted from the United Nations for a while, but in hindsight, he did help to globally popularise the traditional style and push some financially advantageous interest their way, so maybe all is forgiven by now? I hope so.

Selected Accolades:
#85 in Pitchfork Media's list Top 100 Favorite Records of the 1980s.
#39 in Q Magazine's list The 80 Best Records of the 80s.
#19 in Slant Magazine's list Best Albums of the 1980s.
#56 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list The Best Albums of the Last Twenty Years.
#84 in Channel 4’s survey The 100 Greatest Albums of All Time.
#81 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
#69 in The Guardian's list The 100 Best Albums Ever.
#26 in USA Today's list Top 40 Albums of All Time.
#4 in Entertainment Weekly's list The 100 Greatest CDs of All Time.
Won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1987.
Included in the National Recording Registry (2007).



06. Michael Jackson - Thriller (1982)

Contemporary R&B Pop
Spotify


There is a reasonable argument that Michael Jackson is the greatest entertainer that ever moonwalked our earth. His contagious songwriting, his unreasonable dance moves, his restless face, and his alleged kiddy-fiddling habits developed into an enigma, one where the very mention of his name demanded attention so severely that the pop crown has been permanently glued to his head without any threat ever since. However, all customary sentiments aside, his sound has suffered from being perhaps a bit too 80s. Even on Thriller (his most iconic achievement) the synthy grooves have fermented slightly like a cheese with an overdue sell-by date, owed in part to the countless amount of times we’ve been exposed these songs—which isn’t its fault, really. But even these feeble gripes cannot detract from the facts: Thriller is a phenomenon. It is immediately recognised by every household in the world as a staple of our culture, as well as the most substantial commercial juggernaut that has ever been committed to music. And this was intentional, invoked by a man who was so deludedly arrogant that he thought he could create the best record ever made, yet so aggressively determined and naturally educated that he actually succeeded somehow? It’s beyond an album, basically.

Selected Accolades:
Sold one million copies worldwide per week at its peak.
The best-selling album of all time, with an estimated 65-70 million copies shipped.
7 of the 10 songs were Billboard Top 10 singles.
Won a record-breaking eight Grammy Awards in 1984, including Album of the Year.
#20 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
#11 in National Association of Recording Merchandisers’ list the Definitive 200 Albums of All Time.
Deemed the Best Album of the 1980s by Slant Magazine.
Deemed the Best Album Released Since 1981 by a collection of critics from MTV Base and VH1.
Deemed the Best Album of All Time by an MTV Generation poll.
Inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Included in the National Recording Registry (2008).



05. Slayer - Reign in Blood (1986)

Thrash Metal
Spotify


There was no shortage of heavy music in the 80s, as the metal gods had finally reached the depths of viciousness they were always destined to sink to, but this album will forever stand as the rock-bottom as to what the outbreak was capable of. It charged in at 220bpm with the cleanest production any metal album had been burdened with at the time, invading the genre with a bloodthirst so ferociously focused and intensely aggressive that no other record even had the foresight to put up any defences. Everything the scene had a reputation for was under sudden attack, Reign in Blood leading a violent rampage and ultimately tearing out the other side victorious after ceaselessly massacring and then abandoning every other band as one obscenely bloody landscape, decorated by mutilated chunks of faces and fingers and hair—all within a mere 29 minutes. It was over. We had been conquered by the finer details of Satan worship and the insanity of human experiments conducted at the Auschwitz concentration camp, and now it was simply too late. The new Kings had arrived, and we bowed down to what is still considered by many (including me) to be the greatest metal album of all time.

Selected Accolades:
Deemed “The Heaviest Album of all Time” by Kerrang!
#27 in Kerrang!’s list the 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time.
Deemed the Best Metal Album of the Last 20 Years by Metal Hammer.
#67 in Spin Magazine’s list 100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005.
#7 in IGN’s list the Top 25 Most Influential Metal Albums.



