Top 21 Albums

My friend Dave (aka Oklahoma Lefty) were discussing lists last week and decided that we should put together a favorite albums list. Not the same lists we have done in the past where they are restricted by genre or band or year released or anything like that but an all-encompassing favorite albums list.

So here is my list. The albums are listed in chronological order by ascending year of release.

Enjoy it.

1.  Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
Released in December 1975 by Columbia Records.
This album was the follow-up to what is usually considered their most popular album, Dark Side of the Moon. I like Wish You Were Here better than DSOTM simply because I like the songs on them better. This was the second Pink Floyd album that I had ever heard, the first being The Wall.
Highlights of this album include:
Welcome to the Machine. Have a Cigar. Wish You Were Here.

2. Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes
Released in April 1983 by Slash Records.
This was the debut album by the Milwaukee, Wisconsin trio and the first album of theirs that I had heard. I strangely did not hear this album until the very early 1990s and heard about the band through a movie I had seen.
Highlights on the album include:
Blister in the Sun. Kiss Off. Add It Up. Prove My Love. Gone Daddy Gone.

3. Synchronicity – The Police
Released in June 1983 by A&M Records.
This was the final studio album that The Police had released but the first full album I had heard. First heard about the band from hearing the song “Spirits in the Material World” from the previous album Ghost in the Machine. This album is listed in Rolling Stone’s ‘100 Greatest Albums of the 1980s’ and their ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”
Highlights on this album:
Synchronicity 1. Mother. Synchronicity 2. Every Breath You Take. King of Pain. Wrapped Around Your Finger.

4. The Joshua Tree – U2
Released in March 1987 by Island Records.
Coming up with which U2 album to put on this list wasn’t easy but when it all came down to it, this one just had to be the one. Not surprisingly, this album has sold over 10 million copies (just in the United States) and won the Grammy the year it was released for Album of the Year.
Highlights on this album:
Where the Streets Have No Name. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. Bullet the Blue Sky. With or Without You. In God’s Country. One Tree Hill. Red Hill Mining Town.

5. No Control – Bad Religion
Released in November 1989 by Epitaph Records.
The second Bad Religion album I heard (the first being How Could Hell Be Any Worse?) but the first one that really got me into this band. I could never tire of listening to this album.
Highlights of this album:
Change of Ideas. Big Bang. No Control. Sometimes I Feel Like. Automatic Man. I Want to Conquer the World. Sanity. Henchman. It Must Look Pretty Appealing. You. I Want Something More.

6. 13 Songs – Fugazi
Compilation album released in October 1989 by Dischord Records.
This is a compilation of the Fugazi EP, which was originally released in November 1988, and the Margin Walker EP, which was originally released in June 1989. It is #29 in Spin Magazine’s ‘100 Greatest Albums 1985-2005.’ It was the 2nd Fugazi album I heard after 1990s Repeater.
Highlights on this album:
Waiting Room. Give Me the Cure. Suggestion. Margin Walker. Provisional. Suggestion.

7. Flood – They Might Be Giants
Released in January 1990 by Elektra Records.
This was the band’s 3rd album and the 1st one that I ever heard. Before this album came out, I had never heard of the band. I can’t even really remember why I bought this album. I don’t really remember having heard any of their music on MTV or anything like that. I just remember I was in a department store and saw the album and bought it. Very strange. Anyway, I’m glad I did. It’s a great album.
Highlights on the album:
Birdhouse in Your Soul. Istanbul. Particle Man. Someone Keeps Moving My Chair. Road Movie to Berlin.

8. My Brain Hurts – Screeching Weasel
Released in 1991 by Lookout! Records.
It was the band’s 3rd studio album and the 2nd one I had heard. The first album of theirs I heard was 1993s Anthem for a New Tomorrow. This album is still the band’s best-selling album, not suprising to me.
Highlights on the album:
Making You Cry. Guest List. Veronica Hates Me. Cindy’s on Methadone. The Science of Myth. My Brain Hurts.

9. American Recordings – Johnny Cash
Released in April 1994 by American Recordings.
This was the first album released by Johnny Cash after signing with Rick Rubin’s label. It was a simple album. Johnny and his voice and his guitar. Stripped down. Classic Americana. I think this album might be the cause of so many American-type artists like Chuck Ragan and Tim Barry and Dave Hause being so prevalent today.
Highlights on this album:
Delia’s Gone. The Best in Me. Thirteen. Tennessee Stud.

10. Weezer – Weezer
Released in May 1994 by DGC.
Initially, when I first heard this band, I didn’t like them. The first song I heard from Weezer was “Undone – The Sweater Song.” I was not impressed. Truth be told, I still don’t care for that song. But when I started hearing other songs from the album, I became a fan.
Highlights on the album:
My Name is Jonas. The World Has Turned and Left Me Here. Surf Wax America. In the Garage. Holiday. Only in Dreams.

11. Trace – Son Volt
Released in September 1995 by Warner Brothers.
This is the debut album by this band which was formed by former Uncle Tupleo member Jay Farrar. I was never a big fan of Uncle Tupelo so Son Volt really wasn’t on my radar until a friend of mine invited me to a show of theirs last year. I loved what I heard so I went out and checked out a couple of their albums. This is the one that stuck with me.
Highlights of this album:
Windfall. Live Free. Tear Stained Eye. Route. Drown.

