Average Rating: 3.84
Rating Variance: 0.91
Objectivity Score: 69% (Fairly Balanced)
Sort by: Rating | Release Date | Rating Date | Name5.0 classicAC/DC Back In BlackBob Dylan Blood on the Tracks'Blood on the Tracks' is ten love songs. None of them are soppy. Or cliched. Or self-absorbed. Each one of them says something true about the human existence, and it is truly remarkable that Dylan constructed an acoustic masterpiece, his first since 'The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan'. One of the best three albums of his legendary career. Best songs are 'Tangled Up In Blue', 'Idiot Wind', 'If You See Her, Say Hello' and 'Simple Twist of Fate', but, in all honesty, an album whose worst song is the excellent 'Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts' deserves its classic status wholeheartedly.Bob Dylan Highway 61 RevisitedFinishing and ending with a masterpiece, 'Highway 61 Revisited' smoothly combines folk and blues to offer such works as 'Like A Rolling Stone', the soft, sad-eyed 'It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry', the sly 'Ballad of a Thin Man' and the majestic 'Desolation Row', possibly Dylan's greatest work. The smirking garage rock on 'Tombstone Blues', 'From A Buick 6' and the hilarious Biblical 'Highway 61 Revisited' ensure that the album isn't too serious, and only add to the greatness.Bob Dylan Bringing It All Back HomePolitical satire has never been more blisteringly, hilariously cynical than 'Subterranean Homesick Blues', 'On The Road Again' and 'Bob Dylan's 115th Dream'.Bob Dylan The Freewheelin' Bob DylanJust Dylan tickling and plucking his acoustic and breathing through his harmonica, yet his lyric writing is truly masterful: these songs, of which seven are genuine greats, are simultaneously documents of their time and applicable in the world of today. Watch this kid, he could go somewhere.Counting Crows August And Everything AfterJeff Buckley GraceLed Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IIA great in the Led Zeppelin catalogue. From Page and Plant's glowering opening on "Whole Lotta Love" (Jimmy later smashes the song with his impossibly precise, tight blues solo as Plant howls around him) to the beautiful "Thank You", this is definitely one of the most even works across the board by the English greats. The soft-loud blues of "What Is And What Should Never Be" and "The Lemon Song" remain fan favourites while Page assures his place in guitar immortality with his unaccompanied solo on "Heartbreaker". Bonham squeezes every last beat out of his drumkit on "Moby Dick" and Jones, working in light and shade on his bass for the whole album, plays that wonderfully evocative synth solo on "Ramble On" (for full effect, try listening to the solo with your left headphone in only). Bowing out with the muffly blues of "Bring It On Home" that explodes with a ridiculously Zeppelin-y riff, Led Zeppelin II showcases the complete package of rock's greatest ever band. Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IVA triumph of rock so great it's almost improbable. The lightning lumber guitar work of 'Black Dog' opens the album guns ablazing, followed by Bonham's full tilt drumming and Jimmy's swaggering riff on 'Rock and Roll'. The mandolin driven, unashamed Lord of the Rings commentary of 'Battle of Evermore' is followed by the greatest song of all time with the greatest solo in rock history. Of 'Stairway To Heaven,' enough has been said, so I'll say no more. 'Misty Mountain Hop', powered by Jones' keyboard work, is one of the funniest LZ songs ever, followed by the beautiful rainy day poetry of 'Going to California' and the towering, hard blues of 'When The Levee Breaks.'Six five star songs on an eight song album. End of story.Led Zeppelin Physical GraffitiNirvana MTV Unplugged in New YorkNirvana NevermindOasis (What's The Story) Morning Glory?An album bursting with rich, flowing keyboard and guitar, and youthfully wise lyrics, ''What's The Story?" is truly one of the greatest works of the 1990s. From the ridiculously Beatles-y ('Roll With It', 'She's Electric', 'Don't Look Back In Anger') to deep statements of what it means to be a man ('Cast No Shadow') and euphoric triumphs of youth ('Wonderwall', 'Champagne Supernova'), Oasis construct a soulful, artistically satisified album.Patti Smith HorsesSmith writes punk for intellectualists: the extended, T.S Eliot style poet-pieces 'Birdland' and 'Land' capture the D.I.Y individualism and resistance to conformity of the Ramones or the Clash, but her music is more of a pounding, rollicking rock 'n' roll and her lyrics make her the female Dylan.Pink Floyd The WallA masterpiece and the most self indulgent album of all time. The two can, as it turns out, co exist.Pink Floyd The Dark Side of the MoonHow do you spell m-a-s-t-e-r-p-i-e-c-e? Undoubtedly one of rock's finest, most intriguing, moments.Powderfinger Vulture StreetPowderfinger Odyssey Number FiveRadiohead OK ComputerRamones Rocket to RussiaThe Ramones give some more so-stupid-it's-smart, hilarious punk. 'Sheena Is A Punk Rocker', 'Rockaway Beach', the faux-arrogance of 'I Don't Care' and 'Teenage Lobotomy' in particular are brilliantly clever and great for head banging to. And I'm a strong believer that, had the Trashmen not gotten there first, the Ramones would've made 'Surfin' Bird'. It is just their perfect song. Ramones RamonesThe album and band who showed that you could be heavy and fast, tough and funny, simple and original. Tightest line up ever, and such sheer fun to listen to.Sex Pistols Never Mind The BollocksLiars. No Feelings. Problems. Submission. Pretty much sums up mid 1970s Britain. It needed a shock, politically, socially and musically, and the Sex Pistols, bringing a new genre (political punk) to the UK, dropped the bomb. Dealing with Communism on 'Holidays In The Sun', abortion on 'Bodies', political staleness on 'God Save The Queen' and a simply sinister sneer of impending violence on 'Anarchy In The U.K', the Pistols became the most hated and loved band in England, and set out a ripple effect of punk clones.Smashing Pumpkins Siamese DreamWhen gritty, loud D.I.Y grunge was the sound of the day, the unashamed, layered beauty of 'Siamese Dream' was a deliberate act of individuality. That it so contravened the attitudes of its day makes its success not only remarkable but a relieving testament to the fact that great music outlives its day. Glorious, cathartic and dark yet tinged with moments of optimism and hope.The Clash The Clash (US)A political punk album as dogged, punchy and sharp as 'Never Mind The