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Trevor Stone's Journal
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The Best Notes of My Generation... 
4th-Nov-2001 01:15 am
Trevor baby stare
The following is the beginning of a list of the fifty (or so) greatest albums of my generation. It's incomplete, because there are some albums I'm not aware of that should be on this list. There certainly ought to be an early rap album or two on there, but I'm not in on that scene. For an album to be great, it must:
  • Be popular. There have been lots of good albums produced in the last twenty years that either lacked large market appeal or distribution. They belong in another list.
  • Be great as an album, not just have several hit singles. If every (or nearly) track is a great single, that counts.
  • Have staying power. I don't care how many copies of the latest Backstreet Boys album sell, in ten years, nobody will care. Some albums on the list have demonstrated longevity, others probably will.
  • Appeal to people who are not explicit fans of the artist. I might think that Troutmask Replica is da bomb, but people who aren't into Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band probably wouldn't enjoy it. One should not be surprised to see a great album in a music collection dominated by another style of music.

Please make suggestions. In no particular order,

  • Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon -- Though not really "of" my generation, it is easily more influential, better, and more widely owned by my generation than most other albums on the list. This is not true of most other albums from before the '80s, unfortunately.
  • Pink Floyd - The Wall -- Ditto
  • U2 - Joshua Tree
  • U2 - War -- maybe?
  • R.E.M. - Automatic for the People
  • Metallica - Master of Puppets -- perhaps also the black album or ... And Justice for All?
  • Nirvana - Whatever
  • Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
  • Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine
  • Orbital - In Sides
  • Prodigy - Fat of the Land
  • Moby - Play
  • Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against the Machine
  • Tool - Ænima
  • Days of the New - Days of the New (green) -- This may not prove the test of popularity, but it's just too awesome not to include
Some categories that I think should be included, but I'm not familiar enough to claim:
  • Rap (early, most likely)
  • Punk
  • Tori Amos
  • Pearl Jam
  • Madonna
  • More grunge/early '90s indie
  • More late-80s
Is there a soundtrack that makes the cut (especially the critereon of time)? What about a best-of? The Doors' best-of and maybe Hendrix's best-of might qualify. Is there a country, classical, ethnic, or international album that meets the popularity-among-my-generation critereon? A live album?
Comments 
4th-Nov-2001 05:49 pm (UTC)
While I am tempted to call 'Under the Pink' to the stand, I think that really 'Little Earthquakes' would be considered the more deserving. First of all, almost all of the songs off of that album are ones that went on to become great singles. (One requirement taken care of.) It also went at least double platinum, possibly more, but I know double for sure. Pretty impressive for what may as well be considered a debut album. (Y Kant Tori Read doesn't count for SO many reasons.) Staying power? You can still hear it played on the radio with QUITE a bit of frequency. I don't think anyone would claim that the 'Little Earthquakes' repertoire has gone out of fashion yet.
I'm not unbiased enough to make any further claims than that.
5th-Nov-2001 12:52 pm (UTC)

I'm with MLE on the merits of Little Earthquakes.

Something by Meat Loaf should probably be on there, most likely the original Bat, or possibly Welcome to the Neighbourhood, for all that that stretches late-80s a little.

From the Madonna corner, I'm not sure which if any of her early albums would be useful, but Ray of Light ought to be there.

Do musicals count as soundtracks? If so, Rent has to make the cut.

The first Enigma album too, probably.

I would say no to War. U2 sucked after Joshua Tree.

Finally, I'm wavering on including The Slim Shady LP. I can never decide whether Eminem is a flash in the pan or someone with something to actually say.

Where does one draw the generational line?

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