Monday, September 25, 2006

Top 100 Albums - 100 - 81

I used to look forward to Tuesdays. That was back when I was doing time in retail. On Tuesdays, we were allowed to cut open stacks of fifty count boxes of compact discs and decorate the new release wall with the beautiful artwork. I loved categorizing the CDs by musical style and giving prime location spots to my favorite artists. I used my power to bring down Michael Bolton. Bwa ha hah...

When I started my very first part time gig in the local record store in 1987, we were still selling records, as well as cassettes and way overpriced CDs. I will never forgive my cruel boss for awarding my first teenage hangover by assigning me the task of alphabetizing the 45's.

Of course I was a vinyl snob and it was hard to let go of collecting albums, not only for the artwork but the smell. However the sound quality of the compact disc was better not to mention that it was getting hard to find replacement needles for my record player. I think working in the industry can make us slow to accepting new technology.

After I left music retail, I stayed on top of the scene by doing plenty of online research and devouring every trade magazine. I spent a huge chunk of my entertainment budget on new CDs. I was never the kind of gal to go out of my way to ask for free CDs but I still managed to get a whole whack of them.

I distinctly recall the words of a coworker who had lost touch with the music scene being that she spent most of her time doing administration. She swore that we all get stuck in a musical rut. Her theory was that the music that a person loves at the time when they come of age is what will remain dearest in their heart. A little voice screamed No way! Not for me. I refused to accept this. I always pictured myself as having my finger on the pulse.

I started compiling my list of Top Albums and it began to sound like a soundtrack to my Kitten years. For the most part, my coworker was right. Damn.

100. God Fodder - Ned's Atomic Dustbin (Columbia) 1991
With their anthem "Kill Your Television," this British artist released a solid power electronic rock album. Stylistically they were a heavier version of Pop Will Eat Itself.

99. Subliminal Plastic Motives - Self (Volcano) 1995
Singer/songwriter Matt Mahaffey mixes many elements to provide an inspiring debut album. Alternative pop-rock, hip hop and samples are spread throughout.

98. Madonna - Madonna (Sire) 1983
Every single song is imprinted into my pre-teen brain. "Lucky Star," "Borderline," "Holiday" and "Burning Up" make me want sing loudly while I show off my choreographed basic jazz dance moves.

97. Morning View - Incubus (Sony) 2001
This album was more mainstream than my other favourite Incubus album Make Yourself. The sexy smooth voice of Brandon Boyd makes the melodic, alternative metal soothe the soul.

96. Good - Morphine (Rykodisc) 1992
The bluesy alternative indie rock artist's debut album was more than good. I love the groove in their sultry sounds. Their sophomore album Cure For Pain was also one of my favourites. It is tragic that the bassist/vocalist Mark Sandman collapsed on-stage during a performance, dying of a heart attack at the age of forty-seven.

95. The Real Ramona - Throwing Muses (4AD) 1991
Kristin Hersh and her half-sister Tanya Donelly were cutting edge with their swirling guitars and pop sensibilities. "Counting Backwards" and "Not Too Soon" are songwriting gems.

94. Box Set - Wool (London) 1994
Brothers Peter and Franz Stahl released this highly underrated melodic punk album. They put on a fantastic live show too.

93. Jaundice - Lucy's Fur Coat (Relativity) 1994
A fairly unknown grunge artist from San Diego. I bought the CD for Colin because the artwork caught my eye and it ended up being a staple in our music library.

92. Let It Die - Feist (Arts & Crafts) 2004
Leslie Feist injects some Canadian content into my list. Of course she had to go off to France to record this romantic, indie album in order to become the songwriting darling of the Canadian industry. Her cover of The Bee Gee's "Inside and Out" is sweet perfection.

91. Going Blank Again - Ride (Sire) 1992
I adored the single of "Leave Them All Behind." This upbeat shoegazing album contained sugary layered harmonies that made it stand out from the pack.

90. Heartbeat City - The Cars (Elektra) 1984
My best friend went to England in the summer of '84 where she dragged her parents to John Taylor's house. At least she left me with her copy of this album while I anxiously awaited her return.