Bollocks', but whereas The Sex Pistols were rotweillers charging everything with blazing machineguns, The Clash are fiesty terriers, using carefully constructed pieces of protest to get their message across; Joe Strummer's intense bark perfectly set against the edgy, tense guitar and throbbing choruses. England's every fault, political, industrial and social, is picked apart here: over-Americanisation ("I'm So Bored With The U.S.A"), businesses manipulating workers ("Career Opportunites", "Remote Control"), prevailing boredom ("London's Burning"), race ("White Riot"), increasing drug addiction ("Janie Jones") and conflict in the streets ("Hate & War", "Police and Thieves"). The style of music blends from biting punk on "Clash City Rockers" to impressive reggae on "(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais" and rampaging 1960s blues on "I Fought The Law", and finishes with two songs that link up to the oncoming Seattle grunge movement: "Jail Guitar Doors" and "Garageland." An excellent album, and one far more direct in thought and clearer in construction than "London Calling".The Jimi Hendrix Experience Are You ExperiencedDecades after its release, 'Are You Experienced' is now regarded, thanks to its complex, magnificent songs that brings an entirely new, ready-made textbook on rock, psychedelia and guitar, as the debut that all debuts must be measured by. The Rolling Stones Exile on Main St.You can just smell the overpowering, intoxicating, ecstatic stench of rock n roll.The Rolling Stones Sticky FingersOne of the finest drug albums of the '70s, if not THE finest, 'Sticky Fingers' features the Stones sounding exhausted and jaded throughout, with weary, worn-in, shuffling pieces such as 'Sway', 'Wild Horses' and 'Moonlight Mile' capturing the soul-crushing grind of their hedonistic lives while 'Sister Morphine' and 'Dead Flowers' are two of the more powerfully nihilistic, nasty drug songs in their catalogue. In between, the chest-thumping grooves of the 'Can't You Hear Me Knockin'', 'Bitch' and the lascivious 'Brown Sugar' feature typically strutting performances from Jagger with tough, uncompromising dog-fighting from Richards and Taylor.The Smiths The Queen Is DeadA masterpiece that established the Smiths as Britain's greatest indie rock group, Marr as one of music's finest guitarist-architects and Morrissey as the absolute King of the Two Liner ("If you're so clever/Why are you on your own tonight?"). A flawless culmination of anthemic urgency ("The Queen Is Dead"), deathly angst ("There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"), beautiful grace ("I Know It's Over") and grandiose melodrama ("Never Had No One Ever").U2 The Joshua TreeU2 Achtung BabyU2 WarU2's first great album, and their most unashamedly political. The youthful spirit of 'Boy' is here, as well as the tempered, mature darkness of 'The Joshua Tree'. Best songs? 'Sunday Bloody Sunday', 'Seconds, 'New Year's Day', 'Drowning Man' and "'40"'.4.5 superbAC/DC Highway to HellAC/DC High VoltageA brilliant hard rock, blues album from Australia's greatest band. "It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N Roll)" remains a staple of Aussie FM radio to this day: the lyrics about the pitfalls of life on the road as a band are spot on, and Bon Scott gives a Herculean effort as vocalist/bagpipe player that made him almost pass out onstage on several occasions. Bon's shock-filth humour lyric writing sleazes through on the hilarious half pace rhythm-and-blues pieces "The Jack" and "Little Lover", while the lighter "High Voltage" is a worthy predecessor to Back In Black's "Rock 'N Roll Ain't Noise Pollution." The outlawish "T.N.T", with Angus Young's frenetic, mercury exploding solo, remains an AC/DC classic. One could argue that High Voltage comes very near to beating Highway To Hell.AC/DC Let There Be RockThe mock Old Testament album title ain't kidding: AC/DC unleash a stampede of rock on this one. From the thundering blitzkrieg 'Let There Be Rock' to the mean, red eyed decadence of 'Problem Child' and 'Bad Boy Boogie' (with Angus' tense slamming on that one note in the bridge lifting the rage) and made-for-concert songs like 'Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be' and 'Dog Eat Dog', "Let There Be Rock" is the unsung rough diamond in the AC/DC catalogue. The album ends when the fat lady screams with the absolute brain-blowing 'Whole Lotta Rosie'. A good rockin' out to this one (and an air guitar to the call-and-response between Angus and the rest of the band in the bridge) is the most fun you can have listening to music. Arctic Monkeys Whatever People Say I Am...'Hot Fuzz' meets 'The Inbetweeners': awesome, brash songs with cartoonishly spiky guitar work and brilliant lyric writing, the Arctic Monkeys' debut album captures being 19 better than any other artist of their time. Let me put it this way: put the Clash in a politically stable town and put their sex drive into over drive and you'd have the Monkeys.Black Sabbath Black SabbathCold Chisel Circus AnimalsContaining two of Chisel's three greatest songs-'Bow River' and 'When The War Is Over'-as well as the barnestorming 'You Got Nothing I Want', 'Circus Animals' is a brilliant album.Coldplay A Rush of Blood to the HeadColdplay sound so much bolder on 'Rush of Blood' than 'Parachutes': opening with the humungous piano of 'Politik' and finishing with the chilling title track and the heartbreaker 'Amsterdam', Coldplay hit the big-bang button and end up with some of the best songs of their career, including 'The Scientist' and 'Clocks.'Guns N' Roses Appetite for DestructionKanye West Late RegistrationFew hip-hop albums can boast to having successfully pulled off such an ambitious mix of drive, message, talent and production: nearly every song on this album - the tossed off 'Celebration' aside - combines a profound message - sometimes obvious, sometimes subtle - to go with the sophisticated jazz-soul composition. West's lyrical breadth captures endless overlapping complications of life in modern society and the precarious craziness of fame, which is why it makes perfect sense for him to lament African-American social hardship on 'Heard 'Em Say'and then skewer its glorification in the skits, or take a step outside of basking in adulation on the poignant 'Drive Slow' then thrust himself spectacularly into it with wide open arms on 'Bring Me Down'.Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IIINirvana In UteroA corrosive, nihilistic torpedo that, while being a dark, primal suicide note filled with gritty instrumentals and Cobain's murderous growls ('Rape Me', 'Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle,' 'Scentless Apprentice'), also manages to be sad enough to have the tender farewell of 'All Apologies' without feeling forced or out of place. Oasis Definitely MaybeOverflowing with uncontainable yet short lived talent, 'Definitely Maybe' is packed with vocal hooks and big dream songs like 'Rock 'N Roll Star', 'Live Forever' and 'Supersonic'.Pavement Crooked Rain, Crooked RainSweeter than ever, Pavement remain the coolest cats on the block by not even sweating being cool at all. However, far from capturing the optimistic beginnings of Gen X's alternative movement, 'Crooked Rain' is full of cinematic farewells to the burst pipedream: ''It's a brand new era, but it came too late" sighs Malkmus sadly on 'Newark Wilder.'Pavement Slanted & EnchantedAs lazily melodious as it is meticulously sprawling, 'Slanted' remains the absolute peak of indie rock: song after song that proves Dylan's paradox that the best way to connect with a disillusioned generation is to stop making sense.Pearl Jam TenA wonderful album that showcases Pearl Jam's ability to make tough alternative rock without effort. The lyrical content has the dark side of American adolescence with anger ('Once') incest ('Alive'), search for identity ('Why Go') and high school shootings ('Jeremy'). The explosive anger of Vedder's shaky growl and snarl burst through on 'Alive', 'Why Go' and 'Deep', then he brings it back on 'Black', 'Oceans' and 'Release' against Mike McCready's powerful guitar work.Pete Murray FeelerThe dark grit of 'Feeler' makes it an album of ordinary angst told large. The grim, violent relationship tale 'No More', the depressive 'My Time', the futile wisdom 'So Beautiful' and desperate reach out 'Bail Me Out', 'Freedom' and 'Please' are songs that will zero in on the hearts of anyone who has dealt with the problems that Murray has, yet the absolute heartbreaker 'Ten Ft Tall' is an overwhelming tale of love and death that is Pete Murray's greatest song.Pete Murray See the Sun'See The Sun' is a climb out of the dark, gritty depths of 'Feeler' for Pete Murray. The music is prettier, which saw a boost of FM Radio hits, and the tone is happier-such beautiful pieces as 'Fly With You', 'Opportunity' and 'Better Days' show a man living again. Yet there are still dark nods to a troubled past with 'Lost Soul' and 'This Pill'.Pink Floyd Animals'Animals' is quite possibly the most intellectually satisying album in rock history.Radiohead The BendsBefore and after listening to "The Bends", I considered "OK Computer" to be the best Radiohead album. What changed is that "The Bends" is so big hearted, warm, honest and soulful that it makes the hairpin guitar twists and spacey mood of "OK Computer" look clinical, ruthless and inhuman by comparison. Best tracks are 'High and Dry', 'Fake Plastic Trees', 'Just', 'My Iron Lung' and 'Street Spirit [Fade Out]', but there isn't a bad song on the album. An undisputed classic.Radiohead In RainbowsBeautiful, colourful, artistic: In Rainbows is the sound of Japanese spirtual mantras and 21st century hippies from a group whose ability to continually surprise the world makes them the greatest band since Nirvana. However, this is also the classic 'Happy Melody, Horrible Theme' album: unrequited love ('All I Need'), jaded despair ('Nude', which opens with the line "Don't get any big ideas"), (untypically) brawny lust from Yorke ('House of Cards' says 'I don't wanna be your friend-I just wanna be your lover') and the absolute heartbreaker 'Videotape', the best song about the agony of celebrity life since, well, 'How To Disappear Completely'. Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and the Infinite SadnessThe Jimi Hendrix Experience Axis: Bold as LoveTricky, twitchy, delicate, libidinous and imbued with absolute wizardry. However, for all his rule breaking complexities, Hendrix still has time to show the power of simplicity on his solo of the album closing title track.The Saints (I'm) StrandedTaking the frenetic pace of the Ramones, the simple hooks of the Stooges and the frayed energy of the Sex Pistols, the Saints' debut album remains the greatest Australian punk album to date. The full throttle rev of the title track and the epic, extended white noise of 'Nights In Venice' make the album a textbook punk classic, but neither the Ramones, Stooges, Pistols or Clash recorded a ballad as brilliant and ragged as 'Messin' With The Kid.'The Stooges The StoogesPinching the lick-lipping teenage sexuality of the Stones and rolling it into something new, loud and sparse called 'garage', the Stooges' self-titled debut is pounding, minimalistic yet catchy. The muffly buzzsaw of Dave Asheton's solos on 'Ann' and 'I Wanna Be Your Dog', the hand-clap riffs of '1969' and 'No Fun' and the unsettling black magic of 'We Will Fall' and 'Little Doll' are all amplified, uncomplicated hooks that make the songs.U2 The Unforgettable Fire'The Unforgettable Fire' is the U2 album that should have more recognition than, say, 'Zooropa.' Beautifully spiritual and artfully produced, songs like the religious faith of 'A Sort Of Homecoming', 'Pride', 'Indian Summer Sky' and the evocative lullaby 'MLK' are vintage U2 while the majestic, chilling 'Bad' may be their greatest song. Even the filler 'Promenade', as relaxed as a Sunday stroll over hills in a shunshower, influences the final product, which is one of U2's greatest albums.Weezer The Blue AlbumThe masters of awkward. The jerky transition between strummed acoustic and thudding electric guitars perfectly compliments the way Rivers Coumo conjurs up endearing, honest lyrics that express much in a handful of words. The band was ultimately proven cursed by spending the rest of its career trying to live up to such a good debut.4.0 excellentAC/DC '74 JailbreakThe only EP AC/DC ever did, but a must have for fans anyway: the title track remains a live staple and one of AC/DC's finest singles, and the nasty "You Ain't Got A Hold On Me" is an undiscovered gem. "Baby, Please Don't Go" showcases the velocity and potency of Bon Scott's voice and is a rare love song in the AC/DC catalogue. And what do you think an AC/DC song called "Soul Stripper" is about? Wrong, it's about Adam's first encounters of Eve in the Garden of Eden and his being shaken to the core, questioning everything about himself from his masculinity to his purpose in life, as he falls under her feminine charms, but I like your style. AC/DC PowerageHow does this one duck under the radar of attention? 