:: Saturday, March 20, 2004 ::

snam, snam, snam, snam...
Oh, the things we learn from reading Fast Company. This week I learned a new word: snam. It's short for "social network spam" -- those annoying, impersonal messages from social networking services like orkut, the "online community that connects people through a network of trusted friends." (The "snam" story is so far only available in the paper version of April's Fast Company so don't bother following the link to find it.) Update: The "snam" story is now online.) This past week, I received three invitations to join orkut. I haven't acted on any of the invitations, other than to write my trusted friends a personal email thanking them for the invitation but explaining my reservations about the entire schemed.

There are a few things about this snam business that stick in my craw:

  • Not only are the messages impersonal; they're also intrusive -- like spam but moreso, because they enter your mailbox under the guise of an acquiantance. You open the invitation from your trusted friend, expecting at least a brief personal note, something along the lines of: Hey, Andrew, I think you're really cool and want to invite you into my circle of trusted friends. Read on! But no. Instead you get:
    Trusted Friend [trustme@trustefriend.com] invites you to join his network of personal friends at orkut.com.

    orkut is a community of friends and trusted acquaintances that connects individuals through a social network that grows person by person.

    With orkut, you can catch up with old friends, make new acquaintances through people you trust, and maybe even find that certain someone you've been looking for everywhere.

    orkut helps you organize and attend events, join communities that share your interests, and find partners to participate in the activities you most enjoy.

    To find out why Trusted Friend thought you'd enjoy orkut and to discover who else you know is already a member, click on the link below:

  • The "link below" tells you absolutely nothing about why Trusted Friend thought you'd enjoy orkut. It simply leads you to a form where you're supposed to enter your email address and sign up. How misleading is that?

  • These types of abuses of online communication strike me as inherently fascist, like that horrid Outlook feature that allows people to schedule time with you without asking first. People in IT on our campus use that feature all the time. It's invasive and fascist. Don't use it.

  • Shouldn't social networks be more organic, evolving over time and through consistent communication? Each of the three orkut invitations I received this week were from people I've communicated with online (one of them offline as well), but who I wouldn't consider to be in my network of "trusted friends." They're all good folks, or seem to be, but we seldom communicate. One, in fact, delinked me from his blog several months ago and I've yet to understand why, although I've asked for an explanation. (When I received his snam earlier this week, I wrote him a nice note explaining my reasons for hesitating in joining his inner circle, and hoped for a personal response. Instead, the guy re-sent the original orkut request. Or maybe orkut has a built-in timer to re-send them after a certain period of time. That would be a fascist thing to do, but anyway, it's also ballsy and does little to assuage my concerns.)

  • What really galls me is that these people who supposedly want to network with me do not respond to my emails -- written by me, not churned out by some orkut robot. Talk about cojones.

  • This quote from the Fast Company piece (it's called "Networking Overload," by Scott Kirsner, on page 38 of the April 2004 issue) says it all: "For some people -- I'm not one -- being a central node in an online social network can impart a feeling of importance and connectedness. For the majority, though, it'll be a hassle. The people you might want to contact aren't all members of the same service: they're probably spread across different sites such as LinkedIn, Ryze, and a new site launched by Monster. And who wants to spend time relaying appeals from people you don't know or answering questions for friends-of-friends?"

    So, dear readers, if you wish to network with me, simply leave a comment on this blog, or send me an email. Or even respond to an email I send you. I'd like to get to know you. Really, I would. I'm just not ready for the kind of commitment you're seeking.

    Besides, orkut is a dorky name for a social network.

    :: Andrew 11:13 + ::

  • Miscellania
    The big Greatest Pop/Rock Albums project put me behind on routine blogging, so I'm trying to catch up a bit this morning. Here are a few things catching my attention over morning coffee:

  • Two members of our international panel of experts for said Greatest Pop/Rock Albums project have switched domains mid-countdown. Perhaps they're trying to escape culpability? We won't allow that to happen. So, be warned, Spudlets and SteelerDirtFreak, we know where your new home is, and we'll be updating the blogroll shortly.

  • Read on the blogs yesterday about the death of two figures in rock'n'roll: J.J. Jackson, one of the original MTV veejays (back in the day "When MTV played music videos," as Totem to Temple puts it), who died Wednesday night (March 17) of an apparent heart attack at age 62 (and another ex-veejay, Adam Curry, has surprisingly little to say about J.J.'s passing); and Dave Blood, bassist of the punk group Dead Milkmen committed suicide March 10 (link via Donnaville, who also appreciates that Milkmen classic "Punk Rock Girl" -- although it always bugged me that the Milkmen didn't know "California Dreamin'" was a Mamas & the Papas song, not the Beach Boys).

