Payn's Ponderings... Top 10 Essential Albums

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
@payn That was an interesting write up, btw. It definitely gave me a different perspective through someone else's point of view, and I learned a few things. I wasn't sure what you considered "glam rock", but now I have a better idea. I appreciate that!

I had never considered any of the grunge bands as hair metal. Perhaps you and I have different ideas of what a "hair band" is. Maybe they started out as one before making their first record. I don't know. I wasn't there. I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. My exposure is about as limited as everyone else's (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains). But the conversation here did inspire me to do some research to help me get a better perspective. So here's my own take:

Hair (metal) bands were known for big hair, makeup, costumes, etc. as much as their of high-spirited, super-machismo songs and ballads. Grunge was a statement of defiance; a direct response to the commercialized (and sometimes embarrassing) public representation of what rock and metal was at the time. They refused to be lumped in with that category, or expected to dress up and look the part. I don't blame them.

The term "grunge" itself is synonymous with "dirt". This is how most Seattle bands would see their unwashed and unkempt style of dress, as well as their hard and edgy sound. The idea gained traction as more local bands were separating themselves from the endless wave of pretty boys hair bands and their clean-cut, made-for-radio, commercial music. They fused rock and punk, taking their cues from early innovators like Black Sabbath, Steppenwolf, and Led Zeppelin. And their songs spoke about the political and social problems of the day, often with a dark and introspective tone even when being humorous.

Regarding hair metal, I wasn't a big fan at the time. I was moving away towards harder, heavier, and faster. I was just a lonely kid with some self-esteem issues, so I (thankfully) didn't relate to songs about "doing it with the ladies". There were exceptions, of course. But I didn't have space for them in my limited budget, or in my cassette rotation. But like a lot of things as I get older, I have come to appreciate them more. They certainly filled a niche. And if you'll notice on my list, there's not a lot of "popular" or "goto" selections that others might expect. My picks could easily fill another list, whether hard rock or heavy metal. To me, they absolutely rock.
 

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payn

Legend
@payn That was an interesting write up, btw. It definitely gave me a different perspective through someone else's point of view, and I learned a few things. I wasn't sure what you considered "glam rock", but now I have a better idea. I appreciate that!

I had never considered any of the grunge bands as hair metal. Perhaps you and I have different ideas of what a "hair band" is. Maybe they started out as one before making their first record. I don't know. I wasn't there. I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. My exposure is about as limited as everyone else's (Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains). But the conversation here did inspire me to do some research to help me get a better perspective. So here's my own take:

Hair (metal) bands were known for big hair, makeup, costumes, etc. as much as their of high-spirited, super-machismo songs and ballads. Grunge was a statement of defiance; a direct response to the commercialized (and sometimes embarrassing) public representation of what rock and metal was at the time. They refused to be lumped in with that category, or expected to dress up and look the part. I don't blame them.

The term "grunge" itself is synonymous with "dirt". This is how most Seattle bands would see their unwashed and unkempt style of dress, as well as their hard and edgy sound. The idea gained traction as more local bands were separating themselves from the endless wave of pretty boys hair bands and their clean-cut, made-for-radio, commercial music. They fused rock and punk, taking their cues from early innovators like Black Sabbath, Steppenwolf, and Led Zeppelin. And their songs spoke about the political and social problems of the day, often with a dark and introspective tone even when being humorous.

Regarding hair metal, I wasn't a big fan at the time. I was moving away towards harder, heavier, and faster. I was just a lonely kid with some self-esteem issues, so I (thankfully) didn't relate to songs about "doing it with the ladies". There were exceptions, of course. But I didn't have space for them in my limited budget, or in my cassette rotation. But like a lot of things as I get older, I have come to appreciate them more. They certainly filled a niche. And if you'll notice on my list, there's not a lot of "popular" or "goto" selections that others might expect. My picks could easily fill another list, whether hard rock or heavy metal. To me, they absolutely rock.
Very nice! Im an amateur expert at best, take what I say with a grain of salt and through the lens of a super fan of music. All genres tend to sprout as a response to something else. Black Sabbath, Steppenwolf, and Led Zeppelin were riffing off other styles and doing backlashing of their own. The next generation likely had their own criticisms of their music and general style too. Likely, some not so flattering too.

