NME’s “Greatest Albums Of All Time” – #500-470

OK so I’m not going to review all of the albums, I’m just going to comment on ones I’m familiar with. If I liked it before it was popular, and happen to have a beard, it doesn’t make me a hipster. Right?

#500 – Outkast, “Stankonia” 

I’m not going to lie to anyone here; this is a good album, an enjoyable album, and a very well written album. But to argue there are only 499 albums better out there? Pffft. This is here because of “Ms Jackson” and you know it.

#499 – Belly, “Star”

Belly are one of those outfits which I associate with a time and place – the early to mid 90s, when I started to really get into music properly – and whilst it’s a band fronted by the well known Tanya Donnelly (also of The Breeders and Throwing Muses), that’s about all I have to offer…

#498 – Lou Reed, “Berlin”

#497 – Daft Punk, “Random Access Memories” 

‘Nuff said?

#496 – Girls, “Album”

#485 – Killers, “Hot Fuss” 

Aaaahhh… really? Don’t get me wrong, Mr Brightside and Somebody Told Me are fantastic, energetic, memorable songs. But I feel like as good as they are, they’re not that dissimilar to a bunch of other bands who released something euphoric that gets sung in bars by every single drunk idiot the second it comes on. Maybe in time, if it still held up, I’d agree but like with Outkast… what, only 484 albums are better than this? Please.

#484 – The Cure, “Head on the Door”

#483 – This Mortal Coil, “Blood”

#482 – These New Puritans, “Hidden”

#481 – Pet Shop Boys, “Actually” 

Yeah, ok, I could see an argument for PSB being included on a list like this, given that what they did, when they did it, was pretty far ahead of the curve.

#480 – MC5, “Back in the USA”

Without MC5, where would we be? Plus, this was the one where they covered Tutti Fruitti.

#479 – The Wedding Present, “George Best”

#478 – Leonard Cohen – “I’m Your Man”

I can’t say I know this one, but he’s released like a billion albums, so…

#477 – The Jam, “Sound Affects”

#476 – Bjork, “Homogenic”

Bjork can’t appear in print anywhere without the word “weird” being used to describe her, her sound, or you know, the whole experience. Regardless, this is actually a brilliant album and you should probably have heard it if not own it.

#475 – Kendrick Lamar, “Good Kid M.A.A.D City”

#474 – Bruce Springsteen, “The River”

Yeah, fair call. Probably about the right place as well.

#473 – Elvis Costello and the Attractions, “Blood and Chocolate” 

#482 – Billie Holiday, “Lady in Satin” 

If you know nothing else about Billie Holiday, you know she can sing. So listen to anything off this record and understand exactly how well she can sing.

#481 – Brian Wilson, “Smile”

#480 – Aretha Franklin, “I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You”

Same comment as Billie Holiday.

#479 – Throwing Muses, “The Real Ramona”

#478 – The National, “Trouble Will Find Me”

I feel like I should have listened to this band by now…

#477 – Crystal Castles, “Crystal Castles”

#476 – Foo Fighers, “Foo Fighters”

I remember when this album came out. Expectation surrounded the release because Kurt Cobain had only so recently ended his life and here was a new David Grohl band. Would it be any good? Would it deliver?

Well, yes, it would. And whilst I feel the Foos only got better, this is a fair inclusion.

#475 – Kurt Vile, “Smoke Ring For My Halo”

#474 – Fuck Buttons, “Tarot Sport” 

Yes! Not just a pretty name, Fuck Buttons are deliriously fun electronica. Now, if Boards of Canada miss out on this list…

#473 – The Verve, “A Storm in Heaven”

#472 – Smashing Pumpkins, “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness”

This one, I feel, should have been higher. No doubt “Siamese Dream” will be up there when the rest of the list comes out, but this is such a beautiful record. It defied expectations at the time, mostly because the first single “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” was more closely aligned with expectations than, say, “1979” or “Tonight, Tonight”. Yet the latter are more broadly in tune with the kind of introspective brilliance of Corgan’s writing. Really should be higher.

#471 – MGMT – “Oracular Spectacular”

Ummm…. really, NME? I love “Electric Feel” – we’ve all had trips like that. “Kids” and “Time to Pretend” are as infectious as smallpox too. But you’re trying to suggest by your list, your reckoning, that only 470 albums surpass this and everything else is inferior?


#470 – Kayne West, “Graduation”

Yes. Look, I don’t like the guy, I think he’s an insecure twat with a god complex and a hugely inflated sense of his own creative worth. But, before he became a huge narcissistic cock, he made records like this.

Conclusions so far:

* I don’t know a lot of these albums

* I disagree with most of the selections

* I think it’s a bit early to call any album from 2010 onwards “the best of all time”. Doubly so for a 2013 album. Part of the longevity of a record is not how it made you feel when you first listened to it but how you feel 1, 2, 5, 10 years later when listening to it. If an album can still strike the same emotional chord as it did then, and if it still feels as vital to you… then it’s a classic.


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