|Rolling Stone's Top 200 Australian Albums|
Four pros, four cons.
|1||Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds|
PRO: Nick Cave gets his due.
With six albums making the list (five of the Bad Seeds plus the Birthday Party’s ‘Junkyard’), Nick Cave was the most featured artist of this list. Sometimes I feel that Cave has so little association to Australia due to recording most of his work in Europe that he isn’t recognised as this country’s greatest artist as universally as he should be. Thankfully, Rolling Stone saw fit to give the man his due. Now, if only their head office had given him his proper credit in their recent 500 greatest songs/albums re-ranking…
PRO: An unruly colt makes the grade.
Sultana is a divisive artist. They got a devoted following in their early days for their atmospheric, multi-instrumental arrangements and impressive guitar chops but that has since been tempered by criticism of their unpredictable and often self-indulgent live sets. Their debut ‘Flow State’ was a bit of both: a wildly dramatic, messy, uncontrolled and sometimes inspired psychedelica-meets-Jackson-Pollock listening experience.
PRO: Not getting sucked into the big name artists.
There were a few big-hitting albums – we’re talking anticipated top 10 stuff – that Rolling Stone held down a grade for this ranking. It would not have been a shock if any number of Paul Kelly’s ‘Gossip’ (#39), Courtney Barnett’s ‘Sometimes I Sit and Think’ (#114), Tame Impala’s ‘Lonerism’ (#119) and the Saints’ ‘Prehistoric Sounds’ (#147) had been top 20 or even top 10 while Rolling Stone also surprised all and sundry by not rushing to laud landmark indigenous rights albums like A.B Original’s ‘Reclaim Australia’ (#62) and Archie Roach’s ‘Charcoal Lane’ (#35). Which I didn’t mind: it made for a more entertaining list.
PRO: Australia’s most creative underground trio featuring.
The violin-electric guitar-drum instrumentals of Dirty Three (Warren Ellis/Mick Turner/Jim White) produced some terrific albums in the 1990s and I was delighted to see them make the list.
The Best of the Seekers
CON: Omission of earlier artists
It would have been good to see early 1960s artists like Slim Dusty and the Seekers represented, even in just a compilation album.
The Sound of White
CON: Missy Higgins and Pete Murray snubbed.
It’s not just that Pete Murray was harshly left out of Rolling Stone’s Top 50 Australian Artists back in November 2020. It’s not just that “Feeler”, with songs as tremendous as ‘Ten Ft. Tall’, ‘So Beautiful’, ‘No More’ and ‘Fall Your Way’, didn’t crack the top 100. It’s also that its follow-up “See the Sun” didn’t get a gig. A more musically diverse and thematically positive album, I actually expected “See the Sun” to be ranked above “Feeler”. I find it even harder to understand the disrespect Rolling Stone has shown Missy Higgins. I’ll die on this hill: no Australian artist has a better debut album than Higgins’ “The Sound of White”. And no love for “On a Clear Night”? What’s the deal?
CON: Jet not only featuring but coming in at 30.
For those who do not know of Jet, they’re like Australia’s answer to Nickelback but even more derivative and with fewer good songs. Liking Jet is like having Velcro laced shoes – if you’re older than 10, how have you not grown out of this yet?
|8||The Temper Trap|
CON: Overlong size of list.
200? Why? 150 would have been fine. You end up with a lot of 3.5s when you rank the top 200 albums of a country with a far smaller music industry than the US or UK.