The Top 10 Albums Of The 80s: 04. Pixies - Doolittle
I OWN THIS ALREADY :)

04. Pixies - Doolittle (1989)

Alternative Indie Rock
Spotify


What makes Doolittle such an exhilarating album, is that it sounds like a crazy person. The contradictions are endless: the clean production and catchy commercialism battle the dirty noise and raw punk rock essence; the easy-stick listenable pop principles antagonise the genuine staying-power which comes from an incurable case of unorthodox neurosis; the dark surrealism and biblical discomfort argues with the mischievous whimsy and light hearted sense of humour; and the masculine aggressions wrestle the maternal lovings for the spotlight; all the while the lunatic yearns for your affection yet keeps biting your hand when you get too close. The very dynamics of this record are at war, the loud vs. the soft fighting until everything is dead, which is exactly what happens. Everything dies, in one very quick journey of such unbroken perfection that the whole game was never the same again. This is because the Pixies' sound was ripped to ribbons by everyone with a guitar shortly after, and while we pray that they rest in peace (ignoring subpar reunions), not even Nirvana can deny that the 90s alternative scene actually started right here. Please pass the tiara.

Selected Accolades:
#36 in Spin Magazine’s list the 100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005.
#34 in Slant Magazine’s list the Best Albums of the 1980s.
#4 in Pitchfork Media’s list the Top 100 Albums of the 1980s.
#226 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
#2 in NME’s writer poll of the 100 Best Albums.



The Top 10 Albums Of The 80s: 03. David Bowie - Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)
I OWN THIS ALREADY :)

03. David Bowie - Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (1980)

Art Pop Rock
Spotify


By this point, Bowie’s career had already built an immoveable reputation for dabbling in almost every genre the musical spectrum had to offer, including commercial chart toppers and alienating experimental wankeries, with all the meat between. And it is this very disorientated meandering which set Scary Monsters as the epicenter of the man’s extensive catalogue: no overly-arty complications, yet no conventional friendliness either, rather a summary of the man’s collected infinite knowledge, erected as one crooked poppy rock record that didn’t try to be anything it wasn’t, existing as the most consistent and ‘Bowie’ Bowie record he ever made. But that is not to say this classic doesn't have it’s own peculiar character, because, by God, it does. It’s a threatening nightmare, aggressive and ugly, yet with a comical edge, urgently stabbing at a masterpiece with all the exertion its arms could gather, and ultimately violating the mark with the precision of a trained expert, because, obviously, he was. Unfortunately, this too became its curse, commonly considered David’s final significant piece of work and the go-to comparison milestone which haunted his career for the rest of his life (especially because 80s Bowie kinda sucked after this). But no matter! It’s my favourite anyway.

Selected Accolades:
#30 in Q Magazine’s list the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.
#93 in Pitchfork Media’s list the Top 100 Albums of the 1980s.
#27 in Slant Magazine’s list the Best Albums of the 1980s.



The Top 10 Albums Of The 80s: 02. Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation
I OWN THIS ALREADY :)

02. Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation (1988)

Alternative Noise Rock
Spotify


Daydream Nation could be argued as evidence towards the idea that planets shake hands occasionally. Its timing was immaculate and stuck immediately like a safety pin holding the band’s entire catalogue together, working as a transitional piece of where Sonic Youth were no longer who they were before, and yet not quite who they were to become. The jammy waffling and unnecessary feedback they were known for, was traded in favour for a tighter noise, a focus on a more captivating style of songwriting, and a certain melodic delicacy stubbornly repressed beneath all the rowdy filth. On the other side, however, the uninitiated agonised at its length, over an hour of clamour with the production as muddy as all hell, the band’s final rebellious testament against the 80s studio polish before they ‘sold out’ and went major themselves. Yet what nobody could have predicted, was that this noise would prove to be exactly what the decade was craving, the most logical next step, breaking the avant-rock scene out from the underground and prophetically predicting the whole untidy 90s grunge movement before anyone could even say ‘nevermind’. Which is a taste worth acquiring, you must trust me.

Selected Accolades:
#11 in Guitarist’s list the 101 Essential Guitar Albums.
#9 in Spin’s list the 100 Alternative Albums.
#45 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list the 100 Greatest Albums of the 1980s.
#30 in Q’s list the 80 Best Records of the 80s.
#30 in Slant Magazine’s list the Best Albums of the 1980s.
#13 in Spin Magazine’s list the 100 Greatest Albums from 1985 to 2010.
Deemed the Greatest Album of the 1980s by Pitchfork Media.
#329 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Included in the National Recording Registry (2006).



