Ripped perfection

As I sit here, further along the path of not doing jack, but in reality ripping CDs to stuff into my snazz-o-rama MP3 player I have to the conclusion that I have found several albums (alba?) which are, AFAIAC, perfect. Every single song a flawless gem and not a clunker anywhere. I will not include "cheats" such as Greatest Hits or Various Artists compilations.

In no order whatever:

Blondie - Parallel Lines
The album that captured this band's at the crossroads of its (de)volution from postpunk New Wavesters to pop stars. After this album, while still scoring hits--sometimes impressively so--they would never have the overall solidity and tightness. I think that Heart of Glass turning out to be such a hit with the ::shudder:: disco crowd turned their collective heads and that was, as they say, that.

Agent Orange - Living In Darkness
Another example of brilliant musical fence-straddling, this time between surf-pop and hardcore punk. The fact the singing is intelligible turns off most punk devotees, but the metronome-on-benzedrine guitar riffs and the choice in covering tunes is more than that which with the usual Top 40 listener can cope. There is none of the pointless punk anger, but plenty of angst...without the pathetic depressiveness of the grunge crowd of 10 years later.

Stray Cats - Built For Speed
THE album which brought rockabilly out from the cryogenic chamber where it habe been hibernating after Elvis's induction into the Army. Modern sensibilities and lyrical structure with ear satiating hooks and an a backbeat that makes it impossible to not want to dance like an idiot around the room.

Donald Fagen - The Nightfly
Easily the single best recorded album, ever. The off-and-on frontman for Steely Dan does his best work here. Almost 25 years old and it sounds more intelligent and fresher than anything else out there. The DVD-Audio release is unabashedly ear porn for the audiophile. In fact, this is the disc I use when auditioning any new sound gear. But that's just gravy. Liberated from the postmodern cynicism and Warning: Irony Ahead-ness of Steely Dan the album is listenable and accessible while being lush and nuanced and rich. Like an espresso habit, it just gets better with every listen.

Jeff Beck - There & Back
The single most underrated Big Deal Guitarist in human history's best album. Unshackled from his, er, volcanic now-you-see-him-now-you-don't musical partnership with Rod Stewart, this is the pinnacle of fusion/jazz rock.

The Eagles - Hotel California (oh, HUSH, Poppy)
I can hear Poppy sneering from here. But. This is one of those transcendent albums that manages to gather in disparate influences and genres and weave something excellent. Country, blues, arena-rock and pop all get their due in this album that, if memory serves, would NOT get off the radio when it was first released. Excellent lyrics and vocals and a rock solide musical core anchored by Joe Walsh.

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts - I Love Rock and Roll
The definition of power pop. Rock and roll made listenable, danceable and accessible all at once.

Elvis Presley - I Was The One
This is the encapsulation of the birth of rock and roll.

Adam & The Ants - Kings Of The Wild Frontier
New Wave with a whimsical faux dandy/fop vibe and TONS of drums. Enough drums and danceability to land Adam Ant at the 25th Anniversary special for Motown.

Devo - New Traditionalists
Smart, sarcasting and cynical. Danceable, with arresting hooks and melodies and a charming quirkiness.

Now you know.

-J.

Comments

Badger said…
Well, I agree with you on the Devo, as you know. As to Adam et. al., I prefer Prince Charming. And I thought Hotel California was the beginning of the end where the Eagles were concerned. But maybe that's just me.
Poppy Buxom said…
You're doing better than I am, Badger. He lost me at the Blondie album.

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