AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

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notbrianeno
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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby notbrianeno » Fri Oct 20, 2017 6:04 pm

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My family tree's
Losing all it's leaves
Crashing towards the driver's seat
The lightning bolt made enough heat
To melt the street beneath your feet


#15. Arcade Fire | Funeral (2004)
# of Voters: 45 | Score: 3059.184
Rank in 2014: #6
AM 3000 Rank: #31
Top Fans: Andyd1010 (#1), JWinton (#1), JohnnyBGoode (#2), Nassim (#4), Spiderpig (#4), VanillaFire1000 (#5), Chambord (#6), DaveC (#10), Slick (#12), Nick (#13), Maschine_Man (#14), NotBrianEno (#17), GucciLittlePiggy (#18), SJner (#18), Harold (#21), BleuPanda (#21), Bootsy (#23), ChrisK (#29), DocBrown (#32), BryanBehar (#33), LiveinPhoenix (#37), Toni (#37), Antonius (#45), PlasticRam (#45), Panam (#51), Gillingham (#57), Romain (#58), Acroamor (#61), Whuntva (#64), Bruno (#68), Moonbeam (#89), Jackson (#97), Dexter (#99)


The years leading up to the recording of Funeral were marked with death. Chassagne's grandmother passed away in June of 2003, Butler's grandfather in March of 2004, and bandmate Richard Parry's aunt the following month. These songs demonstrate a collective subliminal recognition of the powerful but oddly distanced pain that follows the death of an aging loved one. Funeral evokes sickness and death, but also understanding and renewal; childlike mystification, but also the impending coldness of maturity. The recurring motif of a non-specific "neighborhood" suggests the supportive bonds of family and community, but most of its lyrical imagery is overpoweringly desolate.

"Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" is a sumptuously theatrical opener-- the gentle hum of an organ, undulating strings, and repetition of a simple piano figure suggest the discreet unveiling of an epic. Butler, in a bold voice that wavers with the force of raw, unspoken emotion, introduces his neighborhood. The scene is tragic: As a young man's parents weep in the next room, he secretly escapes to meet his girlfriend in the town square, where they naively plan an "adult" future that, in the haze of adolescence, is barely comprehensible to them. Their only respite from their shared uncertainty and remoteness exists in the memories of friends and parents.

The following songs draw upon the tone and sentiment of "Tunnels" as an abstract mission statement. The conventionally rock-oriented "Neighborhood #2 (Laika)" is a second-hand account of one individual's struggle to overcome an introverted sense of suicidal desperation. The lyrics superficially suggest a theme of middle-class alienation, but avoid literal allusion to a suburban wasteland-- one defining characteristic of the album, in fact, is the all-encompassing scope of its conceptual neighborhoods. The urban clatter of Butler's adopted hometown of Montreal can be felt in the foreboding streetlights and shadows of "Une Annee Sans Lumiere", while Chassagne's evocative illustration of her homeland (on "Haiti", the country her parents fled in the 1960s) is both distantly exotic and starkly violent, perfectly evoking a nation in turmoil.

"Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)" is a shimmering, audacious anthem that combines a driving pop beat, ominous guitar assault, and sprightly glockenspiel decoration into a passionate, fist-pumping album manifesto. The fluidity of the song's construction is mesmerizing, and the cohesion of Butler's poignant assertion of exasperation ("I went out into the night/ I went out to pick a fight with anyone") and his emotional call to arms ("The power's out in the heart of man/ Take it from your heart/ Put it in your hand"), distinguishes the song as the album's towering centerpiece.

Even in its darkest moments, Funeral exudes an empowering positivity. Slow-burning ballad "Crown of Love" is an expression of lovesick guilt that perpetually crescendos until the track unexpectedly explodes into a dance section, still soaked in the melodrama of weeping strings; the song's psychological despair gives way to a purely physical catharsis. The anthemic momentum of "Rebellion (Lies)" counterbalances Butler's plaintive appeal for survival at death's door, and there is liberation in his admittance of life's inevitable transience. "In the Backseat" explores a common phenomenon-- a love of backseat window-gazing, inextricably linked to an intense fear of driving-- that ultimately suggests a conclusive optimism through ongoing self-examination. "I've been learning to drive my whole life," Chassagne sings, as the album's acoustic majesty finally recedes and relinquishes.
--David Moore, Pitchfork



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The screen door slams, Mary's dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey, that's me and I want you only
Don't turn me home again, I just can't face myself alone again


#14. Bruce Springsteen | Born to Run (1975)
# of Voters: 44 | Score: 3097.296
Rank in 2014: #16
AM 3000 Rank: #17
Top Fans: M24 (#1), GabeBasso (#3), RedAnt (#3), VanillaFire1000 (#3), Andyd1010 (#3), Nicolas (#4), DocBrown (#6), StevieFan13 (#15), JohnnyBGoode (#16), Honorio (#18), Bruno (#19), Slucs (#20), Listyguy (#21), Jwinton (#21), Dexter (#22), Nick (#25), Nico (#27), Toni (#28), Karla (#30), NotBrianEno (#31), SweepstakesRon (#34), Brad (#35), Spiderpig (#36), Harold (#36), BleuPanda (#39), BryanBehar (#40), LiveinPhoenix (#46), RockyRaccoon (#52), BonnieLaurel (#58), Slick (#62), SJner (#65), GucciLIttlepiggy (#84), PlasticRam (#96)


There seems to be a generational taboo in the action of having lauded this so sweetly when I was sixteen, but what choice did I really have? When a girl named Mary breaks up with you and the opening, blistering tune that fronts this record opens up with the line, "The screen door slams / Mary's dress sways / Like a vision she dances across the porch as the radio plays," you're going to choke up and you're going to find everything you can in an album that provides such robust detail and sensational wonderment. My courtship with The Boss began as more of a rebound than anything else, and though people stopped and stared, whispering and subsequently cackling at the madness of this frizzy-haired Italian kid crooning to "Thunder Road" in his Opeth tee and laceless moccasins, there wasn't an ounce of regret in those days or anything that resulted from them. I'm unapologetic about what I like, the utterance, "I like Bruce Springsteen and U2; I'm a housewife" escaping my lips several times in jest as I hold those seminal music conversations with new faces and cheery acquaintances. I sang "Backstreets" with the mother of my ex-girlfriend, her abashedly burying her face into her hands and an unsympathetic gaze shooting from the only other mutual friend present. I know that I'm a dork for loving Born to Run, but I couldn't be arsed into caring.

Aforementioned "Thunder Road"... it really is an absolute masterpiece, one that I know every word to and an archetype of what I wish all songwriters made a stab at. It's so fearless, unconcerned with offending anybody who hears or realizes that the subject of focus (this Mary girl...) is them. I could spout nearly every line and lyric that the song offers and do a soliloquy about why each one means so much to me, but to keep from tiring out my fingers or boring your eyes, can I just do one? No line in the entirety of Bruce Springsteen's repertoire will EVER come close to being as evocative and haunting as "They haunt this dusty beach road / In the skeleton frames of burned out Chevrolets". Dear lord, it seems that I can't keep my attention on anything as this song is nearing that moment, and I always mouth the words and louse up one or two in the overjoyed process. And of course, there's that classic line from the title track that I always seem to remember best from witnessing my American Government teacher wailing along to it one day in class; I always just mumble along and catch the tail of it, "...and SUICIDE MACHINES." Don't even get me started on why also-aforementioned "Backstreets" is such a killer, especially when he makes that admittance of hatred towards her and her new lover. Such a brutal confessional.

The truth is that I've neglected much of this record because of the few personal hits that plagued my moody bedroom sessions, but there isn't a single weak or unnoticeable track on Born to Run. "Night" takes off so tensely, as if it's a distraught husband speeding through the metropolitan haziness to meet his hospitalized lover. With a swaggering contrast, "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" was the first thing I ever remember digging when I encountered this CD on some obdurate first playthrough, that jazziness being absolutely unmistakable once you've heard it. For an album that I've broken morsels off of more than I've swallowed whole, it blows my mind that the entire package kicks my teeth and stomach as ferociously as it does whenever I let it. Even if The Boss is considered to be a walking, audible chick flick, there's no denying that he's a force to be reckoned with, somebody that you would never want to piss off or slight unless you're aiming to have a vindictive narrative hurled in your honor (which, in all honesty, sounds pretty worth it).

I feel like anybody should relate to a record like this one. Don't let the tarnished implications of the moniker 'Bruce Springsteen' fool you, as this could easily slam most of what's on the airwaves today. Give Bruce a chance.
--Vito_James, RYM



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That there
That's not me
I go
Where I please


#13. Radiohead | Kid A (2000)
# of Voters: 48 | Score: 3131.065
Rank in 2014: #26
AM 3000 Rank: #37
Top Fans: Bootsy (#2), ChrisK (#2), Spiderpig (#6), DepecheMode (#7), OrdinaryPerson (#7), GucciLittlePiggy (#7), Dudumb (#9), GabeBasso (#9), Nick (#11), BleuPanda (#18), Gillingham (#20), M24 (#21), Panam (#23), BangJan (#23), JohnnyBGoode (#28), Jackson (#37), Honorio (#40), Listyguy (#41), PlasticRam (#44), ProsecutorGodot (#46), NotBrianEno (#50), Jirin (#50), JWinton (#52), DaveC (#55), Slick (#56), Sjner (#64), LuvulongTIM (#66), Whuntva (#68), Dexter (#90), Harold (#91), LiveinPhoenix (#93)

I had never even seen a shooting star before.


Just Kidding


That icy descent of notes announcing Kid A's opening track, "Everything in Its Right Place", were the cold shower waking rock and roll from its lust for rave culture since 1997. Kid A is the bastard hybrid child of those flirtatious years, art-damaged rock music shimmering with electricity.

I remember what a big deal Kid A was when it was released, just for debuting at number one on the charts without any singles to promote it, and driving downtown that Tuesday night to buy a copy. I parked in an underground parking garage and when I put the CD in the car stereo, that initial shower of synthesizer notes echoed off the walls, and I sat transfixed as the song played its course.

Kid A is a post-modern recording. Self-conscious of pop, rock, and electronic music, reflecting the band's own listening tastes as well as subverting what they had been recording up to this point, obsessively drawing on inspirations to remake them anew. The idea of post-modernism is to take (something traditionally defined as) low art through the wringer, reconstitute and recontextualize it until it becomes a new form. This album throws together disparate pieces of IDM, Krautrock, new wave, even flourishes of ambient and jazz, or cinematic film scores. In construction, the album is heavily cut-and-paste, in the vein of William S. Burroughs' Nova Trilogy and Dadaist poetry. It is the oppressive view from inside a nervous breakdown, a mess of odd time signatures and lyrics that seem to speak of horrible night terrors. Cold, strange, off-putting, and altogether cryptic, Kid A is steeped in so many traditions that it comes off unlike anything else. As Bergen Evans wrote, 'We may be through with the past, but the past is not through with us.'
--jshopa, RYM



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Well, John the Baptist after torturing a thief
Looks up at his hero the Commander-in-Chief
Saying, "Tell me great hero, but please make it brief
Is there a hole for me to get sick in?"
The Commander-in-Chief answers him while chasing a fly
Saying, "Death to all those who would whimper and cry."
And dropping a bar bell he points to the sky
Saying, "The sun's not yellow it's chicken."


#12. Bob Dylan | Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
# of Voters: 52 | Score: 3218.604
Rank in 2014: #12
AM 3000 Rank: #10
Top Fans: SJner (#1), M24 (#3), RockyRacoon (#8) Bootsy (#10), Nick (#10), BangJan (#10), Gillingham (#12), JasonBob4567 (#12), SonofSamIam (#13), GabeBasso (#17), PlasticRam (#18), Listyguy (#22), Jirin (#23), Babydoll (#24), Nico (#29), Harold (#30), Nicolas (#30), Acroamor (#31), Bruno (#34), SweepstakesRon (#37), Jackson (#42), LiveinPhoenix (#53), ProsecutorGodot (#58), Whuntva (#62), Brad (#65), Spiderpig (#66), Dexter (#79), Andyd1010 (#92), Dudumb (#96)


On August 30, Dylan released what remains for me the most electrifying rock-and-roll album of all time, Highway 61 Revisited. From its opening rim shot, which snaps the album into motion, an opening that stands above nearly all others in the history of rock and roll, a crack that strikes deep into the soul, Dylan spins and whirls into a snarling, searing 51 minutes of anarchic imagery and music. This is Bob Dylan at the height of his phantasmagoric powers, the dark visionary, the painter of nightmarish inner landscapes who brings together the strands of disparate worlds, mixes them and deconstructs them, crafting a world of disillusion and alienation that offers what may have been the first inclination that the Age of Aquarius was not all peace and love.

This is an album of brutality and innocence, an album that could only have been produced by an artist at the height of his powers, with a war raging overseas in the shadow of a presidential assassination. It is that rare album on which not only are there no weak cuts, but on which each song is a masterpiece, a classic rock and roll album.

Some history is in order, here. This is Dylan’s second electric effort, released in August of 1965, just five months after the remarkable Bringing It All Back Home. The earlier effort featured an electric side and an acoustic side, though the acoustic songs are nothing like anything he’d recorded in the past. In structure, in approach, they are songs that seem designed for full-band backing.

Dylan had been making the move toward rock and roll for about a year, starting with the release of the more personal Another Side of Bob Dylan, an album that lacked much of the topical fireworks of his two previous albums. Another Side was still a folk album, but sounded different than the folk music that was popular at the time both in terms of content and song structure.

Then in February 1965, Dylan released “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, the rollicking, rocking masterpiece that would forever change how rock and roll would be played from then on. “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, with its images of revolution and chaos, prefigured the pitched political battles that were to soon characterize the decade—but its musical impact was not apparent until the release in July of “Like a Rolling Stone” and Dylan’s fateful appearance at the Newport Folk Festival several days later.