The Top 10 Albums Of The 80s: 01. The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
I OWN THIS ALREADY :)

01. The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead (1986)

Indie Jangle Pop
Spotify


Apologies to Rourke and Joyce, but they should be used to this by now: The holy spirit which manifested itself through the entity known as ‘The Smiths’ was a sole and direct consequence of the artistic romance between Marr and Morrissey. And as every magazine since has agreed, The Queen is Dead was where their musical jizz climaxed and consolidated into a concoction which grew a life of its own, ultimately ruining everything for everyone else forever. Just listen to Marr, at his most bouncy and effervescent, his distinguished jangly guitar riffs so instantaneously recognisable that he is irrefutably the true hero behind the stylistic innovation. And now listen to Morrissey, at his most hilariously sarcastic, drearily whining or condescendingly preaching some poetic one-liner or the other, delivered with such a disinterested contempt that you don’t know whether to laugh or cry or never talk to anyone again. Which is why I consider this to be the best indie album ever created—certainly the most influential—and a perfect record from one of history’s only perfect bands, with a perfect four album career swiftly followed by the perfect dissolution, complete with bitter court cases, media name-calling, and decades of unfulfilled reunion rumours.

Selected Accolades:
#16 in Slant Magazine’s list of the Best Albums of the 1980s.
#3 in Q Magazine's list of the 40 Best Albums of the '80s.
#2 in NME’s list of the Greatest British Albums of All Time.
#216 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Deemed the Greatest Record of All Time according to NME.



But wait, there's more!

The Top 10 Albums Of The 70s
The Top 10 Albums Of The 90s



Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The Top 10 Albums Of The 70s

The Top 10 Albums Of The 70s

The Top 10 Albums Of The 70s: 11. John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band

11. John Lennon - Plastic Ono Band (1970)

Contemporary Folk Rock
Spotify


As the 70s ushered in their dawn, the aura felt distinctly different without the pollen of the 60s spreading their affection everywhere, which can be probably best represented by this very album. Let’s start with The Beatles themselves. The leaders of the revolution. The epitome of the love love love generation. They were dead. The dream was over. And this debut solo album from John Lennon was the confirmation bullet to its forehead. Said bullet was delivered without the colourful psychedelia or catchy refrains that embraced us from before, but rather fired defensively via some stripped back guitarwork and a voice which wailed and snarled in agony about one single issue: the abandonment of his childhood self. The untimely death of his mother. The desertion of his father. The invisibility of any tangible God. The incessant desire to be admired because of this emptiness. All surfaced together in one ball of suffering, aggravated by a recent bout in primal scream therapy, guiding Lennon to present this introspective confession and exposing his long buried insecurities, now as a vulnerable man, bitter, scared, with no one but Yoko to lick the wounds clean. And it puts all other post-Beatles work to shame. Perhaps even some early-Beatles work too.

Selected Accolades:
#62 in Q’s list The 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.
#60 in Pitchfork Media's list of the 100 Top Albums of the 1970s.
#4 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 Best Albums of 1967 - 1987.
#22 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.



10. Kate Bush - The Kick Inside (1978)

Art Pop
Spotify


It’s difficult to listen to an album as progressive as The Kick Inside and not become fascinated by the lady herself, at times above even the music within. Such enchantments stand particularly firm on her debut due to her age at the time of its conception, released before our Kate was even 20 years old, with certain tracks written when she was as young as 13. Based on this information, a certain enigmatic quality magically glows from her character, would you not agree? An eerie expansion, magically exuberating beyond her maturity with quirky melodies so creative and abnormal that she grows more into a mythical creature rather than something as simple as a human. It's almost as if a certain romance allures you with its witchy spell, yet the temptation comes with a warning of thorns, threatening trespassers with an eccentric poison, one defence mechanism designed to only allow a select few to be embraced with love like a child in the womb. But it didn't even end there. As while Wuthering Heights may have become the first female-written UK number-one single ever, and while every other song on offer here stands just as tall during the fillerless journey, her discography continued to blossom for the next decade until she coiled back into her rotten candy-house and slept, now a recluse who only occasionally reappears to sell tickets at £100+ a pop.

Selected Accolades:
none, which is stupid.



The Top 10 Albums Of The 70s: 09. Ramones - Ramones
I OWN THIS ALREADY :)

09. Ramones - Ramones (1976)

Punk Rock
Spotify


During the 1970s, rock took an annoying turn. It had begun to feel important, serving itself by flaunting ‘profound’ themes whilst masturbating all over their instruments, declaring the act as ‘progressive’ or ‘arty’. Which was all fine, until it managed to crawl so far up its own ass that we couldn’t even hear the music anymore. Thank God, then, for the Ramones, who came along just in time to prove rock ‘n roll didn’t need to be taken seriously, and what’s more, you didn’t even need any talent to create it. Instead, we got a band who were more akin to the class underachiever, inebriated and rambling uneducated rubbish about Nazism or drug-use or prostitution in such utterly ridiculous and sloppy manners, that you couldn’t help but feel some sympathetic love for them within your own amusement. And then suddenly, before you had even realised what was happening, they accelerated the conversation, forming upbeat anthems which all sounded exactly the same and ended as fast as they began, yet were hammered into your head for a lifetime, indirectly jump-starting punk rock before it even had a name, and changing the history of music forever. And not a single rock record since has escaped its influence. I mean, just ask the Sex Pistols, who may wear the punk crown according to many, but blatantly ripped it right off the Ramones' heads, which simply isn't fair and a little bit rude.

