It’s difficult enough for a musician to create a singular musical masterpiece, never mind an entire album that doesn’t have any songs that fall below par.
Digging deeper into more than just the surface music gives these albums a personality, all have their own unique and intriguing stories which contributes to how they’re interpreted. Understanding an artists’ ideology at a certain point in time adds another dimension when listening to said album, the emotion can be heard manifesting solitary narratives.
Obviously these are my opinions and perspectives which understandably makes the topic extremely subjective, there is of course an abundance of exceptional albums out there that aren’t included but for me those below are on another level, nevertheless we shall commence.
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
Rumours is one of the greatest and most popular albums of all time; a meta-analysis even suggested that 1 in 5 households in the UK own a copy of Rumours, making it the most commonly owned album in the United Kingdom. It’s arguably the most flawless album here, it’s so real and genuine as an abundance of emotion was poured into the songwriting from all band members, it’s the break up album to end all break up albums.
During production Nicks and Buckingham were splitting up, the McVies were on the verge of divorce and Mick Fleetwood was also having relationship issues. The amount of real emotion poured into the record as a result of the difficulties was astounding, though they may be negative feelings – it helps make the tracks come alive with feeling.
Knicks wrote Dreams about Buckingham; he wrote Go Your Own Way about Nicks stating in the song that he was only sleeping with her to keep the peace, whereas Christine wrote Don’t Stop about John. Despite the hostility the band pulled together to record The Chain, a song purely about no matter how hard it became they would keep the band together as that’s what they cherished most..
An astounding, genuine album that personifies the mindset of the lyricsts – it evidently appeals to the masses as they sold over 40 million copies worldwide.
Nirvana – Nevermind
The album that revolutionised an era, grunge was previously condemned to a small corner of record stores but Nirvana thrust it into the mainstream. Kurt Cobain was often described as “the voice of a generation” and gave the youth something they could resonate with.
His symbolic death left a lot to be desired. An archetype of the traditional rock star. Defining the 90s with his aggressive, political ideas, Nevermind cemented its place in musical history by disrupting the status quo. Building upon anarchistic punk inspired by the likes of The Sex Pistols, whilst imprinting a foundation to enable Britpop, Indie Rock and general alternative bands to build upon. Forgotten genres blossomed, thanks to Kurt.
Oasis – (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?
It could’ve been Definitely Maybe, but this is better. A drug fuelled, Albarn hating, bona fide masterpiece by some working class lads from Burnage who took the world by storm. The image was so important with Oasis, Liam created a recognisable brand as they were controversial, mental and just simply your conventional rock stars.
An in depth discussion of Oasis will be released soon, elaborating further on the comparison to Nirvana made in a previous article – https://bitbreezy.wordpress.com/2017/07/08/nirvana-how-death-creates-an-unassailable-legacy/
The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead
If asked, I usually say ‘The Queen Is Dead’ is my all time favourite album. It’s almost impish to have that many unreal songs on one album, it contains a mere 10 tracks and they’re all brilliant. Let the miserable, depressed tendencies of Morrissey give you an insight into his world. Allow his metaphorical representations of Britain in the ’80s to capture your mindset. As desolate as The Smiths whole persona is, the authentic allegory embedded within their entire discography is what makes them unique and phenomenal.
Alongside the music The Smiths provided a commentary on socio-politics at the time, with Thatchear implementing “questionable” changes Morrissey mannifested his dislike of the system whilst also stressing how he was not too fond of the monarchy – as you may have worked out.
The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
When you only release two albums and are dubbed one of the greatest bands ever you know at least one had to be exquisite. The Roses almost single handedly defined a generation sparking an explosion of bucket hats and flares.
Similar to other listings here, they defined a generation. Achieving a sweet hybridity by combining a contemporary alternative rock sound with the explosive dance galvanisation that dominated the era, the Roses became a staple of youth. A northern powerhouse who can still boast about their influence.
Noel has always said that Oasis would not exist without them.
Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols
Easily the least aesthetically pleasing album, in music terms. This is such a special album more so because of what the Pistols represented, driving the punk movement through the UK conveying their hatred of the elite. “The fascist regime” as sung by Johnny Rotten signifies the political ideals behind the lyrics.
Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of The Moon
You rarely listen to a singular song from Dark Side of the Moon, you have to hear it front to back to appreciate its depth. It’s the quintessential example of how if produced correctly an album can become almost an experience in your own mind rather than simply listening and enjoying it. It’s so easy to get lost in, the compisition put together by Gilmore and Waters engulfs and captures your imagination achieving that unique ability where it sounds completely different each time you listen to it – depending on your mood and other variables.
David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars
He came, he saw, he conquered and he left his spiders bewildered upon announcing at the end of a show how Bowie and the band would be going separate ways. The king of manifesting his musical style to what was popular at the time, this album personifies his flamboyant and true self – it was and still is cenntrepiece for Davy Jones’ phenomenal back catalogue.
Starman helped motor my music obsession when I was much younger, Rock n Roll Suicide instigated an obsession of finding out the meaning behind songs, which has stuck with me ever since. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.
The Beatles – Sgt Peppers
A unique album in its own right, The Beatles took their music in a different direction with Sgt Peppers. Following the incredible success of Revolver Beatlemania was everywhere, yet the fab four almost disliked their screaming fans because they couldn’t hear themselves playing meaning they couldn’t self-reflect to improve. Technology then isn’t like it is today, they couldn’t record their live shows and then correct any issues post gig which is hard to imagine as it’s so conventional today, It got to the point where they’d had enough and were not enjoying gigs anymore; so they made a significant decision for their next album, Sgt Peppers. The idea being that they would begin work on an album that would be impossible to play live, hence they began to experiment, music wise and dabbling in other things.
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds wasn’t exactly inspired by milk now was it?
Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
I have been a huge fan of Alex Turner and the boys ever since I can remember; I even loved them during those many phases one goes through in high school constantly changing my music taste and identity. Arctic Monkey’s debut record made the list for two main factors; every single song is of course quality but more so for the fact it resonates with me taking me back a decade or so to a 12 year old me.