Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Lifetime of Music—Year By Year

Not a blog meme, but something sent to me via email, but it's tailor-made for blogging and passing along...

Start at the wikipedia page of the year of your birth, and pick the best (or your favorite) album from each year you've been alive.

1968Beggars Banquet - The Rolling Stones
1969Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin
1970Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel
1971Sticky Fingers - The Rolling Stones
1972Exile on Main St. - The Rolling Stones
1973Countdown to Ecstasy - Steely Dan
1974Feats Don't Fail Me Now - Little Feat
1975Blood on the Tracks - Bob Dylan
19762112 - Rush
1977Seconds Out (live) - Genesis
1978Van Halen - Van Halen (debut)
1979London Calling - The Clash
1980Peter Gabriel(Melting) - Peter Gabriel
1981Moving Pictures - Rush
1982Three Sides Live – Genesis
1983Texas Flood - Stevie Ray Vaughan
1984Couldn't Stand the Weather - Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
1985The Firm - The Firm
1986Graceland - Paul Simon
1987The Joshua Tree - U2
1988It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back - Public Enemy
1989Let Love Rule - Lenny Kravitz
1990Shake Your Money Maker - The Black Crowes (debut)

Man, some of those were really tough—1969, 1976 and 1978 were standout years. My selections were based heavily on longevity and my current opinion over my feelings at the time—in some cases I was uninitiated to (Feat, SRV) or even disliked (Kravitz) the album I now select as a favorite.

It's late and stopping right before the upheaval of my taste in the 90s seems like a good place to call it a night... to be continued...

UPDATE: Back at it...

1991Nevermind - Nirvana
I have avoided ties thusfar, and to keep that streak alive, I will give Nevermind the edge over Pearl Jam's Ten by a scruffy beard hair.

Quite possibly the greatest year in the history of music, 1991 was a watershed moment for me. During my years in college, and immediately after, I became addicted to hi-fi, bought CDs by the dozens hundreds, and essentially re-lived the previous decades of rock anew via expensive stereo. I suddenly have a real job and money, I turn around and there is just fantastic album after fantastic album coming out from countless new or breaking artists in genres of music unknown to me or previously non-existent. Not to mention comebacks from established acts...Here's just a taste of what 1991 had to offer:

Gish - The Smashing Pumpkins
Badmotorfinger - Soundgarden
Girlfriend - Matthew Sweet
Achtung Baby - U2
Blood Sugar Sex Magik - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Out of Time - R.E.M.

Are you fucking kidding me? Most of those would have won in any other year.

1992Little Earthquakes - Tori Amos
That's a total upset! But, looking at the list, it's the one that stands apart. Most of the also-rans had other great years and albums besides their 1992 releases, but this was absolutely the peak for Amos, and a big album for me. (Truth be told, dada's Puzzle would win if it made wikipedia's list.)

While perhaps not as revolutionary as the previous year, 1992 was every bit as strong. Check it out...
The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion - The Black Crowes
Copper Blue - Sugar
Core - Stone Temple Pilots
Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine
Dirt - Alice in Chains

1993Siamese Dream - The Smashing Pumpkins
Moved back to NY, and was in full WDRE-mode. This was really the year of the chick rock for me...Liz Phair, Breeders, Belly, etc.

The early '90s is really when I was in my musical "nirvana." I was making even more money and living in NY, going to concerts all the time, and the radio was just kicking ass. That said, I'm going to try and rein it in and bring these entries back down to one.

1994Throwing Copper - Live
1995The Bends - Radiohead
This should probably be Emmylou Harris' Wrecking Ball, but I can't find it on the list...
1996Odelay - Beck
1997The Colour and the Shape - Foo Fighters
1998Gentleman's Blues - Cracker

NOTE: The stuff I like is still good, but much of it is falling shy of wikipedia's lists—there is a lot of crap in there now. Many of the early nineties greats have fallen apart by now...

1999The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner - Ben Folds Five
2000All That You Can't Leave Behind - U2
After the tough choices faced in the nineties, 2000 was shockingly weak. I went up and own the list repeatedly looking for an album that even approached the stature of the previous years. It wasn't there. Ultimately, it was between mediocre Elliott Smith and mediocre U2...

