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Old 05-19-2015, 01:48 PM   #1
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Albums: Decade By Decade

Following up on a previous thread ranking albums for each living year, I thought I would make it even more interesting and list my top albums from each decade. Now even though I wasn't born in the 1950's, I had to include it just because of all the amazing Jazz music released in that decade. OK, here we go.....and feel free to play along.

1950's Miles Davis - Kind Of Blue (1959)

This is the most definitive and famous Jazz album ever made and for good reason. Absolutely flawless! A timeless masterpiece who's legacy has touched all music since.

1960's The Beatles - Abbey Road (1969)

A wonderfully sequenced album that takes the listener on a joyous ride through the minds of The Beatles. This perfect "pop rock" album features George Martin's best production. He deserves credit for Abbey Road's achieved greatness despite the tense and fractured relationships within The Beatles at the time of recording. Throw in the iconic cover art and you have one of Rock'n'Roll's most important records ever made.


1970's Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run (1975)

The 1970's was a "watershed" decade for excellent Rock albums. The sheer amount of important, trend setting, unit shifting, powerhouse albums is a testament to the strength of 1970's. For me, this was the hardest decade to nail down a favourite. Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, The Clash etc

I finally settled on Born To Run , Bruce Springsteen crafted a "coming of age" story containing wonderful songs that ask the "big questions". The lyrics are evocative and paint a picture in my mind, the "massive sound" of Born To Run explodes through the speakers and sucks the listener in.

Born To Run has received widespread acclaim and deservedly so.


1980's U2 - The Joshua Tree (1987)

(No explanation needed as it's fairly obvious why I chose this one)


1990's U2 - Achtung Baby (1991)

(Same as above)


2000's The Killers - Hot Fuss (2004)

Hot Fuss may not be considered the best album of the 2000's by most critics but it's the one record I've listened to again and again and again during the past 10 years. For me, you can't get anymore perfect a rock song in the new millennium than the ultra-catchy "Mr. Brightside".


2010's The National - Trouble Will Find Me (2013)

Even though the decade is not over yet, I think other albums will have "trouble" trying to top this modern day classic. Simply put: It's a beautiful and touching record. I love it


Thanks and cheers.
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Old 05-19-2015, 05:33 PM   #2
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I don't really feel like writing about my choices and I'm going to start in the 60s and list my top two for each decade. Because why not.

1960s: Abbey Road and Pet Sounds
1970s: IV and Rumors
1980s: The Joshua Tree and The Big Picture (tons of nostalgia)
1990s: Ok Computer and How It Feels To Be Something On
2000s: Room On Fire and Fleet Foxes
2010s: Lonerism and Trouble Will Find Me
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Old 05-19-2015, 06:04 PM   #3
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1950s

Frank Sinatra - In the Wee Small Hours (1955)

In many ways the first concept album, all concerning broken hearts and late nights. This must have had a huge influence on Tom Waits in his early carer. It's a sterling collection of songs and ol' blue eyes is in fine voice, but it's the album's coherence and atmosphere that really brings me back.

1960s

The Beatles - Abbey Road (1969)

If the Medley doesn't give you a rush, check for a pulse. Instrumentally, this is the greatest band of all time at its peak and even the weakest tracks (Maxwell, Octopus's Garden) are delightful in their own way. It's really quite staggering how many good songs are on this thing.

1970s

Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy (1973)

The LP really came into its own in this decade and Zeppelin has to represent the form at its zenith. Incredible production, songwriting and instrumentation here with a ceaseless reservoir of variety. IV is closer to perfection, but the vibrant creativity of Houses puts it over the top for me. As exhilarating a journey as the decade had to offer and it only takes 40 minutes.

1980s

Prince - Sign O The Times (1987)

This takes the 80s much for the same reason that Houses took the 70s. I've heard this record dozens of times and it never stops giving. Every listen offers something new. 80 minutes of Prince at his best and even the "filler" tracks reveal a brilliant new facet to this genius musician. Doesn't hurt that he was lyrically on another level during this period.

1990s

Radiohead - OK Computer (1997)

Achtung Baby and Loveless have legit claims to being the best album of the '90s, but this is possibly the most perfect album I've ever heard. Flawless record, from its suffocatingly warm production to keen modernist lyrical insights, to its skillful melding of the human and the electronic, the latter of which would soon swallow them whole. It's an unintended concept album that continues to haunt and captivate.

2000s

Arcade Fire - Funeral (2004)

Win Butler has taken to proselytizing in recent years, but on his band's debut his songwriting comes across as humble in word yet breathtakingly ambitious in scope. Everything about this record is outsized in sound, production and instrumentation, yet the emotions being communicated are accessible to everyone in earshot.

2010s

Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)

Much like Funeral above, this is a record that skillfully balances intimate disclosure of personal turmoil with larger than life ambition. But whereas Funeral scrapes the sky to escape suffering, MBDTF transcends through confidence. It's a staggering, breathtaking musical masterclass that takes its genre to new heights, all while giving us a perplexing glimpse into the mind of a remarkably talented but flawed individual.
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Old 05-19-2015, 06:34 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by LemonMelon View Post
1950s

Frank Sinatra - In the Wee Small Hours (1955)

In many ways the first concept album, all concerning broken hearts and late nights. This must have had a huge influence on Tom Waits in his early carer. It's a sterling collection of songs and ol' blue eyes is in fine voice, but it's the album's coherence and atmosphere that really brings me back.

1960s

The Beatles - Abbey Road (1969)

If the Medley doesn't give you a rush, check for a pulse. Instrumentally, this is the greatest band of all time at its peak and even the weakest tracks (Maxwell, Octopus's Garden) are delightful in their own way. It's really quite staggering how many good songs are on this thing.

1970s

Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy (1973)

The LP really came into its own in this decade and Zeppelin has to represent the form at its zenith. Incredible production, songwriting and instrumentation here with a ceaseless reservoir of variety. IV is closer to perfection, but the vibrant creativity of Houses puts it over the top for me. As exhilarating a journey as the decade had to offer and it only takes 40 minutes.

1980s

Prince - Sign O The Times (1987)

This takes the 80s much for the same reason that Houses took the 70s. I've heard this record dozens of times and it never stops giving. Every listen offers something new. 80 minutes of Prince at his best and even the "filler" tracks reveal a brilliant new facet to this genius musician. Doesn't hurt that he was lyrically on another level during this period.

1990s

Radiohead - OK Computer (1997)

Achtung Baby and Loveless have legit claims to being the best album of the '90s, but this is possibly the most perfect album I've ever heard. Flawless record, from its suffocatingly warm production to keen modernist lyrical insights, to its skillful melding of the human and the electronic, the latter of which would soon swallow them whole. It's an unintended concept album that continues to haunt and captivate.

2000s

Arcade Fire - Funeral (2004)

Win Butler has taken to proselytizing in recent years, but on his band's debut his songwriting comes across as humble in word yet breathtakingly ambitious in scope. Everything about this record is outsized in sound, production and instrumentation, yet the emotions being communicated are accessible to everyone in earshot.

2010s

Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)

Much like Funeral above, this is a record that skillfully balances intimate disclosure of personal turmoil with larger than life ambition. But whereas Funeral scrapes the sky to escape suffering, MBDTF transcends through confidence. It's a staggering, breathtaking musical masterclass that takes its genre to new heights, all while giving us a perplexing glimpse into the mind of a remarkably talented but flawed individual.
Thanks LemonMelon. Your choice of Frank Sinatra's In The Wee Small Hours was brilliant. I really enjoy this record late at night with a glass of red wine.

Solid list and thanks for participating.
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Old 05-19-2015, 07:42 PM   #5
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1950s: Not many legitimate choices, to be honest. You either go the jazz route or the pop vocal route, and as impressive as Sinatra's conceptual approach to album recording goes, Kind of Blue is a landmark, influential recording that rightfully has a place as one of the best-selling albums of its genre. It's not my favorite Miles album (Bitches Brew) but it's certainly one that I've returned to time and time again. Certainly those partial to Coltrane could go for Blue Train or Giant Steps, but I don't find either of those as rewarding as Kind Of Blue, which happens to have Coltrane playing on it anyway, as well as Bill Evans and Cannonball Adderley. That's one hell of a lineup.

1960: The White Album.
No such thing as too much of a good thing, IMO. This contains Lennon's best work, which for me means this is the best of The Beatles. But more importantly, it showcases all of what the band was capable of style-wise, more than any other album.

1970: Steely Dan, Countdown to Ecstasy
Not necessarily an "important" album of the era that also contains masterworks by the Stones, The Who, Zeppelin, or even solo artists like Dylan or Joni Mitchell. But I love the stylistic diversity of these songs, as well as the imagery and humor of the lyrics. This lineup (which would be abandoned for a looser roster of sessions musicians by the next album) was able to rock out, settle into a groove, pretty much do whatever they needed to.

1980s: Probably the toughest call. Sign O' The Times impresses me much like it does for El Mel. New Order's Brotherhood is a great display of their rock and dance talents that put this band in a class apart from their peers. And The Joshua Tree needs no introduction. But I've probably given the most play to Pleased To Meet Me by The Replacements, which was the first time the band slowed down enough to work with a legitimate producer in a good recording studio, and spent a bit more time on the songcraft without sacrificing any of their ramshackle energy. It's also nice to hear Paul Westerberg take over fully on guitar duties, as he's a better player than Bob Stinson ever was.

