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06.26.12 Top Ten Debut Albums06.22.12 25 Albums I Would Take To A Desert Isla
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12.07.11 25 Favorite Albums Of The 90s12.07.11 25 Favorite Albums Of The 80s
12.07.11 25 Favorite Albums Of The 70s12.07.11 25 Favorite Albums Of The 60s
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01.11.11 50 Favorite Beatles Songs01.10.11 25 Songs For 2010
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25 Albums I Would Take To A Desert Island
25Pink Floyd
The Dark Side of The Moon

Perfection. Front to back. No dull moments while being as calm as an ocean current, and yet it can be as powerful tidal wave..
24The White Stripes
De Stijl

Jack White is one of my two currently active personal musical idols (the other being Dave Grohl), and this album solidified that status for me. He has not made one not-fantastic album in his entire career as a solo artist or with White Stripes, Dead Weather, or Raconteurs. This album, however, has the two tracks that made me want to learn slide guitar: Little Bird and their killer cover of Son House's Death Letter.
23Animal Collective
Merriweather Post Pavilion

Another album with "modern classic" status that I completely agree with. Although some of their more folk-y work appeals to me, the experimentation coupled with great pop melodies and odd lyrics makes this album a keeper.
22The Flaming Lips
Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots

The most innovative and distinctive band of our time. Also one of the best live acts ever. This album turned me from casual listener into die-hard fan (although this album was almost replaced by Transmission From The Satellite Heart)
21Bruce Springsteen

My favorite Bruce album, though all the others from Greetings From Asbury Park to Born In The U.S.A. could've easily made this list. I chose this one because I was surprised that the man behind some of the most anthemic songs of all-time could produce some of the most dark material I've ever heard (just listen to the title track).
20The Allman Brothers Band
Eat A Peach

Jack White introduced me to slide guitar, and from there, I discovered my personal favorite guitarist, Duane Allman. While the first half is Duane-less (he died during the recording), the back half showcases what we lost, and pays tribute with the final track, Little Martha, which remains one of my favorite songs to play on guitar.
19Stevie Wonder
Talking Book

There are four unassailable geniuses in pop music: Lennon, McCartney, Brian Wilson, and Stevie Wonder. This is just when his creativity peaked, and while the albums that followed this (Innervisions, Fulfillingness' First Finale, and Songs In The Key of Life) are on the same level, none of the can just make me feel as weightless listening to You and I or I Believe (When I Fall In Love With You)
18Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes

I'm a sucker for harmonies, so listening to this album and this band is like being in a candy store for me. The only other album that got tagged with "modern classic" that I wholeheartedly agreed with.
17Bob Dylan
Blood On The Tracks

The ultimate heartbreak album. Tangled Up In Blue, Simple Twist of Fate, You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (which Miley Cyrus covered....and actually kinda nailed it), Shelter From The Storm, and Buckets of Rain are all some of my favorite Dylan tracks.
16The Flying Burrito Brothers
The Gilded Palace of Sin

Gram Parsons is head and shoulders above 99% of all country artists (the ones excluded Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, and Hank Williams). If you don't believe me, listen to Sin City.
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

Another Chicago-related record, and maybe its the album cover (which is two towers that are across the street from where my mom used to work), but every time I ride the train in to the Loop from the North or out of the Loop to the South, this album tends to come on, namely War on War, Kamera, Heavy Metal Drummer, Pot Kettle Back, I'm The Man Who Loves You, and perfecty sets the mood looking out the L train window at the Skyline.
14Bob Marley and the Wailers

There's any number of Marley records, or Tosh records, or any reggae record, that I could put on this list, but the back half of Exodus (Jamming, Waiting In Vain, Turn Your Lights Down Low, Three Little Birds, and One Love) seals the deal (though the front half of Catch A Fire makes a good case too).
13Sufjan Stevens

It's my homestate. Every time that I come home from school, whether taking the most boring train route ever or the most boring highway ever, this album tends to be the soundtrack to the drive, and seeing how it's a 3 hour drive, I'll play it more than once.
12George Harrison
All Things Must Pass

When I was a pissy high school kid, John Lennon was my favorite Beatle. When I started trying to write music, it became Paul McCartney. Now that I'm a little older (21 years), George Harrison has become my favorite. Why? He's not the asshole John is, he's not the putz Paul is, and he isn't the loser Ringo is (sorry, Ringo). But, this album proves that George can be as melodic as Paul and as deep as John, a powerful combination.
11Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin III

This was the first Zeppelin album I ever bought, so maybe there's a slight of favoritism or some sort of seniority, but from the crushing power of the Immigrant Song and Celebration Day, to the somber blues of Since I've Been Loving You, to the incredible beauty that is Tangerine and That's The Way, to the playful fun that is Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, this is the Zeppelin album I would give someone who had not heard them to give them a full demonstration of what they are (or, by a close margin, Physical Graffiti).

I've stated this before: I don't care that it sold 10 million copies. I don't care that it was number 1 on the Billboard Charts. I don't care that it's relatively clean sounding to their other albums (apart from MTV Unplugged, and that's all acoustic). I don't care that listening to it after having played The Germs, the Melvins, Flipper, Fugazi, and Black Flag makes it sound tame compared to them. This record is still powerful and from front to back one of the best albums I've ever heard, and ever recorded. The "clean" just makes the music sharper, particularly the drums (courtesy of my idol as a drummer, Dave Grohl)
Kid A

Moody. Etheral at some points. Absolutely stunning. Got me to transition from the belief that real rock bands don't use electronics to anything is possible.
8Big Star
#1 Record

The greatest album that never did what it should have done. Ever cut from this album is solid, from the killer power pop that inspired Cheap Trick and the Replacements and R.E.M. to the perfect acoustic numbers at the tail end.
7De La Soul
3 Feet High And Rising

The pinnacle of sampling in hip-hop in my opinion, and some of the best rapping without persistent use of the n-word or chronic swearing or just general acting a fool

It took them breaking up as a band to make me really appreciate the genius of their entire discography, but through all of the various differences in their sound, each with their peaks and valleys, I prefer the sound of their first four or five records (Murmur, Reckoning, Fables of the Reconstruction, Lifes Rich Pageant, and Document). Peter Buck's guitar sound still fascinates me to this day and keeps me wanting to save up to buy a Rickenbacker
5 The Who
Who's Next

Rock's greatest statement. Every track a killer. Daltrey's voice cuts through to your soul, the guitar rips your fucking ears off, the bass makes you lose your balance, and the drums just knock you the fuck over. Rock's defining moment is the last minute or so of this album: The synth playing, the drum solo, the power chord, and that unearthly scream
4The Beatles
Rubber Soul

I'd feel this list would not be fair if I didn't include at least one Beatles record, so having played each constantly, I chose this one. The transitional-period Beatles (Rubber Soul and Revolver) crafted some of the best music I've ever heard. Mature, while not being pretentious
3The Beach Boys
Pet Sounds

How could I not include this album? Just brilliant. Very few words can accurately describe listening to this album and the effect it has had on my life and on the lives' of countless others.
2John Coltrane
A Love Supreme

I've listened to this album sober and high, and when the same spiritual experience comes during both listens, you know that this is truly a transcending masterpiece of jazz.
1 Neil Young
Tonight's The Night

Neil tops Dylan, though by the closest of margins. Bob got started earlier (by about 6 years, 4 if you wanna count Buffalo Springfield), but that period from Neil's first album in 1968 to 1979 is one of the greatest hot streaks in the history of music. Every album is worth owning and listening to repeatedly. Each one has at least one song that I need to listen to once a week (in order, The Old Laughing Lady, The Last Trip To Tulsa, Cinnamon Girl, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Round And Round, Down By The river, Tell Me Why, After The Gold Rush, Oh Lonesome Me, Don't Let It Bring You Down, Out On The Weekend, Heart of Gold, Old Man, Alabama, Walk On, See The Sky About To Rain, For The Turnstiles, Ambulance Blues, Tonight's The Night, Borrowed Tune, Roll Another Number, Tired Eyes, Pardon My Heart, Cortez The Killer, Star Of Bethlehem, Will To Love, Like A Hurricane, Comes A Time, Human Highway, My My Hey Hey, Powderfinger, Hey Hey My My). But the one that defines Neil Young is Tonight's The Night: uncompromising, dark, moody, not the most accessible, drunk, and absolutely brilliant.
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