The 1965 festival has taken on mythic stature in the annals of rock and roll and there is some dispute over exactly what happened when Dylan walked on stage dressed in leather jacket and white shirt with snap-tab collar and cranked out his allegory of intellectual freedom, “Maggie’s Farm”, “It Takes A Lot to Laugh” and “Like A Rolling Stone”. There apparently was booing and the crowd was angry—though just how angry and how much booing remains in dispute. He left the stage and came back to play a pair of acoustic songs—“It’s All Over Now Baby Blue” and “Mr. Tambourine Man”—and left again.

He then went into the studio to record what was to become Highway 61 Revisited—and it seems clear from the finished product, at least, that Dylan was affected by what went down at Newport. Much of the album was recorded and finished in the wake of Newport and some of the disc seems in some ways a rebuke to those who had created an image of Dylan that Dylan had no interest in living up to. (The brutal “Positively Fourth Street” was recorded during these sessions, though not included on the album.)

Dylan had already made his statement of liberation on Bringing It All Back Home, when he sang “Well, I try my best / To be just like I am / But everybody wants you / To be just like them. / They sing while you slave and I just get bored. / I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more.”

The result is Dylan’s hardest rocking album, an album of biting satire and vituperation, of fevered playing and controlled aggression.

There are the brutal recriminations of “Like a Rolling Stone”, a song so pointedly nasty, so harsh and unforgiving, that it is almost scary. “How does it feel / How does it feel / To be on your own / With no direction home / Like a complete unknown / Like a rolling stone?” Dylan sings, running down the song’s target, a woman who “dressed so fine” and attended “the finest schools” only to find herself finally taken down a peg, lost and alone.

“Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people / They’re drinkin’, thinkin’ that they got it made / Exchanging all kinds of precious gifts and things / But you’d better lift your diamond ring, you’d better pawn it babe,” Dylan sings without sympathy. “You used to be so amused / At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used / Go to him now, he calls you, you can’t refuse / When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose / You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal.”

“Tombstone Blues” is a dervish of images and surging, gyrating music—a truly anarchic explosion of music. The key here is the mix—somehow producer Bob Johnston allows each of the players their own space, allows us to hear each instrument as it weaves its musical line in and around the others, with Michael Bloomfield’s biting guitar and Al Kooper’s rambling piano charging up the entire effort.

“It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” is Dylan’s easy blues, a hobo song that ambles along its way, the languid beat masking the urgency—hinted at throughout by Dylan’s keening harmonica—an urgency that suddenly spills out in the final verse: “Don’t say I never warned you / When your train gets lost.” That hidden urgency explodes in Al Kooper’s bouncing organ on “From a Buick 6”, as the singer navigates the cruelties of the world, with a little help from his “soulful mama”.

“Ballad of a Thin Man” reprises the theme of dislocation that Dylan raised in “Like a Rolling Stone”, telling the story of a man, Mr. Jones, lost in the modern world, Mr. Jones wandering lost in the wilderness: “Because something is happening here” but he doesn’t “know what it is”. But it also is Dylan’s response to the changing times, a coda to “The Times They Are A-Changin’” in which he derides the comfortable and the would-be opinion makers and trendsetters (He is “well read” and has “many contacts”). There is the chuckle at the end of the first verse that lets you know Dylan has no sympathy for Mr. Jones, the song tracing with a growing derision Mr. Jones’s pretensions and growing alienation—“There ought to be a law / Against you comin’ around.”

With “Queen Jane Approximately”, Dylan leaves the door open, saying that there might be some relief from the alienation and dislocation—“Won’t you come see me, Queen Jane?”

Then comes the title cut, which kicks off what I’ve always thought of as a three-song nightmare suite: “Highway 61 Revisited”, “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”, and the majestic “Desolation Row”. The songs pile up a series of incongruous images, from the demanding god of Highway 61, where the good, the bad, and the horrid are all quite at home, to the story of Tom Thumb kicking around Juarez.

It is on “Desolation Row” that Dylan brings this nightmare to its logical and illogical conclusion, with a host of unlikely characters—Cinderella, Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot, Dr. Filth and Nero—casting about in a world that seems to jump off a Brueghel canvas, or maybe out of a William S. Burroughs novel. “They’re selling postcards of the hanging / They’re painting the passports brown / The beauty parlor is filled with sailors / The circus is in town,” Dylan sings atop a truly beautiful guitar line, a slowed-down flamenco riff that seems at odds with the dislocation and brutality of the lyrics.

The lyrics are a thick jumble of images, much of them contradictory, leaving us to wonder whether “Desolation Row” is heaven or hell. The Good Samaritan is heading to the carnival, but Casanova is punished for going there. Einstein had been famous “For playing the electric violin / On Desolation Row”, while Ophelia, who finds death “quite romantic”, stares at “Noah’s great rainbow” and “She spends her time peeking / Into Desolation Row.”

And it’s not as if the singer knows the answer either—or that we are asking the right questions: “All these people that you mention / Yes, I know them, they’re quite lame / I had to rearrange their faces / And give them all another name / Right now I can’t read too good / Don’t send me no more letters no / Not unless you mail them / From Desolation Row.”

Highway 61 Revisited does not fit in comfortably with the other trends of its time. It was one of a handful of albums (including the Beatles’ Rubber Soul and Revolver) that gave literate rockers the green light to create a kind of intelligent, probing rock music that had not existed before.
--Hank Kalet, Popmatters



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This here music mash up the nation
This here music cause a sensation
Tell your ma, tell your pa everything's gonna be all right
Can't you feel it? Don't ignore it
Gonna be alright


#11. The Clash | London Calling (1979)
# of Voters: 49 | Score: 3304.591
Rank in 2014: #4
AM 3000 Rank: #6
Top Fans: LuvulongTIM (#1), Nick (#3), StevieFan13 (#4), Honorio (#4), Michel (#5), M24 (#7), Slick (#7), RockyRaccoon (#7), DaveC (#8), LiveinPhoenix (#13), SJner (#13), Harold (#14), Jackson (#17), Bruno (#18), DocBrown (#22), Whuntva (#25), PlasticRam (#25), GabeBasso (#29), Dexter (#31), Dudumb (#33), RickyMathias (#36), BleuPanda (#36), Antonius (#43), Spiderpig (#45), Jirin (#47), Nico (#52), ChrisK (#54), Bootsy (#58), Nicolas (#59), BryanBehar (#61), JWinton (#62), Brad (#67), BangJan (#73), Romain (#83), VanillaFire1000 (#85), Andyd1010 (#86), Acroamor (#94)


Give 'Em Enough Rope, the band's last recording, railed against the notion that being rock & roll heroes meant martyrdom. Yet the album also presented itself so flamboyantly as a last stand that it created a near-insoluble problem: after you've already brought the apocalypse crashing down on your head, how can you possibly go on? On the Clash's new LP, London Calling, there's a composition called "Death or Glory" that seems to disavow the struggle completely. Over a harsh and stormy guitar riff, lead singer Joe Strummer offers a grim litany of failure. Then his cohort, Mick Jones, steps forward to drive what appears to be the final nail into the coffin. "Death or glory," he bitterly announces, "become just another story."

But "Death or Glory" — in many ways, the pivotal song on London Calling — reverses itself midway. After Jones' last, anguished cry drops off into silence, the music seems to scatter from the echo of his words. Strummer reenters, quiet and undramatic, talking almost to himself at first and not much caring if anyone else is listening. "We're gonna march a long way," he whispers. "Gonna fight — a long time." The guitars, distant as bugles on some faraway plain, begin to rally. The drums collect into a beat, and Strummer slowly picks up strength and authority as he sings:

We've gotta travel — over mountains
We've gotta travel — over seas
We're gonna fight — you, brother
We're gonna fight — till you lose
We're gonna raise —
TROUBLE!

The band races back to the firing line, and when the singers go surging into the final chorus of "Death or glory...just another story," you know what they're really saying: like hell it is!

Merry and tough, passionate and large-spirited, London Calling celebrates the romance of rock & roll rebellion in grand, epic terms. It doesn't merely reaffirm the Clash's own commitment to rock-as-revolution. Instead, the record ranges across the whole of rock & roll's past for its sound, and digs deeply into rock legend, history, politics and myth for its images and themes. Everything has been brought together into a single, vast, stirring story — one that, as the Clash tell it, seems not only theirs but ours. For all its first-take scrappiness and guerrilla production, this two-LP set — which, at the group's insistence, sells for not much more than the price of one — is music that means to endure. It's so rich and far-reaching that it leaves you not just exhilarated but exalted and triumphantly alive.

From the start, however, you know how tough a fight it's going to be. "London Calling" opens the album on an ominous note. When Strummer comes in on the downbeat, he sounds weary, used up, desperate: "The Ice Age is coming/The sun is zooming in/Meltdown expected/The wheat is growing thin.'

The rest of the record never turns its back on that vision of dread. Rather, it pulls you through the horror and out the other side. The Clash's brand of heroism may be supremely romantic, even naive, but their utter refusal to sentimentalize their own myth — and their determination to live up to an actual code of honor in the real world, without ever minimizing the odds — makes such romanticism seem not only brave but absolutely necessary. London Calling sounds like a series of insistent messages sent to the scattered armies of the night, proffering warnings and comfort, good cheer and exhortations to keep moving. If we begin amid the desolation of the title track, we end, four sides later, with Mick Jones spitting out heroic defiance in "I'm Not Down" and finding a majestic metaphor at the pit of his depression that lifts him — and us — right off the ground. "Like skyscrapers rising up," Jones screams. "Floor by floor — I'm not giving up." Then Joe Strummer invites the audience, with a wink and a grin, to "smash up your seats and rock to this brand new beat" in the merry-go-round invocation of "Revolution Rock."

Against all the brutality, injustice and large and small betrayals delineated in song after song here — the assembly-line Fascists in "Clampdown," the advertising executives of "Koka Kola," the drug dealer who turns out to be the singer's one friend in the jittery, hypnotic "Hateful" — the Clash can only offer their sense of historic purpose and the faith, innocence, humor and camaraderie embodied in the band itself. This shines through everywhere, balancing out the terrors that the LP faces again and again. It can take forms as simple as letting bassist Paul Simonon sing his own "The Guns of Brixton," or as relatively subtle as the way Strummer modestly moves in to support Jones' fragile lead vocal on the forlorn "Lost in the Supermarket." It can be as intimate and hilarious as the moment when Joe Strummer deflates any hint of portentousness in the sexual-equality polemics of "Lover's Rock" by squawking "I'm so nervous!" to close the tune. In "Four Horsemen," which sounds like the movie soundtrack to a rock & roll version of The Seven Samurai, the Clash's martial pride turns openly exultant. The guitars and drums start at a thundering gallop, and when Strummer sings, "Four horsemen ...," the other members of the group charge into line to shout joyously: "...and it's gonna be us!"

London Calling is spacious and extravagant. It's as packed with characters and incidents as a great novel, and the band's new stylistic expansions — brass, organ, occasional piano, blues grind, pop airiness and the reggae-dub influence that percolates subversively through nearly every number — add density and richness to the sound. The riotous rockabilly-meets-the-Ventures quality of "Brand New Cadillac" ("Jesus Christ!" Strummer yells to his ex-girlfriend, having so much fun he almost forgets to be angry, "Whereja get that Cadillac?") slips without pause into the strung-out shuffle of "Jimmy Jazz," a Nelson Algren-like street scene that limps along as slowly as its hero, just one step ahead of the cops. If "Rudie Can't Fail" (the "She's Leaving Home" of our generation) celebrates an initiation into bohemian lowlife with affection and panache, "The Card Cheat" picks up on what might be the same character twenty years later, shot down in a last grab for "more time away from the darkest door." An awesome orchestral backing track gives this lower-depths anecdote a somber weight far beyond its scope. At the end of "The Card Cheat," the song suddenly explodes into a magnificent panoramic overview — "from the Hundred Year War to the Crimea" — that turns ephemeral pathos into permanent tragedy.

Other tracks tackle history head-on, and claim it as the Clash's own. "Wrong 'Em Boyo" updates the story of Stagger Lee in bumptious reggae terms, forging links between rock & roll legend and the group's own politicized roots-rock rebel. "The Right Profile," which is about Montgomery Clift, accomplishes a different kind of transformation. Over braying and sarcastic horns, Joe Strummer gags, mugs, mocks and snickers his way through a comic-horrible account of the actor's collapse on booze and pills, only to close with a grudging admiration that becomes unexpectedly and astonishingly moving. It's as if the singer is saying, no matter how ugly and pathetic Clift's life was, he was still — in spite of everything — one of us.

"Spanish Bombs" is probably London Calling's best and most ambitious song. A soaring, chiming intro pulls you in, and before you can get your bearings, Strummer's already halfway into his tale. Lost and lonely in his "disco casino," he's unable to tell whether the gunfire he hears is out on the streets or inside his head. Bits of Spanish doggerel, fragments of combat scenes, jangling flamenco guitars and the lilting vocals of a children's tune mesh in a swirling kaleidoscope of courage and disillusionment, old wars and new corruption. The evocation of the Spanish Civil War is sumptuously romantic: "With trenches full of poets, the ragged army, fixin' bayonets to fight the other line." Strummer sings, as Jones throws in some lovely, softly stinging notes behind him. Here as elsewhere, the heroic past isn't simply resurrected for nostalgia's sake. Instead, the Clash state that the lessons of the past must be earned before we can apply them to the present.

London Calling certainly lives up to that challenge. With its grainy cover photo, its immediate, on-the-run sound, and songs that bristle with names and phrases from today's headlines, it's as topical as a broadside. But the album also claims to be no more than the latest battlefield in a war of rock & roll, culture and politics that'll undoubtedly go on forever. "Revolution Rock," the LP's formal coda, celebrates the joys of this struggle as an eternal carnival. A spiraling organ weaves circles around Joe Strummer's voice, while the horn section totters, sways and recovers like a drunken mariachi band. "This must be the way out," Strummer calls over his shoulder, so full of glee at his own good luck that he can hardly believe it." El Clash Combo," he drawls like a proud father, coasting now, sure he's made it home. "Weddings, parties, anything... And bongo jazz a specialty."

