500 Greatest Albums
Here’s our list of seminal international albums including The Beatles, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones among others
330. In the Jungle Groove – James Brown
A compilation of Mr. Dynamite’s singles from the Seventies, including the earliest recordings with his band the J.B.’s. The “Funky Drummer” break may be the most sampled drum loop ever, and on “Give It Up or Turn It a Loose,” Brown drops the heaviest funk of his ”” or anyone’s ”” life.
329. Daydream Nation – Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth have had a long, brilliant career making trippy art punk, and this is their ultimate triumph. Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo’s guitars are like antennae picking up otherworldly signals and channeling them into the scuzzy urban haze of “Teen Age Riot” and “Eric’s Trip.”
328. Exile in Guyville – Liz Phair
A studio expansion of Phair’s homemade Girlysound cassettes, Exile’s frank sex talk caused a stir. But it’s the lacerating honesty of tracks such as “Divorce Song” that sticks, and “Fuck and Run” is one of the saddest songs ever written about dreaming of romance and settling for less.
327. Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette
Morissette was a Canadian teen-pop dolly who remade herself as a fire-breathing rock priestess. She rails against treacherous men (“You Oughta Know”), conformity (“Hand in My Pocket”) and the preponderance of spoons when all you need is a knife (“Ironic”). A Nineties rock classic.
326. Disintegration – The Cure
According to the kids on South Park, this is the best album ever made. According to many depressive Eighties-minded kids, it’s the only album ever made. On “Fascination Street” and “Love Song,” Robert Smith’s voice shakes like milk as he makes adolescent angst sound so wonderfully, wonderfully pretty.
325. Slowhand – Eric Clapton
Slowhand was the nickname given to Clapton by the Yardbirds. On this quintessential Seventies album, he mixes candlelit love songs and guitar-hero riffs; “Cocaine” and “Wonderful Tonight” are the hits, but don’t overlook “Next Time You See Her,” a tender melody loaded with a death threat to a lover’s suitor.
324. The Very Best of Linda Ronstadt ”“ Linda Ronstadt
So very so-cal (her band became the Eagles), Ronstadt was more empathetic interpreter than songwriter. But could she ever knock out a pop single. Among the guilty pleasures is the powerful “Long, Long Time,” where she sounds like a girl next door with a voice that can peel chrome.
323. Station to Station – David Bowie
The title track is where Bowie proclaims himself the Thin White Duke. Thin he was: Station to Station was recorded in a blizzard of cocaine in L.A. “TVC 15” is New Orleans R&B as robotic funk; “Golden Years” is James Brown from outer space, with Bowie’s amazing falsetto.
322. Ghost in the Machine ”“ Police
Recording in Montserrat, the previously New Wave-ish Police hit the big time by adding strings and sociopolitical commentary to their sound. “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” is a pop smart bomb, and “Invisible Sun,” about the violence in Northern Ireland, is genuinely moving.
321. Sail Away ”“ Randy Newman
Newman’s producer, Lenny Waronker, called him the King of the Suburban Blues Singers. This is his quiet masterpiece, not so much rock as a fuck-you cabaret. Even now, “Political Science” (“Let’s drop the big one/And see what happens”) is relevant; either Newman is brilliant or we haven’t come a long way, baby.