Top 100 Rock Albums of All Time - 10-1
Last year, I released a list of my top 40 favorite rock bands/artists before I turned 40 (which happened in November), but NOW I took on an even tougher challenge of putting together my favorite 100 Rock Albums of All Time.
These are not inspired by other people’s lists or what people consider “great or influential music” - though a lot of it absolutely will be. These are just flat out my favorite 100 albums of all-time.
You are SURELY not going to agree with most of this list, and that’s okay.
Let's continue on with the next 10 in the list and discover what's my 20-11 favorite albums of all time!
10 - Houston, We Have a Drinking Problem - Bad Astronaut is one of the greatest American rock bands that you have never heard of, and this is their crowning album. Led by Joey Cape (Lagwagon) on guitar and vocals and joined by Marko DeSantis (Sugarcult) on bass and Derrick Plourde (Lagwagon, The Ataris) on drums, this side project quickly became a fan favorite of anyone who took the time to check them out. Every album was great. Every song was iconic. This album proved a point that you can make great music with your friends without putting some unrealistic expectations on the music or what the band itself would become. Bad Astronaut never toured, and they rarely ever even played live shows. However, the members of the band would get together to make music as they have known each other since they were kids. Unfortunately, Pluorde took his own life in 2005, but the music he helped create stands the test of time. “Passenger” was written by Cape upon seeing the news of the Twin Towers being struck by planes on 9/11/2001 as Plourde called to tell him the world was ending. This album is as good of a rock album as you will ever have the pleasure of listening to.
9 - Rubberneck - Oh boy do I love Toadies music. This band has been rocking for nearly 3 decades, and this album was their debut album. The song “Possum Kingdom” (named after a lake in Texasm and lyrically about murdering a woman and preserving her corpse….yikes) shot this band into “one hit wonder” status for many music fans - presumably not caring or not understanding the story behind the song. The best song on this album is actually “Tyler” (another song about Texas and abducting a woman) and the whole album is rocking from start to finish. It ends with the classic slow tempo banger “I Burn” which pounds through you like an anvil. Another favorite of mine is “Away” which is just a belting song that has catchy hooks all over it. This whole album is very dark in nature, and it has a theme to some of the songs, but there isn’t always a direct storyline going on. However, the songs I mentioned above definitely have their way of giving you the creepy crawlies and at the same time make you want to rock your damn face off.
8 - I Get Wet - This is the party album you never knew you needed. Andrew W.K. is a certifiable legend, mad man, party god, and humanitarian (in spirit of giving positive vibes). The dude can play every instrument, he is a classically trained pianist, and he puts his whole being into his performances (even known to have put people on his shoulders while playing songs back in the day). This album is as good of a rock album as man has ever created, and I would put it higher (initially, I had it at #3), but I just also have to realize that I love the remaining albums so damn much too. Every song is a rager on this album each with their own way to dictate how your party mood goes. “Party Til You Puke” or “It’s Time To Party” might put you into a headbanging fit. While “I Love N.Y.C.” might have you stomping your feet and wailing your arms. You will never feel tired because the party keeps you going. Just like the man himself said, “PARTYING SOLVES ALL MY PROBLEMS.” Well said, my man. Well said.
7 - Carnavas - This is the first album by Silversun Pickups, and it still ranks as my personal favorite one even though I like them all in different ways. The smash hit “Lazy Eye” appears on this album, but the entire thing is just a work of art. Songs like “Checkered Floor,” “Melatonin,” “Little Lover’s So Polite” (which got a video from Joaquin Phoenix out of it), “Rusted Wheel,” and “Future Foe Scenarios” are just so damn good. Oh, yeah, and ending the album with “Common Reactor” is absolutely perfect. “Lazy Eye” still ranks as one of my top 5 favorite songs of all time as well. So, that has to account from bringing the album up pretty high on my list. If you haven’t been a fan of Silversun Pickups to this point, I suggest you pick up (no pun intended) this album and listen to it like 20 times in a row. You will get it. It’s great in so many ways.
6 - Mama, I’m Swollen - The final album of Cursive to make my top 100 list, and while MOST Cursive fans totally overlooked this album, it is 100% their best overall album if you ask me. The best song Cursive ever made (again, in my opinion) is “What Have I Done?” which is the last song on the album. It is so, so, so good. Every song on this album is just odd and great though. The lyrics of this album are not like any other Cursive album in that lead singer Tim Kasher really gets gritty with detail on many songs that comes out in a way that I don’t see him being as dark on most albums. Lines like, “I am the egg…I am the spark…The fire in the dark…I am fertilized, fully actualized…A loaded gun…Born near the blood red sun” from the song “Mama, I’m Swollen” and “Don't lie, where have you been?...Your teeth are red, your eyes are peppermints…Sailing out to sea with your new best friend” in the song “Donkeys” make you visualize a very specific dark state that just makes you wonder why these thoughts don’t emanate much in the rest of the band’s catalog. I mean, there are songs that may tackle similar concepts, but not in the same way as this album. Oh, and the song “From The Hips” is just an absolutely stellar song about how mankind is better when they just act from their animal urges and stop trying to be lying, manipulative bastards. A sentiment for all time there.