  • Who were the other original MTV veejays? Let's see: there was Martha Quinn, Adam Goodman, Nina Blackwood -- surely there were a couple of others? I don't think Adam Curry was among the cast of original veejays. I couldn't name three current MTV "veejays" (if that's what they still call them). They're just not cut from the same cloth as the old schoolers. This just in: Donnaville, somehow discerning I'm too lazy to Google, points us to this CNN feature: "The original MTV VJs: Where are they now? Of course it's a bit outdated as far as J.J. is concerned. But it also confirms that the missing VJ (sorry I misspelled that term earlier; I'm so accustomed to AP style) is none other than, um, what's-his-name again? Oh yeah, Alan Hunter.

  • Read it today in the newspaper, of all places, that Tammy Faye Messner, ex-wife of Jim Bakker and co-host of their 80s-era "PTL" televangelism program, has inoperable lung cancer. She announced it on Larry King Live. Messner said her faith in God is strong as she faces the latest illness, and she believes a miracle may be possible. But she also has the human desire to fight to live. "I know I'm going to heaven to be with Jesus, but I just don't want to be on the next busload, you know?"

    :: Andrew 10:27 + ::
  • :: Friday, March 19, 2004 ::

    NCAA bracketology
    After one full day of the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament, I've picked the winners of 14 out of 16 games, giving me 140 points in ESPN's Tournament Challenge. That puts me in the 98th percentile. Not too shabby. Trouble is, a bunch of people were perfect in their first day picks. (How can that be!) Even in the 98th percentile, I'm currently ranked 49,260th in the nation.

    My misses from day one:

  • Michigan State over Nevada. Wrong 'em, boyo.
  • Southern Illinois over Alabama. It was close, but 'Bama won, 65-64.

    :: Andrew 12:09 + ::

  • Aye, Woebot
    Found a bunch of new blogs to check out courtesy of Woebot, which posted a list of its favorite blogs, with commentary, on St. Patrick's Day. Be warned that some of these sites might not be suitable material for Christians of a certain stripe. Moreover, Woebot's link to K-Punk is broken. I've already written the 'bot a holier-than-thou email sanctimoniously upbraiding him for the faux pas. Woebot, I trust this won't happen again.

    :: Andrew 11:48 + ::

    Badlands calling
    Looks like my article "Joe Strummer: Punk Prophet" is contributing to the decline and fall of "Judeochristianity" (whatever that is). And Relevant is taking its readers down the road to perdition. Be warned, gentle reader, lest bloggedy blog seduce you with its devlish wiles. Remember: Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

    I'm not going to say much more about this right now. But I thought some readers might find the Badlands commentary of interest.

    :: Andrew 10:21 + ::

    'What if I found Jesus...'
    Interesting post to ponder from the March 17th entry at Pyro.
    What if I don't ever become a Christian, Christian? What if, as long as you know me, and there after, I never accept this revelation that you have received? What if my purpose and reason for being here is to exist and give you a hard time with questions? Continue...

    :: Andrew 10:01 + ::
    :: Thursday, March 18, 2004 ::

    Greatest Pop/Rock Albums, Vol. 10: The Top 10
    Cue The Doors to the last track...

    This is the end, my only friend, the end....

    Yes, the Definitive Top 10 Greatest Pop/Rock Albums of All Time is just ahead, signaling the end of our two-week countdown. But if you'd like to review the other entries before diving into the final list (savor the moment, if you will), here they are. Otherwise, if you just can't wait, scroll down a bit.

  • Vol. 1 (100-91)
  • Vol. 2 (90-81)
  • Vol. 3 (80-71)
  • Vol. 4 (70-61)
  • Vol. 5 (60-51)
  • Vol. 6 (50-41)
  • Vol. 7 (40-31)
  • Vol. 8 (30-21)
  • Vol. 9 (20-11)

    10. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin
    The masters of blues-rock, progenitors of heavy metal, came crashing through with this 1969 debut. Jimmy Page's sexy, wailing guitar (especially on "Dazed and Confused") coupled with Robert Plant's sexy, wailing vocals (on everything) was brand new and filled with passion. A great rock'n'roll record.

