Friday, June 27, 2008

Albums that really change things

OK, I know that this is going to be massively contentious but there really are albums that are so earth shatteringly important that when you look back you can see how they changed music forever.

Most of them are hugely well known, and deservedly so in many cases, but others tend to be only appreciated in hindsight.

I am thinking here of albums that make other people listen and think "wow, I am going to have to start doing that sort of thing" or they change the way an artist in regarded by the business and the fans or they are albums that just do something so new that they start a movement or they encapsulate a moment so well that they almost become the moment, a shorthand for what was going on at the time.

My nominations here are pretty much all well known, but I think that they do fulfil at least one of my self imposed criteria in some way, and none are recent either. I am pretty much sticking to the rock world too, because if I was going to include everything then the list would be massive.

I reckon you could do a list for Jazz, Soul, Reggae, Hiphop etc separately.

So here goes;

Bob Dylan "Bringing it all back home"
Bruce Springsteen "Born to run"
Pink Floyd "Dark side of the moon"
Led Zeppelin "Four Symbols"
Jimi Hendrix "Are you experienced"
Fairport Convention "LIege and lief"
Nirvana "Nevermind"
Stone Roses "Stone Roses"
Joy Division "Unknown pleasures"
The Clash "London calling"

My reasons are varied. They are;

The Dylan one is where he first plugged it in and changed guitar pop forever
"Born to run" created Springsteen as the artist we have now
DSOTM brought Pink Floyd to world domination and opened the door to zillions of copyists and let prog hit the big time
Led Zep 4 created stadium rock
"Are you experienced" encapsulated the fusion of blues, psychedelia and rock in the 60s. Cream may have been there first but Jimi did it best
"Liege and lief" invented folk rock
"Nevermind" brought grunge to the world, OK not the first grunge album, or the grungiest but the one everyone knows - inadvertently giving us Nickelback, oh well no one's perfect!
The first Roses album is where Brit Pop began
"Unknown pleasures" gave us the right to be miserable and showed us one way how to get out of punk
"London calling" fused punk, reggae, rock 'n' roll and gave us the other way to get out of punk's impasse

A very subjective list, but I think my reasons are valid.

Now, over to the rest of you.

15 comments:

steenbeck said...

I'm terrible with the facts and history side of things, but I remember when I first heard Velvet Underground and people had described it as so revolutionary, I thought, I've heard millions of bands that sound like that. And then I realized they did it first! But which album?

I'd say Fear of a Black Planet, or maybe It Takes a Nation of Millions; and 3 Feet High and Rising, for the way it used samples; and maybe the Low End Theory, for that whole jazz thing it did. I think Illmatic has influenced a lot of people. Again, terrible at facts and history, so if I'm wrong about all this...

snadfrod said...

I can't really argue with any of those, they all stand as landmarks and rightly so. As for changing things, I'm like steenbeck in that I don't know enough details to comment fully about past history, however I will add these ones as tentative suggestions from my own head...

'In Tha Aeroplane Over The Sea' by Neutral Milk Hotel. I think it has gained in influence as the years have gone on and it can now be heard in SO MUCH lo-fi american indie music, esp. Beirut, Decemberists (Colin Meloy owes Jeff Magnum a cheque!), Bright Eyes, Wilco yadda yadda.

'Definitely Maybe'. Say what you like about it, but this was the point from which so many (largely cack) bands derived most of their ideas.

ejaydee said...

Like Steenbeck and snadfrod, I'm not confident enough in my knowledge of music history to contribute in that sense. I know that Dr Dre's The Chornic had a lot of influence, as did Birth Of The Cool by Miles Davis and Gil Evans and Gerry Mulligan and some others. Mostly it's more a debate for JAP.

What I do know is that albums like Outkast ATLiens, Wu-Tang Clan's Enter the 36 Chambers, In A Silent Way, The Smiths' Louder Than Bombs, Daft Punk's Homework, Marvin Gaye's Trouble Man, Blood On The Tracks changed things for me on a personal level. And that's not counting all the compilations.

CaroleBristol said...

"And then I realized they did it first! But which album?"

The banana one? Velvet Underground and Nico?

Mnemonic said...