Critics, shop keeps, and most fans might feel like they need lines in the sand when it comes to bands. I like looking at the influence and seeing the progression. Where are they getting this sound? What are they rebelling against? Bands like Soundgarden are so interesting because they are on the cusp of a pop culture genre change. Probably, the worst example for this since their music is so multifaceted in every album. Let's look at Motley Crew. These guys were KISS rip offs at the start of their career. They ditched the full face paint and went hair metal. A lot of folks probably dont even remember that change. The Clash? People look at me like I have an arm growing out of my head when I talk about the Reggae invasion of the U.K. back in the late 70's. "Oh no no they are punk man...pure punk no doubt about it. Reggae, dub, step, get the hell outta here..."

I think the radio and the branding has a major effect on what people think and remember about music. I'm probably a little too invested in the socioeconomic and historic aspect of music and don't get the real theory talk like what Danny is throwing down. A look, a voice, a drum roll is usually enough for me. I like seeing the changes and the bands that fall between. Like The Replacements a Minneapolis punk band that probably should have been a new wave band. If they were not so prone to self sabotage, they could have been a household name like R.E.M. Instead, you get songs decades later by Art Brute asking why they are just finding out about them?

I just want to talk about this stuff with people who love music. I'm not always right about it. If I got a good talk and got folks to think about it, my job is done.
 

Yora

Legend
We are simply going with personal favorites?
Let me see, then.

In alphabetical order:

Apocalyptica - Reflections
Dargaard - Eternity Rites
Ensiferum - Iron
In Extremo - Sünder ohne Zügel
KoRn - Untouchables
Nightwish - Century Child
Pertubator - The Uncanny Valley
System of a Down - Toxicity
Trevor Something - Trevor Something Does Not Exist
Within Temptation - Mother Earth

I guess with that list, you couldn't just determine what year I was born, but also the month. :LOL:
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
1. Prince - Sign o' the Times (or Dirty Mind)
2. The Beatles - Revolver (or HELP!)
3. Jimmy Cliff - The Harder They Come
4. Stevie Wonder - Songs in the Key of Life (or Innervisions)
5. The Mountain Goats - The Sunset Tree
6. Pink Floyd - Meddle (or Obscured By Clouds)
7. Joni Mitchell - Blue
8. Florence & the Machine - Lungs (or Ceremonials)
9. Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine
10. Radiohead - Amnesiac (or OK Computer)

Honorable Mention: Neil Young - Harvest

I limited myself to one per artist because I easily could have included four Prince albums here. I could easily change out most of these depending on mood (so I included alternatives).
 

payn

Legend
I limited myself to one per artist because I easily could have included four Prince albums here. I could easily change out most of these depending on mood (so I included alternatives).
purple rain prince GIF
 

Yora

Legend
A few weeks ago I was hearing Purple Disco Machine on the radio at work and hearing it clearly for the first time, realized "hey, that's Synthwave!"
More pop-leaning than what I usually listen to, but definitely coming from the Synthwave scene. ("Purple" in the name gives it away.) And looking it up, that song specifically had been #1 in Germany for weeks.
Finally, our day has come!

I'm really surprised to see so little recent metal and gothic stuff here. Back in my day (naughty word, that's almost 20 years ago now), that seemed to be what all the RPG crowd in Germany were into.
In contrast, all the bands I recognize seem so very mainstream. :giggle:
 

Scottius

Explorer
A few weeks ago I was hearing Purple Disco Machine on the radio at work and hearing it clearly for the first time, realized "hey, that's Synthwave!"
More pop-leaning than what I usually listen to, but definitely coming from the Synthwave scene. ("Purple" in the name gives it away.) And looking it up, that song specifically had been #1 in Germany for weeks.
Finally, our day has come!