12. Everything Sucks – Descendents
Released in September 1996 by Epitaph.
It should come as no surprise to anybody that regularly reads this blog that the Descendents would have ended up on this list. They are my favorite band. This is, of course, not the first album I had heard by this band. This was what I call their comeback album. They had split several years prior to this and most of the members formed the band ALL. The Descendents reunited with Milo Aukerman back in the fold and released this one.
Highlights on this album:
Everything Sux. I’m the One. Rotting Out. Sick-O-Me. When I Get Old. She Loves Me. We.

13. White Light, White Heat, White Trash – Social Distortion
Released in September 1996 by Epic Records.
This album was the last one that the band recorded with founding member Dennis Dannell, who died 4 years later. I had already been a Social Distortion fan for some time once this album was released but I since it’s release, it has remained, in my opinion, their strongest album.
Highlights on this album:
Dear Lover. Don’t Drag Me Down. I Was Wrong. Down on the World Again. When the Angels Sing. Down Here. Gotta Know the Rules.

14. Aftertaste – Helmet
Released in March 1997 by Interscope Records.
This was the band’s last album before they broke up in 1998. The band has since re-formed with different lineups, Page Hamilton being the only returning member from the original lineup. To me though, the band has never been the same or near as good as they were when this album was released.
Highlights on this album:
Pure. Exactly What You Wanted. Like I Care. Driving Nowhere. Broadcast Emotion. Diet Aftertaste. Crisis King.

15. How To Live With A Curse – Stavesacre
Released in April 2006 by Abacus.
I did not start listening to this band until after the release of their 2002 self-titled album. They were referred to me by a friend and I went out and bought that self-titled album and a live album titled Live From Deep Ellum. From then on, I tried to get my hands on everything they put out. HTLWAC, unfortunately, has thus far been the last full-length album they have released. There are rumors of new material so I’m hoping to see something else from these guys soon.
Highlights on this album:
A Reason to Believe. It’s Beautiful Once You’re Out There. We Say. Future History of the Broken Hearted. Grace. You Made It Look So Easy. Lost Days.

16. The Meanest of Times – Dropkick Murphys
Released in September 2007 by Born & Bred Records.
This band has released some good albums. Some that come to mind are Sing Loud Sing Proud, Blackout, and Warrior’s Code. That being said, this one is by far their strongest album. Everything they have released since this one is measured against it and have yet to measure up.
Highlights on this album:
Famous for Nothing. God Willing. The State of Massachusetts. Tomorrow’s Industry. Surrender. Flannigan’s Ball.

17. Stay Down – Smoking Popes
Released in August 2008 by Curb Appeal Records.
This is another band where I had a hard time deciding which of their albums deserved to be on this list. 1997s Destination Failure could have certainly made it and 2011s This Is Only a Test certainly might have should have made it considering it was the #1 album on my Top Albums of 2011 post. However, after much self-deliberation, I determined that this album is more deserving of being on this list. I started listening to this band way back in the early 90s when they released Get Fired in 1993. I was quite disappointed when they broke up in 1999 but was ecstatic when they re-formed in 2005. This was their first studio album released after their reunion.
Highlights on this album:
Welcome to Janesville. If You Don’t Care. Stefanie. Sweet Pea. Little Jane-Marie. Stay Down. Grab Your Heart and Run. Into the Summer Sky. Maybe I’ll Stay.

18. Gold Country – Chuck Ragan
Released in September 2009 by SideOneDummy Records.
I actually did not start listening to this guy until last year. I knew he was the singer for the Gainesville, Florida punk act Hot Water Music but wasn’t really interested in his solo work until a friend of mine had me listen to a few songs. I own a few of his solo albums but this is the one that beats them all.
Highlights on this album:
For Goodness Sake. Glory. Rotterdam. Done and Done. The Trench. Let It Rain. Fire.

19. Handwritten – The Gaslight Anthem
Released in July 2012 by Mercury Records.
This was their major label debut and follow-up to 2010s American Slang. It was with American Slang that I began listening to The Gaslight Anthem and so I had been anxiously awaiting the release of Handwritten for some time. When it was finally released, it did not disappoint. American Slang was such a great record it was hard to believe that the follow-up to it would have measured up but this release certainly did that and more!
Highlights on this album:
45. Handwritten. Here Comes My Man. Mulholland Drive. Keepsake. Too Much Blood. Biloxi Parish. National Anthem.

20. Home – Off With Their Heads
Released in March 2013 by Epitaph.
Here’s another band I didn’t start listening to until early last year. Not necessarily by referral on this one however. I saw them open up for another band that I had went to go see play live and ended up liking these guys more than the headlining act. After this show, I immediately bought this album along with a couple of others.
Highlights on this album:
Start Walking. Shirts. Nightlife. Focus On Your Own Family. Altar Boy. Don’t Make Me Go. Always Alone. Stolen Away. Take Me Out.

21. Devour – Dave Hause
Released in October 2013 by Rise Records.
And yet another one of those artists that I had not started listening to until early last year. He was another referral from a friend (the same friend in fact that got me listening to the aforementioned Chuck Ragan). The first album I listened to from Dave was 2011s Resolutions. Really great record but when I heard the first single from this one, “We Could Be Kings”, which was released months before the release of the album, I knew this album was going to kick Resolutions butt. And it did.
Highlights on this album:
Damascus. The Great Depression. We Could Be Kings. Autism Vaccine Blues. The Shine.

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