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|Prelude to Johnny's Top 100: 113-101|
Seeing as I'm currently sitting on 9999 comments, I decided to make an effort and put an obligatory celebratory list together, complete with soppy descriptions of why I love each album and why I've enjoyed wasting so much time on this site etcetc. It isn't quite finished, but I can share the 13 albums that were considered for my top 100 but didn't quite make the cut. So here you are: my 101-113rd favourite albums (ranked, of course):
#113 - Although it lacks the variety and awe-inspiring ambition of Funeral, Arcade Fire's second album is a very even listen that shows them beginning a very slow descent after their early peak. Although standouts like Intervention, Windowsill and My Body is a Cage can hold their own with the best of Funeral, I get the feeling that Neon Bible does everything right, but not too right - it makes few mistakes, but isn't the most memorable album that I've happened upon.
#112 - My Rush album of choice boasts the same energy and creativity that all their best releases showcase, but I've always had a soft spot for The Spirit of Radio and Jacob's Ladder. I don't think I'll ever be an outright fan of Geddy Lee's voice and my Rush phase feels firmly in the past now, but this album still comes to mind as a favourite. In the not-so-unlikely event that I get back into Rush one day, this will probably be where I start.
|11||A Lot Like Birds|
#111 - Having been to boarding school and moved house several times, I can really connect with the concept of trying to connect with home on an emotional level and coming up with results that are disappointing, warped and occasionally beautiful; these guys express it powerfully and throw in some appropriately twisted impressive rhythms and song structures. However, I'm always left with the feeling that it's a little overplayed and strained, particularly in the spoken word sections, so No Place is ironically bittersweet. It still invokes a lot of nostalgia in me, and I imagine that I'll end up coming back to it more than A Lot Like Birds' other albums in the long run.
|10||Rage Against the Machine|
Rage Against the Machine
#110 - If I had chosen my favourites purely based on their riffs, this would have been right up at the top. As it is...Rage are awesome and deserve their recognition, but I find a whole album of their sound to be a little much. And I can't stand socialism. On a song-by-song basis, this is absolutely killer, but it's not a pick for my putative finest album.
|9||Pure Reason Revolution|
The Dark Third
#109 - Prog with harmonies and a few riffs and lots more harmonies and vocal HOOKS! This band nailed a strong sound on their debut and I keep coming back to many parts of it. However, similarly to RATM, I find it easier to pick out certain tracks and don't tend to listen to it as a single work. However, unlike pretty much every other album on this list, I don't mind that
|8||The Flaming Lips|
The Soft Bulletin
#108 - The Soft Bulletin is a fairly new find for me and a somewhat frustrating album; I love the songwriting and think that it was performed magnificently; there is a whole lot of emotion in this album. My problem is that I can’t access a lot of it; Feeling Yourself Disintegrate and The Gash hit the mark, but the rest of this clearly meaningful album makes me feel like I should be moved by it a whole lot more. It’s a great shame, because I enjoy it enough to tell that it has a whole lot more to offer, and I really hope that it grows on me.
#107 -This 70s prog gem is a reliably soothing experience that never fails to relax me. Chord Change is a genius instrumental that makes my eyebrows rise every time and Air Born is wonderfully blissful, but I have always found the highly-praised closer Lunar Sea very underwhelming, and this holds Moonmadness back.
#106 - This wonderfully messy fusion reminds painfully much of my younger, Linkin Park-craving self’s idea of the perfect music; it leans so obviously towards nu-metal that it’s almost a guilty pleasure, but it’s dynamic, fun and creative (particularly the second half, which is very imaginative) enough to raise itself up to a higher tier.
|5||The Pax Cecilia|
Blessed Are The Bonds
#105 - Blessed Are the Bonds has a lot going for it; the creative process behind this album must have been wild, but its range of styles and moods is surprisingly well-refined and streamlined. The Tragedy and The Tomb Song in particular are remarkably sophisticated blends of classical, hardcore and post-rock that are innovative and powerful beyond belief. The main issue is that many parts of the album (mainly the second half) lack the infectiousness that other parts nail so strongly, with the unfortunate result that it comes across as slightly over-ambitious and overlong, but it’s worth it for the highlights without a shadow of a doubt.
At The Soundless Dawn
#104 - Instrumental post-rock has always been a style that I have consistently liked without having huge expectations for (with a very few exceptions), and Red Sparowes’ debut is probably my exemplar of the style. The jams here are very well-written and the musicianship is top-notch, yet it remains an album that is far more reliable than it is overwhelming. The first three tracks showcase instrumental rock at its highest level, yet there is only so much that can be done with it before I get satisfied.
#103 - This one of only two EPs to grace my combined favourites-lists, and it remains my pick of Cloudkicker’s discography. He never managed to conjure more intense bliss than he does on Fourteen Nights and Modulator/Demodulator is a perfectly concise build and climax. The less frantic heavy sections wear a little thin and God Be With Ye’s reprise of the main theme doesn’t quite manage to provide the same awe that Fourteen Nights does, but this EP is a joy from start to finish.
|2||The Dear Hunter|
Act I: The Lake South, the River North
#102 - In terms of individual songs, this album is absolutely extraordinary and deserves far more credit than The Dear Hunter has received for Act II; The Inquiry of Ms. Terri and His Hands Matched His Tongue are two of the finest songs that Mr. Crescenzo has penned to date. However, this album is far too brief to resonate as thoroughly as Act II later would and has slightly uneven songwriting in places. A strong, strong start from a great project.
#101 - Somewhat minimalistic post-rock; beautifully executed and highly touching. The vocals remain the focus of the album from start to finish and offer a very moving, bleak vision that haunts me long after the last chords of Anything Other Than Breathing fade out. It might be a little too subdued in places (there’s a certain extent that a bleak atmosphere can be taken before it verges on becoming stagnant), but King Nine is a very near miss for the main list.
|great write-up, looking forward to reading this series. cheers|
|"And I can't stand socialism."|
Daddy's money, or political ignorance?
|Agree with what you said about Moonmadness, you definitely picked out the two best songs. I wouldn't call Lunar Sea underwhelming as such but I'd agree that it's definitely not the best on the album like many people claim, as good as it is, that kind of instrumental jam isn't what Camel do best.|
|How could anyone 'not stand socialism' but even more of a headscratcher is the love for A Lot Like Birds.|
|Socialism is da best. 💍|