#209 – Liquid Swords – Genius/GZA
GZA’s, Liquid Swords, was his second solo album but first a member of the Wu-Tang Clan & is considered to be one of the best Wu-Tang solo albums. Taking samples from Samurai movie “Shogun Assassin” it relies heavy on the Samurai mystique that the Wu-Tang Clan build their stylings on. Produced by RZA a long time follower of the Samurai genre himself he helped create a Rap masterpiece. Though, much like every other Wu-Tang artist’s solo efforts there are only a few tracks in which GZA performs singularly.
GZA – Liquid Swords
GZA – Shadowboxing
#208 – Help! – The Beatles
Help! was the soundtrack to The Beatles second movie which included 7 songs from the movie and 7 songs that were excluded from the movie. One of the most telling tracks of the Beatles future direction is “I’ve Just Seen a Face”. It is the beginning of the change the Beatles began to make away from the other British invasion acts & more towards a refined, experimental music style. The track is, essentially a country-western song with a fast tempo. When Paul was done composing it, the song became one of his Auntie Gin’s favorites thus the working title became “Auntie Gin’s Theme“. As for the more renowned, “Yesterday” originally titled “Scrambled Eggs”, Paul woke up one morning with the tune in his head & immediately began to put it down on the piano. It has since been covered over 1000 times.
The Beatles – Yesterday
The Beatles – I’ve Just Seen a Face
#207 – Appetite For Destruction – Guns N’ Roses
Since it’s release, in 1987, Appetite For Destruction has sold over twenty-eight million times & remains the fastest selling debut in history. It introduced the world to the guitar God that Slash would become & Axl Rose’s screaming singing style to a music scene that was being inundated with new wave acts. Many of the songs refer either to the chaos & debauchery of the L.A. rock scene, the reflection of younger years or various female companions. The brilliance of this album is owed as much to Slash’s phenomenal ability as it is to Axl Rose’s ability to make you feel like he’s literally singing in your room.
Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child o’ Mine
Guns N’ Roses – Think About You
#206 – Some Girls – The Rolling Stones
My first introduction to the Rolling Stones as a kid was hanging out at my buddy Oscar’s house & he’d just bought Some Girls. I’d obviously heard the older stuff they’d done, but this was my eye opening experience. This is Mick Jagger at his finest. In the midst of a Punk Rock rebellion that labeled bands such as the Stones dinosaurs they showed what real rock stars can do. This is, also, Ronnie Wood’s first album as a member of the Stone’s having previously been in The Faces with Rod Stewart.
The Rolling Stones – Before They Make Me Run
The Rolling Stones – Beast of Burden
#205 – Tubular Bells – Mike Oldfield
If you’ve never been scared by a piece of music listen to Tubular Bells in the dark. It will scare the hell out of you. Mike Oldfield’s album broke new ground as an instrumental concept album and launched Virgin Records as they were the only company at the time that would release the album. The others felt it was far too weird or different. he album was groundbreaking, as Oldfield played more than twenty different instruments in the multi-layered recording made in Branson’s Manor studios, and its style progressed continuously, covering many diverse musical genres. It received attention chiefly by appearing in the soundtrack to The Exorcist as the theme.
Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells (Pt. 1)
Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells (Pt. 2)
#204 – John Wesley Harding – Bob Dylan
After his recent foray into electric guitar driven music, John Wesley Harding was hailed as a return to the Dylan that many loved with his trademark harmonica and acoustic guitar. Dylan said this in a 1968 interview:
What I’m trying to do now is not use too many words. There’s no line that you can stick your finger through, there’s no hole in any of the stanzas. There’s no blank filler. Each line has something.
In The Bible in the Lyrics of Bob Dylan, Bert Cartwright cites more than sixty biblical allusions over the course of the thirty-eight and a half minute album, with as many as fifteen in “The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest” alone. An Old Testament morality also colors most of the songs’ characters.