'Rock n Roll Damnation', 'Down Payment Blues', 'Riff Raff', 'What's Next To The Moon', all top AC/DC songs, with a development of lyric writing better than 'Let There Be Rock' and even 'High Voltage'. The production is better than any preceding AC/DC album, with the sound gritty, downtown and menacing yet clean, colourful and bluesy. So what's missing? Well, unlike previous AC/DC albums, there's no classic song on here, no 'It's A Long Way To The Top' or 'Whole Lotta Rosie.' And, because the band focuses on song writing with the instruments as back up, there are no great solos from Angus, not a 'Let There Be Rock' or 'T.N.T', or even, to be honest, a great riff like a 'She's Got Balls' or a 'Bad Boy Boogie', apart from 'Sin City'. Nonetheless, this album is still a cracker. Bob Dylan DesireWho needs a double album worth of prog-rock to be sprawling when it's possible in nine songs? Well, when you cast your lyrical and musical influences net as far and wide as Dylan does in 'Desire', that is. His narrative stance swerves wildly from civil rights activist ('Hurricane'), epic poet laureate ('Joey'), silent Western warrior ('Isis') and, uh, tourist ('Mozambique')...but an outlaw, always an outlaw, be it from the fuzz ('Romance In Durango'), from his own society ('One More Cup Of Coffee') or from his own wife ('Sarah').Coldplay ParachutesA beautiful, big hearted album full of radiant guitars and soulful piano. Standout tracks are 'Sparks', 'Yellow', 'Trouble', 'High Speed' and 'Everything's Not Lost.'Green Day DookieGreen Day American IdiotINXS KickOne of the greatest Australian rock albums from the 1980s. Absolutely bursting with hits like "Devil Inside", "New Sensation", "Never Tear Us Apart", "Need You Tonight", "Kick" and "Mystify". Jimi Hendrix Live at the Royal Albert HallThere is (unsurprisingly) some amazing guitar work on this album. Vintage Hendrix like 'Little Wing' and the slow burning 'Wild Thing', as well as the extended jam pieces 'Bleeding Heart' and 'Room Full Of Mirrors', sounds wondrous in Royal Albert Hall, so it's irritating that, once again, 'Purple Haze' sounds like it's being played in a tin can. The stunning seven minute instrumental version of 'Sunshine Of Your Love', with lyrical phrasing from Jimi, is magnificent, but the horrible white noise 'Smashing of the Amps' is perhaps the worst piece of 'music' that Hendrix ever put his name to.Nirvana MTV Unplugged in New York (DVD)It's...just....so...sad. Nirvana Live At ReadingAs Kurt rolled onto the Reading stage in his wheelchair and hospital gown and and 'collapsed', music lovers everywhere were reminded that, beneath the turmoil and pain, Nirvana were still a band with a slickly barbed sense of humour. And this set belies any notion that Kurt was about to crack: opening with a murderous treble of scorching grunge ('Breed', 'Drain You', 'Aneurysm') and closing with the so-not-made-to-close-concerts 'Territorial Pissings', this is Nirvana firing on all cylinders and at the top of their game. The trolling humour continues in 'Sliver' (with Kurt laughing through the opening verse), 'In Bloom' (Kurt's just-got-out-of-bed groan in the verses) and 'Teen Spirit' (Kurt absolutely monstering the solo). Apart from a surprisingly clumsy 'Polly', the boys don't miss a beat in this concert, tearing up Reading Festival and sending the crowd into a frenzy. Special mention to the way Kurt brings out the bounce in the mosh-pit choruses of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', 'Lithium' and 'Blew'.Pavement Brighten the CornersThe only time Pavement ever made cohesive sense in their lyrics was on ' Crooked Rain' , which (ironically enough) made a mockery out of the petty, self-indulged world of fame. Seemingly, non-sequiturs are the only way to make sense in an inexplicable world, which is why 'Brighten the Corners' opens with the line "Pigs they tend to wiggle when they walk/The infrastructure rots and the owners hate the jocks." Happy, woozy, melodic and totally subjective in its bafflingly mysterious word play. Pink Floyd Wish You Were HerePink Floyd MeddlePink Floyd have delivered a great album ('Animals') and an excellent album ('Wish You Were Here') in five songs. 'Meddle', although it's better than 'Atom Heart Mother' is only quite good. 'Echoes' is genuinely spectacular, a powerhouse masterpiece with its ambitious and cinematic scope, as is the impressive, twisting 'Pillow Of Winds', the jazzy 'San Tropez' and 'Fearless', which is, next to 'Another Brick In The Wall Pt 2', Pink Floyd's most anthemic song (even if that tribal soccer chorus in the outtro is a little self-indulgent). However, with six songs there's no margin for error, and the overrated, underrealised 'One Of These Days' and misplaced yawnfest 'Seamus' really hurt the album as it looks towards its legacy. Portishead DummyThe plush, night crawler club sounds are beautifully haunting and spacey, designed to lure you to sleep, particularly on 'Mysterons', 'Sour Times' and 'Glory Box', but there's something about Beth Gibbon's temptress sigh, "like a jaded Bond girl", as Rolling Stone so brilliantly put it, that makes you think that if you do nod off, she's going to slither through the speakers, move in and take you. A really soulful, engaging album, one that anyone and everyone can enjoy.Powderfinger InternationalistRadiohead Kid AKid A is Thom Yorke seeing how well he can sing without his mouth. Kid A is Johnny Greenwood playing guitar without plucking a note. Kid A is Phil Selway drumming around the beat, suggesting more than he states. In short, Kid A is Radiohead wondering if brainpower alone can make a great album. The answer? It can come pretty damn close.Radiohead Hail to the ThiefFollowing 9/11, the Iraq invasion and the fear that had crept over the world, 'Hail To The Thief' was the jagged, paranoid apocalypse of 'Kid A' dragged from its artfully obscure quiet and thrown kicking and screaming into the real world as Thom Yorke's silent 'I TOLD YOU SO.'The Beatles 1The highlight of "1" is the way that it shows the development of the Beatles' sound: from the exuberant white boy blues of their early days ("Love Me Do","She Loves You", "I Want To Hold Your Hand") to more wordly, wiser songs ("Yesterday", "Eleanor Rigby", "All You Need Is Love") and the mature, solemn works of their final days ("Let It Be", "Hey Jude", "Come Together"). Definitely one that will hook the new generation onto the Beatles.The Black Keys Rubber FactoryThe highs are typically excellent (the heavy sludge of 'When The Lights Go Out', the gorgeous, Led Zeppelin III-style 'The Lengths', 'Stack Shot Billy', which echoes