Thursday, July 01, 2004

Top 70s Albums

What better way to blow twenty minutes than to post another list!

Indie music site Pitchfork Media produced a list of the Top 100 Albums of the 70s. Conventional, sure, but what's a poll if not a restatement of the canon. As such, this isn't bad, as they covered most of my favorites from this era. Now I prefer the hooks of Hunky Dory over the Eno-produced sprawl of Low, but the Bowie album is a worthy top choice. By the way, hasn't Bowie's rep really gone up in the last ten years or so? In the early Nineties, the general rock consensus was that the best 70s albums came from the classic rock gods (Stones, Led Zep), soul legends (Gaye, Green, Mayfield), and Trouser Press faves (Television, Gang of Four, Wire). Bowie's albums, however distinctive and influential, were treated as curiosities. Like Brian Eno's, in fact. As densely textured electronica-tinged rock became prominent, Bowie, a forefather to bands like Radiohead, appears to have surpassed the likes of the Stooges and New York Dolls in influence and esteem. Prog rock has similarly ascended. No way would Low have ranked above Exile on Main Street or Pink Flag in a critics' poll fifteen years ago.

Here's a top 25 from the malaise decade, not counting the Serge Gainsbourg compilations that collected the awesome shit he made in this era. (Disclaimer: the biggest holes in my music collection come from this decade, as I've never bothered to put out the $10 to pick up SuperSavers Marquee Moon, Who's Next, The Songs of Leonard Cohen, and many other essentials.) Btw, Serge Gainsbourg rules.

01. 1969: The Velvet Underground Live. (1974)
02. London Calling, The Clash (1979)
03. Exile on Main Street, The Rolling Stones (1972)
04. What's Going On, Marvin Gaye (1971)
05. A Tribute to Jack Johnson, Miles Davis (1972)
06. Loaded, The Velvet Underground (1970)
07. Blood on the Tracks, Bob Dylan (1975)
08. Innervisions, Stevie Wonder (1973)
09. Rust Never Sleeps, Neil Young (1979)
10. Parallel Lines, Blondie (1977)
11. There's a Riot Going On, Sly and the Family Stone (1971)
12. Third/Sister Lovers, Big Star (1978)
13. Superfly [Soundtrack], Curtis Mayfield (1972)
14. Moondance, Van Morrison (1970)
15. Plastic Ono Band, John Lennon (1970)
16. Hunky Dory, David Bowie (1975)
17. La Question, Francoise Hardy (1971)
18. Call Me, Al Green (1973)
19. Off the Wall, Michael Jackson (1979)
20. Transformer, Lou Reed (1972)
21. This Year's Model, Elvis Costello and the Attractions (1978)
22. Sticky Fingers, Rolling Stones (1971)
23. Exodus, Bob Marley and the Wailers (1977)
24. Pink Moon, Nick Drake (1970)
25. Let It Be, The Beatles (1970)

Honorable mention: Stone Flower, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Low, David Bowie; In a Silent Way, Miles Davis; Led Zeppelin IV, Horses, Patti Smith, Tonight's the Night, Neil Young.

Big holes: Brian Eno's solo stuff, Kraftwerk albums, Can, Gang of Four, Who's Next, Marquee Moon, King Crimson, Yes, and Prog Rock in general.

Bands I find dated: Wire, Sex Pistols, New York Dolls.

Better on compilation: Queen, Nina Simone, The Kinks, Caetano Veloso.

Not that into: Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell.