Monday, July 24, 2006

Top 100: 101 - 91

It’s time.

After days and days of analyzing, postulating, calculating and hypothesizing…

Which was then followed by more re-analyzing, re-postulating, re-calculating and re-hypothesizing…

Which was then followed by even more re-analyzing, re-postulating, re-calculating and re-hypothesizing… I have done it.

Kemp’s Top 100 Albums.

You may all murmur amongst yourselves in anticipation of this grandiose event.

Let me throw out a few ground rules.

On rare occasions I accepted Greatest Hits compilations (it’s my list, so, conceivably, I could do what I wanted…)

I allowed soundtracks. If I didn’t allow soundtracks, that would have negated a few albums that I love and listen to A LOT.

I had to own the album or have the entire album on my iPod.

There are no rules. This was meant to be a fun exercise… as such, some of my favorite albums may not be others people’s idea of a favorite, or even good, album… and that’s my prerogative (No, you won’t be seeing any Bobby “Fisticuffs are my life” Brown on my list… nor his wife, Whitney “What happened to me and my career” Houston.

What you will see is Pearl Jam, The Beatles, The Kinks, Johnny Cash, Elvis and Poi Dog Pondering.

I started out with over 500 albums on my list and have now pared it down to 101 (always the overachiever am I…)

So without further ado…

The countdown begins with numbers 101 - 91… right now! [Whack!!… crash! Tingle… tingle… tingle….]

Damn it, that’s the last time I buy a gong off e-bay… ok, let’s try this again with my gas-powered fanfare machine…

The countdown starts… right now…[sputter, sputter,sputter…]

Right now…[sputter...wheeze...sputter...]

Son of a bi—

Right now! [Whoosh! Dum de de dum… dum dum dum dem de de dum… Gong!!]

101 – He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince. Come on now… Who can ignore this camp classic? The rap is child-like, the rhythms routine and the lyrics overflow with XX, but it's still catchy in a pop-bubblegum kind of way. Favorite Song: “Parent’s Just Don’t Understand”

100 – Songs from the Big Chair by Tears for Fears. One of those 80’s album that everyone owned. From the sappy “Head over Heels” to the world-domination anthem (if it were a group of 'Up with People') “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, this album was, and still is for me, one that instantly beams me back to the 1980’s. Favorite Song: “Shout”

99 – No Need to Argue by The Cranberries. This was the album from this Irish band. More emotionally raw and stronger than their first album (which missed being on this list by a smidge) it made some fans of their first album (like my friends Carrie and Angela) come to have feelings of derision for the group. I didn’t fall into that trap and found it to be 100-times better. Favorite Song: “Zombie”

98 - Ten by Pearl Jam. Now, I’m not a huge grunge fan, but the first time I heard this album way back when, I instantly fell in love with it. Eddie and the boys have never sounded better. While at times they band had an ego-problem, they still dished out some mighty-fine tunes. Favorite song: “Even Flow”

97 – Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder. Wonder is a phenomenal talent, and that talent is embodied with this album, which, as the title suggests, deal with things that are close and personal to Wonder and his life. Favorite Song: “Isn’t She Lovely”

96 - Blue Train by John Coltrane. As C-boy said, I could probably do a separate list with Jazz and Blues. One of John C’s best, he piques the interest of everyone who listens to this album. Odds are, you’ll see more of Mr. Coltrane before this list is done. Favorite song: “Blue Train”

95 – Les Misérables by Original Broadway Cast. Yes… it's a Broadway musical. No, I'm not gay (not that there's anything wrong with that), I just really, really like this show and the album. The music and singing are superb and emotional and tell the story, originally written by Victor Hugo, so well. Favorite Song: “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”

94 - 3 years, 5 months & 2 days in the life of… by Arrested Development. The band was short-lived, but their tuneful blending of funk, rap and “southerness”, made this a great album that, unfortunately, the band couldn’t top. Favorite Song: “People Everyday”

93 – Citizen Steely Dan by Steely Dan. Yes, technically a Box Set, but not in the strict sense of the term. This set has every, single album that the band released before 1980 with each selection crossing every musical genres and forcing every listener to reflect. Favorite song: “East St. Louis Toodle-Do”

92 – Oranges and Lemons by XTC. A fantastic album with some very loud Beatle-ism’s. The band and this album never got as big as they should have, being drowned out by the band and album above them at #100. It’s a shame, as XTC was probably the better of the two bands. Favorite Song: “Mayor of Simpleton”

91 – Birth of the Cool by Miles Davis. Come on… do I really need to explain this one? The quintessential blues album has Miles in excellent and perfect form. Hint; you may see Mr. Davis on this list again. Favorite Song: “Budo”

We're off...