89. Reading, Writing and Arithmetic - The Sundays (DGC) 1990
With her dream like vocals Harriet Wheeler made the melodic pop hit "Here's Where the Story Ends" an instant classic. The rest of the album is as smooth as butter.

88. 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of... - Arrested Development (Chrysalis) 1992
This album brings me back to living in an apartment above a store on Queen Street West. My roommate and I would put on this groove laden hip hop album while we'd get ready for a night out.

87. The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses (Silvertone) 1989
Merging dance and pop, their catchy artistic songs seemed ahead of their time. "Fool's Gold" will always be one of my favourite songs.

86. Fashion Nugget - Cake (Capricorn) 1996
Lyrically fun, this funky alternative rock album includes their break out hit "The Distance" and their cover of "I Will Survive."

85. A View from 3rd Street - Jude Cole (Reprise) 1990
Filled with wonderful songwriting, this mainstream pop album was made even sweeter when a boy that I had a hardcore crush on claimed it to be a favourite of his as well.

84. The House of Love - The House of Love (Fontana) 1990
Here is more British swirling, masterful, melodic pop including their hit "I Don't Know Why I Love You."

83. We Care - Whale (Virgin) 1995
There were many nights spent in dance clubs tearing it up to "Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe." This sexy dance music had seething guitars that made it cool.

82. Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 - George Michael (Columbia) 1990
These soulful songs are the ultimate listening material for lounging with a hot cup of tea on a rainy day. I've been waiting for George to release Vol 2. It seems like such an obvious adult direction for him to take and yet I'm still waiting.

81. Songs in the Key of Life - Stevie Wonder (Motown) 1976
This double album is timeless. At our wedding we wanted to close the night with "Knocks Me Off My Feet" but our DJ didn't follow direction very well. At that point I didn't mind that he was sneaking in another song because I didn't want the perfect night to end.

21 Singing the blues:

sunshine scribe said...

Oh I am going to enjoy reading your entire list you music goddess you.

penelopeto said...

Well, aren't you the audiophile!
I freakin love these lists. I bet I was partying it up where you were listening to whale.

cinnamon gurl said...

ooh, I loved God Fodder! I remember I was furious when my parents wouldn't let me go to an all-ages Ned's Atomic Dustbin in TO when I was 16. I had collected Clearly Canadian bottles for some reason and decided that day to smash them all against the stone wall of my parents' house. I guess I was an angry teenager.

And I was just thinking of that album the other day when I used "blog fodder" in a post a week or so ago.

How do you like beta blogger?

Mrs. Chicky said...

I am officially impressed! First of all by that music which makes me feel like a total music slacker and second because I could never do a list of 100 albums. Never!

I bow at your feet. I'm not worthy.

Mrs. Chicky said...

Me again.

I forgot to mention that I thought I was the only one who had ever heard of Jude Cole. We used to play the heck out of Baby, It's Tonight (that's the name, right?) when I worked at a radio station. That brings back good memories.

Nancy said...

I am loving your list so far, although I don't recognize a ton of the albums/artists. I'm always on the lookout for new music -- and George Michael's Listen Without Prejudice is one of my favories, too.

You and Mama Tulip are inspiring me to try and compile my top 100 albums too. It may take me a month or so, but I'm working on it.

Heather said...

I've learned two things from your list. One? Apparently I'm a sheltered music moron and really need to broaden my horizons (and will!). Two? I don't feel as bad because I too love pretty much any Stevie Wonder.

mamatulip said...

Oh man, am I ever glad you're doing this too! Ned's? YES, they're on my list too. LOVE the Cars, and that Arrested Development is a HUGE album for me -- takes me right back to a pivotal time in my life. I'd all but forgotten Whale -- man, I loved 'Hobo' when it came out. GREAT list!

Kristen said...

I LOVED arrested development!!!

niloc said...

Ok, so how am I going to resist NOT commenting on a post that’s all about music? I know your list is going to be more diversified than mine would be. What’s really cool is the way we have influenced each other over the years.

