10 thoughts on “My Top 200 Albums of All Time

    • “The Unutterable” was on the list for a long time, but it hadn’t aged as well for me as some others. I do like “Room To Live,” but “Dragnet” has always left me cold. I’d take “Grotesque” and “Slates” above it from the early days. “IWS” is easily my fave of the YZN era records . . . Never understand the lack of love it gets!

  1. Eric,
    I’ve been reading your blogs since the Albany Times Union days and always love reading your music lists. I have to say I’m a bit puzzled by your Smiths’ selections. My sister and I were both Smiths fans –between us we had everything, but I had a copy of Louder Than Bombs and my sister had Hatful of Hollow. Quite a bit of overlap between them — I’m a bit surprised The Queen Is Dead didn’t make the cut instead.
    Nice to see The Bogmen represented! I loved Life Begins at 40 Million!
    A bit shocked to see the only pre-Buckingham/Nicks Fleetwood Mac was Future Games and not ‘Then Play On’ or ‘Kiln House’.
    Combat Rock???? Really??? I’d take just about all the Clash’s output before that — including Sandinista.
    I also agree with ‘Just John’ that the first Peter Gabriel is a surprising omission.

    • I have never really gotten the support for “The Queen Is Dead” as the greatest Smiths album . . . I actually listened to it on the in-flight entertainment system while flying back from Iceland, and it has several songs that I actively dislike, including the overlong title track, where I like Morrissey is busy trying to out-Morrissey himself on the way to becoming MOZ. While there are overlaps in some of the songs between “Bombs” and “Hatful,” some are different versions, and between those two collections, I feel like I get all of the Smiths I want or need.

      One of the first shows I reviewed for Metroland circa 1994 was The Bogmen and they were utterly fantastic live. Have you seen/heard singer Billy Campion’s alter ego Vic Thrill? Worth investigating, if not!

      There are songs on “Kiln” and “Play On” that I love . . . but also stuff I hate (Jeremy Spencer bugs me on a variety of fronts). “Future Games” was the first Mac album I heard, before they broke big in states, so it still has a fond emotional resonance for me. I’m also an unapologetic Bob Welch fan, per: https://jericsmith.com/2012/06/10/future-games/

      And I just don’t get the “Combat Rock” hate either, which lots of people express to me when I share my fondness . . . I just love love love that album, so many cool and quirky songs on it, all over the place stylistically. (My least fave songs on it, oddly enough, are “Stay Or Go” and “Casbah,” which are all that most folks know from it).

      “Gabriel 1” has been on the list at different times . . . it may pop back on next time I update!!

  2. So many cases of bands I agree with, but not the albums I prefer.

    F’rinstance, Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Everybody Knows this is Nowhere

    Good Rats: yes, Tasty, but Rat City in Blue rather than Birth Comes to Us All

    Beefheart, I’d go Trout Mask Replica and Shiny Beast (I once dreamed I asked Hillary Clinton to sing “Bat Chain Puller.)

    Peter Gabriel’s first, in addition to the third.

    Clash: London Calling

    Zappa: Yikes! I can’t stand Joe’s Garage. Prefer original Uncle Meat, Sleep Dirt, Civilization Phase III, many others

    Nice to see somebody else remembers Lamb Lies Down on Broadway and Fearless. I wonder if anybody else remembers Steppenwolf’s Monster.

    I find Sounds of Silence sounds mostly better in my head than on the album itself. In my head, I’ve mixed out the added slush. Did anybody re-issue a “naked’ version of it, ala Let It Be – Naked?

    … and I’m surprised to find such an Andy Prieboy fan. I’d always (unfairly) considered him a Ridgeway replacement. But Happy Planet? I got it in a cut-out bin. After hearing it, I went back to the cut-out bins and bought every copy I could and gave copies to everybody I ran into, that Xmas. I’m gonna rope me a fatted calf …

    • Prieboy is brilliant, so glad to hear of someone else who shares my enthusiasm for him! I think in a lot of cases, why I have one particular album by certain artists that may not be their typically canonical best is because of the circumstances in which I first heard or appreciated them . . . like in the case of Neil: I’m not really much of a fan, but I was in a record store when “re-ac-tor” came out, and my first hearing of it was “T-Bone” cranking over the sound system, and people having viscerally negative reactions to it, while I thought it was absolutely brilliant. Similar stories with Joe’s Garage (Vol I) and Good Rats. “Sounds of Silence” was such a formidable part of my youth that I actually wrote a whole article about it . . . https://jericsmith.com/2009/01/06/heart-of-darkness-my-old-friend/ . . . so that one will always remain on the list!! “Monster” was the album that first connected me to Steppenwolf, and also that awakened my political sense as a kid. I found myself listening to the title suite a bit in the past year, as it seemed distressingly on-target . . . .

      • By the way, thanks for mentioning the King Crimson Monkey Mind album in your 2016 post. It’s the first CD set I’ve bought in a few years. I’ve listened to the first two disks so far. Love the 3-drum sound.

        (And now that I’m back on my feet money-wise, I’ve ordered a bunch of Good Rats CDs, plus Spirit’s “Future Games” (an album I always paired with “Quark, Strangeness and Charm.”))

        Re Sounds of Silence: Yeah, it’s basic to my childhood, too. But internally, I’ve stripped it down. F’rinstance, the instruments on “I am a Rock” (the absolute best teen sulk song evah) are down to bass and drum.

        And in the past year of my life, “A Most Peculiar Man” has sometimes been an ominous earworm for me.

        But hey, a competitor in that strain of depression soundtracks is Aztec Two-Step’s “Cockroach Cacophany.” If you haven’t heard it yet, insist on the original album version.

        I gotta cheer myself up. Maybe by listening to some of that nice band I finally discovered last year, Joy Division. (I read Hooky’s book before hearing them. It’s hilarious in its black-on-black packaging, when the book is actually about the hellraising (in a totally non-literal sense) the band did.)

        • “Monkey Mind” is a fine, fine set. Glad you are enjoying it. I haven’t heard Aztec Two-Step in ages. Have to pull some up when I get back home from Mississippi this weekend! We actually play “A Most Peculiar Man” a fair amount around the house in our normal background mix. Cheery lot, us!

  3. Great big list! Eric, I’ve printed this list so I can check out albums that I’ve never listened too. Hope you don’t mind. First glance through .. no Dylan, Bob 🙂 At the moment I’m going through every music file on my computer, there must be thousands and as the computer is on it’s last legs I’m saving what I can on to “sticks”. My eyesight is so poor I can’t load the “normal” CD player ( my old faithful player died just before Xmas and the new “normal” one is a pissy little thing with shocking speakers and everything is back on black!) and I don’t have music on my phone ( same reason; eyesight!) To cut this long story short (er) I can put the stick into a USB outlet on the TV and every folder comes up on the big screen and I can see what I want to listen to and on great speakers. For the moment it’s working well enough 🙂 Happy Days PS the sticks are being done alphabetical order by name of artist. Albums by Various Artists are causing me some angst. Cheers, Mellie.

    • No “Smith, Patti” or “Dictators, The” or “Tengo, Yo La” either!! SomeWone might be appalled . . . .

      Hope you enjoy checking out some new-to-you ones! I like the TV screen approach . . . though I am going to have to update my technology at some point to make it work, since I’m still using a pile of old first-generation iPods, and nothing connects to our TV sound system at this point. (I know, I know, I should embrace Spotify . . . but I hate the whole “You don’t own this song” thing!)

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