But it's Mick Jones who has the last word. "Train in Vain" arrives like an orphan in the wake of "Revolution Rock." It's not even listed on the label, and it sounds faint, almost overheard. Longing, tenderness and regret mingle in Jones' voice as he tries to get across to his girl that losing her meant losing everything, yet he's going to manage somehow. Though his sorrow is complete, his pride is that he can sing about it. A wistful, simple number about love and loss and perseverance, "Tram in Vain" seems like an odd ending to the anthemic tumult of London Calling. But it's absolutely appropriate, because if this record has told us anything, it's that a love affair and a revolution — small battles as well as large ones — are not that different. They're all part of the same long, bloody march.
--Tom Carson, Rolling Stone
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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby andyd1010 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 6:16 pm

Wow, I am shocked. Funeral gains 2 No. 1 votes and still drops from 6th to 15th!

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Nassim » Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:10 pm

andyd1010 wrote:Wow, I am shocked. Funeral gains 2 No. 1 votes and still drops from 6th to 15th!


Surprised Kid A is higher, but #6 seemed like an anomaly. This reflects its stature in the forum better (and that's my highest ranked album of the top 100 so it's not a bias against it)

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Rocky Raccoon » Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:27 pm

I guess Beatlemania is alive and well in the forum. Also, I'd just like to add my kudos to notbrianeno for a tremendous rollout.

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Harold » Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:49 pm

Rocky Raccoon wrote:I guess Beatlemania is alive and well in the forum.


Given your username, I'm assuming that isn't a complaint... :mrgreen:

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Listyguy » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:17 am

Nassim wrote:Surprised Kid A is higher, but #6 seemed like an anomaly. This reflects its stature in the forum better (and that's my highest ranked album of the top 100 so it's not a bias against it)

I agree, when I was looking back at the 2014 results I was surprised it was that high, having forgotten it ended up so high. I definitely prefer Kid A, so I won't complain about it claiming the 00's crown (for now).

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby veganvalentine » Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:21 am

andyd1010 wrote:Wow, I am shocked. Funeral gains 2 No. 1 votes and still drops from 6th to 15th!

I have failed you. :?

Cool to see Dark Side and Abbey Road in the top 10, just like my list. I’m a little surprised The White Album made it this far though.

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Henry » Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:22 am

Highway 61 Revisited with 52 voters seems to have received the most top 500 placements with Thriller having 49 as the album receiving the second highest voter tally. With 74 poll participants, I wonder what the highest voter total will be among the top ten albums. Predictions, if any, should be provided in the prediction thread.

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby prosecutorgodot » Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:23 am

Number of points = 100 - [square root(18.5*Placement-1)]
I think the points seem pretty close. Especially at these altitudes, I would expect the albums to have more significant gaps between. There are only 38 points between Funeral and Born to Run, and only 34 points between Born to Run and Kid A.

To put this in perspective, someone placing an album at #200 is worth 39 points. I didn't place Funeral on my list of 200, but if I did, it would have beat Born to Run. It is interesting to note these minute differences.

Also, once I got the Kid A-Pitchfork joke, I found it pretty funny, NBE. :lol:

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby VanillaFire1000 » Sat Oct 21, 2017 4:49 am

prosecutorgodot wrote:Number of points = 100 - [square root(18.5*Placement-1)]
I think the points seem pretty close. Especially at these altitudes, I would expect the albums to have more significant gaps between. There are only 38 points between Funeral and Born to Run, and only 34 points between Born to Run and Kid A.

To put this in perspective, someone placing an album at #200 is worth 39 points. I didn't place Funeral on my list of 200, but if I did, it would have beat Born to Run. It is interesting to note these minute differences.

Also, once I got the Kid A-Pitchfork joke, I found it pretty funny, NBE. :lol:


It has always been better to "go wide" with total votes for AMF polls than "going deep" with a few high placements in some lists. The little bits add up.

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Depeche Mode » Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:57 am

Ha yes that Pitchfork Kid A review is pretty great. I'm also happy about the last batch, just 3 of my voted albums are in top 30, they also made top 13 :D. Beatlemania is def. out of control but I've come to expect that here.

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Gillingham » Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:01 am

That #15 to #11 was a great batch.

And the Kid A review joke was spot on!

Depeche Mode wrote:Ha yes that Pitchfork Kid A review is pretty great. I'm also happy about the last batch, just 3 of my voted albums are in top 30, they also made top 13 :D. Beatlemania is def. out of control but I've come to expect that here.

Beatlemania used to be out of control here, it's way beyond that this time, don't even know what is it now...

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby notbrianeno » Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:34 pm

Image

Underneath the bridge
The tarp has sprung a leak
And the animals I've trapped
Have all become my pets
And I'm living off of grass
And the drippings from the ceiling
But it's okay to eat fish
'Cause they don't have any feelings


#10. Nirvana | Nevermind (1991)
# of Voters: 49 | Score: 3308.754
Rank in 2014: #19
AM 3000 Rank: #4
Top Fans: Dexter (#1), Schaefer.tk (#1), LiveinPhoenix (#1), ChrisK (#6), Felipinho (#7), Bootsy (#8), M24 (#10), RockyRaccoon (#11), Dudumb (#11), OrdinaryPerson (#11), BleuPanda (#12), Bruno (#13), Whuntva (#17), Renan (#17), Harold (#20), Victor.marianoo77 (#21), Spiderpig (#22), JohnnyBGoode (#23), Nick (#23), SJner (#24), Nico (#26), JWinton (#27), BryanBehar (#29), BonnieLaurel (#37), Andyd1010 (#39), Rickymathias (#40), Slick (#42), Michel (#46), Jirin (#49), Spiritualized (#54), Honorio (#54), Listyguy (#62), PlasticRam (#63), ProsecutorGodot (#64), GucciLittlePiggy (#70), LuvulongTIM (#73), VeganValentine (#93), Romain (#93)


NEVERMIND, their next album, recorded by Cobain, Novoselic and a new drummer (ex-Scream Dave Grohl), was released in October 1991 and was to become one of the greatest hits of the year. Smells Like Teen Spirit, an epic, angry cry in the style of the Replacements, is the album's opening song which quickly rose to cult status, symbolizing the apathetic and caustic spirit of a generation. Treading in its wake, songs like Breed build a wall of noise (layers of guitar, samplings and vocals) according to a musical lexicon which has been reduced to minimum terms and maximum means in order to wed juvenile frustration and metaphysical yearning. However, in this caldron of burning lava, some intense and weary ballads shine too - In Bloom, Lithium and On A Plain which are the album's true heart. The autobiographical Come As You Are is plainer, but it conquered the audience all the same. It is only in the stormy raptures of Territorial Pissing and in the wild ferociousness of Stay Away that Nirvana recall their origins; Cobain is at his top as a singer, he can even transform the acoustic moaning of Polly or the moribund whisper of Something In The Way into magical and ominous atmospheres. His detached howl (a virtual oxymoron) is worthier than the songs he sings. Elements of the Sixties proudly surface in Lounge Act, revealing that, after all, this is the same good old bubblegum, now performed with the grace of a bulldozer, its main ancestor being the Los Angeles powerpop of the 70's.

The obvious commercial potential of the album (five million copies sold against the thirty thousand of their first album) did not cut off Cobain's hard-core fans from him: he still shined as a mythical, fiendish character and kept on asserting his belief in the punk creed.
--Piero Scaruffi



Image

Dear Prudence open up your eyes
Dear Prudence see the sunny skies
The wind is low the birds will sing
That you are part of everything
Dear Prudence won't you open up your eyes?


#9. The Beatles | The Beatles (The White Album) (1968)
# of Voters: 49 | Score: 3375.523
Rank in 2014: #11
AM 3000 Rank: #13
Top Fans: Toni (#2), Honorio (#2), Zombeels (#5), Miguel (#5), RockyRaccoon (#5), Nicolas (#5), Nick (#6), Harold (#7), Brad (#7), Romain (#8), Victor.marianoo77 (#10), Acroamor (#10), ChrisK (#10), Dexter (#13), PlasticRam (#14), GabeBasso (#16), Georgie (#17), Sjner (#19), Rickymathias (#21), BangJan (#21), LuvulongTIM (#23), BryanBehar (#24), SonofSamIAm (#26), RedAnt (#29), Michel (#32), JohnnyBGoode (#34), Antonius (#40), Jirin (#42), Bruno (#43), EmilienDelRey (#45), M24 (#47), Spiderpig (#47), Andyd1010 (#57), Whuntva (#61), LiveinPhoenix (#69), Maschine_Man (#70), OrdinaryPerson (#76), VeganValentine (#81), Bootsy (#91)


In his review of the Beatles' 1963 LP debut, Please Please Me, Tom Ewing pointed out that whether or not you consider them to be the best band of the rock'n'roll era, they certainly have the quintessential pop band story. Everything they did is deeply embedded in rock's DNA, and the band's offhand and ad-hoc gestures have long been established parts of pop music mythology. And of the Beatles' albums, none-- not even Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band-- rivals The Beatles as a rock archetype. The phrase, "It's like their White Album"-- applied to records like Prince's Sign o' the Times, Hüsker Dü's Zen Arcade, the Clash's Sandinista!, and Pavement's Wowee Zowee, among many others-- has long been accepted critical shorthand. To use the expression is to conjure a familiar cluster of associations: The work in question is large and sprawling, overflowing with ideas but also with indulgences, and filled with a hugely variable array of material, some of which might sound great one day and silly the next. A band's White Album is also most likely assembled under a time of great stress, often resulting in an artistic peak but one that nonetheless scatters clues to its creator's eventual demise.

The Beatles, the band's complex and wide-ranging double album from 1968, is all of these things. It's a glorious and flawed mess, and its failings are as essential to its character as its triumphs. People love this album not because every song is a masterpiece, but because even the throwaways have their place. Even so, for the Beatles, being all over the place was a sign of trouble. The disintegration of the group as one "thing" is reflected in every aspect of the record, from its recording history (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison sometimes worked in separate studios on their own songs) to its production (generally spare and tending to shapeshift from one song to the next) to the arrangements of the songs (which tend to emphasize the solo voice above all). Visual changes were also apparent. Until The Beatles, the group's album artwork tended to depict the band as a unit: same haircuts, same jackets, same costumes, same artist's rendering. But The Beatles was packaged with separate individual color photos of John, Paul, George and Ringo, and they now appear almost forebodingly distinct. All of a sudden, the Beatles neither looked nor sounded like a monolith. So soon after Pepper and the death of manager Brian Epstein in 1967, the writing was on the wall.

But the backstory of The Beatles, while fascinating, is inessential to the album's appeal. Yes, they wrote most of it in India on acoustic guitar, while on a pilgrimage of sorts in early 1968 to see the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Some of Lennon's songs, including "Sexy Sadie" and "Dear Prudence", are based directly on the group's disillusioning experiences there. But it's the spectral, floating mood of "Prudence" and Lennon's playful, faintly condescending vocal in "Sadie" that stay with you. And while we know that Lennon's new love, Yoko Ono, was a regular presence during the session, much to the rest of the band's chagrin (McCartney has claimed that she would sometimes sit on his bass amp during a take, and he'd have to ask her to scoot over to adjust the volume), and that her influence on him led to the tape collage "Revolution 9", the more important detail is the final one, that the biggest pop band in the world exposed millions of fans to a really great and certainly frightening piece of avant-garde art.

In one sense, "Revolution 9" almost seems like The Beatles in microcosm: audacious, repetitive, silly, and intermittently dull, but also pulsing with life. If the individual Beatles hadn't been on such a songwriting roll during this time or if the album hadn't been sequenced and edited so well, The Beatles could easily have been an overlong slog, a Let It Be x2, say. But somehow, almost in spite of itself, it flows. The iffy jokes ("Rocky Raccoon", "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill", "Piggies") and genre exercises (Lennon's aggro "Yer Blues", McCartney's pre-war pop confection "Honey Pie") are enjoyable, even without knowing that another gem is lurking around the next corner.

If The Beatles feels more like a collection of songs by solo artists, they've also each got more going on than we'd realized. John is even more hilarious than we'd imagined, wanting nothing more than to puncture the Beatles' myth ("Glass Onion"), but he's also displaying a disconcerting willingness to deal with painful autobiography in a direct way ("Julia"). Paul's getting disarmingly soft and fluffy ("Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da", "I Will"), while simultaneously writing the roughest, rawest tunes in his Beatles oeuvre ("Back in the U.S.S.R.", "Helter Skelter"). George is finding a better way to channel his new Eastern-influenced spiritual concerns into a rock context, while his songwriting toolkit continues to expand ("While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Long Long Long"). And even Ringo Starr writes a decent song, a country & western number with weirdly thick and heavy production ("Don't Pass Me By"). Listening as the tracks scroll by, there's a constant feeling of discovery.