Selected Accolades:
#4 in Mojo’s list The Best Punk Albums.
#74 in Q’s list The 100 Greatest Albums Ever.
Included in the National Recording Registry (2012).



08. Queen - A Night at the Opera (1975)

Hard Art Rock
Spotify


There is nothing worse than a review which exclusively focuses on the frontman whilst the otherwise deadly proficient musicians get scribbled into the margins like annotations, and yet here we are again. My excuse is because A Night at the Opera is Freddy Mercury to the very core, the absolute finest example of the legend melted down like an iron statue and then converted into audio form for convenience sake (bar I'm in Love with My Car, but let’s not go there). The very arrogance of this album leaks delusions of grandeur at amounts so unnecessarily excessive that you can feel your own ego being mashed into an inferior wad of pulp, and yet decade after decade, it survives the weight of its own egomania. How? Simple! Its charm! Because while it will upstage you, it does so with such a cheeky flamboyance and cocky humour that you’ll discover yourself delighted rather than defeated, flattered by the flirtations, joyously clapping for the coats of harmonies and genres which offhandedly animate from one style to another as effortlessly as a wink. It’s only flaunting its pride to entertain you! So enthralling! And without a doubt the most impressive piece of work these stadium giants ever produced, including Brian May, who is also really good too.

Selected Accolades:
Debuted at No. 1 in the UK and No. 4 in the US.
#19 in Kerrang!’s poll the 100 Best British Rock Albums Ever.
#17 in Q’s poll the 50 Best British Albums Ever.
#25 in Classic Rock’s list the 100 Greatest Rock Albums Ever.
#231 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
#19 in NME’s poll the Greatest 100 Albums of All Time.
#13 in Channel 4’s poll the Greatest 100 Albums.
#9 in BBC’s poll the Top 100 Albums.



The Top 10 Albums Of The 70s: 07. Kraftwerk - Trans-Europe Express
I OWN THIS ALREADY :)

07. Kraftwerk - Trans-Europe Express (1977)

Electronic
Spotify


As far as altering the modern world goes, no country can boast quite as much of an impact as Germany. Certainly, this hasn’t always exactly been a badge of honour, but in almost exclusive regards to Kraftwerk, this nation’s monumental influence on programmed music deserves unquestionable worship, incomparable to any other, to the degree of absurdity. Said development had already started a few years before Trans-Europe Express, as the outfit had pretty much single-handedly defined electronic music some albums previous, breaking into the history books by revolutionising the very concept of what organised sound could entail. But while various fanatics will draw blood over which Kraftwerk masterpiece warrants the highest approval, it’s their sixth record which is oft-considered the most accessible from their arsenal, depicting a lonely train ride over Europe, delivered by means of repetitive chugging rhythms and manipulated robotic vocals, perpetually progressing forward from the momentum of determined mechanics fighting their way through the winter cold. Even now, four decades later, its minimal textures and droning innards still sound like they are coming from the future, which is the very apotheosis of immortality, and so ahead of its time that it’s difficult to even consider this as a 70s album whatsoever.

Selected Accolades:
Deemed the Greatest Electronic Album of the 20th Century by Slant Magazine.
#6 in Pitchfork Media's list of the 100 Top Albums of the 1970s.
#253 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
#71 in Channel 4’s the 100 Greatest Albums.
#56 in VH1’s list of the 100 Greatest Albums (of Rock & Roll) of All Time.



