Monday, August 14, 2006

Top 100: 50 - 41

50 – Presents: the Rise and Fall by Madness. Madness was the soundtrack for one summer of my youth in St. Louis, and their brand of rock, ska, swing, punk was often imitated at the time, but never fully duplicated. Favorite Song: Yes, it’s trite to like this one, and I know it’s being used to hock coffee, but nonetheless: “Our House”

49 – Buena Vista Social Club by Buena Vista Social Club & Ry Cooder. Listening to this album you’re magically transported to a little cafĂ© in Havana, Cuba, with fans moving slowly, and this sound filling the air and your senses. Incredible, absolutely incredible. Favorite Song: “Pueblo Nuevo”

48 – Blue Train by John Coltrane. His only album under the Blue Note label. This is the one that prompted me to start playing the saxophone after having to give up the trumpet. Classic sound that really stresses Coltrane’s perfect sax playing. Favorite Song: “Giant Steps”

47 – At Newport by Muddy Waters. An Acoustic album rather than Water’s familiar electric guitar styles, and this one is great as you can really hear the emotions in Water’s voice. Favorite Song: “I've Got My Mojo Working”

46 – Tidal by Fiona Apple. I originally bought this album solely for the first single; ‘Criminal’, but after listening to it all the way through, I fell in love with the entire album and listen to it quite a bit. Her style on this album may not be as polished as on her later stuff, but I still favor this one over her others. Favorite Song: “Criminal”

45 – Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits. Ignore the over-played and underdone ‘Money for Nothing’ and focus on the rest of the album. With the guitar virtuoso of Mark Knopfler and the lyrical stylings the band created (much of it from Knopfler), this album is a great listening experience. Favorite Song: “ Brothers in Arms”

44 – Welcome Interstate Managers by Fountains of Wayne. Their third, and in my humble opinion, best, album. This one covers a wide array of musical genres; alt-country, alt-rock and pop, and brings it all together nicely. Favorite Song: “No Better Place”

43 – Wildflowers by Tom Petty. I know, I know, you’re all hoping that it’s Judy Collins’ Wildflower album… but alas, it’s not... it’s Petty’s. Is it a coincidence that his best solo album (my opinion only people; relax!) is also the onc that was influenced heavily by his Traveling Wilbury-mate George Harrison? I think there’s a connection there, but what do I know? Favorite Song: “You Wreck Me”

42 – Volume 1 by Traveling Wilburys. A supergroup for the ages whose first album made it sound as though the only thing the five of them set out to do was have a good time, and the result is a success. Sometimes simple, sometimes rockin, sometimes odd, it’s a great album from a “low-key” supergroup. The death of Orbison ended the bands career too soon, though they tried it without him in Vol. 3. Favorite Song (like CroutonBoy) “Tweeter and the Monkey Man”

41 – Being There by Wilco. I own three Wilco albums and truly love the band, and, while I really, really like this album, it’s my least favorite of the three. I can’t really place why, but it is. Favorite Song: “Outtasite (Outta Mind)”

Top 100: 60 - 51

This is the homestretch (not really, but it makes me feel better) and we’re getting close to the bottom half. My list is starting to make more sense (and scaring me as my albums are starting to resemble CroutonBoy’s list… should I be worried about that?)

Since I am very behind on my Top 100 Albums List (most, if not all, of my blogmigos have already finished theirs), I’ll be giving you a 2-fer each day from here on out. So now you get #’s 60 – 51 and shortly after, #’s 50 – 41.

Anyway, here we go...

60 – Blood Sugar Sex Majix by Red Hot Chili Peppers. I never really liked RHCP… but then I started dating my wife, who loved them (along with Nine Inch Nails) in college. She had this CD and left it at my place one nigh- uh, day and I listened to it. Wow. It totally changed my mind about them as a band. After that I ‘permanently borrowed’ the disk when she graduated (she was a year ahead of me) but she "got it back" after we got married. Favorite song: “Funky Monks”

59 – Hell Freezes Over by The Eagles. This disc reminds me of college and the first few months of my dating a particular woman, a woman that would become my wife. In fact, Love Will Keep Us Alive is “our” song. Favorite Song: “Love Will Keep Us Alive”

58 –Sinatra at the Sands by Frank Sinatra. It’s Sinatra baby! This album perfectly catches Sinatra in concert, including the dialog between sets and the charismatic performer that Sinatra was. Favorite song: “It Was a Very Good Year”

57 – Elvis' 30 #1 Hits by Elvis Presley. There's a reason I've been to Graceland twice; he's the King. This selection was hard, as I have a plethora of Elvis albums; Elvis' Gospel album, his #1 Hits, his #2 Hits, The Sun Years, etc, so I had to disobey my Greatest Hits compilation rule and choose this one, mainly for the fact that I love every damn song on it, having said that, I still have a favorite, and it’s my all-time favorite Elvis song. Favorite Song: “Kentucky Rain”

56 – Fashion Nugget by Cake. Cake is hit or miss with me. Sometimes I like them, sometimes I don’t. This album falls into the like column… the “like a lot” column at that. It’s rockin’, it’s rollin’, and it’s got an excellent remake of a much-overplayed disco song… that is my Favorite Song: “I Will Survive”

55 – Pomegranate / Electrique Plummagram by Poi Dog Pondering. If you're outside of Chicago you've probably never heard of them. They're a local band with a HUGE (and I mean gargantuan) fan base in the Windy City. There’s a reason there are two albums here; Pomegranate is one of their most commercially successful albums (and my favorite), but Electrique is a re-mix version of Pomegranate; and they both bring it. Some don’t consider this (these) their best albums, but I do. Favorite Song(s): “Diamonds And Buttermilk” (Original version) & “Diamonds And Buttermilk” (Matt Warren Remix). Same song but with completely different sounds.

54 – Blues Traveler by Blues Traveler. Their first album is also their best. This was way before they sold out with 'Four' and quit playing for the masses and started playing for the money. Favorite Song: “Sweet Talking Hippie”

53 – Sticky Fingers by The Rolling Stones. I love the Stones (granted; not as much as the Beatles, but pretty damn close) and this is the first appearance on my list (see the next one for another, and I will give a spoiler that there’s another one way-down the list). Favorite Song: “Sister Morphine”

52 – Beggar's Banquet by The Rolling Stones. Again, this is a great album. Favorite Song: “Sympathy for the Devil”

51 – Catch-all by Swag. Small little band made up of people from Wilco, The Mavericks, and Cheap Trick. The band started-up few years ago on the Mavericks tour bus. The short album gives minutes of honest-to-goodness pure power pop goodie from what can best be described as an underground supergroup. Did you know? If you look at the top right corner, you'll see a small band of gold. It's Robert Reynolds (of the Mavericks) wedding ring from his former marriage to country singer Trisha Yearwood. Favorite Song: “Please Don’t Tell”

Stay tuned, #'s 50 - 41 are forthcoming.

101 - 91, 90 - 81, 80 - 71 and 70 -61.