:: Tuesday, August 08, 2006 ::
100 albums that changed my life: Nos. 70-61
Part four of the bloggedy blog countdown of the top 100 albums that changed my life, with accompanying podcast, now fortified with 100 percent more of Andrew's voice.

In case you missed them, here are the earlier installments:
  • 100-91

  • 90-81

  • 80-71
  • 70. American Graffiti Soundtrack, Various Artists (1973)
    The soundtrack to the movie that gave us '50s nostalgia, paved the road for Happy Days, and launched the careers of Richard Dreyfus and Harrison Ford also introduced me to the great sounds of early rock'n'roll. Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids, Bill Haley and the Comets -- they'll all on there.

    69. Jars of Clay, Jars of Clay (1995)
    Ah, my earnest Christian phase. I was trying very hard to find some "Christian" music to replace all that satanic, secular crap that had filled my head throughout my formative years. I'd already moved through the zealot phase, during which I sold my entire record collection, and now I was starting to really regret it. But when Jars of Clay came out, I thought it might have potential. I liked the band's reference to the scripture (2 Corinthians 4:&, "We hold this treasure in earthen vessels," or Jars of Clay -- fallible, easily broken). The record has decent production values, a nice acoustic alt-indie sound to it, with a nod to Irish-Gaelic influences (note the violin and pennywhistle in many of these songs). But it was Christianized, sanitized grunge -- grunge lite, if you will, and about three years too late (typical of Christian artists to chase after a trend just as it's losing steam). The album's single, "Flood," got some non-Christian radio play and VH1 time, and the album was a moderate crossover success. But after such a fine debut, the Jars went back to the Christian subculture, and were never heard from again.

    68. Love Stinks, J. Geils Band (1980)
    Oh my God! That bowling ball! It's my WIFE! Anyone else remember that? What a crazy, fun album this was. "No Anchovies, Please" was stuck smack in the middle of Love Stinks as some sort of absurd joke, but somehow it fit right in. The title track, "Night Time" and other everyman-rockin' tunes make this one of my favorite garage-band albums ever. Too bad Peter Wolf, J. Geils and company went south after this one.

    67. Give Us a Wink, Sweet (1976)
    Desolation Boulevard will always be Sweet's classic, thanks to Wayne and Garth and what they did with "Ballroom Blitz." (The movie Dazed and Confused helped out, too, with "Fox On the Run.") But Give Us a Wink gave us "Action," which I thought at the time was the ultimate rock song. It had glam and glitz, guitars and drums, Queenlike harmonies, maniacal laughing in the intro, and cash-machine sound effects. An indictment on the materialism of the entertainment business, this track made a mediocre album great in my teenage estimation.

    66. Bat Out of Hell, Meat Loaf (1977)
    I just read where Meat Loaf is getting ready to unleash Bat Out of Hell III upon the world, and I am sad. Why do they want to mess with a classic? Sprawling and operatic, the original Bat Out of Hell was a big record, as big as ol' Meat himself. Even "Paradise By the Dashboard Lights," the archetypal teen lust story we all O.D.'d on, was huge. The rest of the album holds up well, thanks to less exposure. All through high school, I knew what it was like to be an all-American boy, all revved up with no place to go. And it felt good to know someone else understood and could articulate it.

    65. Entertainment!, Gang of Four (1979)
    Gang of Four put some funk into punk. Angular guitar, staccato rhythms with extremist political messages and dissonant vocals. When I first heard "Love Like Anthrax" on the college radio station, I was instantly drawn and repelled at the same time. This album defines the "postpunk" sound for me.

    64. American Idiot, Green Day (2004)
    Time for all you real punks to break out your torches and pitchforks. Run me out of town on a rail if you will. I'll stand by my assertion that Green Day's comeback album is one of the best punk releases of the new millennium. With American Idiot, Green Day proved that pop punk can still be socially and politically relevant, and commercially successful.

    63. A New World Record, Electric Light Orchestra (1976)
    Rock meets classical in a perfect storm. Finally, I got a clue why my mom fell so hard for classical stuff. This is Jeff Lynne and ELO's masterpiece, in my opinion. (Richard Hall might disagree, as he lists Out of the Blue as one of his all-time life-changers.) This was one of those freebie albums I got when I finally joined a record club.

    62. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Elton John (1973)
    I know Madman Across the Water is the better product, but Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was the soundtrack of my junior high life. The title track, "Candle in the Wind," "All the Young Girls Love Alice" -- Madeline, the neighbor girl who turned me on to a lot of music, played all of them. I had to beg to hear "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding," which remains my favorite track from this record.

    61. Frampton Comes Alive, Peter Frampton (1976)
    How could any red-blooded American who grew up in the '70s not be influenced by Frampton? For better or worse, it was all the rage in '76 and '77. I must agree with other brother, though, that this album was a "damn hype job." I do, do feel like you do, bro. Fortunately, I never spent good money on this double-album. Never had to. Everyone else already had it, and it was on the stereo at every party I went to.


    Intro (with help from the Velvet Underground)

    The Clovers, "Love Potion No. 9" (from American Graffiti Soundtrack)

    Jars of Clay, "Like a Child" (from Jars of Clay)

    J. Geils Band, "Night Time" (from Love Stinks)

    Sweet, "Action" (from Give Us a Wink)

    Meat Loaf, "All Revved Up With No Place to Go" (from Bat Out of Hell)

    Gang of Four, "Contract" (from Entertainment!)

    Green Day, "St. Jimmy" (from American Idiot)

    ELO, "Rockaria!" (from A New World Record)

    Elton John, "Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" (from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road)

    Peter Frampton, "Do You Feel Like We Do" (from Frampton Comes Alive)

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    :: Andrew 15:37 + ::

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