    9. Rumours, Fleetwood Mac
    Unleashed upon the world during a very creative year in rock (1977), Fleetwood Mac's Rumours stands tall as one of the greatest records of that year, and of all time. The album built on the previous self-titled record and solidified the mix of diverse talents. Rumours brought out the best in Lindsey Buckingham's simple but effective guitar riffs, Stevie Nicks' sultry vocals and vision (captured best in "Dreams" and "Gold Dust Woman"), Christine McVie's upbeat pop (featured in "Don't Stop"), and Mick Fleetwood backing it all up with steady, fluid drumwork. "Go Your Own Way" pulls all the talents together -- a jingly rhythm guitar, solid drumming, luscious McVie vocals and terrific harmonies.

    8. The Wall, Pink Floyd
    An amazing, grand effort to create a cohesive, single work of art -- an epic story. The effort may fall flat as rock opera fare, but The Wall contains more than its fair share of exquisite tracks. "Comfortably Numb," "Another Brick in the Wall" (Parts 1 and 2), "Young Lust" (Roger Waters' martial guitar makes this one a keeper), etc. But if you haven't seen the movie, don't bother. Listen to the record instead.

    7. Nevermind, Nirvana
    Stupid and contagious, Nevermind, as we all already know, ranks as the definitive grunge/indie/alt album. Filled with angst and rage and pessimism, Nevermind gave voice to an entire generation. Kurt Cobain's lyrics on "Smells Like Teen Spirit," "Come as You Are" and "Lithium" capture a sense of disengagement and alienation and bring us to stare into the void. Dave Grohl's drumming simply kicks.

    6. Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd
    Dark Side of the Moon is the Sgt. Pepper's of my generation. What more can I say?

    5. Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen
    Flashback to 1975: A gawky, alienated, confused high school freshman tries to teach himself to play the guitar. He locks himself in the bedroom and plays "Born to Run" (the 45 single; he didn't own the album) over and over to master the chords. When I finally discovered how to play this tune it was a eureka moment for me. But more than the simple chords (E, A. F sharp major -- if I recall correctly), I loved the lyrical genius of this song. I wished I had a Wendy to die with on the streets at night in an everlasting kiss. This album is immortal.

    4. Are You Experienced The Jimi Hendrix Experience
    In the pantheon of guitar gods, Hendrix is Zeus. Yeah, I know, everybody says that. But this CD proves it. Listen to the guitarwork on "Hey Joe," "Red House" or "The Wind Cries Mary" and tell me Hendrix wasn't blessed with talent far beyond mere mortals. So what if his voice was weak? It was distinct, and we all came for the bluesy wailing and shrieking of his guitar wizardry anyway.

    3. London Calling, The Clash
    God, I love this record. With 1979's London Calling (released in the states in 1980), UK punk band The Clash crashed through the barrier of punk to become a bona fide rock band. Blending punk ("London Calling"), ska ("Rudie Can't Fail," "Revolution Rock"), rockabilly ("Brand New Cadillac"), reggae and Jamaican calypso beats ("Wrong 'Em Boyo"), they created an intelligent and nuanced double record that made punk-bashers do a double-take. They even poked fun at themselves and their early punk antics ("Everybody smash up your seats and rock to this brand new beat...") and had fun with Montgomery Clift. What more could one ask for in a record? London Calling has it all -- and you can buy it from Amazon for only $9.99. That, my friends, is a true bargain.

    2. The Joshua Tree, U2
    The vacationing David Hopkins said it best: "It's the freakin' Joshua Tree! If you don't know why it's #3 (on his list; #2 overall), you have no soul." This album deserves its instant classic status. "Where the Streets Have No Name" is one song that will play at my funeral.

    1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles
    Well, well. Surprise, surprise. The Citizen Kane of rock'n'roll -- the ultimate work of art, and getting better all the time.


    My Top 10
    by SteelerDirtFreak
    Our favorite mullet-rock lover weighs in on this, the final day of our countdown:

    10. Are You Experienced, Jimi Hendrix

    9. Concert For Bangladesh, Various Artists
    This is the first 'live aid' type recording I ever remember hearing, and still my favorite.

    8. Live At Fillmore East, The Allman Brothers

    7. Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd

    6. War, U2

    5. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles

    4. London Calling, The Clash

    3. One More From The Road, Lynyrd Skynyrd
    In my mind, the #2 rock band of all time, but then my neck's always been red, and my collar's always been blue...

