This “Best Album Of All Times” needed an Index since it will be kept as a separate category. After some thoughts I also rearranged some albums to my final list, so here’s the final list updated with both initial and final positions.
If you click on the link you’ll be redirected to each review.
Number 1?! Yes. You haven’t missed number 2. The truth is, I can’t possibly separate this album and the next one. While this is an album that you may need one or two “listenings” to, the last one is one of those that get you struck’d by straight ahead. Both albums are still one of those that you can listen to for decades and still just enjoy the awesome production, the atmosphere, the small subtle changes, the vocals, the bass, the guitar, the drums and so on.
Keane, with Tom Chaplin (on lead vocals, organ, piano, acoustic and electric guitar, Tim Rice-Oxley (on piano, keyboards, synthesisers, electric guitar, bass guitar, backing vocals, Richard Hughes (on drums, percussion, backing vocals and Jesse Quin (on bass guitar, electric guitar, synthesisers, percussion, backing vocals) is playing
Keane achieved mainstream success with the release of their debut album, Hopes and Fears, in 2004. The album won multiple awards, including the Brit Award for Best British Album, and was the second best-selling British album of the year.
Keane are labeled as alternative rock, and I guess its hard to give them a better reference. With its typical piano / bass sound together with some amazing vocals, Keane is Keane. The more often used reference is Coldplay, and there the similarities are more obvious.
This album, Hopes and Fears has been a huge success.
In May 2008, both Hopes and Fears (number 13) and Under the Iron Sea (number 8) were voted by readers of Q magazine as among the best British albums ever, with Keane, The Beatles, Oasis and Radiohead the only artists having two albums in the top 20.
So lets dig into this amazing album
***** Somewhere Only We Know. The first track kicks of with some really characteristic Keane-sounds, and then after 0:24, the verse. This song is amazing. Also, listen for those subtle changes all the way up to 1:10. The bass that sometimes helps the piano, the steady increase in volume, and it accelerates all the way. This is Keane as its best. Working with changes in tempo, strength and feelings.
***** Bend & Break. The same kind of piano-groove as on Somewhere Only We Know kicks of the second track as well, and once again they are slowing things down, to be able to lift the track at 0:50, with a strong amazing chorus.
If only I don’t bend and break
I’ll meet you on the other side
I’ll meet you in the light
If only I don’t suffocate
I’ll meet you in the morning when you wake
***** We Might As Well Be Stranger. A slow, subtle song with a steady rise to the crescendo after 2 minutes. Listen to the always present Keane piano, the variations in the vocals.
***** Everybody’s Changing. Once again, an awesome track. The difference between 1 and 2 may be the more heavy use of synthesizers in the verse. Look for the break at 2:47.
**** Your Eyes Open. A four!? A Simple four on the Best Album Of All Tracks. Well, its still a four, isn’t it? This may be weakest track on this album but still an amazing song. What is it that makes this song less good than the others. Well this is just personal. I have some difficulties with the start of the track. The groove isn’t that good, in my book. But hey, things are repaired once they got thing going and the chorus is great!
***** I’ve used the word subtle a number of times already and when I’m trying to describe one of the best groups in the world when it comes to variations musically the words soon starts to be running out. The track is built around the great vocals of Tom Chaplin and Richard Hughes drums. Beautiful.
***** Can’t Stop Now is a paring of traditional Brit-Pop and the Keanish sound. Just listen at the chorus at 0:53 with the vocals and the piano’s totally awesome harmonies.
**** Sunshine sounds a lot like Harry Nilsson. Have you heard him? The guy that almost was a “Beatle”. If you haven’t heard him. Check him out here. Back to the song. The influences from Beatles are evident. The song is not as characteristic as many others on the album, but still a great track with some awesome harmonies.
****** This Is The Last Time. Another hit from this album, and No I didn’t miss out on the stars. This must be a six! The vocals starts of straight away with the piano, and later bass / drums. After 0:30 it starts to build, before the… aaaaamaaazing chorus. The harmonies, the piano, the drums, the bass. Just listen to it!! Perfect!
***** On A Day Like Today. A relaxed track, with slow changes and heavy use of Tom Chaplin’s voice.
***** Untitled 1. Drums kicks of this album, followed by almost an Abba-Sound on the keyboard (?). Nowadays great tracks are used in the gaming industry. This track could definitely be used as such. Great atmosphere, with strong characteristics.
