Monday, December 10, 2012
Once in awhile, I listen to an album/CD I really like and have not heard in awhile, and I'm just floored - at how good it really is. And then I start to think about what my favorites are, the very best to me. Today it was "Parallel Lines" by Blondie. A lot of people think of Blondie as a very good 80's pop band. However I think they are a lot more than that, but you might not ever know it if you don't put this CD in and listen to the whole thing. A lot of the very best albums are like that. So here's my favorites in no particular order: Blondie - Parallel Lines: Every song on this is great. Debbie has one of the smoothest voices and best range of any pop/alternative artist I have heard. I literally feel an out-of-body experience listening to this. Some songs many have never heard such as "Picture This" and "Go Away" are as good as a few of their best hits ever "Heart of Glass", "Hanging on the Telephone", etc. If you doubt what I say here, please listen to it in full just one time. I think you will change your mind. Blue Oyster Cult - Cultosaurus Erectus: This was very tough because there are 2 other greats in my opinion, "Secret Treaties" and "Fire of Unknown Origin". Cultosaurus Erectus is special to me because it carries it the full polish of their newer set of albums and some of the old ecclectic themes and lyrics that their old stuff has. In particular I am fond of the guitar solos in "Fallen Angel" and the all-around hardcore playing of "Lips in the Hills" but honestly all the songs on this album are tip-top. Blue Oyster Cult is probably the most unappreciated great American rock band. Fleetwood Mac - Rumours: This is on a lot of lists and although it is slightly before my time(I remember some of their hits on the radio when I was about 7 years old), I will say this. This is one of the few bands along with Led Zeppelin that when you put their album on, almost immediately afterwards you find yourself amazed at just how good they sound. Almost unbelievable. This album probably has more of their best stuff than any other. Judas Priest - Sad Wings of Destiny: Like Blue Oyster Cult, these guys, especially their old stuff like this, is a bit of an acquired taste. However like the aforementioned Parallel Lines, although a very different genre, I feel myself floating away as the music plays on. Song after song flows together and takes you to a world of magic and metal. This is a classic. Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy: Probably the best rock band of all-time, it's hard to pick just one. But this one to me is special. It feels like pure goodness. Megadeth - Countdown to Extinction: This is a hard one for me also, because I really loved "Rust in Peace" and "Cryptic Writings". This one seems to be the best synthesis of Dave's great writing and Marty Frienman at his very best. Like a lot of people I really get off on Marty Friedman's guitar. Never heard anything quite like it. I know Dave Mustaine is a crazy jerk, but damn if he isn't not just a great songwriter but a great poet as well. I know I'll take some heat for saying that but it's true. Nirvana - Nevermind: I loved "In Utero" also, but let's be honest, that album is pretty painful. You can almomst always listen to Nevermind. It just rocks. I wonder how much more great music we could have had if Cobain stayed with us. Pink Floyd - Animals: "The Wall" honestly was probably their best ever. But like most people I have heard it a bazillion times. Besides, it's a double and I am trying to stick to single-record ablum/CDs. "Animals" is a genius work of art from beginning to end. It is basically a philosophical exploration of the different types of people and how to survive in this world without becoming amongst the worst types yourself. Absolutely hypnotic and ties the songs together where by the end, you feel you have gone on a journey and returned to where you started with a better understanding of the universe. Or at least your place within it. Rush - Moving Pictures: Rush probably one of the most talented and one of my favorite bands ever. Also probably the most philosophical hard rock band ever that was worth a shit. Moving Pictures was probably their most polished radio-friendly collection of songs, but also I would say, just flat out highest quality. Almost every song on this album is considered a rock classic. If somebody who had never heard Rush asked me to hear some of their stuff, I would have them listen to this. Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Oz: It's hard for me to choose between this and any of the Black Sabbath albums. However when it comes right down to it, it comes down to a lot of the lyrics and things that Ozzy had to say in this album and how I can relate. Ozzy had a reputation as an evil man who bites off bats' heads but I think he was quite sensitive and intelligent judging by the songs on here. I detect him dealing with his own depression and guilt in quite a few of these songs, in fact maybe all of them. And Randy Rhodes' guitar was just phenomenal.
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