    2. The Joshua Tree, U2

    1. Revolver, The Beatles
    The greatest rock and roll band ever. This is my favorite of many Beatles albums.

    :: Andrew 08:28 + ::
  • :: Wednesday, March 17, 2004 ::

    Greatest Pop/Rock Albums, Vol. 9: 20-11
    Welcome back my friends to the countdown that never ends...or does it?

  • Vol. 1 (100-91)
  • Vol. 2 (90-81)
  • Vol. 3 (80-71)
  • Vol. 4 (70-61)
  • Vol. 5 (60-51)
  • Vol. 6 (50-41)
  • Vol. 7 (40-31)
  • Vol. 8 (30-21)

    20. Ramones, The Ramones
    Hey! Ho! The Ramones' blistering power pop -- three chords, a thumping bass, the biggest crash symbal sound this side of "76 Trombones," and a lead singer who sounds like he forgot to take his Sudafed -- defined punk for America. With no song clocking in over 3 minutes, this astounding record packs a wallop. From the stupid songs about sniffing glue and beating on the brat to its political commentary ("Havana Affair") and '50s-era sock-hop ("Let's Dance"), not to mention the classic "Blitzkrieg Bop," this album packs a wallop.

    19. Let It Bleed, The Rolling Stones
    This album essentially proclaimed the end of '60s idealism. From "Gimme Shelter" to "You Can't Always Get What You Want," this record evokes a poignant sense of loss through and through. Says KJo: "Watch out world, the Stones try to grow up here, and give the performance of their lives -- fitting considering the events leading them to this album. And it's obvious with some of the subject and the urgency in the delivery."

    18. Exile on Main Street, The Rolling Stones
    Back to back Stones in our countdown. This is thebad boys of rock at their rowdiest, and it's good. A hard-banging piano adds to the boogie sound.

    17. The Beatles (The White Album), The Beatles
    The Fab Four produced their most fractured yet arguably most creative album with this tour-de-force. The tension of the Beatles' final days as a group is evident here, as band members go their own way. Songs like "Blackbird" and "Martha My Dear" are clearly Paul's; George Harrison's influence shines in "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," featuring a lovely cameo by Eric Clapton; and even Ringo gets in on the act (fittingly, perhaps, with "Don't Pass Me By"). Perhaps not the best "Beatles" album, but a wonderful work that showcases the talents of each member.

    16. Ten, Pearl Jam
    "They've tried to avoid it, but Pearl Jam will always live under the shadow of their first album," writes David Hopkins. Oh, but what a record. Eddie Vedder's manic vocals, born
    somewhere between Johnny Rotten and James Hetfield, and the soaring guitars came to define the Seattle sound. "Nirvana may have started the revolution," says KJo, "but this was the more poignant album."

    15. Highway 61 Revisited, Bob Dylan
    This 1965 release is Dylan's masterpiece. "Like a Rolling Stone" is lyrical, beautiful, surreal. My friend Andrew Jones no doubt rates "Ballad of a Thin Man" as
    one of his favorites. Do you, Mr. Jones? If you can own only one Dylan album, make it this one.

    14. My Aim Is True, Elvis Costello
    Elvis lives! This debut album from the Year of Punk ('77) is Costello at his wittiest and most acerbic (even when it doesn't come off as acerbic). Every track on this CD hits the mark, but I count "Mystery Dance," "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes" and "Less Than Zero" among my favorites. Oh, and "Waiting For the End of the World." And of course the greatest love ballad of all time for girls named Alison.

    13. War, U2
    How sadly appropriate, with the recent violence in Spain, that "Sunday Bloody Sunday" is still relevant two decades after the release of War, the final album of U2's early period. (U2Sermons discusses this.) Bono's voice is powerful and plaintive in this protest album, and The Edge's guitar minimalism is lovely in "Sunday Bloody Sunday," "New Year's Day" and "Two Hearts Beat As One." And for those who think all the picks on this countdown are somehow ungodly, please note that this record ends in a Psalm, "40."

    12. Revolver, The Beatles
    The beautiful pen-and-ink cover art is only the icing. The cake tastes great. Pick a hit, any hit: "Taxman," "Eleanor Rigby," "Here, There and Everywhere," "Doctor Robert," "Got to Get You into My Life," "Yellow Submarine" -- they're all here. Also the first Beatles album introducing George Harrison's eastern influences. Yet another groundbreaking Beatles great.