But ultimately, the thing about this record is that the Beatles sound human on it. You feel like you're really getting to know them, just as they're starting to get to know themselves. Their amazing run between the latter part of 1965 through 1967 made them seem like a band apart, infallible musical geniuses always looking for another boundary to break. Here, they fail, and pretty often, too. But by allowing for that, they somehow achieve more. White Albums come when you surrender to inspiration: you're feeling so much, so intensely, that you're not sure what it all means, and you know you'll never be able to squeeze it all in.
--Mark Richardson, Pitchfork



Image

And in the end it's only round 'n round
Haven't you heard it's a battle of words
The poster bearer cried
Listen son, said the man with the gun
There's room for you inside


#8. Pink Floyd | The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
# of Voters: 50 | Score: 3555.370
Rank in 2014: #14
AM 3000 Rank: #20
Top Fans: VeganValentine (#1), DaveC (#1), Whuntva (#2), Chambord (#3), Nico (#3), Felipinho (#3), Henry (#4), Acroamor (#4), Bruno (#6), Dexter (#7), Andyd1010 (#7), Georgie (#10), Victor.Marianoo77 (#12), OrdinaryPerson (#15), GabeBasso (#15), RedAnt (#20), Dudumb (#21), Nick (#21), Nicolas (#23), SJner (#26), Bootsy (#26), RockyRaccoon (#27), Gillingham (#28), Slick (#32), BonnieLaurel (#33), DepecheMode (#34), RickyMathias (#35), Profeta (#40), Slucs (#46), Spiritualized (#46), ProsecutorGodot (#48), Michel (#51), DocBrown (#52), Brad (#59), Spiderpig (#68), Listyguy (#76), Harold (#77), M24 (#78), VanillaFire1000 (#94), Romain (#95), ChrisK (#100)


One of Britain's most successful and long lived avant-garde rock bands, Pink Floyd emerged relatively unsullied from the mire of mid-Sixties British psychedelic music as early experimenters with outer space concepts. Although that phase of the band's development was of short duration, Pink Floyd have from that time been the pop scene's preeminent techno-rockers: four musicians with a command of electronic instruments who wield an arsenal of sound effects with authority and finesse. While Pink Floyd's albums were hardly hot tickets in the shops, they began to attract an enormous following through their US tours. They have more recently developed a musical style capable of sustaining their dazzling and potentially overwhelming sonic wizardry.

The Dark Side of the Moon is Pink Floyd's ninth album and is a single extended piece rather than, a collection of songs. It seems to deal primarily with the fleetingness and depravity of human life, hardly the commonplace subject matter of rock. "Time" ("The time is gone the song is over"), "Money" ("Share it fairly but don't take a slice of my pie"). And "Us And Them" ("Forward he cried from the rear") might be viewed as the keys to understanding the meaning (if indeed there is any definite meaning) of The Dark Side of the Moon.

Even though this is a concept album, a number of the cuts can stand on their own. "Time" is a fine country-tinged rocker with a powerful guitar solo by David Gilmour and "Money" is broadly and satirically played with appropriately raunchy sax playing by Dick Parry, who also contributes a wonderfully-stated, breathy solo to "Us And Them." The non-vocal "On The Run" is a standout with footsteps racing from side to side successfully eluding any number of odd malevolent rumbles and explosions only to be killed off by the clock's ticking that leads into "Time." Throughout the album the band lays down a solid framework which they embellish with synthesizers, sound effects and spoken voice tapes. The sound is lush and multi-layered while remaining clear and well-structured.

There are a few weak spots. David Gilmour's vocals are sometimes weak and lackluster and "The Great Gig in the Sky" (which closes the first side) probably could have been shortened or dispensed with, but these are really minor quibbles. The Dark Side of the Moon is a fine album with a textural and conceptual richness that not only invites, but demands involvement. There is a certain grandeur here that exceeds mere musical melodramatics and is rarely attempted in rock. The Dark Side of the Moon has flash-the true flash that comes from the excellence of a superb performance
--Lloyd Grossman, Rolling Stone
Current AOTY 2017: Björk | Utopia
Current SOTY 2017: Björk | "Body Memory"

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby panam » Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:14 pm

The final is going to be more classic than the last edition.

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby kargetina » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:52 pm

Excellent placement for DSOTM!

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby notbrianeno » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:29 pm

Image

Try to realise it's all within yourself
No one else can make you change
And to see you're really only very small
And life flows on within you and without you


#7. The Beatles | Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
# of Voters: 50 | Score: 3603.067
Rank in 2014: #8
AM 3000 Rank: #5
Top Fans: Felipinho (#1), Victor.Marianoo77 (#1), RockyRaccoon (#1), Nico (#2), Rickymathias (#2), Bruno (#3), Nick (#5), BonnieLaurel (#5), Spiderpig (#5), SweepstakesRon (#5), Whuntva (#6), PlasticRam (#8), Dexter (#8), LiveinPhoenix (#12), VanillaFire1000 (#14), OrdinaryPerson (#14), Miguel (#20), Maschine_Man (#24), JohnnyBGoode (#27), Michel (#31), Acroamor (#34), Dudumb (#34), M24 (#35), GabeBasso (#39), VeganValentine (#40), ChrisK (#40), BleuPanda (#50), Harold (#56), DocBrown (#58), SJner (#59), Antonius (#59), Romain (#60), Listyguy (#64), Georgie (#70), Andyd1010 (#74), Spiritualized (#76), LuvulongTIM (#79), Bootsy (#95), Brad (#99)


Finally free of touring, the Beatles next sought to be free of themselves, hitting on the rather daft concept of recording as an alias band. The idea held for all of two songs, one coda, and one album sleeve, but was retained as the central organizing and marketing feature of the band's 1967 album *Sgt. Pepper'*s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Hailed on its release as proof that popular music could be as rich an artistic pursuit as more high-minded media such as jazz and classical, the record's reputation and sense of ambition ushered in the album era. Its influence was so pervasive and so instructional regarding the way music is crafted and sold to the public that this is still the predominant means of organizing, distributing, and promoting new music four decades later, well after the decline of physical media.

The concept, of course, is that the record was to be recorded by the titular fictional band, a washed-up rock'n'roll group on the comeback trail. (This was actually the second concept earmarked for the Beatles' next LP; the original, a record of songs about Liverpool, was abandoned when its first two tracks were needed for the group's next single, "Strawberry Fields Forever"/ "Penny Lane".) Probably for the best, little of the fictional-band vision for the record made it through; what did last from that conceit are a few tangential ideas-- a satirical bent on popular entertainment and a curiosity with nostalgia and the past.

The record opens with a phony live performance by the Lonely Hearts Band, a sort of Vegas act-- the sort of thing that, in 1963, people thought the almost certainly soon-to-be-passé Beatles would be doing themselves in 1967. Instead, the Beatles had completed their shattering of the rules of light entertainment, even halting their own live performances, which they'd never again do together for a paid audience.

Even as they mocked this old version of a performing band, ironically *Sgt. Pepper'*s and its ambitions helped to codify the rock band as artists rather than popular entertainers. In the hands of their followers, the notion of a pop group as a compact, independent entity, responsible for writing, arranging, and performing its own material would be manifested in the opposite way-- rather than holing up in the studio and focusing on records, bands were meant to prove in the flesh they could "bring it" live. Notions of authenticity and transparency would become valued over studio output. (To be fair, upstart bands had to gig in order to get attention and a reputation, while the Beatles, of course, could write, break, and rewrite their own rules; they had the luxury and freedom to take advantage of a changing entertainment world and could experiment with different, emerging models of how to function as a rock band in much the same way that Trent Reznor or Radiohead can today.)

The freedom from live performance didn't necessitate that Beatles songs now sounded practiced or rehearsed, and indeed they weren't. Instead, they were studio creations assembled in sections and pieces. As the band splintered, this practice would spill over into releasing song sketches on the White Album and inspire, in part through necessity, the lengthy song cycle at the close of Abbey Road. On Sgt. Pepper's, the most rewarding manifestation of this shift was the record's most forward-looking piece, "A Day in the Life". Complex in construction and epic in feel, "A Day in the Life" nevertheless seems enveloping and breezy to listeners. Indeed, the sustained, closing ringing chord of the song comes a mere 4:20 into the track.

"A Day"'s only best-in-show competitor was McCartney's "She's Leaving Home". (As on Revolver, the peaks here were a mold-breaking closer and classically inspired story-song). "A Day in the Life" has only grown in estimation, rightfully becoming one of the most acclaimed Beatles tracks. "She's Leaving Home", by contrast, has slid from view-- perhaps too maudlin to work on classic rock radio and too MOR for hipster embrace, it was nevertheless the other headline track on Sgt. Pepper's when it was released. The story of a runaway teen, it misses as a defiant generational statement in part because it's actually sympathetic to the parents in the song. In the second verse, McCartney defies expectations by not following the young girl on her adventure but keeping the track set in the home as her parents wake to find her goodbye letter.

In the end, we learn "She" left home for "fun"-- a rather churlish reason, and when paired with McCartney's simplistic sentiments in "When I'm 64" (the aging couple there will be happy to "scrimp and save"), the young girl seems more selfish than trapped. In fact, for a group whose every move was a generational wedge, and for such a modern record, the Beatles' *Sgt. Pepper'*s is oddly conservative in places: "Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite" takes inspiration from a Victorian-era carnival; "When I'm 64" is a music-hall parody that fantasizes about what it would be like to be the Beatles' grandparents' age; "Fixing a Hole" has a rather mundane domestic setting; the fantasy girl in "Lovely Rita" is a cop.

Lyrically, it's an atypical way to usher in the Summer of Love, but musically, the record is wildly inventive, built on double-tracking, tape effects, and studio technology. The dream-like haze of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds", the fairground, sawdust feel of "Mr. Kite", and the cavalcade of sound effects at the end of "Good Morning Good Morning" were the most demonstrative sounds on the record, but otherwise benign passages were also steeped in innovation, whether recording from the inside of a brass instrument or plugging instruments directly into the sound board instead of capturing them through mics.

Almost everything done on Sgt. Pepper's turned out to be new and forward-thinking, from the iconic record sleeve to the totemic ending to "A Day in the Life". There are very few moments in pop music history in which you can mark a clear before and after, in which almost everything changed. In the UK, it's arguably happened only five times, and on just four instances in the U.S. (Thriller here; acid house and punk there, and Elvis everywhere, of course); in both nations, the Beatles launched two of those moments.

In retrospect, it almost seems like this time the band itself was taken aback by its own accomplishments, not only shying from directly living up to Revolver via the smoke and mirrors of the Lonely Hearts Club Band but then never again throwing themselves into their work as a collective unit. *Sgt. Pepper'*s, possibly as a corrective to the hushed tones with which it's been received for decades, has slipped in estimation behind a few of the band's other records, but it's easy to hear how it achieved that reputation in the first place. Even if John, Paul, George, and Ringo would arguably go on to best a handful of its moments, the amazing stretch of music created in 1966-67 was the peak of the Beatles as a working band.
--Scott Plagenhoef, Pitchfork



Image

Could I ever find in you again
Things that made me love you so much then
Could we ever bring 'em back once they have gone
Oh, Caroline no


#6. The Beach Boys | Pet Sounds (1966)
# of Voters: 52 | Score: 3619.718
Rank in 2014: #3
AM 3000 Rank: #1
Top Fans: RickyMathias (#1), Georgie (#2), Victor.Marianoo77 (#2), Spiderpig (#3), VanillaFire1000 (#4), Nico (#4), Nick (#4), Bruno (#4), Miguel (#6), Honorio (#10), Jackson (#11), EmilienDelRey (#12), SJner (#14), Bootsy (#14), Schaefer.tk (#17), Jeff (#17), Nicolas (#17), Acroamor (#19), Harold (#19), BangJan (#22), Andyd1010 (#24), JohnnyBgoode (#24), SonofSamIam (#25), Dexter (#29), BleuPanda (#31), LiveinPhoenix (#32), M24 (#36), BryanBehar (#37), Maschine_Man (#38), PlasticRam (#38), ProsecutorGodot (#40), Slick (#44), RockyRacoon (#53), Whuntva (#53), Toni (#57), DocBrown (#67), Babydoll (#70), VeganValentine (#72), GucciLittlePiggy (#90), JWinton (#92)


There are some albums that come along that are just indisputably classics and to resist their charms would be futile. You wouldn’t think it to look at its frankly embarrassing cover but Pet Sounds is one of them. Never outside the top ten of any “best albums of all time list” and more often than not number one or two, Pet Sounds unique beauty has endured for decades and undoubtedly will continue to endure for decades to come. Amazingly, Pet Sounds main competition in album polls, the Beatles’ Revolver, was released the same year, making 1966 an historical year for music indeed.

Although there was ten months between the release of Pet Sounds and its proper predecessor Summer Days (And Summer Nights), the majority of the album was written in the first two months of 1966, an incredibly short period of time for such indispensable material. The months leading up to this were taken up with work on the stop-gap Beach Boys Party album, a collection of acoustic covers adorned with the falsified woops and hollers of a studio-created beach party atmosphere. There were also several singles released, the biggest hit being a cover of the Regents “Barbara Ann”, an old time Beach Boys rock ‘n’ roller. After the fiasco of trying to pander to Capitol Records commercial demands, resulting in the lacklustre Summer Days… album, the success of “Barbara Ann” was yet further proof that the hits were easy to get if Brian Wilson was willing to stick to the simple, goodtime formula of old.

A far stronger single, “The Little Girl I Once Knew”, flopped due to lack of airplay and its more mature direction. By this time Brian must have been pretty depressed at the lack of enthusiasm afforded his growing talents. Further salt was poured in the wound when the first fruits from Pet Sounds, “Caroline No”, scraped to a pitiful number 32 in the US charts but respite was at hand. The second release from the forthcoming album, “Sloop John B” (recorded long before the rest of the record), became a massive hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Then, in December 1965, the Beatles released Rubber Soul, their strongest and most mature album to date. This acted as the catalyst Brian needed to spur him on to create something even better and suddenly any danger of the Beach Boys lapsing back into being a band of little artistic significance sank without trace.

For most of the songs on Pet Sounds, Brian collaborated with lyricist Tony Asher, who turned in some great, heartfelt words to perfectly match Brian’s increasingly emotional music. Brian himself was determined to make each track a “sound experience” of its own, explaining musically the way he felt inside. The result is a warm, uplifting, deeply emotional record that flows beautifully without any one track breaking the unifying atmosphere. Brian’s production is a proper miracle, better even than on previous masterpiece Today!, a corker of a record that Pet Sounds somehow manages to utterly outstrip. The songs aren’t simply rock ‘n’ roll ballads, they are completely unique creations plucked instrument by instrument from Brian’s mind, culminating in towering, heavenly creations stuffed to the gills with instruments, harmonies and bizarrely brilliant contributions from stranger sources such as bicycle bells and clown horns.

The album kicks off in fine fettle with the US hit single “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, the album’s most fiercely upbeat cut. A fantasy of happily married life seen through the eyes of two kids still too young to make it a reality, “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” opens with the instantly recognisable music-box tinkle of a riff before a single thud of a drum unleashes the deliriously cheery vocals which are quickly joined by a flood of carefully woven harmonies. This quick shift from the stripped down to the flooded-out sound is repeated several times with increasingly winning effects, particularly the final time when Brian niftily slips in a tempo change without calling attention to it until the harmonies come back in. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” is a perfect way to start the album; a bold, upbeat and catchy opener filled with the incredible complex harmonies that characterise some of the album’s greatest moments.

“You Still Believe In Me” is a beautiful hymn of gratitude to a supportive lover. Quite different to “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”, “You Still Believe In Me” is an ambitious grower that emerges as easily one of the best tracks on the album. Divided into two parts, “You Still Believe In Me” opens with two verses, gorgeously and sincerely sung by Brian, which outline the touching relationship at the core of the song’s lyric. One of the wonders of the song is the way in which the title refrain is woven so subtly into the end of each of the verses. This is achieved so seamlessly that it’s easy to miss on initial listens. Less easy to miss is the second refrain, a bellowing harmony that ascends and descends repeatedly over the top of a musical backdrop bulging with ideas. The final masterstroke is a very funny and brilliantly executed false ending in which the harmonies seemingly come to rest, only to burst skyward again without due warning. While “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” was the perfect pop song to open with, “You Still Believe In Me” reveals the true wonders to expect.

Another change of tack leads to “That’s Not Me”, one of the album’s more stripped down moments. Still shimmering with the glow of Brian’s production, “That’s Not Me” is a melancholy but attitude-packed ode to the problems of trying to display independence when really you’re filled with fear and loneliness. Carried along by a simpler bed of harmonies, “That’s Not Me” mainly focuses on the lead vocal, which at once inspires empathy in the listener. Only in the late-introduced refrain do the harmonies threaten to get more complex and even then, after a rousing initial swell, they drop off and allow the lead vocal to tackle the refrain alone, reflecting the loneliness and fragility of the song’s prodigal narrator.

“That’s Not Me” is a splendidly rock-tinged track and this is quickly countered by one of the album’s most emotional, peaceful moments of beauty. “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder)” is a very slow paced lullaby with a commanding string section and another sincerely touching vocal from Brian that ought to melt the stoniest of hearts. “Don’t Talk” is representative of the most extreme emotional corners probed by Pet Sounds, but like everything else on the album it is thoroughly uplifting, a moment of perfect peace away from the worries of the world highlighted in “That’s Not Me”. It may not have been music to the ears of Capitol Records or the band’s sun and surf-obsessed fair-weather fans but “Don’t Talk” is undoubtedly one of the major milestones in Brian Wilson’s development as a songwriter. No harmonies, no guitar licks, no awkwardly forced “hip” lyrics; just pure emotion pouring from the sound of one man’s voice and a sleepy musical backing that evokes winter firesides and the arms of a loved one.

Before I get so sappy I have to blow my nose with a pancake, let’s move on to the album’s second big pop song and the only track to feature creative input from another Beach Boy. “I’m Waiting for the Day” was written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love and it is probably Mike’s contributions that make this the track most reminiscent of older material. That said, it is still streets ahead of pretty much everything from the band’s back catalogue and Brian and Mike have collaborated to combine the best parts of the old and new sound. So, we open with an invigorating boom of drums before segueing into a melancholy opening verse which slowly builds into an upbeat, tight frenzy of joyous music. As with “You Still Believe In Me” the instrumentation is monumental, with layers and layers of fascinating sounds mesmerising knitted together into a glorious whole. Also in common with “You Still Believe In Me” , “I’m Waiting for the Day” features a brilliant false ending which gives way to a rollicking coda. A clear highlight on any other album, “I’m Waiting for the Day” has the misfortune to be the last vocal track before some of the album’s most celebrated songs but its spellbinding musical/vocal interplay should not be overlooked.

The instrumental “Let’s Go Away For Awhile” acts as a short interval before the one-two punch of the subsequent singles but it is clearly not simply filler. It is another musical triumph on Brian’s part, expanding on the symphonic strains of the previous album’s instrumental “Summer Means New Love” and improving upon it tenfold. The problem with “Let’s Go Away For Awhile” is that it is so damn relaxing that it is easy to just let it drift by as you slowly slip into a dream. Far from an insult, however, it is surely a compliment that a piece of music can lull you into such a tranquil state. “Let’s Go Away For Awhile” fits in beautifully with the lush atmosphere of Pet Sounds and is a beautiful way to lead into two of the album’s strongest songs.

“Sloop John B” is a cover of a traditional West Indian folk song but Brian has very much made it every bit his own. The song had already been a huge hit despite being a far cry from the sort of music the Beach Boys were popular for. It seems that even the fickle public could not remain immune to this magical recording. I can’t speak too highly of “Sloop John B”. Since the moment I first heard it, the Beach Boys incredibly complex take on the song became one of my favourite singles of all time and it remains so to this day. After many, many, many listens it just never loses its power over me. There’s numerous great moments to speak of, including the transition from the stripped down opening verse to the gorgeous, filled-out second verse, but for me and, I’d imagine, most people the clear highlight of the song is the a capella moment that Brian has created at approximately 1:50 into the song. It’s one of the most magical moments in the history of recorded music. Everything, EVERYTHING, is right with “Sloop John B”. It features, to my mind, the greatest vocals the Beach Boys ever recorded and it remains the ultimate testament to the genius of Brian Wilson as an arranger.

After such a monumental track almost anything would be a comedown. Brian sidesteps this inevitability by following it with one of his own greatest compositions, “God Only Knows”. A genuinely sweet love song, “God Only Knows” has gone down in rock history as one of the Beach Boys ultimate tracks and was chosen by Paul McCartney as his favourite song, which must surely have pleased Brian Wilson no end. A grand, gently upbeat musical backing is allied to Carl’s heartfelt lead vocal as he sings some of the albums most smoothly flowing lyrics. There’s even a few musical curveballs in what is generally thought of as a fairly straightforward love song. Check out the bizarre but very effective tempo change after the first minute, in which Brian seamlessly incorporates what sounds like a snippet from a completely different song without it sounding anything but glorious. The song’s highlight, though, is undoubtedly the outro in which the numerous harmonies all come together into a bewilderingly beautiful whole.

Having already ensured Pet Sounds place in history with the first eight tracks, Brian refuses to let the quality drop. Instead, he gives us “I Know There’s An Answer”, a song in possession of the album’s oddest melody. Originally entitled “Hang On To Your Ego”, the song’s title and lyrics were changed after objections by Mike Love who felt that this linked the track to LSD. Although I prefer the original lyrics (see Frank Black’s self-titled solo album for an excellent cover of the song in its original form) “I Know There’s An Answer” suffers little for it’s loss. As previously stated, the track is the most gloriously oddball cut on Pet Sounds with its utterly compelling verse melody and grandiose chorus. Once you’ve got your head round those elements, of course, there’s a little matter of the music, which incorporates some of the strangest and most unusual sounds on the album. Having always been a fan of the quirky, “I Know There’s An Answer” is another favourite track of mine and as a follow up to two classically beautiful tracks it’s a welcome diversifying curveball.

“Here Today” is perhaps the most overlooked song on Pet Sounds. It was the last song that really registered with me after several listens but once I tapped into its brilliance I couldn’t quite understand why it took me so long. After all, “Here Today” is another upbeat, catchy pop song in the vein of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and “I’m Waiting For The Day”. Examining the importance of remembering just how temporary love can be, “Here Today” boasts another great juxtaposition of down to earth verse melody and gigantic chorus, plus there’s a terrifically odd musical break in the middle. The only explanation I can offer for “Here Today” taking so long to get into was that maybe my brain was frazzled by the sheer brilliance that preceded it. Now that I know Pet Sounds back to front, “Here Today” gets my vote as the hidden gem of the album that might possibly even have found favour as a single.

More renowned is “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times”, a track which boasts an extremely strong vocal from Brian who clearly identified strongly with the lyrics, even naming a later solo album after the track. Appropriately for a song about not fitting in, “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” eschews the standard structure of a pop song in favour for a far more unusual meandering approach which randomly breaks into its understated chorus refrain. It’s not half as messy as it sounds but it is every bit as interesting as it sounds, proving to be one of the album’s major growers. At 3:15, it’s the longest track on the album at a time when the Beach Boys tracks averaged at about 2:30. It was a telling sign that Brian’s musical vision was outgrowing the tight confines of the conventional pop song.

As a short segue into the album’s final track, _Pet Sounds_’ title track makes a belated appearance. This exceedingly odd instrumental is the one track on the album that could not make a claim to any kind of greatness. It’s too late to ruin proceedings and too inconsequential to inspire any scorn. It’s just there really. An unusual but not particularly appealing tropical twang, the track passes pleasantly enough, managing to remain inconspicuous amongst the more offbeat later tracks.

Proceedings draw to a close with the regretful melancholia of “Caroline No”. Oddly, “Caroline No” was released as the album’s first single, under the name of Brian Wilson only. Who knows what inspired this one off solo release, but whatever it was, the track was poorly chosen. “Caroline No” is definitely not single material and it was hardly surprising that it managed only a number 32 chart placing. While it should never have been a single, however, what “Caroline No” is is a superb album closer. Throughout their career, the Beach Boys had generally not excelled at choosing closing tracks for their albums, with only “Don’t Back Down” from All Summer Long really working. “Caroline No” is a perfect way to end Pet Sounds, since it is highly representative of the album. By this, I mean it is deeply emotional, crushingly sad but simultaneously gorgeously uplifting, and performed to perfection in terms of both vocals and music. In contrast to the wandering confusion of “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times”, “Caroline No” packs its story of a former love who has changed beyond recognition into a two minute lifespan, finishing the album with one of its tightest, most concise beauties. Appropriately, Pet Sounds then brings us crashing back to earth with the roar of traffic and the barking of a dog, as if Brian is inviting us to play the album all over again rather than return to these stresses of everyday life.

With the Today! album, the Beach Boys showed an enormous amount of promise but no-one could have realised that they would come so far so quickly. Today! had been brilliant, Pet Sounds is miraculous. It’s difficult to believe that it was less than 4 years since the wretched Surfin’ Safari. Pet Sounds is worthy of all the praise you’ve doubtless heard heaped upon it and then some. Spurred on by the Beatles Rubber Soul, Brian Wilson topped the album that had been the catalyst for all his hard work, inspiring the Beatles to work even harder and create Revolver. With two such monumental bands inspiring each other to create more and more ambitious albums, something had to give eventually and sadly it was Brian’s mental health. And though it might sound cruel, I’m sure the great man himself would agree with me that the existence of Pet Sounds more than justifies the sacrifice.
--Madmanmunt, RYM
Current AOTY 2017: Björk | Utopia
Current SOTY 2017: Björk | "Body Memory"

Nick
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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Nick » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:43 pm

Wow, I don't think anyone could have saw Pet Sounds landing outside the top 5!

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Listyguy
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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Listyguy » Sun Oct 22, 2017 12:09 am

I have only recently begun to the brilliance of Pet Sounds. When I submitted my list I had it around #200, but if I was making my list today it probably would have been in my top 100. Definitely surprising to see it fall outside of the top 5 (though, given what is left you can't really complain...)

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veganvalentine
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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby veganvalentine » Sun Oct 22, 2017 4:18 am

"David Gilmour's vocals are sometimes weak and lackluster." Blasphemy! Cool to see Dark Side become the second album to receive 50 votes though. What an outstanding top 10 this is!

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Reverend Moonjava
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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Reverend Moonjava » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:31 am

Never mind about the vocals, "The Great Gig in the Sky" is the song they think is holding The Dark Side of the Moon back? That's like going "The White Album would be perfect if only it weren't for 'Happiness Is a Warm Gun'."

I can't even be disappointed that Pet Sounds is a few places lower than I thought it would be, I still haven't gotten over my disappointment that Wild Honey didn't make it all. With all those other Beach Boys albums showing up I was so sure it was on track for a surprisingly high finish, perhaps bolstered by the stereo rerelease this year. Always such a criminally forgotten album...
Strawberry Fields for Kashmir

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notbrianeno
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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby notbrianeno » Sun Oct 22, 2017 3:02 pm

Image

Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream
It is not dying, it is not dying
Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void
It is shining, it is shining


#5. The Beatles | Revolver (1966)
# of Voters: 53 | Score: 3627.780
Rank in 2014: #7
AM 3000 Rank: #2
Top Fans: Nick (#1), Harold (#2), Babydoll (#2), Whuntva (#3), PlasticRam (#4), M24 (#5), Jirin (#7), GabeBasso (#7), SweepstakesRon (#8), BleuPanda (#10), Dexter (#11), Nico (#11), Listyguy (#11), Honorio (#11), Bootsy (#12), OrdinaryPerson (#12), Bruno (#12), BryanBehar (#12), Spiderpig (#17), ProsecutorGodot (#18), LiveinPhoenix (#20), JohnnyBGoode (#21), Maschine_Man (#21), VanillaFire1000 (#26), Zombeels (#28), Nicolas (#28), RockyRaccoon (#30), ChrisK (#32), Andyd1010 (#33), Antonius (#35), Georgie (#36), Brad (#48), Romain (#50), Miguel (#69), Acroamor (#77), VeganValentine (#79), Toni (#88)


Like any band, the Beatles' recording career was often altered, even pushed forward, as much by external factors as their own creative impulses. The group's competitive drive had them, at times, working to match or best Bob Dylan or Brian Wilson; their drug use greatly colored the musical outlook of John Lennon and George Harrison in particular; and the death of former manager Brian Epstein ushered in a period of distracting and poor business choices and opened the door for individuals such as the celebrity guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Yoko Ono, and businessman Allen Klein to penetrate, alter, and, some would say, disintegrate their inner circle.

The most important of these external shifts in the Beatles narrative, however, was a series of changes that allowed them to morph into a studio band. The chain of events that ushered in the band's changing approach to studio music began before Rubber Soul, but the results didn't come into full fruition until Revolver, a 35-minute LP that took 300 hours of studio time to create-- roughly three times the amount allotted to Rubber Soul, and an astronomical amount for a record in 1966.

Longtime Beatles producer George Martin, justifiably upset that EMI refused to give him a raise on the back of his extraordinarily profitable work with the Beatles, quit his post with the label in August 1965. Martin used his clout to create his own company, and the group and producer used theirs to effectively camp out at Abbey Road Studios for whatever length of time suited them rather than being forced to comply to the rigid and economically sound schedules demanded by labels at the time. The Beatles could now work both in and out of the studio, taking full advantage of new advancements in sound recording that allowed them to reflect upon and tinker with their work, explore new instruments and studio trickery, and refine their music by solving problems when they arose.

This new approach not only greatly altered their work environment, but drove the Beatles to value the flexibility of emerging technology. They also cashed in some of their commercial capital to abandon the mentally and physically sapping practice of touring-- and the glad-handing and public relations requirements that went with it. Exceptionalism became the watchword for the band, and it responded by using its freedom to push forward its art and, by extension, the whole of pop music. Musically, then, the Beatles began to craft dense, experimental works; lyrically, they matched that ambition, maturing pop from the stuff of teen dreams to a more serious pursuit that actively reflected and shaped the times in which its creators lived.

Revolver was also the first record in which the impression of the Beatles as a holistic gang was disrupted. The group had taken three months off prior to Revolver-- easily its longest break since the start of its recording career-- and each band member went his own separate way after years of moving around the world as a unit. Even without the break, it's possible that the group would continue to explore individual concerns: After starting to do just that on Rubber Soul, it was only natural that the Beatles wished to continue to highlight their individual strengths on its follow-up, and they did by listing each song's lead singer on the record sleeve.

The first, surprisingly, was George Harrison, who kicks off the record with another stab at politics on "Taxman", and then later offers philosophical musings on "I Want to Tell You" and the Indian-flavored "Love You To". Over the next year or two, Harrison's guitar played a more background role in the group's recordings-- fortuitously, then, that time also corresponded with the years in which the Beatles were pleased to bunker down in the studio and most explore the dynamic tension between their individual interests and their final stretch of camaraderie and mutual respect.

Lennon's primary interest throughout much of this time was himself, something that continued throughout his career-- he was always suspicious, even dismissive, of Paul McCartney's character songs, but once he and Yoko Ono joined forces, her Fluxus-rooted belief in art-as-subjectivity became orthodoxy in his mind. Lennon's early explorations of self and mind that began on Rubber Soul continued on Revolver, as the suburbanite spent much of his time at home indulging his zest for the exploratory powers of LSD. He contributes five songs to Revolver, and, indeed, each is concerned with drugs, the creative mind, a suspicion of the outside world, or all three.

Each is also uniformly wonderful, and together they provide a tapestry of Lennon's burgeoning art-pop, which, along with Martin's inventive arrangements and playful effects, would peak the next year with the triumphs of "I Am the Walrus", "Strawberry Fields Forever", and "A Day in the Life". The gauzy "I'm Only Sleeping" and rollicking 1-2 of "She Said She Said" and "And Your Bird Can Sing" aren't nearly as demonstrative as the songs he'd write in their wake-- as a result each remains oddly underrated-- but they function as some of Lennon's most purely satisfying pop songs.

"Tomorrow Never Knows" is another thing entirely. While "Doctor Robert" or "She Said She Said" touched on drug culture playfully or privately, "Tomorrow Never Knows" was a full-on attempt to recreate the immersive experience of LSD-- complete with lyrics borrowed from Timothy Leary's *Tibetan Book of the Dead-*inspired writings. Remarkably, though, much of it due to Martin's experimental production, tape loops, and musique concrète-inspired backdrop, the song is lively and giddy instead of self-serious or preachy. Even Martin's primitive psychedelia could have been thudding and ponderous, and yet more than four decades later the entire thing seems less a clear product of its time than not only most art or experimental rock, but most Beatles records as well.

Despite that triumph, however, Revolver was McCartney's maturation record as much as Rubber Soul was for Lennon. While Harrison was learning at the feet of sitar master Ravi Shankar and Lennon was navigating heavy use of psychotropic drugs, McCartney was refining his compositional chops by exploring classical music, training an eye for detail and subtlety in his lyrics, and embracing the orchestral work of Brian Wilson.

McCartney's optimism and populism resulted in the most demonstrative songs he created for Revolver-- the brassy "Good Day Sunshine" (which delightfully toes the line between schmaltz and heartwarming) and "Got to Get You Into My Life", and the children's music staple "Yellow Submarine", an inventive and charming track too often derided as camp. (It's also an early indication that it would be McCartney who would hold tightest to the impression of the group as a unit-- the image of the band all living together here was, for the first time in years, untrue.)

The understated qualities of McCartney's lyrics began to be misconstrued as simplistic in his ballads, but he provides three of his best here: "For No One", all the more affecting because it's slight and difficult to grasp, "Here, There and Everywhere", a model of sepia-toned sentimentality, and "Eleanor Rigby", which in its own way was as groundbreaking and revolutionary as "Tomorrow Never Knows". Virtually a short story set to music, "Rigby" and its interwoven descriptions of lonely people was and is a desolate and altogether mature setting for a pop song.

Revolver in the end is the sound of a band growing into supreme confidence. The Beatles had been transformed into a group not beholden to the expectations of their label or bosses, but fully calling the shots-- recording at their own pace, releasing records at a less-demanding clip, abandoning the showmanship of live performance. Lesser talents or a less-motivated group of people may have shrunk from the challenge, but here the Beatles took upon the task of redefining what was expected from popular music. Lest we forget it, the original flashpoint of Beatlemania remains the most influential and revolutionary period in the Beatles career, but the creative high points of 1966-67 aren't far behind. It's worth remembering as well that what had been demanded or expected from them as entertainers and popular musicians was something they'd challenged from their first cheeky, flippant interview, but just a few years later they were no longer mere anomalies within the world of pop, no longer potential fads; they were avatars for a transformative cultural movement.
--Scott Plagenhoef, Pitchfork



Image

Pushing through the market square, so many mothers sighing
News had just come over, we had five years left to cry in
News guy wept and told us, earth was really dying
Cried so much his face was wet, then I knew he was not lying


#4. David Bowie | The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
# of Voters: 53 | Score: 3635.397
Rank in 2014: #5
AM 3000 Rank: #16
Top Fans: Honorio (#1), Romain (#3), M24 (#4), GabeBasso (#4), BryanBehar (#4), SweepstakesRon (#6), BleuPanda (#8), RedAnt (#8), Andyd1010 (#9), Nick (#9), Maschine_Man (#9), Brad (#10), Listyguy (#16), Bootsy (#17), ChrisK (#17), DaveC (#19), Nico (#22), JWinton (#22), Nassim (#23), Slick (#25), Bruno (#27), JohnnyBGoode (#29), Chambord (#30), Nicolas (#31), Dexter (#33), Miguel (#33), Gillingham (#35), LiveinPhoenix (#41), DocBrown (#49), BonnieLaurel (#53), Spiderpig (#55), Harold (#57), Spiritualized (#57), Sjner (#58), Dudumb (#59), Acroamor (#63), Moonbeam (#70), OrdinaryPerson (#73), Whuntva (#76), Jackson (#81), Babydoll (#93)


Trying to imagine popular culture without the influence of David Bowie’s copper-headed prefab rock star alien is practically impossible (or at least a lot less interesting) but the aspect of Bowie’s breakthrough album and the resulting phenomenon that usually gets overlooked is the music itself. Like Marilyn Manson’s music today (though he’s yet to come up with anything as insidiously catchy as “Hang On To Yourself,” but give him time), Bowie’s contributions to the pop music lexicon have been overshadowed by the eye shadow of his characters. Unlike some of the lesser glam acts that followed in Bowie’s platformed footsteps, the tunes on The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, somewhat loosely held together by the concept of the Earthbound exploits of the interplanetary rock star, strangely avoid the trap of being so much dated, post-hippie nonsense.

Kicking off with the ‘50s-styled opener “Five Years,” then setting off on slinkier, more soulful territory with “Soul Love,” Bowie and band (featuring gardener-turned-guitar hero Mick Ronson) establish early on that the album could almost serve as a travelogue of the history of pop music, as seen through the eyes of both the alien protagonist and his adoring fans. You’ve got the unbridled rock n’ roll hysteria of “Suffragette City” (all together now: “Wham bam, thank you ma’am!”) and “Star,” which is delivered with a no-nonsense, workmanlike sensibility by the Spiders while being carried over the top by Bowie’s amped-up croon. There’s the trippy frippery of “Moonage Daydream,” resplendent in early ‘70s hallucinatory imagery (“squawking like a big monkey bird,” indeed) and wigged out leads courtesy of Ronson and producer Ken Scott (who never really seemed to receive as much credit in shaping the sounds of Bowie’s early output as Tony Visconti would on later albums). And of course, there’s the big single: the saccharine-sweet “Starman” being the most overtly pop of the album’s 11 tracks, replete with swirly strings, cosmically-conscious lyrics and a chorus that still, some 32 years later, gets arms aloft during Bowie’s current stadium romps.

Bowie was always partial to the pomp side of pop, especially in the early phases of his recording career, and Ziggy Stardust carried all the drama of a Shakespearean play (as seen on acid, of course). “Lady Stardust” is a love song addressed to both the androgynous astro-rocker and to rock n’ roll itself, with its lilting piano motif married to a stadium-sized chorus. And with the title track we have the ultimate glam rock (hell, the ultimate rock anthem), with a riff that would provide air guitarists decades of enjoyment accompanying the tale of the wayward rocker from Planet X, capped off with the dramatic tag that would become the alien’s epitaph: “And Ziggy plaaaaaayyyed…guitar!”

Still, a pop masterpiece is nothing without a killer final act, and it’s with “Rock & Roll Suicide” that Bowie draws the Ziggy saga to a close. Like the album opener, it has the innate heartrending properties of weepy, wall-of-sound shrouded pop classics of a bygone era, married to a message of the redemptive power of rock n’ roll: “You’re not alone!” shrieks Bowie, shouting from some rooftop that exists in the mind’s eye of the listener, staving off the mundane of the everyday with an exhortation to give him our hands, and to follow his lead. And as Ronson tears off another lighter-waving lead and the strings swell to a final, definitive stroke, you’re sent reeling, as if you’ve made the journey back to Earth from some far-flung intergalactic locale, previously visited only in dreams. Truly timeless pop—truly timeless art in general—is transformative; you emerge somewhat different after experiencing it. And in giving in to his own imagination and creating his own world, Bowie changed ours immeasurably, and for that many a pop fan should be eternally grateful.
--Barry Walsh, Slant
Current AOTY 2017: Björk | Utopia
Current SOTY 2017: Björk | "Body Memory"

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Nick » Sun Oct 22, 2017 3:17 pm

Well I don't think anyone saw the remaining Beatles album placing this high! (I'm not naming names because of spoilers, but come on, we all know what three albums are left, right??)

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Listyguy » Sun Oct 22, 2017 3:31 pm

Nick wrote:Well I don't think anyone saw the remaining Beatles album placing this high! (I'm not naming names because of spoilers, but come on, we all know what three albums are left, right??)

Yeah I definitely didn't. After thinking about it for a little bit though, it does make some sense. It definitely has the most pop appeal of the group's "big four". And we've seen pop just generally improve throughout the poll, so this seems to be the capstone to that movement.

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Live in Phoenix » Sun Oct 22, 2017 4:36 pm

It's the top Beatles album at RYM, too. Kind of hard for me to think of as their ultimate statement, when there's so much competition. (I have it as their sixth-greatest statement.)
Hole – Pretty on the Inside. 1 star/5.
Dear God, is there a single song here? (Imagine buying The Buzzcocks' Singles Going Steady on the same day, and having to compare the two.) Somehow, their next time at bat, they got 500 million times better.

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby notbrianeno » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:34 pm

Image

I don't know just where I'm going
But I'm gonna try for the kingdom, if I can
'Cause it makes me feel like I'm a man
When I put a spike into my vein
And I'll tell ya, things aren't quite the same
When I'm rushing on my run
And I feel just like Jesus' son


#3. The Velvet Underground | The Velvet Underground &
Nico
(1967)

# of Voters: 59 | Score: 4067.605
Rank in 2014: #1
AM 3000 Rank: #3
Top Fans: BleuPanda (#1), GabeBasso (#2), BangJan (#3), EmilienDelRey (#4), Acroamor (#5), Brad (#5), Antonius (#9), Spiderpig (#10), Romain (#11), Michel (#12), RickyMathias (#12), Harold (#13), RockyRaccoon (#14), Maschine_Man (#15), Nick (#16), Babydoll (#17), Honorio (#17), Jackson (#18), JohnnyBgoode (#19), OrdinaryPerson (#20), StevieFan13 (#20), Dudumb (#20), M24 (#20), BryanBehar (#20), Whuntva (#21), ProsecutorGodot (#22), JWinton (#32), LiveinPhoenix (#33), NotBrianEno (#36), Moonbeam (#37), Nico (#40), SJner (#41), Georgie (#54), LuvulongTIM (#55), Listyguy (#63), DaveC (#66), Jirin (#69), Jeff (#72), Bootsy (#73), Nassim (#73), Miguel (#73), ChrisK (#77), VanillaFire1000 (#81), Nicolas (#87), Dexter (#91), Chambord (#96), Toni (#97), SonofSamIAm (#98)


What more needs to be said about The Velvet Underground’s first album, The Velvet Underground & Nico, that hasn’t been said already, countless times in the past, by musicians, hipsters, and myriad rock critics? You probably have come across many famous quotes about the band, ranging from Lester Bangs’s many tributes to the band to Brian Eno’s legendary line about how back in the late 1960s, not many people bought their albums, but those who did went on to form famous bands. And even if you’ve never heard the album, you’ve likely heard covers of their tunes by the likes of R.E.M., Nirvana, and David Bowie, and people like Bono and Julian Casablancas (The Strokes) describing the Velvets’ merits. Plus, you’ve seen Andy Warhol’s famous banana album cover. It’s all enough to make a jaded Tween teenager think, What’s the big deal?