***** Bedshaped. To put it in a few words. This is so DARN good!
To be honest, its not that easy to write a review around Keanes music. The all small great changes, the subtleness, the arrangements and so on. Its so good, and if every great move in the music would’ve been described it would take years.
When I was in my late teenage years, and I guess until I was 30, there wasn’t so much more music than Hardrock, Heavy Metal and Westcoast. I knew most of the bands, the musicians (which at least in the westcoast-genre many times are the same on many records with different artists).
Toto, has always been a group with amazing musicians. The guy/woman at vocals have changed over the years, but somehow they’ve always maintained a great standard, but they have never been a “band of the critics” (at least in Sweden), and I guess that’s partly due to the lack of “deepness”, but on the other hand, if you like technical stuff like amazing guitar solos, great bass play, amazing percussions/drums, keyboards and so on; Toto surely delivers always.
The line-up for this album:
Joseph Williams – lead vocals (except on “Anna” and “These Chains”)
Steve Lukather – guitars, backing vocals, lead vocals on “Anna” and “These Chains”
David Paich – keyboards, backing vocals, co-lead vocals on “Home of the Brave”
Mike Porcaro – bass
Jeff Porcaro – drums, percussion
and as guest musician:
Steve Porcaro – keyboards, electronics
So, why the album Seventh One? I like almost all songs on all albums, so it wasn’t an easy choice. After my first cut, where I left out the albums that I thought had 1 or 2-star tracks, I had to choose from the albums:
Toto IV (1982)
The Seventh One (1988)
At first I picked Fahrenheit as the best of those four, but after a number of listenings I think The Seventh One must be the final pic. The average for all tracks are the best, in my opinion.
***** Pamela; with that amazing soft beginning, and the sudden “AHHHH” after 20 seconds. “Side by side”.. together with the rhythm section. The keyboard at 1:03, followed by the guitar afterwards. Nice! After 1:30, the chorus. Great, relaxed and the groove in the background just keeps on pushing. Don’t miss the solos after 2:50 with keyboard and guitar. Awesome!
*** You Got Me; in my opinion a great track, but the weakest on the album in my opinion. Highlights: the chorus after 0:50, and the horn section after 1:15 and forward. Really good.
**** Anna; one of two amazing soft ballads on the album. The place on the album is as good as it gets. Romantic, soft and gentle, and some nice strings of hope in the chorus. Beautiful! Listen especially to the guitar solo at 2:40 – 3:00
***** After some romantic feelings, the album once again get’s up to speed with Stop Loving You, and the acceleration is done superbly. A short intro in 20 seconds, then a stop followed by percussion and a verse that’s up to par with the amazing chorus. One of those tracks where at least I know almost every single tone. At 2:50 when they incorporate some Jazz-influences, the track reaches its peak.
***** Mushanga. I’ve tried to find out what the word Mushanga means but haven’t been able to find it. The only two explanations i’ve found:
“Mucu Mushanga, their 27th king, was credited with the invention of fire, and he was the first to make clothing out of bark cloth. Shamba Bolongongo (c. 1600), the 93rd king, who introduced weaving and textile manufacture to his people, was…”
Well, I guess it doesn’t matter that much. After all this is an amazing track with (as so many times before) a great rhythm section, and the Spanish-influenced guitar solo after 3:05 is probably one of the most beautiful one’s by Steve Lukather, then followed by a Keyboard solo followed with a pairing of the two. Awesome!
**** Stay Away starts of with a guitar and drums / cow shells. Highlights, the chorus after 1:12 with a great backing vocals.
**** Straight for the heart. Pushed, upbeat drums, paired with vocals starts this track, followed by a great chorus with some amazing horn sections.
***** Only The Children. Great guitar intro which is connected to the end of the last track of the album. The verse has a gentle pace, while slowly accelerates to the great chorus, after the equally amazing break at 0:50. After 2:50 there is a long break followed by the always great guitar solos of Steve Lukather.
***** A Thousand Years. The albums second ballad, once again well placed on the album. Not as romantic as “Anna”, but a nice gentle track with some amazing performances by the musicians. Once again, Beautiful!!
**** These Chains is a slow, almost jazzy track. I really like the vocals at “What should direction should I go”. One of the places where I always here my self sing along (and no that will not improve the song at all 😉 ).
