#50. The Zombies | Odessey & Oracle (1968)
Well let me tell you 'bout the way she looked
The way she'd act and the color of her hair
Her voice was soft and cool
Her eyes were clear and bright
But she's not there
# of Voters: 36 | Score: 2094.800
Rank in 2014: #68
AM 3000 Rank: #292
Top Fans: Zombeels (#1)
, PlasticRam (#2), BryanBehar (#13), Jackson (#14), BangJan (#16), Babydoll (#20), Acroamor (#27), VanillaFire1000 (#28), Georgie (#29), BleuPanda (#30), SonofSamIAm (#32), DaveC (#45), Harold (#48), Andyd1010 (#48), Brad (#63), LiveInPhoenix (#65), Honorio (#76), GucciLittlePiggy (#83), Romain (#91)
A lot of the songs on Odyssey are very melancholic and minor-key in tone, in contrast to a lot of the happy, skip through the flowers melodies that their peers were putting out at the time. Colin Blunstone's voice is absolutely amazing. Definitely much better than either Lennon or McCartney and right up there with the great Brian Wilson. While the group's harmonies never quite match up to The Beach Boys were doing, every song here is magical. Song after song, from the opening jangly piano keys of "Care of Cell 44", to the sad, sweet melody of "A Rose for Emily", the rich harmonies of "Brief Candles", "Maybe After He's Gone" and "Changes", the absolute psychedelic brilliance of "Beechwood Park", "Hung Up on a Dream", and "Time of the Season", the sheer pop mastery of "I Want Her, She Wants Me", "This Will Be Our Year", and "Friends of Mine", and the underrated powerful ballad "Butchers Tale (Western Front 1914)", this album is nothing more than perfect song after perfect song after perfect song. The perfect album? I'm not sure if I believe that there is an absolute "perfect" album, but every time I listen to this album, it goes a long way in changing my mind. Best album of the 60's? While Abbey Road and Pet Sounds both have their place in my heart, this even trumps those great albums in my humble opinion. Best album of all time? Very well could be because quite honestly, if I could give this album more than a 5, I would.
#49. Pink Floyd | Wish You Were Here (1975)
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom,
Blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter,
Come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!
You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon.
# of Voters: 38 | Score: 2096.297
Rank in 2014: #59
AM 3000 Rank: #186
Top Fans: VeganValentine (#2), Listyguy (#8), Chambord (#10), ProsecutorGodot (#17), OrdinaryPerson (#17), Dudumb (#17), M24 (#18), GabeBasso (#24), RickyMathias (#34), SJner (#42), DaveC (#42), Andyd1010 (#51), Michel (#52), Honorio (#62), Gillingham (#70), BryanBehar (#74), Acroamor (#87), Whuntva (#89)
This album IS the sound of absence. It manifests through moody musings about absent friends and lost relatives, as well as looks at the soulless automaton of the record industry which strangely works very well next to the more obviously about absence tracks. They share a sound of emptiness and sadness toward missing something integral in life. The obvious centerpoint of all this of course is Syd Barret, long gone into a private hell of mental illness, it's clear that no matter the track his ghost haunts the precedings. In fact he literally walked in on the studio sessions at one point, looking like a miserable wreck of the man he knew and speaking nonsense he drove his former bandmates to tears. It's not a fun album, easily one of the most sad records I've ever heard. But like many of the best LP's about sad moods it's also achingly beautiful. And shows Floyd finally being economical and playing what needs to be played.
#48. David Bowie | Low (1977)
At the carpet
I drew something awful on it
# of Voters: 39 | Score: 2117.367
Rank in 2014: #61
AM 3000 Rank: #97
Top Fans: ChrisK (#7), BangJan (#7), Spiderpig (#11), Dudumb (#15), RickyMathias (#16), Bootsy (#24), Schaefer.tk (#32), Harold (#43), SonofSamIAm (#44), Jackson (#48), GabeBasso (#52), BleuPanda (#57), SJner (#62), Karla (#63), OrdinaryPerson (#67), Moonbeam (#72), Georgie (#89), Listyguy (#93)
Low's first side is a beautiful futurist ruin, littered with holes left purposefully unfixed. Two decades after its release, Bowie noted that his crew "really captured, unlike anything else in that time, a sense of yearning for a future that we all knew would never come to pass." Visconti heightens the decay and distills the lifespan of every sound, treating Dennis Davis' drums so that he was playing along to a withered echo of his last strike, like an explosion contained in a tin can. Even Bowie's voice sounds aged and distant. Eno's sharp electronics jostle against the bolshy funk rhythms and Carlos Alomar and Ricky Gardiner's guitars, giving the record a feverish euphoria that hits like too much pseudo-ephedrine and mangles linear time. These swaggering fragments, seldom breaking the three-minute mark, promise bombastic payoffs but then fade out instead. Low's first side feels like having the carpet ripped out from under you by three wizards who have plans to fly it elsewhere.