2001Comfort Eagle - Cake
Even weaker than 2000.

2002One by One - Foo Fighters
The fact that their label tried to spike Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot should tell why these are the years I stopped listening to anything but NPR...

2003Elephant - The White Stripes
Awesome album, but I didn't find it until years later...still in my music sabbatical it would seem. This wiki list is shit.

2004—Fucking garbage. There are only a handful on this list I would even play never mind call "favorite or best." I'll give it to U2's How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, I guess. I am really disgruntled right now.

2005Get Behind Me Satan - The White Stripes
Ah, redemption. This album single-handedly yanked me from my music coma. Props to Mrs F for making me check it out. Otherwise I might still be wandering in the desert. It's why I worship at the alter of Jack White. I owe him. Big time.

2006Broken Boy Soldiers - The Raconteurs (see above)

2007Because of the Times - Kings of Leon

And as if there was any doubt...

of the Lonely—The Raconteurs
Asserting itself as an all-time great album. I can't get enough of it. Don;t think I've gone more than a day or two without playing some of it.

Phew. Not sure if that was fun or torture, but there it is.

(Mike, Toast, Smitty, Fridge, Angelos, Rickey and the rest of you should take this opportunity to get crackin'. Rob, I expect yours in the comments.)


Toast said...

This is going to be a fun meme...

Angelos said...

Dude, this is going to take hours...

I hate you.

Mike said...

It is a time-waster, and I'm looking to be busy the next 4 or 5 days. And then I'll be away for a week.

But I'll try to do this if I can.

Mr Furious said...

Do yourself a favor and stick to the list supplied by wikipedia. If you try and include every obscure thing that came down the pike, you'll never finish. I started "treating" myself with playing tracks off these albums in iTunes, and immediately started going through my collection year by year. and I have a LOT of MP3s. I decided to limit it to the list, though iTunes did alert me to a few I had missed wen scolling down wikipedia.

Mr Furious said...

WTF is up with Blogger and italics these days? I see that they all disappeared from the album titles. In Firefox anyway...

Toast said...

This is basically going to be my afternoon. I just scanned ahead to the mid-eighties to make sure they included sufficient quantities of metal and I can confirm that is the case. I'm good to go with Wikipedia's lists.

michelline said...

This should be interesting. Chris and I were born in the same year (1971) and it should be interesting to see how different our lists are.

Toast said...

Jesus Christ, Johnny Cash released four albums in 1968???

rob said...

This is going to be impossible. I think for the sake of keeping it interesting, I am going to pick the albums that had a bigger impact on me at the time, as opposed to what i consider the better album now.


Oh, and tagging someone who doesn't even have a blog!?! is that allowed?

just because I can get the italics to work, doesn't make me a blogger!

rob said...

btw, you are crazy. this is going to take more then forever...

Mr Furious said...

Johnny Cash released four albums in 1968?

There are a lot of multi-release-in-one-year artists... Led Zeppelin I AND II both came out in 1969...that was a very tough call for me. Joe Jackson split his own vote in '79 with Look Sharp! and I'm the Man.

Mr Furious said...


I had a hard time deciding personal impact at the time vs bigger picture. Since I had already filled several slots with live albums, and I couldn't ignore the watershed that was Van Halen's debut. VH got the nod over Waiting for Columbus even though I would probably reach for Little Feat first right now...

Since I got it via email from Brad, you're tagged. Blog or no.

Smitty said...

I'm on it.

Otto Man said...

Alright, I picked up the challenge you left at my place. You're right, some years are overflowing with goodness, and others are dry as a desert. (I'm looking at you, 1981.)

Here's my list

Mike said...

All right, I started working on it. Hopefully I'll have something to put up by mid-week.

Mike said...

Ok,Mine Is Up.

fridge said...

I'm on this tonight. I can't wait for this meme and I'm gonna have to a) go with "favorite" over best and b) list some alternates.

Awesome meme.