-One of the reasons Ned’s Atomic Dustbin stood out was that they had two Bass players. They couldn’t decide on which guy to keep so they simply kept both.
-Cure For Pain stands out to me a little more in regards to Morphine for me. Mind you if you play Cure For Pain and Good back to back they are literally indistinguishable.
-Dave Grohl used to play with the Stahl Brothers in a Washington DC punk band called Scream before he made his way to Seattle. Franz and Peter formed Wool but only lasted one full length CD. Franz also played with Dave for a bit with the Foo Fighters.
-Lucy’s Fur Coat had an explosive live show that we were lucky to catch at the El Mocambo. Their second CD was only available through mail order and they didn’t last much longer after that.
-What can be said about the Stone Roses? Nothing defined the Manchester sound better than these guys. They are proof of what happens when you sign a bad record deal.
-Cake and Soul Coughing were two bands that went hand in hand. Both bands introduced a story telling style to their songs that’s been copied by numerous bands.
-Does anyone else remember the cute singer with the curly hair and her all day sucker in Whale’s video? I remember searching hard for this EP long before it became a simple click of a mouse to download. The full length album came out a least a year later.
-Songs in the Key of Life is an album that back in the day was inconceivable. Stevie Wonder not only wrote his life’s masterpiece but also helped engineer the development of the synthesizer and many of the sounds that make this double album stand out.

ali said...

stone roses! yes. love them!

Chag said...

Great start! I loved Ned's, self, Stone Roses, and many of the others on your list.

anne/crazymumma said...

I am so old. I hardly know any of this. But I may try and explore some thru Limewire...

I lived in a place above a restaurant/club on Queen West. Burnt to the ground. Must post about that soon.

I am glad taht Brawny Man ate so much of your time. He is so funny....

mothergoosemouse said...

I think working in the industry can make us slow to accepting new technology.

And HOW. I could write volumes on this topic, having spent five years working in IT for a record company.

I saw Arrested Development in concert at a small venue in Cincinnati - they were incredible.

Pattie the Domesticator said...

The Sundays? Throwing Muses?
I know now why I loovvvve you so much :) Hehheh...seriously, great list, Jana!

chelle said...

Are you saying we are not suppose to be collecting records anymore?!?! My toddler and I listen to records every week!

That is an awesome list so far. I so am looking forward to reading more and hitting itunes for the ones I think sound like my thing!

nonlineargirl said...

Ooh, I have to go did out my copy of Songs In The Key Of Life. Ok, and hook up the record player.

Kristin said...

Oh I love #98... Madonna just defines those early high school years for me!

Marcie said...

Ooooh! I love me some Brandon Boyd:) His voice isn't the only thing sexy about him.

sweatpantsmom said...

Arrested Development and Stevie Wonder's 'Songs In The Key Of Life' - I only have these in vinyl and miss them. You just gave me an idea what to do with the balance on my iTunes account.

Wendy said...

It's a sad truth that even 'tho our tastes evolve, we still tend to favor the music we came to age with. Your list is great. It brought back so many flashbacks to my late teens/early 20's. I can't resist adding my 2 cents...

- Ned's Atomic Dustbin: Colin actually introduced me to them with "Grey Cell Green" on a mixed tape he made for me. I've always liked "God Fodder". "Happy" being one of my favs.

- Madonna: What young girl from our generation diden't dance around their bedroom and sing into a hairbrush to this 80's staple? (plz said wasen't just me)

- The Sundays: Always reminded me of "The Cocteau Twins", that being a good thing. I can remember listening to "Wild Horses" over & over again after a nasty fight with a boyfriend, just to drepress myself even more. It worked like a charm.

- The Stone Roses: Loved their mix of groove and 60's sounds popular with the Manchester groups and showcased in "Fools Gold" and "Elephant Stone". I'm also partial to "Love Spreads" even 'tho their comeback album "Second Coming" was a bit of a disapointment.

- Cake: John McCrea's narative singing style and the quirky songs made them a favorite. They made Gaynor's "I will survive" cool for me. "Fashion Nugget", "Comfort Eagle", "Prolonging the Magic"....all favorites.

- Songs in the Key of Life: Stevie wrote "Isn't She Lovely" in honour of his newborn daughter and it's been so popular for so long for good reason. The whole album is superb.

I agree with your other choices although there were a few I was unfamiliar with such as "LUcy's Fur Coat" so decided to give them a download. Glad I did. "Elementary" and "Same" are impressive. Soo looking forward to your next chapter.