Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Top Ten Albums of All Time By: Shane Christensen

Far off the beaten path...

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Read Shane’s follow up article, Top Canadian Albums.

I have always felt that I had an above average knowledge of popular music, and regularly got my kicks at always being the guy who knew all the answers to those obscure questions you’d sometimes get from people. So at social functions, I was the “go to” guy for any tidbits of musical information someone needed to know to win a bet, or just to prove to someone that they were right about something.

I wore this personal badge of honour proudly, albeit with total humility I might add, and took great personal satisfaction at being such a smarty pants. But every gunslinger meets his/her match, and mine came in the form of a good friend/ fellow drummer (and an extremely good drummer) who amazes me with his musical knowledge.

Amazes me so much, that when it came time to compile my choice for the top ten rock albums of all time, I immediately knew that I had to get my friend, Chris, to give me his thumbs up before I submitted them to Swanktrendz, lest I completely embarrass myself once again.

Method to my madness - if I get universal condemnation from the readership, I can merely point to my pal Mr. Bryen and lament,“Well he said it looked all right, and he’s the man!” Yes, 'true' friends. I can be a real conniving bastard at times.

Anyway, back to the task at hand. I have always wanted to compile a list of the top albums for years, and after many conversations with musically minded friends; discussing the necessary criterion for a piece of work to be considered as the 'best'; I finally have a list that I feel comfortable with.

The criteria for making this list is as follows:

1.) Album must have been critically and/or commercially successful

2.) Must have innovative qualities that changed popular music

3.) Musicianship is so good, it can not be denied as being truly
'exceptional' and 'extraordinary'.

So, without any further delay. My top ten albums of all time.

1.) Revolver The Beatles

This masterpiece of diversity and innovation gave birth to progressive rock and set the standard for true, musical brilliance that these lads had in abundance. R.I.P. John Lennon and George Harrison

2.) Are You Experienced Jimi Hendrix Experience

Jimi was to hard rock what the Beatles were to progressive rock. This album was revolutionary at the time, and so much so that it still stands the test of time. R.I.P. Jimi Hendrix and Noel Redding

3.) Led Zeppelin IV Led Zeppelin

This album would set the standard for rock/hard rock music for the ‘70s and beyond. It’s not my personal favourite Zep work, but it still remains one of the most popular albums of all time. Oh, and by the way. Most critics hated it just as they hated Zeppelin for being a rip off band (Whole Lotta Love-Willie Dixon), and that is why this work doesn’t meet all criterion. But who cares? This album is an absolute monster. R.I.P. John Henry Bonham

4.) Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band The Beatles

Revolver opened up the door of progressive rock, and this album took it to the moon. A perfect body of work in every way, and one of (if not the most) the most influential albums of all time.

5.) Dark Side Of The Moon Pink Floyd

This is another example of Pepper’s-like perfection. The artwork. Packaging. Oh, and I nearly forgot! The music. It still sounds fresh and relevant 35 years later. R.I.P. Syd Barrett

6.) The Joshua Tree U2

Not only was this album commercially and critically successful, it was the most innovative of it’s time. Even to a die-hard fan like myself, I was confused the first couple of listens as it was so different from any contemporary work. But it definitely grows on you.

7.) Boston Boston

This is where I can hear the groans from some of the readership, but think about it for a minute. I remember when this album came out, and it was a monster for a year or longer. Musically, it was as close to perfection as you could possibly get, thanks to Tom Scholtz and his manic determination to “get it right.” R.I.P. Brad Delp

8.) Nevermind Nirvana

Many times in musical history, one album stands out from the collective pack. This is that album. There were a lot of similar bands from the Seattle scene, but Nirvana kicked the grunge door wide open with ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, and set the standard for the rest of the decade. R.I.P. Kurt Cobain

9.) Never Mind The Bollocks The Sex Pistols

Oh, oh! Is that more groaning I hear? Again, let’s look back at the time and think about what these silly little buggers did. There were a lot of punk bands all over the place, but this band is regarded by many as “the definitive English punk band” (BBC) and is credited with kick-starting the movement in Britain. I think they might have even killed Disco! R.I.P. Sid Vicious

10.) Saturday Night Fever The Bee Gees

Okay!!! Stop laughing so hard. I know you’re shaking your collective heads and relishing in the fact that I’ve obviously lost it for real this time. But again, I ask you to consider what a profound impact this album had when it was released. I remember clearly as a hard rock disciple that simply loathed the shallowness and superficial qualities of the Disco era. And I remember clearly that these guys were responsible for it. But whether anyone likes it or not, this album was a masterpiece and was very influential and successful. I know many will argue that it is not entirely a Bee Gee’s record, but who’s kidding who here? This was their baby. R.I.P. Maurice Gibb

As a footnote, I’d just to say that I hope you find this list insightful, interesting, and even entertaining. For all the great bands and artists that didn’t make the list but gave us years of great music. Thanks! And for those artists that have left us, you will not be forgotten as you’re still a big part of our daily lives and give much substance and pleasure to it.

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