1990s: Achtung Baby

2000s: Los Campesinos! Hold On Now, Youngster...
Pavement + Morrissey + twee-core = A combination I haven't heard equal by any new band in the last 15 years. Lyrics that are nearly (maybe occasionally) too witty for their own good but also about as personal and soul-revealing as it gets. Great guitar work, and a sense of camaraderie that you really can't fake. I tend to enjoy bands more as they get more sophisticated but this isn't basement punk rock, and it shows musicians already in command of a distinct sound.

2010s: Too early to say, really. If I had to pick something I'd probably go with M83's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming.
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Old 05-19-2015, 08:06 PM   #6
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50s: Miles Davis, Kind of Blue
60s: The Beatles, Revolver
70s: Led Zeppelin, IV
80s: The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead
90s: Portishead, Dummy
00s: Radiohead, In Rainbows
10s: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Push the Sky Away
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Old 05-19-2015, 09:32 PM   #7
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50s - Kind of Blue is probably the only 50s album I've heard, so that, I guess. I do love it dearly, though. Blue in Green is heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.

60s - Abbey Road. I probably haven't heard many 60s albums either. White Album comes close for me as well, for similar reasons to Laz, in that there's just so much on offer and even the shit stuff (Wild Honey Pie) is stupidly entertaining. But Abbey Road just has so much gold, particularly from George Harrison.

70s - Dark Side of the Moon. My favourite album ever. Lame choice, I know, but it's the truth. I could spend days talking about it.

80s - Joshua Tree.
90s - Achtung Baby.

00s - In Rainbows. Astonishing. Might not technically be Radiohead's "best" but it is without any shred of doubt my favourite.

10s - too early/hard to say, but either MBDTF or Trouble Will Find Me.

what a boring list.
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Old 05-19-2015, 10:12 PM   #8
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70s - Dark Side of the Moon. My favourite album ever. Lame choice, I know, but it's the truth. I could spend days talking about it.
Not lame. It's a brilliant and timeless album.
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Old 05-20-2015, 05:17 AM   #9
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To make this list I was going through my ratings on a Dutch RYM kind of site. I saw that I gave Dark Side Of the Moon 2/5 stars at first. I changed it to 4 a little while later though.

I also noticed I haven't listened to enough albums pre-1990 to make a decent list.
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Old 05-20-2015, 08:55 AM   #10
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1970s: Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures
1980s: The Cure - Faith / U2 - The Unforgettable Fire
1990s: Anathema - Judgement
2000s: Pure Reason Revolution - The Dark Third
2010s: Alcest - Shelter

I couldn't make a call on the 1980s because, as much as UF has been in my top four albums of all time (with Judgement, The Dark Third, and Porcupine Tree's Stupid Dream) for a very long time, Faith just keeps rewarding me more and more and may be about to overtake UF in my estimation.
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Old 05-20-2015, 09:34 AM   #11
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by George Michael?
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Old 05-20-2015, 09:35 AM   #12
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Not lame. It's a brilliant and timeless album.
Lame in the sense that it's been on every "greatest albums" list ever. Not the type of album Laz would pick. But yeah, it still blows me away every time I listen to it.
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Old 05-20-2015, 09:40 AM   #13
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by George Michael?
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Old 05-20-2015, 09:56 AM   #14
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Lame in the sense that it's been on every "greatest albums" list ever. Not the type of album Laz would pick. But yeah, it still blows me away every time I listen to it.
cobl04, there is a reason why Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon has been on every "greatest albums" list ever........because it is just that, one of the greatest albums ever. I have never heard or will ever hear a record that can match the pure artistic merit of this masterpiece. When I was making up my list, I wrestled between Dark Side Of The Moon and Born To Run. The only reason Bruce Springsteen won out was the emotional connection I have with it. Other than that my head says Floyd all the way.

Thanks for your list, I thought it it was excellent.
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Old 05-20-2015, 10:00 AM   #15
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1950s: Kind of Blue (Miles Davis) beating Songs for Swingin' Lovers! (Frank Sinatra)
1960s: Pet Sounds (The Beach Boys) beating A Love Supreme (John Coltrane)
1970s: One Size Fits All (Frank Zappa) beating Rumours (Fleetwood Mac)
1980s: The Unforgettable Fire (U2) beating The Colour of Spring (Talk Talk)
1990s: Out of Time (R.E.M.) beating Arise, Therefore (Palace Music)
2000s: Smile (Brian Wilson) beating No Line on The Horizon (U2)
2010s: Shattered (Reigning Sound) beating Syro (Aphex Twin)
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