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Top 30 Albums

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has recently released its list of the “Definitive 200 albums� of all time. Now of course with any list, there are going to be snubs and surprises. All I’ll say is that any list of albums that includes Journey’s Escape (#126) but doesn’t include Blonde on Blonde is a little suspect. Check out the list and find the flaws.

More importantly, later in 2007 will bring the 30th anniversary of my first rock concert (Kiss, December 2, 1977 – Metropolitan Sports Center). In honor of that momentous event I have decided to use this blog to review my best loved 30 albums. They will not be in any order or progression but I will try to review them musically and why they mean so much to me. I’ll also note if they made the Definitive 200 List. So here goes.

pretenders.jpg

1. Pretenders - Pretenders (1979)
Although this album was released in 1979, I really didn’t hear it until 1981, however it came at a key point in my life. In 1981, popular music generally sucked and I was tired of the Journeys, Styx, and Bad Companys, etc., that ruled the airways. I had basically given up listening to what was popular at the time and was more interested in stuff from the 60’s. Then I heard Pretenders. For the first time I heard music that was really good but wasn’t being played on the radio or talked about a whole lot in popular culture. Hearing this album opened my ears (and my eyes) to a whole (what was then) new subculture of cool, cool music.

The album kicks off with Precious and right from the beginning you know you are in for a thrill ride. Crissie Hynde's tough-chick-in-a-red-leather-jacket spin on the whole Madonna-Whore thing is evident throughout the album but this song just oozes sexuality. Remember this is 1981 (for me) and girls didn’t sing in rock bands generally, and they sure as heck didn’t say "Not me baby, I'm too precious...ah Fuck Off!" like Crissie Hynde does at the end of this song. Tattoed Love Boys and especially The Wait were also in-your-face, sexually-charged rockers. In fact The Wait still gives me goosebumps some 25 years later (although the single version is even rawer than the version found on the album).

The album wasn’t just a rock fest as songs like Kid, Stop Your Sobbin’ and Brass in Pocket were all pretty good songs at a slower tempo. Stop Your Sobbin’ and Brass and Pocket were especially nice because the co-eds liked them too -- which is important when you’re in college trying to impress the ladies with your record collection.

Musically this album is pretty advanced for a debut. James Honeyman-Scott’s guitar work really anchors the album and his style is still being copied today but the star of the show was Crissie Hynde. She was tough and vulnerable: the kind of girl who could show you a thing or two in the bedroom, but also someone you could bring home to your mother on a Sunday afternoon.

This album saved me musically and without it I’d probably be into the Dave Mathews Band or be excited about the fact that Genesis is getting back together for a tour. For that reason it gets to be mentioned first in my list of my 30 best loved albums. Place on the Definitive 200: Not on the list.

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Comments

hey alonzo, nice blog. how ironic that you highlighted pretenders 1. this was the first "alternative" album in my collection. received it as a graduation gift from my first love. i of course wanted it for the hit "brass in pocket." but, like you was completely blown away with "precious." i really gravitated to "tatoo love boys" with its aggressive tempo. as a novice bass player, i now also really admire the work of martin chambers and pete farndon. it took me some time to absorb the full import of the album. well, without any exposure to good music through the radio or friends, it took college to open my eyes to the wonderful world of rock music. hey, what the f' with that rock 'n roll hall of fame crap list! alanis morrissette in the top 20 for "jagged little pill?" when was the last time anybody listened to that steamy pile of shit! it doesn't hold up. isn't that one of the criteria for classic music? it holds up over time. i wonder who alanis blew to get on the list?

okay, this 200 list is pissing me off. okay, so i imagine some fan of alanis is going to point out that she didn't make the top 20. bfd. the fact she is even on the list calls into question the credibility of the contributors to this list. are these the same folks who nominate and vote on the grammys? 2 def leppard albums in the top 100!? shania twain and faith hill in the same league as johnny cash!? creed ranked ahead of the clash, "london calling!?" sweet jesus, is the world coming to an end!!

avril lavigne ranked before zepplin 1!!! i'm loading the gun now...

Freealonzo: Nice post! I agree that The Pretenders came along at a pretty bleak musical time and helped turn things around. It's an outstanding album. In a December post on my blog, I listed the top 10 albums that influenced me at one time of life or another, Here they are, in case anyone cares (no particular order):

The Replacements - Tim
The Clash - London Calling
Nirvana - Nevermind
David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust
The Waterboys - This is the Sea
Beatles - Sgt. Peppers
R.E.M. - Murmur
U2 - War
Uncle Tupelo - Anodyne
Bob Dylan - Time Out of Mind

Looking forward to seeing your other choices! Jeff

I hear you Tim. I tried to warn with the fact that Journey is on the list and Blonde on Blonde isn't.

Jeff T: I saw your list and thougt it was pretty good. I was going to comment. Any way in my Top 30 I will have a different Replacements, maybe London Calling, Nevermind, Maybe Ziggy a different Beatles, Maybe a different REM, A different U2, Maybe Uncle Tupelo and a Different Bob Dylan, so similar tastes with different emphasis'.

Come back on Monday to see my next album.

People have different preference of music that we ought to respect. Music is one of the effective ways to practice your communication skills to. Singers make music in different ways depending on how they would like it to communicate to the people.

Songs have different sounds. That is why singers choose the best one that suits their music and that would interest their target market.

great article

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