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11.16.10 Soft Machine Ranked05.01.10 Favorite High Albums
11.30.09 Psychedelic Rock10.22.09 Favorite Albums

Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock is oddly defined, and often depends on whom you're talking to, but it's not just 'anything weird.' It comes out of folk rock in the in the era when the electric technology (primarily guitar) was just becoming popular, so it often manifests itself as song with a folk base, (often long) electronic instrumentation (Keyboard/organ and electric guitar), and obviously rock and roll mixed together. Also we cannot ignore LSD's influence, which is why most psychedelic music is pretty strange. When well done, it produces an intoxicating effect of 'organized chaos' - a basic background beat with ambitious instrumentals recorded on top of that. It's a pretty short-lived genre, but its influence is very wide, most importantly (imo) in progressive rock. My ranked personal favorites:
1The Beatles

My favorite Beatle's album. The instrumental work is some of the most intricate, intriguing, and insane they produced. It perfectly combines the emotion of the Beatles with a complete sound delight for your ears.
2Pink Floyd
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

No real need to justify this, it's Syd Barrett's masterpiece. It's very whimsical at times, but that is combined perfectly with a slightly darker side (that Floyd would turn into) in Interstellar Overdrive, Astronomy Domine, and Lucifer Sam.
3The Byrds
Younger than Yesterday

I don't know why sputnik isn't more into The Byrds. They are really fantastic Folk/Psychedelic rock group of the mid-60s, and the home of David Crosby (CSNY). This is their best album, i think, and it combines a Beatlesesque poppiness with beautifully trippy instrumental work. They also are pretty important in making Bob Dylan's music more accessible, here remaking "My Back Pages" and transforming it into a nearly perfect song (I'd also be willing to bet that you have only heard their version of "Mr. Tambourine Man" of the album with the same name)
4Jefferson Airplane
Crown of Creation

This is my personal favorite Jefferson Airplane album because it is sooo ridiculous and still works! It's riddled with weird sound effects, crazy guitar work, and hippy lyrics.
5Jimi Hendrix
Are you experienced

Sometimes it stuns my how simplistic and utterly moving Jimi's guitar work can be. I think he did it best with this album and doesn't get overly ambitious, like in "Electric Landlady"
6The Beatles
Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

Obvious Psychedelic rock staple, as much as I'm putting 2 Beatles albums very close to each other on this list.
7The Doors
The Doors

When I first listened to "Light My Fire" (years and years ago) I wanted to shoot myself about 3 minutes into the organ solo, but now I can't get enough of it. This album is splendid in so many ways, and surprisingly consistent right up until "The End" where it falls a bit. Still great though.
8The Byrds
Fifth Dimension

Another great Byrds album. A year earlier than "Younger Than Yesterday" and a year less psychedelic, but this is the home of "Eight Miles High," which is easily the Byrds best and should be required listening for everyone, it's brilliant.
9The Zombies
Odessey and Oracle

I was originally skeptical when I read the glorifying review of this album. I think that "who's your daddy" line in "Time of the Season" never sat well with me. But after listening to the album, I can't help but agree. This album really has mastered the use of vocal harmonies in conjunction with psychedelic organ and guitar, and it really doesn't have any weak points, unlike most psychedelic albums. Definitely worth a listen.
10Pink Floyd

I'm using this album more to symbolize the numerous singles that Syd and Floyd released, pre-Piper, for it is a greatest hits album. It contains some of Floyd's most genius and unknown moments (I personally adore "Paintbox" and "Juliet Dream")
11Jefferson Airplane
Surrealistic Pillow

Jefferson Airplane's most popular album. While not as ambitious as "Crown of Creation," it still deserves much credit for a number of melodious works of art.
Disraeli Gears

This is a little more bluesy than Psychedelic, but I mean, it does have a pretty fucking weird cover, so why not? Musically, its a pretty solid album. I think its highlighted by some incredible and innovative works ("Sunshine of your Love" "World of Pain" "Swlabr") and some not so much ("Blue Condition" "Take it Back" "Mother's Lament")
13Rolling Stones
Their Satanic Majesties Request

An interesting album, and I wouldn't have known it was the Stones if I didn't hear Mick Jagger's voice. I was really skeptical until I got to the middle 10 minutes jam session ("Sing This Song All Together (See What Happens)") which is really very good and even had my little cousin jamming along. The rest of the album is respectable, but certainly strange.
14Iron Butterfly

Not really a great album, and even the title track is so debatable. But I just love the song so much I had to include this.
15Soft Machine
The Soft Machine
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