It isn’t often I come across a music list that I can nod and agree with most of it. Usually, music lists are very narrow and tainted toward a certain kind of music. But the Guardian, a UK newspaper, has published a very good list of what they believe are Albums that have changed music - or more accurately perhaps, the character of the music industry at the time of their popularity. I hardly think any album has ever changed music - since it really is something we are discovering and perfecting (or perhaps “damaging” depending on one’s opinion). Perhaps the only thing wrong with this list (which recently was awarded a Yahoo Site of the Day) is that it excludes any serious country/western influences and classical/new age. Other than that, the list is a very solid list.

The compilation of an Album List is something I prefer over and above Artist Lists or Song Lists. Artists are, quite frankly, too large of a subject to be captured by lists. How do you put Frank Sinatra and Barry Manilow and Guns N’ Roses on a list together? There’s too much history, too much rise and fall, too much of everything. Let them stand alone. There might be a list like “my favorite bands of the mid 80’s”, but that is about it.

A song can capture a moment - but not much more. How often have you had a song stick in your mind or help you to remember a time (your second date with your fiance, the long summer of 1992, etc.), but for which you never bought the album it was on, or ever got into the artist who did it? Probably more often than you realize. Songs rise and fall so fast that they are the exact opposite of Artists. Songs are fleeting, mere shadows of a moment, and then gone into our memory, generally without developing our musical tastes or causing us to think beyond the moment. While great songs exist, and great songwriters and singers and bands exist, they are difficult to quantify in a list format.

What I like about Albums is they are a compilation of songs that represent something more than a moment, but not as long as a lifetime. They capture a spirit, they evoke character, and they tell a story. While Albums don’t bond people together as quickly as a song, when they do bond, they hold that bond stronger than a song.

For instance, on this album list, #29 is Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon - one of the greatest albums of all time - and I’m no fan of Pink Floyd. But listening to this album can surely open one up to the beauty and variety of music, and will develop a strong impression of not only a time in history, but of Pink Floyd itself. Even if you don’t like Floyd, you’d have to have a rather dull sense of musical taste to not appreciate the creativity and wonder of this album.

For a UK paper to put out such a list that wasn’t heavily slanted toward British bands is a credit to their own diversity in music.

I’m in the process of compiling my own 50 Albums list - currently in the mid 30’s - which, although it will look very different from this list, it will share the depth and variety that this list has.

Both lists would make an interesting listen to the musically un-initiated. I saw a few albums on this list that I hadn’t heard and thought I’d like to go give it a listen someday.,,1821230,00.html

Note: I slightly disagree with the comments on #47 (Nirvana) as having influenced the rise of the Seattle scene. It was well underway when this was released, but its rise to the #1 Album in the country at that time, certainly helped bring the $$$ into Seattle. But I do think, if it hadn’t been Nirvana, it would have been Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Queensryche or any number of other bands that would have broke big only months later.

Technorati : albums, music

Posted in: Music