***** Home Of The Brave. 6:48 of total pleasure. My favorite track on the album, and an awesome track live where they are using the guitar section after 3:10 / 5:34 to alter the sound between right and left in the concerts. Some flavors of Peter Gabriel in that section? And the crescendo on the album after about 3:50, the break! Totally awesome. I know that this may be more enjoyable for those that really enjoys the technical parts, but this is so good!
Whenever I discuss music with friends and acquaintances about Best Album Ever, this comes up as one of those that should be on the list. With no big dips, and an album that shifts in tempo but still keeps it together as an album. Awesome.
The sound is on the more modern hard-rock style like Tool and Alice in Chains, but I think there’s also some similarities with Green Day, and even though I’m not a big fan of Green Day, I really like their sound. Easy Accessible Modern Hard Rock. This is not an album that will keep you occupied in analyzing the lyrics, and try to think about every single word, or note for that matter. But it’s really good in it’s simplicity and youthfulness.
So why the name Hoobastank and how did they end up together? I found this print-out from an interview where this was discussed:
Purcell: Let me start off with the obvious question, where did the name “Hoobastank” originate?
Lappalainen: Hoobastank was an inside joke between us and now we think there’s no real meaning of it. It’s like Jamiroqui. What is Jamiroqui? What does Jamiroqui mean? We have different interpretations of it. One definition is an ice-skating term for when you try to do a triple axle and fall on your butt. That’s Hoobastank. I heard a couple of kids on ESPN say that it’s two monkeys having sex. It’s up to your own interpretation.
Purcell: Why was the spelling of Hoobastank changed? I noticed it used to be HoobUstank and now it’s HoobAstank. What’s the deal with that?
Lappalainen: The whole thing with the “u” to the “a” was we just kept getting “Hoo-Boo-Stank” and there were totally different spellings of our name. It made it a whole lot easier with HoobAstank.
Purcell: That’s pretty interesting. Where’d you guys meet?
Lappalainen: Dan and I we met in ’92 and we used to be in a band called Idiosyncratic. Then Dan and I went our separate ways. When I left, Dan and Doug got together and started writing music. Then one day I saw Dan’s number in the paper and I called up and said “Hey Dan, what’s going on?” He was like “Ah nothing,” so they both came over to my house. Dan and Doug showed me some of their stuff. I thought “wow this is actually kind of cool.” I showed them my stuff and Dan and I just started clicking again. We found Chris a couple months later in a recycler (a newspaper for musicians). Three months later, Hoobastank was formed.
Carole King, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Faith Evans, Al Green, Beyoncé, Diana Ross, Sheena Easton, Toni Braxton, Michael Jackson, Michael Bolton, Paula Abdul,Eric Clipton, Pebbles, Tevin Campbell, Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston, Brandy, Mary J. Blige, Tamia, Shola Ama, 3T, Sisqó, Dru Hill, Fall Out Boy, Céline Dion, Honeyz, Katharine McPhee, Mariah Carey, Vanessa L. Williams, Chanté Moore, En Vogue, Kenny G, Kristinia DeBarge, Lil Wayne, Japanese singer Ken Hirai, P!nk, Marc Nelson, TLC, and Phil Collins among others.
That’s not a bad list of experiences for a producer/song writer, and it’s only a part of the “legacy list” of Kenneth Brian “Babyface” Edmonds.
My first experience with Babyface came the first day when I spent some time in New York back in 1997. On the first day of the trip I bought this CD “Babyface Unplugged NYC 1997” in the largest record store . It was love at first listening. An album that’s so impressive, from start to finish, with a musician line-up that’s absolute top class.
This album is like the finest bottle of red wine. The subtle tones, the power, the different flowers… they are all there.
What I really enjoy with this album is the atmosphere that he manage to set through all the tracks. The small talk between some of the tracks is also a great way to create that special atmosphere.
I don’t know if I ever experienced such a “listening-punch”, as the first time I heard this record at an acquaintance back in the 80’s (in Bergsviken Piteå). The vocals were awesome and the album was well kept together, and it was one of the first heavy metal albums that I discovered where normal and modern (at the time) synthesizers were used in such a good way.
Phenomena was not a regular “group”, but rather a “supergroup”, put together by producer Tom Galley, Wilfried Rimensberger and Mel Galley guitarist in Whitesnake) with many great musicians as contributors, among them Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath amongst others), Brian May (Queen) and John Wetton (Uriah Heep) and many others.
Phenomena’s production of rock songs based on a story line running through a whole album, attached to artworks and other multi-media aspects was credited for the “return of the concept album” in the 1980s.
There isn’t so much information about Phenomena to Discover, but an interesting news is that the recently formed “Tom Galley’s Phenomena” will perform live for the first time in Sweden 2014, at Swedish Rock.
Tracks in this YouTube-video (according to “Piwtoad”):
01 (00:00) Kiss Of Fire
Backing Vocals — Alison McGinnis, Pete Green, Bass — Neil Murray, Drums — Cozy Powell, Guitar — John Thomas, Keyboards — Richard Bailey, Galley Songwriter — Richard Vocals — Glenn Hughes
02 (04:57) Still The Night
Backing Vocals — Pete Green, Drums — Ted McKenna, Guitar — John Thomas, Mel Galley, Keyboards — Robin Smith, Vocals, Bass, Songwriter — Glenn Hughes
03 (08:24) Dance With The Devil
Backing Vocals — Alison McGinnis, Pete Green, Bass — Neil Murray, Drums — Cozy Powell, Guitar — John Thomas, Guitar, Songwriter — Mel Galley, Lyrics By, Songwriter — Tom Galley, Songwriter — Richard Bailey, Violin [Fiddle] — Rick Sanders, Vocals — Glenn Hughes
04 (13:07) Phoenix Rising
Backing Vocals — Alison McGinnis, Pete Green, Bass — Neil Murray, Drums — Cozy Powell, Guitar, Songwriter — Mel Galley, Keyboards, Songwriter — Richard Bailey, Lyrics By, Songwriter — Tom Galley, Vocals — Glenn Hughes 4:45
05 (17:52) Believe
Backing Vocals — Alison McGinnis, Pete Green, Bass — Neil Murray, Drums — Cozy Powell, Guitar — John Thomas, Keyboards, Songwriter — Richard Bailey, Lyrics By — Tom Galley Vocals — Glenn Hughes Vocals [Boy Soloist] — Neil Willars
07 (27:26) Hell On Wings
Backing Vocals — Alison McGinnis, Pete Green, Bass — Neil Murray, Drums — Cozy Powell, Guitar, Songwriter — Mel Galley, Keyboards, Songwriter — Richard Bailey, Lyrics By, Songwriter — Tom Galley, Vocals — Glenn Hughes
08 (31:20) Twilight Zone
Backing Vocals — Alison McGinnis, Paul Robbins, Pete Green, Bass — Neil Murray, Drums Cozy Powell, Guitar — John Thomas, Mel Galley, Keyboards, Songwriter — Richard Bailey, , Lyrics By, Songwriter — Tom Galley, Vocals — Glenn Hughes
09 (35:33) Phenomena
Arranged By [Choral Arrangements], Songwriter — Paul Robbins, Choir — Midland Boys Singers, Keyboards — Richard Bailey, Lyrics By, Songwriter — Tom Galley, Other [Musical Director] — Alvena Grant, Pete Grant, Vocals [Solo Vocalist] — Neil Willars
Who could believe that a group, named after Malcolm and Angus sister Margaret had seen the initials AC/DC on a sewing machine, would be one of biggest groups in history? (in Australia they are commonly called Acca Dacca”)
When I started to arrange this top 40-list, it was obvious that AC/DC would end up on the list. A band that have pretty much gone their own way over time, and for instance never have produced a commercially ballad like many other Heavy Metal bands. AC/DC always stays true to their concept, straight on, pub-rock inspired heavy metal, with guitar, bass, drums and vocals.
In my opinion this is their best album (so far?); Back in Black. With over 40-50 million (both figures can be found on internet) records sold this is the second, or fourth most sold album in history (depending on source).
Back in Black was the first album with Brian Johnson on vocals, after the tragic death of Bon Scott (after a tragic night of severe drinking 1980). It’s been said that the band was about to quit at the time, but Bon Scott’s family wanted them to continue.
Various candidates were considered for his replacement, including: Buzz Shearman, ex-Moxy member, who was not able to join because of voice problems, ex-Back Street Crawler vocalist Terry Slesser and then Slade vocalist, Noddy Holder. The remaining AC/DC members finally decided on ex-Geordie singer Brian Johnson.
