Currently, these are my all-time favourite rock & pop albums, in order by artist:
- Big Country – Peace In Our Time (1988)
- Faith No More – Angel Dust (1992)
- King Crimson – Discipline (1981)
- Marillion – Afraid Of Sunlight (1995)
- Metallica – … And Justice For All (1988)
- Muse – Origin Of Symmetry (2001)
- OMD – Architecture & Morality (1981)
- Radiohead – OK Computer (1997)
- Rush – Signals (1982)
- David Sylvian – Gone To Earth (1986)
- Suzanne Vega – Solitude Standing (1986)
- Talk Talk – The Colour Of Spring (1985)
- U2 – Achtung Baby (1991)
- Yes – Yessongs (1973)
A few of those will be swapped out by this time next week; even though all but one of those albums are more than five years old, the list is not static. The last year has seen a couple of new contenders to the list, such as the Doves. Jazz and classical are another matter entirely, I think I need to hear a lot more of both before I can start making lists, and those would be of composers and artists, not albums.
Some great bands produce inconsistent albums, and a prime example from my collection is Dream Theater. I found that about half of each of their albums is great, the other half mediocre. Rush have the same problem to a lesser extent, though they were hitting the spot around 1980-ish. Then there’s Genesis, which is a topic for another day, with all the spin that surrounds them, pro and con.
The Big Country album I’ve chosen is not considered their best by most fans, because of the polished production. I actually like that aspect, and the songs are all excellent in their own right. Marillion too – many fans turned their backs after 1988, when Fish left, but they are still going strong and planning their next moves at the moment.
I’m listening to a Muse live bootleg at the moment, and I can hear Matthew Bellamy playing bits of Plug-In Baby wrong – or is he? They’re his guitar parts, after all. Great stuff, regardless, it’s part of a positive trend in music over the last few years, kick-started by Radiohead – the return of bombast, and over-ambition in music, that got me interested again. Roots are fine, they tell me where you’ve been; but where are you going?