    11. Abbey Road, The Beatles
    My personal favorite Beatles album, Abbey Road, like The White Album, featured the disintegrating band. The album seems made up of fragments of songs that segue oddly, but somehow it works."Come Together" is a classic John Lennon rocker.


    My Top 10
    by David Hopkins

    10. Ten, Pearl Jam
    They've tried to avoid it, but Pearl Jam will always live under the shadow of their first album.

    9. Specials, The Specials
    The Specials took punk, jamacian ska rhythms, and created one of the most unique pop albums ever. And then, copycats took their lead. Immitation is the best form of flattery?

    8. Weezer (Blue Album), Weezer
    Weezer decides to create their greatest hits album in one album. Radio stations drool.

    7. The Who Sings My Generation, The Who
    "My Generation" is possibly the greatest single of all time. That song alone puts it at #7.

    6. Ramones, The Ramones
    Hello world. The Ramones define punk rock for America.

    5. Loaded, Velvet Underground
    Their last album. An incredible tribute to rock'n'roll.

    4. London Calling, The Clash
    The Clash gave punk a heart ... and a brain all at once.

    3. The Joshua Tree, U2
    What can I say? It's the freakin' Joshua Tree! If you don't know why it's #3, you have no soul.

    2. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
    Yeah, it's a concept album ... but it's a great concept album. The Beatles at their most creative

    1. Doolittle, Pixies
    What?! Not the Beatles or the Stones or Led Zepellin? The Pixies may have been just a moderately successful band within the indie/alternative scene, but their magnum opus DOOLITTLE is as close to perfect as rock'n'roll gets. Twisted, catchy, playful, textured, solid -- the Pixies created an album that kicks ass and takes names.

    :: Andrew 08:26 + ::
  • :: Tuesday, March 16, 2004 ::

    It finally happened
    I was wondering when I might start getting critical email about this pop/rock list project. I received my first piece today. (Thankfully, it's the only negative comment I've received about this project, although I notice I'm not getting many hits from several blogs these days, apparently due to the lack of interest in the subject matter I'm focusing on these days.)

    Anyway, the note reads:
    Dear Andrew: I was wondering why your blog is full of such crap. Last time I read the scripture. It was clear were not to love the world. Why your devotion to people who hate our Lord? Why your praise for music that brings glory to the world and not our Lord...I dont get it. Whatsoever things are pure..whatsover things are true..

    In my reply, I thanked the writer for the note and explained that I would respond in more depth later and probably on the blog. But I won't be responding until after the countdown ends. The show, as they say, must go on.

    :: Andrew 15:21 + ::

    Greatest Pop/Rock Albums, Vol. 8: 30-21
    Running behind today. Apologies. Hope I didn't keep you waiting.

  • Vol. 1 (100-91)
  • Vol. 2 (90-81)
  • Vol. 3 (80-71)
  • Vol. 4 (70-61)
  • Vol. 5 (60-51)
  • Vol. 6 (50-41)
  • Vol. 7 (40-31)

    30. Who's Next, The Who
    With a rock anthem as powerful as "Baba O'Riley" to anchor this album, how can it miss? A great collection of old and new Who tunes. Lead singer Roger Daltry is at his finest here with "Bargain," "Going Mobile" and "Behind Blue Eyes." (Yes, the original is better than the current Limp Bizkit cover.) "Won't Get Fooled Again" is one of this band's greatest songs. Pete Townsend (guitarist/singer/songwriter) is the genius behind the work, but the personnel of John Entwistle (bass) and Keith Moon (drums) and, of course, Daltry, make The Who a brilliant rock group whose sum is greater than its parts.

    29. Hotel California, The Eagles
    This album had the misfortune of coming out as I entered my punk phase, so I wasn't much interested in overdone West Coast cowboy rock at the time. Still, I can appreciate the work of Don Henley, Glen Frey and company, and Joe Walsh's addition (on guitar, if not vocals) brought an infusion of boogie rock to the mix. The title song is infectious in its riffs and guitar solo, and "Life in the Fast Lane" is a great cautionary tale about the excesses of the rock'n'roll lifestyle, which the Eagles knew so well.

    28. Out of the Blue, ELO
    Fusing orchestrations into catchy pop/rock tunes, ELO struck gold with Out of the Blue. Hits like "Turn to Stone" and "Sweet Talkin' Woman" put the Electric Light Orchestra on firm footing in '70s pre-disco radio pop. From Mista Sinista: "From the hate-to-love-it category, I was hooked on this record from the first track 'Turn to Stone.' Incidentally, it is one of the few on my top 25 that I own solely on vinyl."