DJ Shadow - Endtroducing

goneforeign said...

OK, if we stay with rock my list would be similar but different. First off these might be personal favorites but in many cases they're also albums where things changed, with some just the fortunes of the group or artist with others they had a significant effect on pop music in general. To start with the most obvious:

The Beatles - Sgt Pepper. If you weren't there you've no idea the impact this album had, we knew it was coming and the build up and tension were like nothing you've ever seen. Everything else stopped, there were several radio stations in LA that played NOTHING but Sgt Pepper for days on end, programs were devoted to discussions about it, it was in every magazine. There's never been another like it since. And I can't believe that there's people who say they hate it!
Dylan: Highway 61 . It also made an enormous impact after the acoustic Dylan, the band was superb and the lyrics were incomprehensive poetry.
Bob Marley & Wailers: Catch a Fire, You can't put them in a reggae bag, they exposed the whole world to a totally new type of music and Jimmy Cliff was right behind them with The Harder they Come.
Stones: Beggers Banquet or Sympathy. They really started to hit big in the US, both these albums got endless airplay.
Van Morrison: Astral Weeks, his first to really make a splash.
Paul Simon: Graceland: Another album that had round the world significance, never been one like that before it.
There were also many that didn't quite make that level but were great albums in their own right, albums that cemented careers, for example;
Joni Mitchell - Blue.
Buffalo Springfield.
CSN.
Quicksilver - They only made one great album but it was a great one: Happy Trails.
There's dozens more, they're just the highlights.

Wish someone would hurry up and build a time machine that would allow us to go back and re-live the 60/70's. I don't hear anything like it today.

ejaydee said...

GF, I wouldn't say I hate Sgt Pepper, but the hype around it until recently (now it seems it's gone to the other unreasonable extreme) made it hard for me to make my own opinion about it. When I was on a let's-force-ourselves-to-listen-to-the-classics period, I enthusiastically picked up Sgt. Pepper, loved some songs, but it's only later that I realised that I don't really like When I'm 64, or Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite (I actually do hate that one) or Fixing A Hole. Basically what I meant to say is that the current backlash is caused by the raving that's been going on since it came out. Of course one would have a different opinion about it if one were there.

goneforeign said...

Yeah, I think a lot of it relates to that, you had to know what little else was going on at that time. I've never thought in retrospect how good/bad the songs were, if Mr Kite were a standalone I could be much more critical than I am of it as part of a whole and that's what Sgt. Pepper was, one long cut!

CaroleBristol said...

About Sgt Pepper, I half like it, when it is good, it is very good but the weak songs are awful.

Personally, I much prefer "Revolver"

Blimpy said...

Very good points made already, here's my top of the head in bed on a saturday morning list, i'm thinking of this challenge from the point of view of the top ten records that have influenced the majority of the bands in my record collection, that are also my favourite records too:

1. Velvet Underground and Nico.
2. Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars - Bowie
3. Darklands - JAMC
4. ITAOTS - Neutral Milk Hotel
5. In Utero - Nirvana
6. Loveless - My Bloody Valentine
7. Tigermilk - Belle and Sebastien
8. Young Team - Mogwai
9. Siamese Dream - Smashing Pumpkins
10. Leave Them All Behind - Ride

Blimpy said...

Very good points made already, here's my top of the head in bed on a saturday morning list, i'm thinking of this challenge from the point of view of the top ten records that have influenced the majority of the bands in my record collection, that are also my favourite records too:

1. Velvet Underground and Nico.
2. Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars - Bowie
3. Darklands - JAMC
4. ITAOTS - Neutral Milk Hotel
5. In Utero - Nirvana
6. Loveless - My Bloody Valentine
7. Tigermilk - Belle and Sebastien
8. Young Team - Mogwai
9. Siamese Dream - Smashing Pumpkins
10. Leave Them All Behind - Ride

CaroleBristol said...

We share a lot of fave albums Blimpy.

On your list I have 1, 2, 3, 6 and 9.

Blimpy said...

carole, you have most excellent taste in music!

Mnemonic said...

Slint - Spiderland set the template for post-rock

Mnemonic said...

Slint - Spiderland set the template for post-rock