Dylan's story telling ability, and the tight, groovy 'Keep Me.' However, there's a couple of songs that sound like the Keys are ripping themselves off. The Clash Give 'Em Enough RopeUnfairly demoted to a ''sell-out'' album, ''Give ''Em Enough Rope'' acts as a commendable bridge between the raw anger of ''The Clash'' and the sprawling fragmentation of ''London Calling''. The UK punk scene is still audible here; indeed, the heavier sound of the production gives several songs a pounding sense of importance and fury, most notably ''English Civil War'', arguably the band's most incendiary song. There are a couple of songs that are seemingly hesitant over whether to be raw or sophisticated, but ''Give ''Em Enough Rope'' is nonetheless a strong album.The Jimi Hendrix Experience Electric LadylandThe Smiths The SmithsA remarkably bold, innovative and strong debut. Morrissey's flat out neuroticism comes across with deceptive poeticism, most notable on 'Still Ill' and 'Pretty Girls Make Graves', whilst it would take years for the group to top 'Reel Around The Fountain.' If I had any complaints, it would be that the album is just too soft and slow in parts: I would've liked to have seen 'I Don't Owe You Anything' subbed out for something jauntier and more acerbic like 'This Charming Man', a ravingly narcissistic gem that does the Jam better than the Jam ever, ever did.The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground & NicoThe Velvet Underground White Light/White HeatThe Velvet Underground The Velvet UndergroundThere are two possible interpretations of the Velvet Underground's self titled third album. The first is that the soft, gospel-folk sounds are the band selling out to a more mainstream audience. The second is that the radical change from 'White Light/White Heat' proves the ability and musical intelligence of the group. Indeed, the change of instrumentals may make this the darkest VU album; as sinful as 'White Light' was, the average Joe can't relate to 17 minute, dissonant avant garde pieces about heroin fuelled orgies, whereas unrequited love, isolation and faith, common themes found here, are far more likely to hit home.The White Stripes ElephantThe White Stripes White Blood CellsWhat a kickass garage album! The first half nine songs are as exciting and promising as any in the second half of the 90s, with the stunning drama of 'Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground', 'Expecting', and 'The Forever', adorable goofiness with 'Hotel Yorba' and 'We're Gonna Be Friends', the punk nugget 'Fell In Love With A Girl', the tender 'Same Boy You've Always Known' and the downright deadpan hilarity of 'I'm Finding It Harder To Be A Gentleman' ("Then you said "You almost dropped me"/ So then I did/And I got mud on my shoes"). But as high as the highs are, the lows really, really stink. The 50 second 'Little Room' is so pointless it's infuriating, and 'Aluminum' is a scrapy, sludgy waste that sounds like White's attempt to be Cobain. But he isn't; he lacks the great man's way with noise. The submissiveness of the album's final few songs is also disappointing, making us think that the album could've been thinned out a little. But look out for the light-stomp of 'Offend In Every Way' and the Bavarian murder-mystery 'I Think I Smell A Rat', which is as operatic as garage rock can get. Overall, "White Blood Cells" is good, but not good enough to guarantee a critics n fan surrender, merely good enough for us to hungrily await its follow up.U2 All That You Can't Leave BehindU2 return to form with their fifth great album. You can criticise the weight of radio friendly songs, ('Walk On', 'Beautiful Day', 'Elevation', 'Kite', 'Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of') but they're a band for God's sake. It's what they're meant to do!U2 BoyA strong debut filled with the Edge's simple, ethereal melodies and Bono's empowered vocals that marry New Wave and Irish folk, with a set of youthfully exuberant, meticulous songs, the most impressive of which are 'I Will Follow', 'Out of Control' and 'Stories for Boys'. Weezer PinkertonThe unexpected success of Weezer's debut album left the band's task of a sophomore follow-up a tricky one. When being your simple, dorky, honest self works so well, where do you go next? Ultimately, 'Pinkerton's best songs are, for better or worse, continuations of the best of 'The Blue Album': 'Across The Sea', 'The Good Life' and 'El Scorcho' use the loud-pop simplicity with painfully personal American teenage short story lyrics. However, the cracks of uncertainty and indecision nonetheless begin here for Rivers Cuomo: the self-focused, grumpy gripes of 'Why Bother?' and 'No Other One' are poor emo-fare that would become all too common in the years to follow.3.5 greatAC/DC The Razor's EdgeAC/DC's strongest album since 'Back In Black', with the humongous, irresistible anthem 'Thunderstruck', the menacing 'The Razors Edge' and 'If You Dare', which are both as beastly as the band has been since the high hell days of Bon Scott, and the buoyant, joyous 'Moneytalks'. Unfortunately, the stupid stuff like 'Mistress For Christmas' reminds you of the fact that they will never be as good as they once were and that Brian Johnson was never as good a vocalist as Bon Scott. Also, in the case of 'Fire Your Guns', 'Are You Ready' and 'Rock Your Heart Out', there's a feeling of recycled material.AC/DC Dirty Deeds Done Dirt CheapA solid debut effort from a band that would go onto become one of the greatest hard rock acts ever: 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap' shows the full range of height and tone in Bon Scott's voice, 'Ain't No Fun (Waiting Round To Be A Millionaire)' proves, through its street-smart schemin', that these boys weren't just sleazy boneheads and 'Ride On', a slow, woozy tale of regret, but not reform, highlights their ability to play slow and still have real power. The average stuff like 'Rocker', 'Love At First Feel' and 'Squealer' brings it down however. Black Sabbath Master of RealityFor all of their supposed Satanic reputation, 'Master of Reality' heavily showcases a religious side of Sabbath. Indeed, if you take out 'Sweet Leaf', the sluggish ballad to weed, 'Master of Reality' could be the soundtrack to the Sunday session of a Gothic Church, with the songs here dealing with either damnation ('Children of the Grave', 'Into the Void') or salvation ('After Forever', 'Solitude' and 'Lord of This World'), with a couple of brief, filler instrumentals to boot for whilst the Priest is announcing a hymn. Bob Dylan The Times They Are A-Changin'Colder, duller and folkier than 'Freewheelin''. There's just a touch too much 'we're the people, they can't keep down the people', but the title track and 'The Ballad Of Hollis Brown', his most chilling song until 'It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)', are among his finest ever.Cold Chisel Cold ChiselGuns N' Roses Use Your Illusion IFeaturing the only geniunely great song off the double album ("November Rain"), 'Use Your Illusion I' has the more accomplished musical composition and variety than 'II', such as the shuffling rock of 'Dust 'N Bones', the psychadelic labyrinth of 'The Garden', the swaggering 'Double Talkin' Jive' and the absolutely-stoned-off-its-face 'You Ain't The First'. However, the overblown production, pretentious song length ('Coma' is ten minutes of filler), transparent aggression and uninspired instrumentals of others ('Back Off Bitch', 'Bad Obsession', 'Garden Of Eden') becomes a genuine drag.Led Zeppelin Houses of the HolyAlthough Houses Of The Holy delivers some exceptional works of music, its message and orientation is at times confused, which detracts from the experience. For example, the spring-water chilled "The Rain Song" fits perfectly into what we expect from the album whereas "The Ocean", which was one of their best live staples and would've sounded better on Physical Graffiti, sounds a half step away. The ghostly Viking funeral pyre "No Quarter", with British 20th century war messages ("They carry news that must get through/To build a dream for me and you") is the highlight, with Jones' dark, cold ripple on keyboard and Page's doomy outbursts. The annoying "D'Yer Mak'er" and "The Crunge" are arguably the only failures at new genre attempts Zeppelin had done to that point, while "The Song Remains The Same" fails because of the title. It sounds almost like a reassurance, which is Zeppelin uncharacteristically unconfident . The Irish folk "Over The Hills And Far Away", with the wonderful acoustic chime outtro, is another highlight that fits the bill and pushes the album up to a 3.5.Mudhoney Every Good Boy Deserves FudgeNirvana BleachRaw, rough and undistilled, 'Bleach' is an album for the grunge fan and, perhaps, the grunge fan alone. Although 'About A Girl' manages to be light and clear enough to be airwaves worthy, it is clear that the rest of the album is intentionally underground, especially the boiling roar of 'Negative Creep.'Powderfinger Golden RulePowderfinger deliver a fittingly strong album for their departure. While there is the odd piece of filler ('Jewel', 'Poison In Your Mind') and uninspired piece ('Stand Yourself'), they are redeemed by joyous, exuberant rockers like 'Burn Your Name' and 'Iberian Dream', the latter being Powderfinger's sexiest song. The touching farewells of 'Awake', 'Think It Over', 'A Fight About Money' and 'Sail The Wildest Stretch' ( a dedication to teen sailor Jessica Watson) and off-into-the-sunset Spanish strings of 'The Golden Rule' are classic Powderfinger, and ensure that one of Australia's greatest artists ever go out in style.Radiohead The King of LimbsFINALLY- Radiohead go where even the most devoted electro-nuts are too scared to follow. However, 'The King Of Limbs' is a quintessential listen-closer album: 'Feral' and 'Little By Little' are as beautiful as 'In Rainbows' underneath the flickering drums and murmured lyrics.Ramones Leave HomeSecond album, same as the first. Only, not quite. The production is softer, with a more rounded, less edgy sound to Johnny's jackhammer chords and a topical move from glue sniffing to carbona sniffing, but these are the only changes that are reflected in the 'spread your wings' album title. The cartoonishly exaggerated themes of punk, good times, goofiness, drugs, late summer nights on the town and B-grade horror movies are still here and many of the songs sound like rotated subs from 'Ramones': 'Blitzkrieg Bop', 'Judy Is A Punk', 'I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend', 'Havana Affair', 'I Don't Wanna Go Down To The Basement' and '53rd and 3rd' are switched for 'Pinhead', 'Suzy Is A Headbanger', 'I Remember You', 'Commando', 'You Should Never Have Opened That Door' and 'You're Gonna Kill That Girl'. In short, if you loved 'Ramones', you'll like 'Leave Home,' but the undecided will have to wait for 'Rocket To Russia.' Smashing Pumpkins GishAt its best ''Gish'', foreshadows the transcending beauty that the Pumpkins would later master ('Rhinoceros', 'Crush', 'Snail') as well as pummelling, percussive rhythm section that ('Bury Me', 'Siva', 'Tristessa') anchored Corgan's cathartic angst. However, there aren't enough genuinely excellent performances here to elevate ''Gish'' to a debut that etches itself into history of significance. The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club BandToday, 'Sgt. Pepper's' stands as more a landmark achievement of symphonic production than musicianship. Nonetheless, the opening is the sound of rock's rules being broken, limits being transcended, and 'A Day In The Life' is the sound of minds being blown.The Black Keys El Camino'Lonely Boy', 'Dead And Gone' and 'Gold On The Ceiling' are blues-garage gems and 'Little Black Submarines' is their tribute to Zeppelin. No other tracks have the swagger and confidence of these four, despite some admirable riffage on 'Mind Eraser' and 'Sister.' However, 'Stop Stop', the Christmassy 'Nova Baby' and others are fairly uncool.The Black Keys ThickfreaknessWith a heavier, growling, grungy whump to their sound, Auerbach and Carney create a chest-beating, hot-blooded blues album that underlines a developing confidence in their grooves. In keeping with their previous works, the album goes a couple of songs too long with the miserable 'I Cry Alone' and 'Have Love Will Travel', yet another stock-fare-garage-plodder, but when 'Everywhere I Go' - six epic, slow-burning minutes that the pair are unlikely to top - features, they are imminently forgivable. The Clash London Calling''London Callin" is, without a doubt, the greatest myth album of all time. It is an album that has come to represent fearless fragmentation, bar-stool poet sobservations and faith in rock 'n' roll, past and future, to beat back the worst of life. However, whilst this is all true, the vast majority of the music does not stand up. The ska and skiffle are classic, straightforward and textbook: the Clash's usual habit of wearing-in new genres to make them their own is absent. This makes the widespread genre-dabbling endearing rather than great. Certainly, no album can be called great when there are nearly as many terrible songs (''Jimmy Jazz", ''Lover's Rock'' and ''Revolution Rock'') as greats (''London Calling'', ''Lost in the Supermarket'', ''Guns of Brixton'', ''Death or Glory''). Ultimately, ''London Calling'' may be the most overrated rock album of all time.The Doors The Doors'The End' is a geniune masterpiece, a dark-psychadelic take on the end of the 1960s. 