    27. Zenyatta Mendatta, The Police
    An outstanding record -- well produced reggae-influenced rhythms without that rough edge of The Police's first two albums. Greatest tracks: "When the World Is Running Down" and "Driven to Tears."

    26. Bat Out of Hell, Meat Loaf
    Phil Rizzuto's sportscasting never sounded better than it did on "Paradise by the Dashboard Light." A big, ambitious album, and an unlikely hit for its time (1977), Meat Loaf came at the world like a bat out of, well, you know...

    25. One More from the Road, Lynyrd Skynyrd
    A favorite of redneck/mullet rockers everywhere, this CD captures everybody's favorite Skynyrd tunes -- live.

    24. The Who Sings My Generation, The Who
    "My Generation," says David Hopkins, is "possibly the greatest single of all time." It certainly contains the greatest stutter ever heard in rock'n'roll -- and a stunning bass solo by John Entwisle. "The Kids Are Alright" and a couple of James Brown covers solidified The Who as the mod/rock band of the '60s.

    23. OK Computer, Radiohead
    In this 1997 release, Radiohead mixes electronica with whiney vocals and a strong but subtle rhythm section -- or in Mista Sinista's words, the group "combines musical genius, instrumental talent and production wizardry."

    22. A Night at the Opera, Queen
    Did the title of this album refer to Queen's operatic vision, as captured in "Bohemian Rhapsody," or were they just horsing around with an old Marx Brothers movie title? It hardly matters. This 1975 hit is the ultimate Queen album.

    21. The Doors, The Doors
    Jim Morrison and company broke on through with their debut. Ray Manzarek's cheesy organ made beautiful music with Lizard King Morrison's laid-back vocals. "Light My Fire" seemed to go on forever, but nobody cared.


    My Top 10
    by Mista Sinista
    (a non-blogger but avid bloggedy blog reader)

    10. Out of the Blue, ELO
    From the Hate-to-love-it catagory, I was hooked on this record from the first track "Turn to Stone." Incidentally, it is one of the few on my top 25 that I own solely on vinyl.

    9. Liscensed to Ill, the Beastie Boys
    The year was 1986 and this was the record my parents wouldn't let me hear. I like this album for that reason; I like this album because it manages to morph the hair-rock guitars of the 80s with the emerging hip-hop sound; and I like this album because the Beastie Boys apologized for making it.

    8. Waiting for Columbus, Little Feat
    I tried to not include any "live" or "greatest hits" records on this list, but some bands were meant to be heard live, and Little Feat is one of these. With their dixieland-meats-rock style complete with extended solos, Little Feat proves on this record that they are meant for a live listener.

    7. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles
    IMO, the most solid Beatles album from start to climactic finish.

    6. Hard Rain, Bob Dylan
    Dylan plugs in his guitar and hires a band for this record, consisting of tracks from his "Rolling Thunder Revue" tour. Many of his fans hated him for abandoning his simple acoustic sound, but I think it gives a worthwhile edge to what would otherwise be more boring Dylan.

    5. Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), Wu-Tang Clan
    More than 10 years after it's release, 36 Chambers is still the most original and revolutionary Hip-Hop record ever dropped.

    4. Bat Out of Hell, Meat Loaf
    Jim Steinman framed the ultimate rock opera with Bat Out of Hell, and no one performs the lead like Meat Loaf.

    3. The Joshua Tree, U2
    Before U2 became icons, they were musicians that made gems like The Joshua Tree.

    2. All Things Must Pass, George Harrison
    "Beware of Darkness" is one of my all-time favorite songs, and this album has many more keepers in there. It is easily the greatest post-Beatles record that any of them made.

    1. OK Computer, Radiohead
    OK Computer combines musical genius, instrumental talent and production wizardry to create the greatest rock album IMO.

    :: Andrew 15:02 + ::
  • :: Monday, March 15, 2004 ::

    Greatest Pop/Rock Albums, Vol. 7: 40-31
    Let the Top 40 Countdown commence.