All this playfulness means that Low's reputation for utter desolation doesn't feel quite right. Bowie is, of course, obsessed with barriers to connection: the sudden instinct that causes him to yelp and back away from someone on "Breaking Glass" ("You're such a wonderful person/ But you got problems/ Oh, oh, oh, oh, I'll never touch ya"), self-imposed isolation ("Sound and Vision") and isolation from the self ("What are you gonna be/ To the real me," on "What in the World"), and a semi-serious plea for lifelong companionship just as his marriage was disintegrating ("Be My Wife"). From the windows of Hansa Tonstudio (where the record was mostly finished, not tracked) the band could see into the watchtowers atop Berlin's dividing Wall. A lot of Low's lyrics were extemporized, but the consistency of these ornery admissions, however fragmented, implies a self-aware desire to push past them, to hunt some trace of optimism.
--Laura Snapes, Pitchfork
#47. Jeff Buckley | Grace (1994)
There's the moon asking to stay
Long enough for the clouds to fly me away
Oh, it's my time coming, I'm not afraid, afraid to die
My fading voice sings of love
But she cries to the clicking of time, oh
# of Voters: 36 | Score: 2151.671
Rank in 2014: #75
AM 3000 Rank: #59
Top Fans: Slucs (#2), RickyMathias (#4), GucciLittlePiggy (#8), Chambord (#11), Listyguy (#14), M24 (#24), ChrisK (#26), VAnillaFire1000 (#31), JohnnyBGoode (#32), BleuPanda (#32), NotBrianEno (#32), Dudumb (#35), Nicolas (#36), JWinton (#37), Victor.Marianoo77 (#47), Bruno (#52), Whuntva (#55), Spiritualized (#77), Dexter (#88), DaveC (#94), Nico (#94), OrdinaryPerson (#94), Harold (#95)
The posthumous aspect of Grace’s continuing appeal is of key importance – if he hadn’t died, aged 30, in 1997, the chances are that Buckley would have taken the incredible promise showcased here and transformed it into material to place these efforts in the shade. Resultantly, Grace exists in a vacuum, with no material of particular note to trouble it as its maker’s definitive musical statement. Instrumentally, little is remarkable – surely Buckley would have explored new textures, bringing greater life to his music. But his vocal is mesmerising, and it’s this element of Buckley’s performance which has best stood the test of time. It is unique amongst artists, from the rock and pop spectrum and well beyond, defying prosaic pigeonholing. Hear it once, and it will stay with the listener forever.
As the son of Tim Buckley – who also died far too young – Jeff was always going to find it difficult to escape his father’s shadow and establish himself as a singular talent. Grace, though, was a remarkable first step – inconsistent certainly, but blessed with moments of arresting, beguiling beauty. It takes most of its compositional cues from fairly classic rock sources (Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd), but Buckley’s vocals – committed, sincere, stop-you-in-your-tracks intense – marked him as an artist to follow intently. What a tragedy that he was never able to develop further the epic potential of this worthy debut.
--Mike Diver, BBC
#46. Simon & Garfunkel | Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)
She loves me again,
I fall on the floor and I'm laughing.
# of Voters: 41 | Score: 2212.259
Rank in 2014: #63
AM 3000 Rank: #115
Top Fans: Miguel (#2), BonnieLaurel (#8), RedAnt (#10), PlasticRam (#11), DocBrown (#16), Dexter (#20), JWinton (#20), Henry (#21), Spiritualized (#26), Zombeels (#30), Andyd1010 (#31), Profeta (#36), Bruno (#50), VeganValentine (#51), VanillaFire1000 (#55), Jirin (#58), SweepstakesRon (#58), Nico (#87), Acroamor (#93)
Simon & Garfunkel's 1970 swan song, Bridge Over Troubled Water, was both their most effortless record and their most ambitious. The duo spent most of the 1960s as a highly regarded folk act distinguished by their intuitive harmonies and Paul Simon's articulate songwriting, yet compared to the Greenwich Village revivalists, whom they tried to emulate on songs like "A Simple Desultory Philippic" and "Bleecker Street", they were pretty square. By Bookends in 1968, they were settling into themselves, losing their folk revival pretensions and emphasizing quirky production techniques to match their soaring vocals. Two years later, Bridge did that album one better by revealing a voracious musical vocabulary that spanned gospel, rock, R&B, and even classical. As this thoughtful reissue attests, the album sounds unique even 40 years later, driven and defined entirely by their own personal musical and political obsessions.
This diverse album contains the roots of Paul Simon's subsequent incorporation of African and South American rhythms into astute pop songs, especially "El Condor Pasa (If I Could)". The tune is hundreds of years old, but Simon came to it via a contemporary Peruvian group called Los Incas. He wrote new English lyrics about the rural versus the urban, and he and Garfunkel sang them over the original instrumental track. Especially coming after the grandiose gospel of the title track, the song sounds both exotic and humble. Later, "Keep the Customer Satisfied" swells with gargantuan blasts of brass, "Baby Driver" revs up some R&B sax, and "Cecilia" sounds impossibly infectious with its pennywhistle solo and handclap/thighslap percussion. Despite the breadth of sound-- and despite the splintering of their relationship-- Bridge sounds like a unified statement enlivened by styles and rhythms not often heard on pop radio at the juncture of those two decades.
--Stephen M. Deusner, Pitchfork