'Break On Through' is a tight, whisky soaked gem and 'Light My Fire' has the type of shadowy vocals and spidery music that The Doors would become renowned for. However, there isn't much else and, despite general perception, it isn't a touching-the-zeitgeist masterpiece.The Rubens The RubensA solid debut album that proves that pop, or least a certain aspect of it, can be good music. The tightly wound 'My Gun' is an absolute killer, and gives the band a solid foundation from which to develop for their next step. There are moments when the lyrics are a little too polite and the music steps a little too cleanly - 'Elvis' is the best example - but I can honestly say that 'The Rubens' is one of the best Australian mainstream albums of 2012.The Stooges Raw PowerDespite the rude quality of 'Search and Destroy', 'Gimme Danger' and 'Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell', the overamplified rock and production is just a little too raw and single minded: 'Death Trip' and 'Penetration' are classic examples.The Vines Highly EvolvedThe Whitlams Eternal NightcapU2 Rattle And HumAlthough the arrogant and misguided gospel-soul-blues hollow the feeling slightly, there is no doubt that the music on 'Rattle and Hum' has genuine quality. 'Desire,' 'Angel of Harlem,' 'When Love Comes To Town' and 'All I Want Is You' are four of U2's biggest and best songs, and the live versions of 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' and 'Bullet the Blue Sky' are excellent. The covers ('Helter Skelter,' 'All Along The Watchtower') are simple minded yet fair, and if you plumb the depths far enough to find the beautiful 'Van Diemen's Land,' the gritty 'Silver and Gold' and the poetic, touching 'Heartland,' good for you. While the crowd interplay is butt-clenchingly embarrassing at times on 'Helter Skelter' ("This is a song Charles Manson stole from the Beatles-we're stealing it back"), 'All Along The Watchtower' ("All I got is a red guitar, three chords and the truth...the rest is up to you"), 'Silver and Gold' (Am I buggin' you? Don't mean to bug ya") and all of 'God, Pt 2', which hurt the finished piece slightly, you have to remember that, without this slightly misguided field trip there would've been no 'Achtung Baby.'U2 No Line on the HorizonIt's not as good as 'All That You Can't Leave Behind' because it directly imitiates it, but give me another band full of 60 year olds that can record an album with songs like 'Moment of Surrender' and 'Magnificent'? Impossible.Wolfmother WolfmotherThe Zeppelin and Black Sabbath influences have been well documented, but Wolfmother still do a brilliant job of carrying it off. Borrowing the soaring guitar, mysticism and drug references of Zeppelin (there's a song called "White Unicorn", for God's sake) with the grooving rhythms of Sabbath and AC/DC, "Wolfmother" unleashes such gems as 'Joker and the Thief'(arguably the most popular Aussie modern rock song), the beautiful, shimmering tales of 'Colossal', 'White Unicorn', 'Where Eagles Have Been' and pocket rocket 'Woman'. Watch out for the Highland warcry riff on 'Tales From The Forest Of Gnomes' and the ramble on lift of 'Vagabond.' The only lowlights are the glam rock attempt 'Apple Tree' and 'Witchcraft', in which they take the old rock thing too far, pinch Deep Purple's 'Black Night' riff and then throw in a flute solo. Overall, a cracker of an album. And let's face it-Zeppelin is the greatest rock band ever, so what's so bad about a band who sound like them?3.0 goodAC/DC High Voltage (Australia)Get the US version instead-the songs that the Australian version doesn't have are the deal breakers.Arctic Monkeys AM'AM' is effectively divided into two contrasting halves: the first five songs, in which sparse, icy guitars and bass edge around the slow, driving drums, are songs for staring into a flat Lager at 1 am in an empty bar as longing for a lost love morphs into something more dangerous. However, just as the darkness of these songs seems ready to become definitive, a wash of easier listening pop comes over: the Elton John-inspired 'No 1. Party Anthem' and the jauntier 'Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?' and 'Knee Socks'. What hurts 'AM' is that the first five songs work well as a whole... the second half does not. Arctic Monkeys Suck It and SeeThe Arctic Monkeys have never taken the simple short cuts since their phenomenal debut. 'Suck It And See' is an incursion into creamy pop songs with Alex Turner's lyrics that give the two-fingers to anything even slightly resembling a cliche. As a consequence, the album is harmless and mildly enjoyable, although only 'That's Where You're Wrong' and maybe 'Reckless Serenade' could be considered an addition to the 'classic' canon.Dr. Dre The ChronicFall Out Boy Infinity On HighThere's some good stuff, most notably 'Golden', but they don't give you the impression of a longterm, talented band.Flume FlumeGreen Day ¡UNO!Yes, it's dumb. Yes, Billie Joe is twice the use by date of a punk rocker. Yes, this album should not have been made because they should have stopped. But there is just enough good stuff on here ('Oh Love' is an absolute gem) to cover up the flat and mediocre and scrape 'UNO!' up to a pass.Guns N' Roses Use Your Illusion IIMuch less interesting and much more lightweight than 'I'. The excellence of 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door', '14 Years' and the furious 'You Could Be Mine' are drowned by the dismissable 'Shotgun Blues', 'Pretty Tied Up', 'Locomotive' and 'So Fine' and utter crap like 'Get In The Ring' and 'My World.' 'Estranged', an attempt to make 'November Rain 2', is just long-winded and pretentious at 9:24. The album's most fascinating moment is 'Civil War': a band that was a walking civil war trying to write an anti-war ballad? Well, they give it absolutely everything: a 7:45 running time, humungous sound, changing dynamics and agonised lyrics ensure that they pull it off, but it isn't enough to save the album.John Lennon ImagineA little too much "sugar in the urine", I'm afraid.........Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted FantasyFirst off, full credit to West's attitude on this album - instead of caving in to public pressure and indignance with some soft, sorry little puppy piano ballads, he met the army of raging critics with an overload of unrepentant arrogance. However, the heart and genuine creative brilliance of 'Late Registration' is neglected in the deliberately divisive songs. This is West's 'me' album and he challenges you to either roll with the jokes or fall into the trap of getting outraged as he complains about flying economy being a manifestation of racism: 'Your girl don't like me, how long has she been gay?' gets flicked for 'Kiss my whole ass/And kiss my asshole' .Led Zeppelin Led ZeppelinLed Zeppelin In Through The Out DoorBy 1979, Led Zeppelin had destroyed Led Zeppelin. The hedonistic, chaotic lifestyles the band had led for years had caused Page and Bonham to sink into a sea of cocaine, heroin and psychological issues, while Plant was mourning the death of his son and the disillusionment of his life. 'In Through The Out Door' is therefore a Jones album. Brainy though he was, Jones couldn't cover up the audible decay of his bandmembers: his strings and keys were forced to carry much of the orchestration of the album. Consequentially, arrogant and godly is out and sappy is in ('I'm Gonna Crawl', 'All My Love'). Page's solos are fitful, simply a handful of notes spat out schizophrenically'; his absence and fall is noticed most painfully on the schmaltzy 'Fool In The Rain' and the embarrassing Kentucky hoe-down 'Hot Dog'. 'In The Evening' may give us the last great Zeppelin track, but it's sad to think that the tepid, tame 'I'm Gonna Crawl' is the final hurrah of rock's greatest group. Liz Phair Exile In GuyvilleMetallica MetallicaThe mainstream sell out outlasts the admitted quality of its songs. Metallica Master of PuppetsMuse The 2nd LawPink Floyd Atom Heart MotherThere's just too much bloated prog-pompousness; a 23 minute track stuffed with cinematic effects and a 13 minute 'oh-look-how-much-drugs-we-take' psychadelic whale bookend the album.Radiohead AmnesiacGood music, for the most part, but lacks the cohesion that has been Radiohead's calling card. An unnecessary album, and they could've saved several of the tracks as flavour pieces on 'Hail To The Thief' or 'In Rainbows.' Tame Impala InnerspeakerAn improvement on the smug, pretentious 'Lonerism' with stronger, simpler, more disciplined songs, but there's still the wishy-washy, bloated prog leanings that turn three minute songs into five without any additional substance. The Beatles Rubber Soul'Rubber Soul' is simulatenously extremely influential and the most overrated of all the Beatles' 'classic' albums. The mature love songs here have served as a base for bands over the last fifty years, many of whom, such as the Smiths, U2 and, dare I say it, Coldplay, have made their own mature love songs with far better lyrical and musical sophistication.The Black Keys Magic PotionAn almost inevitable frustration for the fans of the two man blues-garage duo. Good riffs become suspiciously repetitious as the nervous hesitance to mix up the Zeppelin-via-Howlin' Wolf, and are consequentially lost in a muddied blur. Arguably, the most galling aspect of 'Magic Potion' is that the one song that DOES take the risk of stepping outside the comfort zone - the slow building, subtly shaded 'The Flame' - is by far the best.The Living End The Ending Is Just The Beginning RepeatingA classic example of a band failing due to a lack of awareness of their limitations. The Living End's strongest music has been through pop-punk gems like 'White Noise' and 'Prisoner of Society'. "Ending" is their attempt to broaden their image through mimicking Muse's anti-establishment paranoia, but the Melbourne trio just aren't Muse. Musically they just aren't innovative enough, but the irrelevancy of this album lies in the credibility, or lack thereof, that we can give them. A band coming from the easiest living city in the easiest living country in the world just can't write convincing anti-establishment, revolutionary songs, and it is for this reason that songs like "In The Morning," "Heatwave", "For Another Day" and "Song For The Lonely" just lack any bite. The album is not without its high moments, however: the chilling title track is the only time that all the pieces come together as the jaded politics really hit home, "Ride The Wave Boy" holds a stark realism to the endless loop of drug addiction that precious few Australian acts have had the guts to do in recent years and "Away From The City" bites with its backhand on the (Un)Holy Grail of fame and notoriety. It's sad that such good songs are lost in the pretentious, stuffy seriousness of the rest of the album.The Raconteurs Consolers of the LonelyThe Raconteurs Broken Boy SoldiersThe Velvet Underground LoadedWith the exception of "Sweet Jane", "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'" and the delightful "Who Loves The Sun", 'Loaded' is a string of average, uninspired songs. The fact that Lou Reed was absent for much of the recording is partly an excuse for its lack of quality, but this also indicates that he perhaps covered up for the cracks in the rest of the band.2.5 averageJack Johnson To the SeaUtterly unremarkable and sadly unambitious in structure, sound and lyrics. Just far too safe.Oasis Dig Out Your SoulUnfortunately, there is a grim appropriateness to the album's title.Pink Floyd MoreHere is the reason that Pink Floyd's status as a great band sometimes comes under fire-the era between Barrett's dismissal and 'The Dark Side of the Moon' is bloated with awful, cinematic soundtrack pieces. 'More' is the worst. Ramones Subterranean JungleTommy was gone, Dee Dee was singing lead...not sure if Ramones album or shitty tribute band.Tame Impala LonerismSeems Syd Barrett has been a little more successful upon resurrection...Van Halen Van Halen III2.0 poorJeff Beck Live in JapanThe Clash Cut The CrapIf only they had! 'Cut The Crap' has some of the worst production I have ever heard. Even the album's most tolerable song ''This Is England'' gets slashed by the disco/80s pop cheesiness: the synths in the chorus make it sound like a bastardized 'God Save The Queen.'1.5 very poorwill.i.am #Willpower1.0 awfulJustin Bieber BelieveJustin Bieber My World 2.0Justin Bieber represents everything wrong with 21st century Western mainstream music: appearance is more important than talent and kids get free rides to the top.Justin Bieber Under The MistletoeNicki Minaj Pink Friday: Roman ReloadedNicki Minaj Pink FridayFor as long as Minaj is on this planet, I don't want to be.
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