Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The 100 Greatest British Albums

Andrew links to the Observer The 100 Greatest British Albums list in his BB blog today. I'm actually pretty unimpressed with the list, full of lazy, easy choices, but there's a lot there I own (more than Andrew, yay, I win), namely:

(I've colour coded them:
red if I think the record is genuinely one of the 100 best ever
black if I think the record is good but wouldn't care if I never heard it again
blue if I think the record is totally over-rated)

The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses; London Calling, The Clash; Exile on Main St, The Rolling Stones, Blue Lines, Massive Attack; Metal Box, PiL; The Rise & Fall Of Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars, David Bowie; The Clash, The Clash; Never Mind The Bollocks, The Sex Pistols; Club Classics vol 1, Soul II Soul; The Specials, The Specials; Closer, Joy Division; Loveless, My Bloody Valentine; The Smiths, The Smiths; Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Pink Floyd; Unknown Pleasures, Joy Division; New Boots And Panties!!, Ian Dury And The Blockheads, Low, David Bowie, Lexicon of Love, ABC; Bummed, Happy Mondays; Entertainment, Gang Of Four; All Mod Cons, The Jam;, Village Green Preservation Society, The Kinks, Cut, The Slits; Maxinquaye, Tricky; Power, Corruption and Lies, New Order, Screamadelica, Primal Scream, Quadrophenia, The Who, Original Pirate Material, The Streets; Parklife, Blur, Station To Station, David Bowie; Don't Stand Me Down, Dexy's Midnight Runners; This Nation's Saving Grace, The Fall; Behaviour, Pet Shop Boys; Boy in the Corner, Dizee Rascal; Dare, The Human League

Far more interesting than the list itself is the extracts from the voting, where pop luminaries explain their own personal top tens. Links to a few of these below:

Karl Hyde (nominates Hawkwind! Has the world gone mad!?)
Terry Hall (strangely conservative selection)
Tim Burgess (nominates himself - good work Tim)
Stuart Maconie (irritating use of capital letters, and incomprehsible choice at no. 1)

Although, confusingly, there's another page with top tens on it where Terry Hall's rather dull version above is replaced by a much better and more original one:

1. Young Americans David Bowie
2. The Clash The Clash
3. Roxy Music Roxy Music
4. White Music XTC
5. Greatest Hits David Essex
6. Parklife Blur
7. Songs From the Bathtub Vol 1 Pete Boyle
8. Sheet Music 10cc
9. Modern Music Be Bop Deluxe
10. Pin Ups David Bowie

Of course, there's plenty missing from the main list (of which, more later) and, obviously hardly any women (honourable mentions for The Slits and Kate Bush aside). But, as ever, Alex James has the last word, and, in nominating Soft Cell, Duran Duran and Adam and the Ants shows he has more sense than all the Stones/Beatles nominators put together. And, he points out, "making a list of best albums is itself a quaintly archaic notion", especially when the concept of 'album' is being stretched to its limit anyway.

"When vinyl went out of fashion it was already the beginning of the end. People can fiddle around with a CD and pick which tracks to listen to. And because the medium allowed it, albums became longer and longer. It's almost impossible to buy a new album now which you can enjoy in one sitting. The new album by the Streets is a brilliant exception. The last Blur album went on and on."

I guess it's inevitable that all this is leading up to me making my top ten. Hmm. I'll have to think about it.

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