I'm really surprised to see so little recent metal and gothic stuff here. Back in my day (naughty word, that's almost 20 years ago now), that seemed to be what all the RPG crowd in Germany were into.
In contrast, all the bands I recognize seem so very mainstream. :giggle:
I'm into a decent amount of recent metal (mostly doom, sludge/stoner, progressive, and new wave of traditional metal stuff) but it's hard for me to bump something like Master of Puppets from my list for any of that.
 


Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
I just want to talk about this stuff with people who love music. I'm not always right about it. If I got a good talk and got folks to think about it, my job is done.
True story coming in.

A couple months before my 40th birthday, I decided I was going to get a tattoo. Never had one. Figured I was due. But I had no idea what I was going to get. It had to be something personal. It had to say something obvious about me. Something that was consistent that I wasn't going to feel different about or regret later. I needed to think about it, and do some soul searching.

I flew out to a friend's place in Florida for a week for her birthday. My gift was that I was going to use her tattoo guy for my first ink. We had been friends for years reading each other's blogs and figured it was time we meet. A number of her friends and family also followed us online. I got to meet several of them in person for the first time, including her husband.

So it turned out that David, unlike his wife, listened to a lot of the same stuff that I did. And he was pleased as anything to be able to crank up the Pantera when he and I went places in his car. And we started talking about other bands. Turns out we were big fans of W.A.S.P., and I hooked him up with my albums saved as mp3s. And on it went.

And that is when it hit me. I was as happy and passionate to talk about music as I was when I was in high school. Metal has always been the consistent love of my life, and still is. So I imagined the one thing that was the undeniable, iconic symbol for "metal". I choose the most metal of all guitars: the B.C. Rich Warlock.
20220412_173343.jpg
 

payn

Legend
True story coming in.

A couple months before my 40th birthday, I decided I was going to get a tattoo. Never had one. Figured I was due. But I had no idea what I was going to get. It had to be something personal. It had to say something obvious about me. Something that was consistent that I wasn't going to feel different about or regret later. I needed to think about it, and do some soul searching.

I flew out to a friend's place in Florida for a week for her birthday. My gift was that I was going to use her tattoo guy for my first ink. We had been friends for years reading each other's blogs and figured it was time we meet. A number of her friends and family also followed us online. I got to meet several of them in person for the first time, including her husband.

So it turned out that David, unlike his wife, listened to a lot of the same stuff that I did. And he was pleased as anything to be able to crank up the Pantera when he and I went places in his car. And we started talking about other bands. Turns out we were big fans of W.A.S.P., and I hooked him up with my albums saved as mp3s. And on it went.

And that is when it hit me. I was as happy and passionate to talk about music as I was when I was in high school. Metal has always been the consistent love of my life, and still is. So I imagined the one thing that was the undeniable, iconic symbol for "metal". I choose the most metal of all guitars: the B.C. Rich Warlock.
View attachment 155250
I was going to get a nu-skool redhead pinup riding a bike on my calf. Then, my ex-wife left me, so that idea was shot. I think I need to give Rain Dogs a nice long listen with a bottle of bourbon, and decide what I'll get instead.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
I was going to get a nu-skool redhead pinup riding a bike on my calf. Then, my ex-wife left me, so that idea was shot. I think I need to give Rain Dogs a nice long listen with a bottle of bourbon, and decide what I'll get instead.
Be careful you don't get a tattoo of a one-armed dwarf captain - even if in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king...
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
I'm really surprised to see so little recent metal and gothic stuff here. Back in my day (naughty word, that's almost 20 years ago now), that seemed to be what all the RPG crowd in Germany were into.
In contrast, all the bands I recognize seem so very mainstream. :giggle:
All my goth stuff would be from the 80's and 90's too lol.

But here's my Top 10 albums released since April 2002.

Blind Guardian Live
Rising Apalachia Filthy Dirty South
Sofi Tukker Tree House (although my favorite song, Awoo, isn't on there)
Death Cab for Cutie Plans
Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes
Flobots Fight with Tools
Florence and the Machine Ceremonials
MC Yogi Elephant Power
Rodrigo y Gabriela Rodrigo y Gabriela
Vulfpeck The Beautiful Game
 

There's a ton of recent metal stuff that I dig. Just about anything by Rhapsody of Fire. Early Darkmoor, Gloryhammer, Wind Rose, Visigoth.

As for newer goth stuff and industrial stuff, I find it to resonate less with me than the stuff of decades past. I definitely have seen my tastes start to ossify there.

I'm really surprised to see so little recent metal and gothic stuff here. Back in my day (naughty word, that's almost 20 years ago now), that seemed to be what all the RPG crowd in Germany were into.
In contrast, all the bands I recognize seem so very mainstream. :giggle:
 

Scottius

Explorer
There's a ton of recent metal stuff that I dig. Just about anything by Rhapsody of Fire. Early Darkmoor, Gloryhammer, Wind Rose, Visigoth.

As for newer goth stuff and industrial stuff, I find it to resonate less with me than the stuff of decades past. I definitely have seen my tastes start to ossify there.
Nice to see a mention of Visigoth. I really dig them as well. I'll have to check out those other groups.
 

The other bands are all more on the Symphonic Metal side of things, but I think they're worth checking out. Rhapsody of Fire is an absolute favorite of mine - I'd recommend Triumph or Agony in particular (it's even got a cover by Jeff Easley!).

Nice to see a mention of Visigoth. I really dig them as well. I'll have to check out those other groups.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
What do we have to do to coax a list from you? Its hard but not impossible Mr. second hand CD shop.
Also, I did list a bunch of highly regarded soundtracks…

Just sayin’.

Maybe if you gave me something narrower than 10 desert island discs to work with?
 


Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Also, I did list a bunch of highly regarded soundtracks…

Just sayin’.

Maybe if you gave me something narrower than 10 desert island discs to work with?
Here you go Danny alcatraz:

  • Top 10 NuMetal
  • Top 10 Post Punk
  • Top 10 Smooth Jazz
  • Top 10 Deep House
  • Top 10 Celtic
  • Top 10 Celtic Metal
  • Top 10 Albums similar to or by bands featured in Dave Grohl's Probot album
  • Top 10 Grunge
  • Top 10 Political Hip Hop from the aughts
  • Top 10 women pop singers post 2015
  • Top 10 Album titles or bands with names that could be awesome D&D adventures or supplements (I'm thinking like "Unleash the Archers")
 
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payn

Legend
Here you go Danny alcatraz:

  • Top 10 NuMetal
  • Top 10 Post Punk
  • Top 10 Smooth Jazz
  • Top 10 Deep House
  • Top 10 Celtic
  • Top 10 Celtic Metal
  • Top 10 Albums similar to or by bands featured in Dave Grohl's Probot album
  • Top 10 Grunge
  • Top 10 Political Hip Hop from the aughts
  • Top 10 women pop singers post 2015
  • Top 10 Album titles or bands with names that could be awesome D&D adventures or supplements (I'm thinking like "Unleash the Archers")
The theme of the thread is about essential albums. Albums construction in it's entirety and not just good artists and/or tracks. Many on this list are so narrow in scope that albums will land on it, not because they are great start to finish, but due to lack of option/competition.

I mean, lets take top 10 women pop singers post 2015. I can maybe think of one album in this category. A lot of music isn't produced by the album anymore but by the single. So, selection will be more based on the most hits than by having a great album. In spirit of the thread, its likely even more difficult than just a top 10 albums of all genres, IMO.

When you think of it in terms of great albums, you can weed out many great artists and albums because often singles are easier to produce. Thinking in entire album terms, actually makes this assignment easier than folks think, while still being very challenging.
 
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