In an interview with Toby Thompson in 1968, Dylan’s mother, Beatty Zimmerman, mentioned Dylan’s growing interest in the Bible, stating that “in his house in Woodstock today, there’s a huge Bible open on a stand in the middle of his study. Of all the books that crowd his house, overflow from his house, that Bible gets the most attention. He’s continuously getting up and going over to refer to something.”
Bob Dylan – All Along the Watchtower
Bob Dylan – I Pity the Poor Immigrant
#203 – Dookie – Green Day
Along with Purple by Stone Temple Pilots, Dookie was the first album I bought. Starting off with the signs of dissension that every 17 year old feels by declaring “I can’t take no more” it set the tone for a resurgence of Punk that had all but died in the mainstream since the Clash broke up. The three chord anthems & Tre Cool’s rapid fire drum solos propelled this album to Diamond status.
The radio-only single, “She“, was written by Armstrong about a former girlfriend who showed him a feminist poem with an identical title. In return, Armstrong wrote the lyrics of “She” and showed them to her. She later moved to Ecuador, prompting Armstrong to put “She” on the album. The same ex-girlfriend is the topic of the songs “Sassafras Roots” and “Chump“.
Another song, “Coming Clean“, deals with Armstrong’s coming to terms with his bisexuality when he was 16 and 17 years old. In his interview with The Advocate magazine, he says that although he has never had a relationship with a man, his sexuality has been “something that comes up as a struggle in me”.
The hit single “Basket Case“, which appeared on many singles charts worldwide, was also inspired by Armstrong’s personal experiences. The song deals with Armstrong’s anxiety attacks and feelings of “going crazy” prior to being diagnosed with a panic disorder. The music video was filmed in an abandoned mental institution.
Green Day – Basket Case
Green Day – She
#202 – Beatles For Sale – The Beatles
Beatles For Sale was a turning point as the Beatles, primarily Lennon & McCartney, began to write most of their own music. It also shows in songs like “I’m a Loser” where Lennon is influenced heavily by Bob Dylan who he’d recently begun hanging around with. There are also some choice cover songs on the album including Buddy Holly’s, “Words of Love” , Chuck Berry’s, “Rock & Roll Music” & Carl Perkin’s, “Honey Don’t“.
David Rowley found the lyrics of “No Reply” to “read like a picture story from a girl’s comic,” & depict the picture “of walking down a street & seeing a girl silhouetted in a window, not answering the telephone.”
The Beatles – No Reply
The Beatles – What You’re Doing To Me
#201 – Willy & The Poor Boys – Creedence Clearwater Revival
After playing Woodstock in August of 1969, Creedence began honing material for a fourth album, Willy and the Poor Boys, released in November 1969 . “Down on the Corner“, a good-time street-corner number, and the famously militant “Fortunate Son” climbed to #3 and #14, respectively, by year’s end. The album was Creedence in its standard form, featuring Fogerty originals and two reworked Leadbelly covers, “Cotton Fields” and “Midnight Special“. Both the latter songs also had been performed by actor Harry Dean Stanton in the movie Cool Hand Luke, suggesting a subtle non-conformist theme to an apparently tradition-oriented album.
CCR – Cotton Fields
CCR – Midnight Special
#200 – Melon Collie & the Infinite Sadness – Smashing Pumpkins
The scope of Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness is hard to grasp. It’s a double sided disc in the same vein as Pink Floyd’s, “The Wall” intended to hang together conceptually as a symbol of the cycle of life & death. Billy Corgan himself has said that the album is based on “the human condition of mortal sorrow”. By far the Smashing Pumpkins best & most beautiful album. It is heavy in it’s instrumentation in songs like “Thirty-Three” & “Tonight, Tonight” where the use of strings is readily apparent. The video for “Tonight, Tonight” is a tribute to Le voyage dans la lune (1902). Directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine) filmed the video the same way Georges Méliès did his film. They used a 70-year-old, hand-cranked camera shooting only one angle on a single set.
Smashing Pumpkins – Thirty-Three
Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight, Tonight
As an added Bonus I’ve included the video here as well cause it is my absolute favorite of all time. Amazing!