    But first, a review:

  • Vol. 1 (100-91)
  • Vol. 2 (90-81)
  • Vol. 3 (80-71)
  • Vol. 4 (70-61)
  • Vol. 5 (60-51)
  • Vol. 6 (50-41)

    40. Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols, The Sex Pistols
    Anarchy reigns in Bollocks, the definitive UK punk album from the definitive UK punk band. Glen Matlock's thumping bass and Paul Cook's driving drums made up arguably the best rhythm section in all of punkdom. And Steve Jones' powerful guitar licks mimicked perfectly the demented shrieking of Johnny Rotten. God Save the Punks.

    39. Frampton Comes Alive, Peter Frampton
    All the excesses of the '70s stadium rock show are here. Wah-wah pedal aficianados of the world, unite.

    38. All That You Can't Leave Behind, U2
    Everybody's favorite band of Irish rockers strikes again. It's a beautiful, smooth CD, but much less raw than the early stuff and at times less energetic.

    37. Murmur, REM
    It's hard to remember REM when they were so raw. When this album came out in 1983, REM was an unknown band from Athens, Georgia. But their unique sound carved a niche for one of the greatest rock bands of the next two decades. It all began with Murmur, a record that Ben Squires calls "the indie rock foundation."

    36. Ritual de lo Habitual, Jane's Addiction
    Ben Squires writes: "While containing instant radio favorites, opening the airwaves to a broader rock sound, this album also features 'Three Days,' a rock sound with near-perfect orchestration on many levels."

    35. Little Earthquakes, Tori Amos
    Registering high on Ganns' and KJo's Richter Scales, Little Earthquakes is, in Ganns' words, a "great album that featured inspired piano lines and a clever little song called 'Crucify.' However, 'Silent All These Years' remains my favorite Tori song."

    34. Ill Communication, Beastie Boys
    One of two Beastie Boys works on Mista Sinista's list. In this, their fourth album, "they've matured and in some ways turned back to their punk roots," writes Mista S. "Most of the tracks feature the Boys on instruments as well as flinging out their witty rhymes. This album makes excursions from straight-out old-school hip-hop into hardcore punk, instrumental funk and even Buddhist chant. Instead of fighting for their right to party, they're fighting for social awareness in our country and freedom for the Tibetan people."

    33. Born in the U.S.A., Bruce Springsteen
    Arguably one of Ronald Reagan's favorite Springsteen albums (he used the title track in campaign ads, mistaking the Boss' lamentation for for a Vietnam vet with patriotic jingoism), this record is a mixed bag. "Born in the U.S.A." is a classic, and "Darlington County" hearkens back to the days of Asbury Park. But other tracks fail to live up to Springsteen's previous work.

    32. Pet Sounds, The Beach Boys
    The Beach Boys dropped their successful surfin' music for an experiment, but keep the harmonies for "Wouldn't It Be Nice," "Sloop John B," etc. Critically acclaimed but commercially a bomb, Pet Sounds was as innovative as Sgt. Pepper's but from a less likely source.

    31. Cracked Rear View, Hootie & The Blowfish
    Remember Hootie & The Blowfish? Apparently some members of our distinguished panel do. Others of us are trying to forget.


    My Top 10
    by Pastor Ben Squires, Musicspectrum

    10. Raising Hell, Run-DMC.
    The defining rap/hip hop album for a generation which also gained crossover appeal with the help of Aerosmith.

    9. Stone Roses, Stone Roses.
    Launched the English Rock sound which blossomed in the 1990s.

    8. War, U2.
    "Sunday Bloody Sunday" came to define the protest rock of a generation, but this is also when U2 still sounded like they came from the streets of Ireland, a recording that came with those qualities worked into the mix.

    7. The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan.
    A folk singer who changed the rock world in terms of lyrics, melody, and style

    6. Help!, The Beatles.
    Gorgeous pop rock of harmony and melody.

    5. London Calling, The Clash.
    While certainly the Sex Pistols defined punk, London Calling continues to be noted as influential for so many bands and musicians.

    4. Led Zeppelin II, Led Zeppelin.
    The great blend of blues and rock'n'roll which took Robert Johnson and others to the stadiums.

    3. Nevermind, Nirvana.
    Claimed as the anthem for a generation and a tremendous step forward in rock's creativity, claims which are actually ... true.

    2. Murmur, REM.
    The indie rock foundation, catchy songs, obscure lyrics, and a simple approach to the sound which made the album sound like it was recorded just down the block by some friends.

    1. The Smiths, The Smiths.
    There is no better combination of singer and guitarist than Morrissey and Marr, the combination that has inspired so many towards greater lyricism with guitar work which carries the weight of the lyrics.

    :: Andrew 08:21 + ::
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