Fact is, The Velvet Underground were, and still remain a very big deal, indeed. Aside from the Beatles, no band in the history of rock and roll has had more of an influence on younger bands than the Velvets, and that influence has lasted over 30 years, helping to spawn the likes of David Bowie, Roxy Music, the Sex Pistols, U2, Joy Division, New Order, R.E.M., Nirvana, and most recently, The Strokes. The Velvet Underground only released four albums, but those four albums (The Velvet Underground & Nico, White Light/White Heat, The Velvet Underground, and Loaded) cover almost every facet of rock music, both musically and thematically: rock and roll as high art, experimentation, catharsis, redemption, and celebration.

Released a few months before the Beatles’ landmark Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in early 1967, but recorded close to a year before, The Velvet Underground & Nico, along with Sgt. Pepper, introduced a new form of rock music: the artsy concept album. Sgt. Pepper had its lavish, high-concept album cover, while The Velvet Underground & Nico represented the postmodern side, with Andy Warhol’s banana on a white background, with the curious message “Peel Slowly and See” in fine print (when peeled, the listener would be treated to a pink, phallic banana underneath). Musically, the Beatles pulled out all the stops, meticulously recording their album over several months. The Velvet Underground (Guitarist/singer Lou Reed, multi-instrumentalist John Cale, rhythm guitarist/bassist Sterling Morrison, drummer Maureen Tucker, and “chanteuse” Nico), on the other hand, needed just 3000 dollars and one day in the studio.

The result of that quick studio visit is astonishing, a combination of white noise, classic rock and roll, soul, and folk music, a sound that is impossible to categorize in anything else but “The Velvet Underground”. Wispy-gentle one moment, chugging and driving the next, disturbing a few minutes later, and cacophonous at the end, The Velvet Underground & Nico was so far ahead of its time that it still sounds fresh today, and thanks to a brand-new two-disc, Deluxe Edition of the album, fans can now own the definitive version.

Some may argue that The Velvet Underground & Nico is not a concept album, but think about it: Lou Reed’s bittersweet, first-person narratives cut from scene to scene, much like William S. Burroughs’ books Naked Lunch and The Soft Machine, a nonlinear tale of life in New York City. Opening with the startlingly beautiful “Sunday Morning”, Reed’s narrator wakes up on the morning after a night’s debauchery, afraid to remember what happened the night before (“Sunday morning / And I’m falling / I’ve got a feeling / I don’t want to know”). “I’m Waiting for the Man”, with its pulsating beat by Tucker and Reed’s and Morrison’s distorted guitars, depicts a Manhattanite’s journey into Harlem to score some heroin (“Hey white boy, what you doin’ uptown? . . . He’s got the works, he gives you sweet taste”), while the grandiose, yet seamy “Venus in Furs” describes a sadomasochistic scene inspired by Leopold Sacher-Masoch’s infamous novel of the same name (“Tongue the thongs, the belt that does await you”) as Cale plays a sumptuous drone on electric viola, as Morrison repeats the same two-bar bassline and Tucker pounds ominously on tom-toms, one of the best marriages of rock and modal jazz ever recorded. The Bo Diddley-influenced shuffle on “Run Run Run” dominates Reed’s story of homeless characters such as “Teenage Mary”, “Seasick Sarah”, and “Beardless Harry”, while Cale’s boogie-woogie piano riff drives the majestic “All Tomorrow’s Parties”, a heartbreaking sketch of an empty, upper crust party girl (When midnight comes around / She’ll turn once more to Sunday’s clown and cry behind the door”). “There She Goes Again” niftily steals its opening guitar riff from Otis Redding’s “Hitch Hike” as the song’s misogynist narrator tells a cuckold to set his unfaithful woman straight: “You better hit her”. The twisted, Dylanesque “The Black Angel’s Death Song” represents the darker side of psychedelia, and the frenetic noise-fest “European Son”, complete with its unsettling sounds of a table scraping across the studio floor and glass shattering, closes out the album.

The album’s three centerpiece songs are also polar opposites of each other. Reed’s “Heroin”, with its speeding and slowing tempo accompanied by Cale’s one-chord viola playing is neither a cautionary tale, nor a pro-drugs rant; in keeping with the rest of the album, it’s just another first-person depiction of a scene, but the difference here is the quality of Reed’s lyrics, whose simplicity and poeticism (“When I’m rushing on my run / And I feel just like Jesus’ son”) paint a picture of the drug experience as effectively as Burroughs’ Junky, and Hubert Selby, Jr.‘s novel Requiem for a Dream. On the other end, Nico provides the other highlights. The statuesque German-born model/singer (who joined the band on the request of Andy Warhol) puts her own husky-voiced stamp on the album on “Femme Fatale” and “I’ll Be Your Mirror”, two of the best love songs Reed has ever written (she also sings on “All Tomorrow’s Parties”). She isn’t the greatest singer, but neither is Reed, and her sultry, Eastern European accent further enhances the album’s mystique.

This new release of The Velvet Underground & Nico is a beauty. It comes in a gorgeous digipak, complete with peelable banana, along with lyrics and extensive liner notes. The first disc features the stereo version of the album, as well as five songs from Nico’s solo debut Chelsea Girls that reunited Cale, Reed, and Morison with Nico in 1967 (the rest of the album was written in collaboration with a young Jackson Browne); highlights include the early Reed tune “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams” (a demo of the song can be heard on the VU retrospective Peel Slowly and See), Cale’s Celtic-tinged folk of “Winter Song”, and “Chelsea Girls”, another brilliant character sketch by Reed, this time about the denizens of New York’s famous Chelsea Hotel.

Best of all, though, is the second disc, which features the album’s original mono mix, previously unavailable on CD, as well as mono versions of the album’s two singles. Considered by fans to be the definitive version of the album, the mono version has the band sounding more cohesive, and much heavier, as the bass features very prominently. The mono mix of “I’m Waiting for the Man” blows away the stereo version, as the song thunders along, with more reverb added to Reed’s vocals. Many younger VU fans, including yours truly, have only known the stereo version of The Velvet Underground & Nico, and this release of the mono mix is a revelation, and a must-own for longtime fans.

In a nutshell, you can’t call yourself a rock music fan unless you own the entire Velvet Underground catalog (the Peel Slowly and See box set is an easy way to do it), and if you’re going to start, start by buying this Deluxe Edition of The Velvet Underground & Nico. It may change your life, or it may not, but I guarantee you’ll hear music differently after listening to it. Music does not get any more essential than this.
--Adrien Begrand, Popmatters



Image

Because the world is round it turns me on


#2. The Beatles | Abbey Road (1969)
# of Voters: 57 | Score: 4086.799
Rank in 2014: #9
AM 3000 Rank: #19
Top Fans: Henry (#1), Listyguy (#2), Andyd1010 (#2), Zombeels (#2), Victor.Marianoo77 (#3), Nicolas (#3), PlasticRam (#3), Bootsy (#7), VeganValentine (#8), GabeBasso (#8), StevieFan13 (#8), Felipinho (#9), Georgie (#9), Harold (#10), SweepstakesRon (#10), Nick (#12), ProsecutorGodot (#14), Dexter (#17), Nassim (#19), DepecheMode (#23), Nico (#24), EmilienDelRey (#26), Spiderpig (#30), JohnnyBGoode (#30), Honorio (#31), Acroamor (#32), Michel (#33), Bruno (#33), SJner (#38), RockyRaccoon (#38), JWinton (#40), BleuPanda (#43), Whuntva (#44), Jirin (#45), ChrisK (#51), Miguel (#51), M24 (#52), RedAnt (#52), DaveC (#53), Panam (#70), DocBrown (#72), Dudumb (#82), LiveinPhoenix (#84), Karla (#89), VanillaFire1000 (#89), LuvulongTIM (#96), OrdinaryPerson (#97), Brad (#100)


One more "like we used to" was how Paul McCartney framed it to producer George Martin; a chance to make a "good album" was George Harrison's take. They were hoping to bounce back after the serious downer that had been the Get Back sessions, which, months after they wrapped, had yet to yield an album anyone was happy with. But what "like we used to" meant, exactly, was rather hard to pin down: The Beatles' life as a band was so compressed, with such a massive amount of music and change packed into a short time, that there was never a single moment that could be used as a reference point for what a Beatles record was supposed to be. So when they returned to the EMI studios on Abbey Road in summer 1969, it wasn't clear how it would go. They still weren't getting along; their musical interests continued to diverge; John Lennon didn't really want to continue with the Beatles; Paul McCartney did, but on his own terms, which meant that he set the pace and got what he wanted. Though it was unspoken, they all had a good idea that this could really be the end. So what now? One more, then.

And what a finish. The Beatles' story is so enduring in part because it was wrapped up so perfectly. Abbey Road shows a band still clearly in its prime, capable of songwriting and recording feats other groups could only envy. Working for the first time exclusively on an eight-track tape machine, their mastery of the studio was undeniable, and Abbey Road still sounds fresh and exciting 40 years on (indeed, of the 2009 remasters, the improvements and sonic detail here are the most striking). Even if it's ultimately the Paul McCartney and George Martin show, as demonstrated on the famous second-side medley, everyone brought his A-game. Where Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band strained for significance, The Beatles was schizophrenic, and Let It Be was a drag streaked with greatness, Abbey Road lays out its terms precisely and meets them all. There's not a duff note on the damn thing.

This applies even if, like me, you've never quite understood the attraction of John Lennon's "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" and sometimes find yourself skipping ahead to George Harrison's second-side lead-off "Here Comes the Sun". "I Want You" is certainly a singular item in the Beatles discography, with its extreme repetition, stark simplicity, and epic three-minute coda, but it requires a certain kind of mood to appreciate. Yet, along with album-opener "Come Together", it also shows how Lennon finally found a way to square his latter-day interest in leaner and edgier rock'n'roll with trippy studio experimentation. Lennon's two big songs on the first side are raw, direct, and biting, but they're also lush studio creations, in keeping with the spirit of the album. And the sophisticated sheen laid over top has the effect of making them seem more like "Beatles songs" compared to, say, Lennon's White Album output. Abbey Road feels like one thing.

Paul McCartney's "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" and Ringo Starr's "Octopus's Garden", two silly, charming, childlike songs in a long tradition of silly, charming, childlike Beatles songs, round out side one. But then, oh: side two. The suite that runs from "You Never Give Me Your Money" through "Her Majesty" finds the Beatles signing off in grand fashion. Gathering scraps of material that had piled up, McCartney and Martin pieced together a song cycle bursting with light and optimism, and this glorious stretch of music seems to singlehandedly do away with the bad vibes that had accumulated over the previous two years. From the atmospheric rip of Fleetwood Mac's "Albatross" that is "Sun King" to the sharp pair of Lennon fragments, "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam" (the former given a line about "sister Pam" to join the pieces), and on through the explosive, one-climax-after-another run of "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window", "Golden Slumbers", and "Carry That Weight", the nine fragments in 16 minutes add up to so much more than the sum of their parts.

The music is tempered with uncertainly and longing, suggestive of adventure, reflecting a sort of vague wisdom; it's wistful, earnest music that also feels deep, even though it really isn't. But above all it just feels happy and joyous, an explosion of warm feeling rendered in sound. And then, the perfect capper, finishing with a song called "The End", which features alternating guitar solos from John, George, and Paul and a drum solo from Ringo. It was an ideal curtain call from a band that just a few years earlier had been a bunch of punk kids from a nowheresville called Liverpool with more confidence than skill. This is how you finish a career.

The Beatles' run in the 1960s is good fodder for thought experiments. For example, Abbey Road came out in late September 1969. Though Let It Be was then still unreleased, the Beatles wouldn't record another album together. But they were still young men: George was 26 years old, Paul was 27, John was 28, and Ringo was 29. The Beatles' first album, Please Please Me, had come out almost exactly six and a half years earlier. So if Abbey Road had been released today, Please Please Me would date to March 2003. So think about that for a sec: Twelve studio albums and a couple of dozen singles, with a sound that went from earnest interpreters of Everly Brothers and Motown hits to mind-bending sonic explorers and with so many detours along the way-- all of it happened in that brief stretch of time. That's a weight to carry.
--Mark Richardson, Pitchfork



Image

Pull me out of the aircrash
Pull me out of the lake
'Cause I'm your superhero
We are standing on the edge


#1. Radiohead | OK Computer (1997)
# of Voters: 61 | Score: 4660.523
Rank in 2014: #2
AM 3000 Rank: #11
Top Fans: DepecheMode (#1), Chambord (#1), Harold (#1),
ChrisK (#1), Whuntva (#1), GabeBasso (#1), JohnnyBGoode (#1), Spiderpig (#1)
, DaveC (#2), Nick (#2), SJner (#3), Zombeels (#4), Andyd1010 (#4), Slick (#4), ProsecutorGodot (#4), GucciLittlePiggy (#4), Honorio (#5), Romain (#6), Dudumb (#6), Panam (#6), Jwinton (#9), BleuPanda (#11), Nico (#13), Gillingham (#13), Schaefer.tk (#14), M24 (#14), JasonBob4567 (#14), Bruno (#15), Bootsy (#18), NotBrianEno (#24), Brad (#25), RockyRaccoon (#25), Jirin (#25), Dexter (#26), Victor.Marianoo77(#27), RickyMathias (#27), Nassim (#28), VeganValentine (#28), Maschine_Man (#30), Michel (#34), BryanBehar (#34), PlasticRam (#36), Renan (#38), Acroamor (#40), Listyguy (#46), LuvulongTIM (#49), SonofSamIAm (#50), Jackson (#57), BonnieLaurel (#62), VanillaFire1000 (#67), Spiritualized (#71), Toni (#96)


By the time the band started writing “OK Computer,” Radiohead had already released two very good guitar records (“Pablo Honey,” in 1993, and “The Bends,” in 1995), but it was not yet clear that it would be the band to rewire everybody’s expectations of contemporary rock. Still, there was a wildness to the early work. I recall watching the video for Radiohead’s first single, “Creep,” late one night on MTV’s “120 Minutes,” and whispering whatever the thirteen-year-old equivalent of “What in tarnation!” is. The video begins benignly enough—a cluster of lanky, sunken young men, a mopey progression. Then the guitarist Jonny Greenwood raises a bony arm, slams out two scabrous chords, and a maniacal-looking Yorke begins wailing like a person who decided to jog down a hill, only to suddenly discover he couldn’t control how fast his legs were going. “What the hell am I doing here?” he shrieks. I had never heard despair articulated quite so plainly. Even now, “Creep” remains the best song I know about the inertia of unhappiness.
Yorke was twenty-seven when he started working on “OK Computer,” and just coming off several years of touring. (“I was basically catatonic,” he told Rolling Stone. “The claustrophobia—just having no sense of reality at all.”) Though Yorke insists that “OK Computer” was inspired by the dislocation and paranoia of non-stop travel, it’s now largely understood as a record about how unchecked consumerism and an overreliance on technology can lead to automation and, eventually, alienation (from ourselves; from one another).
The disparity between these two things—the idea that everyone has gone on believing that the record is about the rise of machines, when Yorke keeps telling us it’s about how much he hated touring the world in a dumb bus—is fascinating, and at least partially attributable to the record’s fretful instrumentation. (Its lyrics are abstract enough to suit just about any imagined narrative.)