5 - In The Mountain In The Cloud - This list has been tough to fill out, but the top 5 are pretty solid, and I would say depending on a mood could shift a little here or there. This particular album from Portugal. The Man is not one that I can ever take out of my top 5 I don’t think. This is a soundtrack to know what it’s like to live in America for the last 50 years (and it’s not going to change any time soon, I don’t think). Songs like “So American” and “Sleep Forever” really put the social aspect and dichotomy of what society expects and what we need into such a relevant, succinct manner, that you can’t help but love those songs. But those aren’t the only songs on the album that are good by any means. I love them all. Probably the most rocking song on the whole album is “All Your Light (Times Like These)” which is just a brash song that kicks all the way through and questions divinity and what really is the point of life. I still say though that “Sleep Forever” might be the highlight and best song of Portugal. The Man’s entire body of work. That thing is the pinnacle. It’s a momentous song that bridges the gap between their earlier releases and sets the stage for going bigger on future albums too. It’s the binding song and the most masterful song to date.
4 - The Colour and the Shape - The Foo Fighters showed the world who they could be with the second album in their catalog. Songs like “Everlong” and “My Hero” would become so synonymous with great rock and roll anthems that they still are probably heard on most rock stations a few times a week. There are some really good pieces of work on here that aren’t those two songs though as well. I REALLY like how the first two songs “Doll Me Up” and “Monkey Wrench” tie together and contrast each other as well. It’s a dynamic that is put forward in the album a couple of times. Basically, Dave Grohl and crew might have been thinking, “Well, we can’t just melt their brains on every song. Sometimes, we got to build their brains back up…so we can melt them again.” It’s a creative album that doesn’t miss on a single track. Other standout tracks to me are “February Stars” and “Hey, Johnny Park!” and “Up in Arms.” I don’t think the Foo Fighters can ever repeat an album this good, but when you create one masterpiece, that’s all that really matters. You fricking did it.
3 - Weezer (1994) a.k.a. The Blue Album - As much as I talk about Weezer struggling to make good music in recent years, I know they still have the ability to do it, because they have made this album and Pinkerton in the past, and they still have some really good work left. OK Human proves that point. The “blue album” as everyone calls it, due to the recurring theme of Weezer to give no album names to a handful of albums and only distinguish them by the color of the background, is perfect in every way. I don’t know why Weezer thought it was too corporate or whatever, because it is one of the most intimate albums they ever put out. The songs hit on so many levels, and while “Buddy Holly” is certainly an outlier in the indie-alt sound that the rest of the album has, it did bring a shit load of fans and eyeballs to this masterwork. “In The Garage” and “Holiday” are spectacular songs. Let us all not forget that the album ends with one of Weezer’s finest moments in the form of the song “Only In Dreams” which is peak Weezer. Oh, and the best song Weezer probably ever put out is still “Say It Ain’t So.” It’s a song about singer Rivers Cuomo’s relationship with his father, and it hits really hard in every aspect. So, if it’s so corporate, then why is it so personal? It’s a damn fine album, and one that I love every second of.
2 - Brothers - I will say that I have listened to the rest of this top 15 albums more than this album by The Black Keys overall, HOWEVER, every time I listen to this album, it shows me that The Black Keys are not to be taken lightly in the world of rock and roll history, talent, influence, and just sheer song-making ability. This is by far the best album they put out, and every song from start to finish is an absolutely great and well thought out piece of art. It’s a bit weird for me to say that on an album that has 15 songs about disparate things that every song seems to easily flow into the next and have some sort of cohesion throughout, but that’s what this album does so flawlessly that once I play the first song (“Everlasting Light”) I have to play the whole album. It can’t be helped. I once TRIED to stop the album after a few songs, but each time I went over to stop the album, I would say, “What’s the next song again?” and once the next track played, I just couldn’t stop it. After a few songs, I just gave up and listened to the whole thing. I won’t even tell you which are my favorite songs on the album, because I truly don’t think I can pick a single son to say, “Yeah, that’s a great song” without having to say that about the other 14 tracks. That’s consistent, well-executed perfection.
1 - The Wall - This should come as no surprise to anyone, because Pink Floyd is also my favorite artist, AND this album has been long considered one of the greatest albums of all time by several hundred lists already. That’s all irrelevant though if you ask me, because the single reason I put this at #1 is because it is the finest piece of music art that I have ever heard in my life. From the concept itself - Roger Waters’ semi-autobiographical tale of his childhood and isolationism as a famous rock star - to the infinitely impossible guitar solos concocted by David Gilmour to the contrasting vocal melodies of the two. It was also the last time that the band got a full effort (or mostly) from the whole group. Upon their next release The Final Cut, Waters took over almost every aspect of the band, and that led to him ultimately leaving the group and causing a massive fallout with a lawsuit included. Setting that aside as well, there is something truly fascinating about the storytelling in this album (seen vividly in the movie of the same name) that makes it clear that the human male is not meant to be driven by ego, isolation, and aggrandization. There needs to be nurture, support, and affection that comes without smothering to create a civilized man. This album is a psychological case of how to be a better person by figuring out what has been the problem all along. I have never seen someone so bitterly, so brazenly, and so bravely dissect their own psyche in any form of art before, and I doubt I ever will.
If you haven't checked out the rest of the list to this point, go to these links: