My Top 5 Albums of All Time

My top 5 movies of all time post certainly got some great (and very passionate!) discussions going. There were very strong advocates for Shawshank Redemption, The Godfather, Back to The Future, Unforgiven and many others in a lot of the commentary I received. All solid choices and I love all of those movies, but as I mentioned this was both: a. incredibly difficult to narrow done to just 5 and b. not a “critics” list but rather my personal top 5 list. As writing that blog was so much fun for me, I thought I would turn it now to music – another huge passion of mine and a topic sure to raise some debate. In the same spirit as the top 5 movies of all time post, I give you my top 5 albums of all time. It is necessary again to add the disclaimer that this is my top 5 albums – so debate is welcomed but hate mail is not.

1. Abbey Road – The Beatles. There are so many great Beatles albums to choose from like Rubber Soul, Revolver and The White Album – all some of my personal favorites. But if I had to choose one, it would be Abbey Road. This is The Beatles at their finest – both as a group and as individual songwriters. From George Harrison’s masterpiece “Something” to John Lennon’s opus “Come Together” and Paul McCartney’s beautiful “Golden Slumbers” it is them at their peaks. Throw in a good Ringo vocal on “Octopus’s Garden” and the circle is complete as Darth Vader would say. The second side of Abbey Road (yes – there were once “albums” and they had “sides”) contains in my mind the single greatest piece of music ever recorded. The medley that starts with “You never give me your money” and ends with “The End” is unbelievably awesome and flows perfectly. The fact that these were “throwaway” songs by The Beatles melded together just shows you how ridiculously talented they were.

2. Paul’s Boutique – The Beastie Boys. If there were a “Sgt. Pepper’s” of rap – this would be it. This album, produced by the Dust Brothers, turned the whole rap game on its ear. A mix of psychedelic, punk and drug influence, this is about as perfect as any album – rap or no – ever made. From the very beginning of this album to the very end, The Beasties are experimenting with different sounds, samples and rhyme styles. Some personal favorites – “Shake Your Rump”, “Shadrach” and “3 Minute Rule”. They literally sample everything on this record – from The Beatles Abbey Road (see #1) to Afrika Bambatta to The Commodores. There isn’t a “fast forward” moment on the entire album. It is really amazing when you think they went from the style of “Licensed to Ill” to this very different style in consecutive albums. These guys simply rule.
3. Sign O’ The Times – Prince. Prince is a musical genius – and anyone who thinks differently simply doesn’t know music. His catalog is amazing – but his best album in my opinion is Sign O’ The Times. It’s got a groove and feel that is really almost as close to a “concept album” as Prince has ever done, but with a wide range of styles and songs. There are the hits – “U Got The Look” with Sheena Easton (remember her?!), “If I was Your Girlfriend” and the title track that are all instantly recognizable and a blast to listen to. But it also has some amazing other tracks that really push this album over the edge to greatness. “Housequake” is one of the funkier jams you will ever listen to, and “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man” is sing along pop fun. Just a classic album from start to finish. Prince’s best work he ever did – and that is really saying something. I know there will be the “Purple Rain” contingent out there crying foul. I LOVE that album – but this one is the superior collection of songs.
4. Led Zeppelin II – Led Zeppelin. Much like The Beatles, Zep’s catalog is enormous and awesome. Tough to pick their best album for sure – but my go to is and always will be Led Zeppelin II. Heavy, dark and driving – this is an album without a single bad tune on it. This one features Zeppelin classics like “What is and What Should Never Be”, “Whole Lotta Love” and “Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid” (side note – these two MUST be played in sequence – like Queen’s “We Will Rock You/We are The Champions. Whenever I hear the sharp end of Heartbreaker I immediately expect the first vocal of Living Loving Maid). It’s got ballads like “Thank You” and, as a drummer myself, the John Bonham masterpiece “Moby Dick”. This is, in my opinion all you Zeppelin fans, the band at their absolute apex. I have always said that I have three bands that I can say I never fast forward through any of their work – The Beatles, The Beastie Boys and Led Zeppelin. End. Of. Discussion.
5. Death Certificate – Ice Cube. I can hear it already in the comments and emails I will get – Ice Cube?!?! Over Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Queen, U2, The Who, NWA (although technically still Ice Cube)? Yes – on all fronts. This album is effing amazing. This is Cube’s second album he made after leaving NWA, and his maturity as a rapper and songwriter definitely shows. He doesn’t lose any of the hardcore edge you expect, but is much more intelligent about his delivery and style. This album has some of IceCube’s best songs he ever made. Classic tracks like “I Wanna Kill Sam”, “The Wrong **** to F*** Wit”, and “Steady Mobbin” are there. There are also the downright hysterical tracks like “Givin’ Up the Nappy Dug Out”. This album also has perhaps the greatest tune O’Shea Jackson (Cube’s real name) ever made – “No Vaseline”. A scathing attack on his fellow bandmates from NWA, this is five minutes and 15 seconds of fire and brimstone – and it is totally awesome. Any rap fan worth his/her salt knows the lyrics to this one cold.

So there you have it – my top 5. Not easy to pick, but sure was fun to write. Some honorable mentions: “The Wall” by Pink Floyd, “Moving Pictures” by Rush, “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” by Public Enemy, “Southern Harmony and Musical Companion” by The Black Crowes, “Exile on Main Street” by The Rolling Stones, “Straight Outta Compton” by NWA, “Back in Black” by AC/DC, “Who’s Next” by The Who, “Thriller” by Michael Jackson and “The Chronic” by Dr. Dre. What are your Top 5 albums of all time? Let me know in the comments section below!

Posted on December 4, 2014 in Entertainement, Fun, Nerd Stuff

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  1. […] some of my prior Friday posts about music Top 20 Songs of All Time, Top 5 Rap Acts of All Time, Top 5 Albums of All TIme I kept coming back to some bands I always felt were vastly underrated. Yes – you have read me […]

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