Radiohead came of age in the public consciousness in the citadel of grunge, an era in which rock was more introspective than ambitious; grunge was, in many ways, a fierce response to the bloat of the seventies and eighties, and indulgence of any sort was quickly sniffed out and vilified. (Nirvana, for example, never felt on the verge of incorporating a glockenspiel.) Radiohead wasn’t a grunge band (if anything, it was in danger of being rolled into Britpop), but its insistence on a kind of brainy largesse—on bringing in unexpected instrumentation, approaching rock from an unapologetically cerebral place—felt almost countercultural.

Musically, “OK Computer” was inspired by Miles Davis’s “Bitches Brew,” an aggressive and beautiful jazz-fusion album from 1970. Davis’s producer, Teo Macero, was a student of musique concrète, an experimental French genre in which tape is manipulated and looped to create new musical structures; much of “Bitches Brew” was pieced together after the band had gone home. Accordingly, its paths are not foreseeable, or even particularly human—navigating “Bitches Brew” remains a heady and disorienting experience, in which it is very easy to forget which end is up, or which way is out. “OK Computer” was made mostly live—it was started in a converted shed in Oxfordshire (the band called the space Canned Applause) and finished at St. Catherine’s Court, a stately stone mansion near Bath, owned by the actress Jane Seymour—but Radiohead and its producer, Nigel Godrich, shared Davis and Macero’s yen for disorientation. The reigning sound of the record is panic: darting, laser-like guitars, shaky percussion, moaning.

“OK Computer” was critically lauded upon its release—Spin named it the second-best album of 1997, calling it “a soaring song-cycle about the state of the soul in the digital age (or something),” and a Times piece marvelled at its ubiquity, noting that “although the band’s first video is six and a half minutes long and features twisted animated sequences in which children are shown drinking in a bar and paying women to flash them, it has been in heavy rotation on MTV.”
Still, I’m not sure that anyone really knew how to metabolize its precise disquiet until exactly this moment—which makes the timing of its reissue feel nearly fated. For me, revisiting some of these tracks now incites a bizarre kind of déjà vu—as if I am barely but finally remembering some whispered warning I received two decades back. The second half of “Paranoid Android,” one of the record’s darkest and most popular tracks, features Yorke singing in a strange, ghostly harmony with himself. “From a great height,” he repeats in his crystalline falsetto, stretching the final word until it sounds like some abstract plea. Meanwhile, a second, feebler voice opines, “The dust and the screaming, the yuppies networking, the panic, the vomit, the panic, the vomit.” Is this terribly dramatic? Sure. But if you have ever glanced around a bar—or a subway car, or a coffee shop—and seen a dozen sentient humans all tapping away on a device, forgoing awkward, fleshy engagement for a more mediated and quantifiable digital experience, and felt a deep and intense terror in your gut, then perhaps you’ve experienced some version of what Yorke’s voice is doing here: splintering, dissociating, freaking out. Many other bands have expressed worry about the proliferation of devices and the strange divisions computers have wrought, but I can’t think of another song that sounds as much like a person getting swept into a black hole.

Now, in 2017, the anxieties expressed on “OK Computer” feel comically prescient, though, of course, fear of technology is hardly new. In England, during the Napoleonic Wars, roving bands of so-called Luddites—former textile workers and weavers—rode around setting mills on fire and trashing industrial equipment, believing that their livelihoods were being usurped by machines. (We now use the word Luddite to refer, lovingly, to someone who does not know how to effectively deploy emoji.) In an essay for the Times (written in 1984, of all years!), the novelist Thomas Pynchon suggested that Luddites were acting in response to two stimuli: “One was the concentration of capital that each machine represented, and the other was the ability of each machine to put a certain number of humans out of work—to be ‘worth’ that many human souls.” It’s the latter that seems to preoccupy “OK Computer.”
In certain (admittedly rarefied) circles, it’s become shameful to espouse devotion to any sort of canonized modern rock—perhaps because rock’s history is so plainly riddled with repeated instances of racism and sexism that to vouch for it now, in an era in which many people are working to correct or more properly account for past wrongs, feels unconscionable. But the dread expressed by “OK Computer” is universal. It deserves our attention again, without shame.
--Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker


That's all folks! See you again in 2020!
Current AOTY 2017: Björk | Utopia
Current SOTY 2017: Björk | "Body Memory"

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Honorio
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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Honorio » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:41 pm

Thank you, notbrianeno! Wonderful rollout!

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Nick » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:43 pm

Amazing presentation, notbrianeno! Thank you and your helpers for all of the hard work!
The difference in points between Abbey Road and OK Computer is just nuts. 4660 to 4086.

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby DocBrown » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:45 pm

Outstanding performance, NotBrianEno! Finest looking rollout ever.

Henry must be ecstatic.
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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby letmeintomyzone » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:56 pm

What's going to be the next big AW project?

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby whuntva » Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:11 pm

Impressive. A bit expected but great to see OK Computer back on top! I think even more impressive is The Beatles in the Top 2. It would have been cool to see a Beatles sweep, no matter how unlikely it may be, but Abbey Road is a fine enough album to take second place.

Well done and great poll as always!
" Ah, yes! Our meager restitution"

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby StevieFan13 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:13 pm

Fantastic rollout, and a deserving #1!
Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand - Sir Duke (1976)

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Henrik » Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:26 pm

Fantastic presentation, notbrianeno! The slow pace really generated a lot of discussion both here and in the prediction thread. I think we should take notice of this for future poll rollouts.

Although I participated the last time but not this, quite a lot of the changes were actually in a good direction for me, such as Abbey Road becoming the top Beatles album.
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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Chris K. » Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:51 pm

Thank you for all of the work you put into this notbrianeno! Can you post the spreadsheet when you have a chance? I can't wait to pour through the data.

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Listyguy » Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:53 pm

NBE, thanks for all the time and work you put into this poll! It was a hell of a presentation!

Very, very happy with the placement of Abbey Road. I had a feeling there would be a Beatles album at #2, but I thought it would be Revolver.

As others have echoed, the dominance Ok Computer displayed is absurd. It beat the field by like 600 points, and had EIGHT first place voters. This validates how completely insane its second place finish was three years ago.

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Pierre » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:05 pm

Listyguy wrote:This validates how completely insane its second place finish was three years ago.


Hey... It pleased me back then :P

I didn't vote this time but thanks a lot notbrianeno, I still followed the rollout and the presentation was fantastic.

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Gillingham » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:10 pm

Great work notbrianeno! Thanks a lot for all of it.
It took some time, but I agree with Henrik that ( at least in a big three yearly poll like this) the slow roll-out helped quite a bit with attracting attention and discussion and giving the rollout the attention it deserves.

Impressive sweep by OK Computer!
Eight number ones and more that 60 votes is something else indeed.

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Henry » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:11 pm

Great job notbrianeno! The delay in starting the rollout may have juiced up our anticipation and mad the rollout even better :-)

While I'm not a great fan of OK Computer, I'm relieved to see VU drop down to 3rd place. I must listen more attentively to OK Computer a few more times to see if I can find the magic there that so many others have already found.

Hopefully, you can share the spreadsheet of the entire poll so that we can all see what albums placed below 1000.

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby jamieW » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:15 pm

Thanks, notbrianeno! I don't know if a presentation could possibly get more thorough than this (although I think that after every large AMF poll, and it somehow does), but you definitely put an incredible amount of work into this. To this point, I haven't participated in the albums poll, but I look forward to doing so next time. Great work by you and everyone who helped!

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Harold » Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:02 pm

Great work, notbrianeno! And an amazing poll. I have to say, everything was more than worth the wait.

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby PlasticRam » Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:03 pm

Great work notbrianeno, thanks!
I feel like that

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby veganvalentine » Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:31 pm

Thanks for all the hard work notbrianeno! It's fascinating that there are only nine albums that 50 out of 73 of us can agree are among the greatest few hundred albums of all time. If a lot of people submitted top 500s, this is especially surprising. As I visited this site over the years (before I joined the forum), I assumed I was in the minority because I didn't adore a considerable number of lauded albums, but there is certainly a considerable diversity of opinion on this forum.

With the inclusions of Dark Side, Abbey Road, and OK Computer and the exclusions of London Calling, Exile, Blonde, and Highway (What's Going On not so much), I like our top 10 a lot better than the AM top 10. I'm sure OK Computer will return to the AM top 10 soon, though.

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Rob » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:13 pm

First off, thanks notbrianeno for all this work. Though I'm one of the people who thought it proceeded a little to slowly, the fact that you did a more full presentation of the whole top 1000, instead of just the top 500 makes up for that.

Second off, for people who missed it the first time around or forgot about it, but still care, here is a Spotify list with the highest ranked song of each album (or in case there is no acclaimed song, the most listened to on Spotify):



I've been able to include 980 songs here (though a handful are not on Spotify; I added them through my own collection). That's 78 hours and 36 minutes of listening!


About the results, I don't care that much whether OK Computer or The Velvet Underground & Nico ends up highest as I rate both highly. I'm most interested in big shifts and the unknown albums that you come across lower in the list. But it is always fun to see were everything lands.

I'm also curious as to which albums made it last time, but not now and how they would have ranked. Do we get a document of the complete results?

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Moonbeam » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:38 pm

Incredible job, notbrianeno! Just incredible. The anticipation was exciting and the level of detail amazing! Lots of shifts this time, and a fascinating list. The diversity of the list (especially from 1000-200) was incredible. Well done to everyone who participated, and a hearty welcome to our newcomers!

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby notbrianeno » Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:58 pm

I'd also like to extend a huge thank you to SweepstakesRon and Babydoll for helping me with data entry and automating the process to be much more time efficient and accurate. I literally would have had a nervous breakdown without the two of you, and I hope everyone else recognizes the important role you played in all of this.
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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby GucciLittlePiggy » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:02 am

Allow me to add to the chorus of thank you's. You've done a great job, notbrianeno! Also, special thanks to SweepstakesRon and babydoll for the late-game assist. And of course, thanks for the playlist, Rob. It'll be a great resource as I dive into the list.
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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby notbrianeno » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:06 am

Now that the results are finally done I have some thoughts on them I'd like to share

-The pop revolution has come!!! Seeing everything from bubblegum to girl-pop to soul and r&b improve was a delight for me. I myself have had my music taste opened up dramatically to these genres by people like Moonbeam, Sweepstakes, and Babydoll, and I'm very glad to see their representation in our list.
-Hip-Hop, especially 2010's hip-hop (which I believe is a golden age akin to the early-to-mid-2000's for indie rock) make tremendous strides, much more so beyond the usual cursory inclusion on "greatest albums of all-time" lists from Rolling Stone.
-MBDTF cracking the top 50 and ~almost~ the top 20 nearly brought me to tears of happiness. It's such a joy to see my favorite album of all-time, one that although met with critical raves upon release, was derided as overindulgent by many rap fans I personally knew and saw on the internet, have succeeded so thoroughly in maintaining influence over the decade.
-Huge increases for women and POC across all of the results! Reflecting a continuing change in reaction against the "white boys club" of the traditional canon
-The resurgence of Radiohead! Kid A jumping into the top 20 was a welcome surprise, though I would have preferred it be In Rainbows
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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby notbrianeno » Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:09 am

And without any further ado, the complete results:
AMF All-Time Favorite Albums.xlsx.zip
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Current AOTY 2017: Björk | Utopia
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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Dexter » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:07 am

Excellent presentation notbrianeno, the best that I've seen in the forum (a sign that AMF is constantly improving).
I like the results though I don't think Hip-Hop and R&B really made a lot of ground since the last poll maybe except for select acts like Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar. Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda been locks for top 1000 like Beyonce's self-titled, OutKast's ATLiens and Lil Wayne's A Milli are just outside of it. I still think this forum is a predominantly white male club. On the plus side, I very much welcome the appearance of several World Music (for lack of a better term) albums and the healthy representation of indie acts in the list. I will definitely use this as reference for future sonic exploration.

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby andyd1010 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:43 am

I will echo the others in saying thanks to notbrianeno (and SweepstakesRon and babydoll) for a fantastic presentation. Lots of interesting results, and the high finishes of Abbey Road and some other favorites made up for the surprising fall of Funeral. I'm excited to dig deeper into the results and make some new discoveries.

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Re: AMF Favorite Albums of All-Time -- RESULTS

Postby Jirin » Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:32 am

Beatlemania will NEVER bite the dust. ;)


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