Sunday, April 4, 2010

Revisiting My Favorite Albums of The 1970s

Hey, it's that time of year again. Every year (starting--and probably ending--in 2010) I've kicked off Spring by revisiting my favorite albums of the decade lists. As I did before, I'll count down my favorites from the '90s then the '80s then the '70s then the '60s then, finally and counterintuitively, the '00s. Why? you ask. Because not only are my tastes constantly changing a little--I'm getting more or less mature (not sure which), more or less knowledgeable, etc.--but also I'm always hearing new (old) music.

The lists will be presented in one serving (a.k.a. post) and counted down from #90 to #1. When compared to the original lists, albums that are completely new to the lists will be listed in blue. Albums that have moved up ten or more spots will be in green, and albums that have moved down ten or more will be in red. I will choose to write blurbs about random albums that are listed in these colored fonts. The write-ups will be in grey. It will be awesome. Hopefully. It might be confusing.

I don't really know much about the '70s; they were before my time. There was, you know, Watergate and Camp David and stuff. That's about where my historical knowledge of the era ends. But what I do know is that more great music came out of that decade than maybe any other. Out of the '70s came punk, post-punk, krautrock, advancements in electronic music, hip-hop, disco, funk, and all sorts of other groundbreaking movements and genres. No other decade, on the whole, proved to be as innovative in the pop music world. (The late '60s were on par in terms of innovation, but the early '60s seem to be a little more boring.) Anyhow, the bottom line is: the '70s were awesome for music--maybe for world affairs, too, but definitely for music. (Oh, and the original posts are here, here, and here.)

Without further ado:

90. Marvin Gaye--What's Going On
89. Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band--Clear Spot
87. Kraftwerk--Autobahn
86. Parliament--Funkentelechy Vs. The Placebo Syndrome
85. Pere Ubu--The Modern Dance
85. This Heat--This Is 1
84. Cluster--Zuckerzeit
83. Miles Davis--A Tribute To Jack Johnson
82. Robert Wyatt--Rock Bottom
As has happened on all the "revisiting" lists thus far, albums on the rear end of the list tend to get bumped the worst because of all the new additions above them. In this case, a few albums were able to hold their spots, but others were not. Too bad.
81. Pink Floyd--The Wall

80. The Beatles--Let It Be
Once I had Let It Be, I officially had every Beatles studio album. And though I'm a little embarrassed it took me so long to get this one, I at least have them all now. Let It Be might very well be The Beatles' worst album, but it's still a great album--which is a testament to the greatness of the band.
79. Throbbing Gristle--20 Jazz Funk Greats
78. Richard Hell & The Voidoids--Blank Generation
77. Gil Scott-Heron--Small Talk at 125th and Lenox
76. David Bowie--Aladdin Sane
75. Faust--Faust IV
74. Joni Mitchell--Blue
I'll admit: I finally get the appeal of Joni Mitchell. She's a pretty darn great songwriter. And although I'm not a huge fan, I do really like Blue now. So there.
73. Brian Eno--Before And After Science
72. Herbie Hancock--Thrust
71. The Cure--Three Imaginary Boys

70. The Clash--London Calling
I've lost a little steam on The Cure. They were up there with my favorite bands at one point, and they've fallen a touch. The Clash meanwhile, well, I've never really loved them. It's unfortunate, but it's true. London Calling is yet to move me. So these two punk classics had to get pushed down a little.
69. Leonard Cohen--Songs Of Love And Hate
68. Herbie Hancock--Sextant
67. T. Rex--Tanx
66. David Bowie--The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
65. Curtis Mayfield--Superfly
64. Faust--So Far
63. Sly & The Family Stone--Fresh
62. Wire--154
61. Jimi Hendrix--Band Of Gypsys

60. Brian Eno--Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy
59. The Rolling Stones--Exile On Main Street
If I don't seem like a huge Stones fan, it's because I'm not. And as much respect as I have for them and their music and all that crap, I just don't love listening to them. The reason Exile is this high even is mostly out of respect. The music's good enough, though.
58. Al Green--Call Me
57. Talking Heads--Talking Heads: 77
56. Nick Drake--Bryter Layter
55. Herbie Hancock--Head Hunters
54. David Bowie--Hunky Dory
More proof that David Bowie is probably Artist of the Decade for the '70s. I've known the songs on Hunky Dory for years, but it wasn't until recently that I had them all, in order, in my possession. It certainly showcases a tamer Bowie, but it's about as good as anything else you'll hear by him or anyone.
53. The Slits--Cut
52. The Congos--Heart Of The Congos
51. Black Sabbath--Master Of Reality

50. Giorgio Moroder--From Here To Eternity
49. Randy Newman--Sail Away
I loved Randy Newman when I was four. What kid who was four around the time Toy Story came out didn't love Randy Newman? Well, I kind of put him out of my life once I hit five or six, but in the past few months, I've given him another chance. Turns out: not only can he write great, inspirational, family-friendly tunes, but he can also write really clever, satirical, weird, and great pop/soul songs. Which is what he does on Sail Away.
48. Led Zeppelin--IV
47. Suicide--Suicide
46. James Brown--The Payback
45. Fela Kuti--Expensive Shit
44. David Bowie--Station To Station
43. The Specials--The Specials
42. Creedence Clearwater Revival--Cosmo's Factory
41. Miles Davis--Get Up With It

40. David Bowie--Lodger
39. T. Rex--The Slider
The three above albums are three great reasons why it's a good idea to look at great artists' whole catalogues. Just because The Slider, Lodger, and Get Up With It aren't necessarily the most lauded albums by the respective artists, they hold their own against each artist's opuses.
38. Bob Dylan--Blood On The Tracks
37. Tim Buckley--Starsailor
36. Iggy Pop--Lust For Life
35. The Beach Boys--Surf's Up
34. Miles Davis--On The Corner
33. The Ramones--Rocket To Russia
32. Kraftwerk--The Man Machine
31. Neu!--Neu!

30. Talking Heads--More Songs About Buildings And Food
29. David Bowie--"Heroes"
28. The Pop Group--Y
27. Can--Future Days
26. Iggy Pop--The Idiot
25. Devo--Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo
24. Miles Davis--Bitches Brew
23. Steve Reich--Music For 18 Musicians
22. The Velvet Underground--Loaded
21. Iggy & The Stooges--Raw Power

20. The Modern Lovers--The Modern Lovers
19. Brian Eno--Here Come The Warm Jets
18. Wire--Chairs Missing
17. Can--Tago Mago
16. The Ramones--Ramones
15. T. Rex--Electric Warrior
14. Talking Heads--Fear Of Music
13. Serge Gainsbourg--Histoire De Melody Nelson
12. Brian Eno--Another Green World
11. Gang Of Four--Entertainment!

10. Television--Marquee Moon
9. David Bowie--Low
8. Funkadelic--Maggot Brain
7. Can--Ege Bamyasi
6. Nick Drake--Pink Moon
5. Joy Division--Unknown Pleasures
4. Wire--Pink Flag
3. The Stooges--Fun House
2. Kraftwerk--Trans-Europe Express
1. Sly & The Family Stone--There's A Riot Goin' On
So the top 30 changed like a Steve Reich piece: minimally. (God, I'm a dork.) Anyways, the point is, I guess I just haven't heard anything earth shattering from the '70s in the past few months. That's okay, though. These albums are plenty earth shattering enough. And I don't ever see Sly being knocked from the top spot.

That's what I think. You'll get the '60s list at some point.

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