06. David Bowie - Low (1977)

Experimental Art Rock
Spotify


It was during the 1970s that art rock had finally begun to furiously flourish, and there still isn’t any figure better equipped to explain the movement than the King of Everything himself, David Bowie. All of his contributions to the entire decade were embarrassingly unrivaled, but retrospectively, it is often agreed upon that his experimental Berlin Trilogy was what truly entangled the public’s imagination, kicking off with arguably the most exciting of the lot, Low. What rose this specific record into such elevated regards, was that it's essentially two contradictory albums sold as a single package: side one of the vinyl performing as an eclectic sputtering of defective Nintendo pop, with short almost incomplete explosions of hyper-happiness and overstimulated joy; whilst side two birthed a primarily instrumental ambience, with lengthy atmospheres of dramatic foreboding and a somber exhaustion. Jolt this with the best drum sound in all of production history, and it’s no wonder that a large percentage of his die-hard fans vigorously defend this as Bowie’s greatest release—which is a pretty big deal when you consider there are 30 of them to choose from.

Selected Accolades:
#14 in Q’s list The 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.
#249 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Deemed the Top Album of the 1970s by Pitchfork Media.



05. The Clash - London Calling (1979)

Punk Rock
Spotify


"Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust!" couldn’t have come from a more credible source. The youth of the late-70s were clogged to the brim by the artificial love and psychedelic drug era, and instead found themselves angry at everything, shouting aggressive obscenities at the British politicians in between gulps of beer, rebelling against unemployment, excessive consumerism, social displacement, and racial rivalry, if only they could find their way out of this damn supermarket. Which is why I ask: who better to lead this gang of misplaced reprobates than The Clash themselves? I mean, not only did this four piece harness the recommended amount of discontented attitude, but they also drove enough ambitious smarts to glue together over an hour of punk music which skittered around reggae and ska and rockabilly and R&B and jazz and pop and hard rock all together, stuttering and mumbling and marching itself right into our children's heads and festering there forever. I mean, those kids are all old now and didn’t really achieve shit, but at least this album did, standing as the greatest punk record ever made, by the greatest punk band that ever existed. Because, really, who else is there? The Sex Pistols? Fuck right off, mate.

Selected Accolades:
#4 in Q’s list The 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.
#22 in Mojo’s list The Top 50 Punk Albums.
#6 in NME's list of the Best Albums of the 1970s.
#2 in Pitchfork Media’s list of the Best Albums of the 1970s.
Deemed the Best Album of the 1980s by Rolling Stone Magazine (despite being released the decade before, which just shows how good it was).
#8 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.



The Top 10 Albums Of The 60s: 04. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV
I OWN THIS ALREADY :)

04. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV (1971)

Hard Rock
Spotify


Like some polluted egg, the corrupt birth of heavy metal may have been laid near the end of the 1960s, but the final hatching definitely took place during the early 70s, irrevocably revealing the wicked demon salivating from within. And while people often (reasonably) credit Black Sabbath as the mother of this sound, even that villainous group had a lesser case of blasphemy than that of Zeppelin. This is because no other band in history had a higher value of talent fairly distributed between the members, each as preposterously on par with one another, never outshining nor obstructing their own separate paths of potent glory. It seems unlikely, then, that such a meet of artistry would happen by accident, which is why legend tells us that they acquired these skills from a deal made with the Devil himself. There is even evidence that they hid the Dark Lord within the reversed grooves of this very album, granting the music a power beyond our world, so consistent and timeless that it remains the epitome of hard rock’s capabilities until this very day. Which begged many to ask: what did such a trade cost the musicians of our rustic folktale? Well, nobody knows for sure, but it may have been the souls of John Bonham and Robert Plant’s son, which Lucifer stole a short time later.

Selected Accolades:
Remained in the UK charts for 90 weeks, entering at #10, rising to #1 the following week.
Became the highest selling US album ever to not top the charts (peaking at #2).
At one point, was one of the top five best-selling albums of all time.
#26 in Q’s list The Greatest British Albums.
#7 in Pitchfork Media’s Best Albums Of The 1970s.
#2 in Spin’s list of The Greatest Metal Albums Of All Time.
#69 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
#24 in Mojo’s The 100 Greatest Albums Ever Made.
#21 in Q’s list The 100 Best Albums Ever.
#4 in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of The Definitive 200: Top 200 Albums of All-Time.
Deemed the Greatest Rock Album Ever by Classic Rock.
Deemed the Greatest British Rock Album Ever by Classic Rock.
Inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.



The Top 10 Albums Of The 70s: 03. Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks
I OWN THIS ALREADY :)

03. Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks (1975)

Folk Rock
Spotify


After an uninterrupted spree of masterpieces during the 1960s, Bob Dylan’s poetic genius had finally come to a crashing end. His early 70s work was condemned by critics and even his fans felt betrayed by what they perceived as their prophet’s laziness, brought on by a disinterest in his own former glory. What a tragedy. But just as everyone was about to permanently turn their backs in abandonment, fate smashed through our hero’s jaw whilst riding upon the most classic of inspiration trains: the agony of heartbreak. A divorce from his then-wife Sarah had shattered Dylan’s trademark cool, and he exposed himself in spates of articulate anger and sentimental depression, venting venomous confessions of a damaged man, as cryptic as always in their dramatic broadcastings, but more intimate than we could ever feel fully comfortable conversing with. Even the live quality of these folky recordings felt purposefully shoddy, as if this cathartic surrender was completely unplanned, spilling from his guts and out of his control. Which, in turn, brought the disciples rushing back, aggravated by their own dark memories of past lovers. The adolescent prodding. The romantic insanity. The infectious laughter. The inevitable fighting. The ultimate demise. Each step of the way scraping their markings into the dent of our hearts. And I miss you so much. Please come back home to me. I'm sorry about everything.

Selected Accolades:
Reached #4 in the UK charts.
Reached #1 in the Billboard 200 charts.
#5 in Pitchfork Media’s list The 50 Best Albums of the 70s.
#16 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.



The Top 10 Albums Of The 70s: 02. Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
I OWN THIS ALREADY :)

02. Fleetwood Mac - Rumours (1977)

Soft Pop Rock
Spotify


Upon first listen, Rumours disguises itself as an upbeat, radio-friendly record where three romantic vocalists subtly weave their silky harmonies over crafty guitar pluckings, expanding onto a soft surface where you can sit and relax, nodding your head with a content little smile upon your face. But this charade does not last long. Unbeknownst to you, each time you listen to this impeccable collection of songs, you unintentionally pick away at the merry exterior to reveal one of the nastiest, most passionately distressed albums ever created. Mick was in the process of a divorce. Christine and John had recently separated after an 8 year marriage, refusing to even acknowledge one another. And the Lindsey/Stevie relationship was all but shattered, their only communication via deafening arguments. They all loved each other. They all hated each other. They wrote lyrics designed to hurt one another. They forced each other to sing along to those very words about themselves. And no matter how hard they tried to cover it up with all the free-love principles of the 70s, their tangled relationships spewed nothing but anger and hurt and sadness into their art. Which is what makes Rumours the emotional mammoth it is, as one of the most perfect, interpersonal, and untouchable recordings in history.

Selected Accolades:
Won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1978.
Remaining in the UK charts for 522 weeks.
Became the 14th best-selling album in UK history.
Became the 6th best-selling album in US history.
Sold over 40 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling albums of all time.
#3 in Q’s list The 50 Best Albums of the 70s.
#25 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
#23 in USA Today’s list The Top 40 Albums.
#16 in VH1’s countdown The 100 Greatest Albums.



The Top 10 Albums Of The 70s: 01. Joni Mitchell - Blue
I OWN THIS ALREADY :)

01. Joni Mitchell - Blue (1971)

Contemporary Folk
Spotify


If we’ve learned anything from history, it would be that heartbreak is one persuasive demon who has mastered the skill of encouraging powerful art that tears outwards from the soul. Ask yourself: is misery your favourite flavour? Do you relate deeply to the anguish of others? Then you need not look towards anything else in the world other than Joni Mitchell’s aptly titled Blue. After having her emotions gutted from her sternum by the abandonment of her lover, Joni was hollowed out, left empty of everything except for a weight of songs which required almost nothing but her naked angelic voice to carry out their devastation, a frailty of words resisted only by the strength of her delivery, exposing the final cry for help from a woman who had already lost all of her defences. She was lifeless. Defeated. Broken. And oh so fucking alone. Which is why I beg all of you newcomers: do not tackle this classic unless your heart is broken, otherwise you may never understand it. However, once you do grasp the severity of this record, it will never entirely let you go, as the sincerest, most grief-stricken, most cry-worthy album ever made—as well as the greatest record of all time, in my current opinion.

Selected Accolades:
#8 in Q’s list The Greatest Album of All-Time by a Female Artist.
#2 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of The 50 Greatest Female Albums Of All Time.
Deemed the Greatest Canadian Album of All Time by Chart.
#30 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (the highest female).
#14 in VH1’s list The 100 Greatest Albums of All Time (the highest female).
Inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.



(sorry Pink Floyd)


But wait, there's more!

The Top 10 Albums Of The 60s
The Top 10 Albums Of The 80s