Angus Young later recalled, “I remember the first time I had ever heard Brian’s (Johnson) name was from Bon. Bon had mentioned that he had been in England once touring with a band and he had mentioned that Brian had been in a band called Geordie and Bon had said ‘Brian Johnson, he was a great rock and roll singer in the style of Little Richard.’ And that was Bon’s big idol, Little Richard. I think when he saw Brian at that time, to Bon it was ‘Well he’s a guy that knows what rock and roll is all about.’ He mentioned that to us in Australia. I suppose when we decided to continue, Brian was the first name that Malcolm and myself came up with, so we said we should see if we can find him.” For the audition, Johnson sang “Whole Lotta Rosie” from Let There Be Rock and Ike & Tina Turner’s “Nutbush City Limits”. He was hired a few days after the audition.
The album was named Back in black as a sign of mourning, and respect to the late Bon Scott.
This may be the greatest artist that have ever lived, and this album is for sure one of the best albums ever. It’s really impressive to follow the making of the album in the Youtube-clip (attached later in this post). All the details, all the thoughts and Michael Jackson’s amazing touch for everything, together with Quincy Jones as a producer. An unstoppable team.
What was interesting at this time in music history, was the importance of music videos. This may be one of the albums with the most music videos produced from it.
Five of the tracks from the made it to number one in U.S.
I Just Can’t Stop Loving You
The Way You Make Me Feel
Man In The Mirror
Dirty Diana (don’t miss out the amazing guitar play on this one)
I will not go into details for every song in this post, since it’s so well described in the documentary. Don’t miss that one, if you haven’t seen it before.
Nikki Sixx (Frank Ferrana), Vince Neil (Vince Neil Warton), Mick Mars (Robert Allen Bippus) and Tomme Lee (Tomme Lee Bass) may be the band that have lived the rock’n roll life to its absolute maximum. Success, fame, glam, women and party on one hand. Drugs, jail, trash, crash, burn and even dead band members. Nikki Six was in an academic way dead for two minutes before found by Slash in his hotel room 1987, and the injected with adrenalin in the heart and survived. This was actually the background for the track “Kickstart my heart” on the Dr Feelgood album.
Back to the album. This is after all a “Best album of all times”-list. Shout at Devil was released in 1983 and was Mötley Crües biggest hit at the time. The sound, with its roots in Blues, and old school rock n’ roll, played on speed became part of the beginning of a new era in the hard rock / heavy metal scene; Glam rock.
Many parents in Sweden were really afraid of Mötley Crüe and other bands at the time (especially W.A.S.P), and even Swedish Television arranged a talk show around this matter (Swedish), and even though Nikki Sixx tried his best to explain the lyrics in a more down to earth way, the parents hated the album, which always is a good reason for the teenagers to do the opposite. “What a crock of shit! There was nothing demonic about Shout at the Devil. All we were saying was that everyone should stand up and shout at those people who are holding them down, whether it’s their parents, their teachers, or their bosses.” Nikki Sixx (source: nikkisixx.tv).
The highlights on the record, except for the title track is, in my mind “Looks that kill”, “Helter Skelter” (Beatles Cover) and “Too young to fall in love”.
I really like the full sound of Mötley Crüe at this stage in their career, with the crisp guitar, the always amazing drums, Nikki Sixx (as the most frequent writer of the tracks) bass lines and of course the falsetto voice of Vince Neil.
Some other facts:
Nikki Six played with Slash and Izzy Stradlin (later part of Gun’s n Roses) before forming Mötley Crüe
Vince Neil appeared in the MTV-show “The remake of Vince Neil” which was aimed at getting Vince Neil back in form after years of food abuse
Gary Moore (1952-2011), is probably one of the “all greatest guitarists so far”. Maybe not always the fastest, but the combination technical skills, incredible melodies and a 6:th sense to catch an atmosphere has brought him to the absolute top.
As I wrote in the first post in this series – The Best Album of All Times – I will only post one album per artist and I guess that Gary Moore could hold more places than one. The hard part is to choose between the three of them Wild Frontier, After the war and Run for Cover.
In my opinion Wild Frontier is the best when it come to a complete album without any big dips, and oh’boy this album is on the safe side all the way. The difference between this album and the earlier ones are obvious but an interesting detail is the use of a drum machine instead of a human drummer.
The album kicks off with the famous “Over The Hills And Far Away” (later covered by many others for example Nightwish), followed up by the title song “Wild Frontier”. These both songs marks perfectly the change in Gary Moores style after the previous mentioned albums. The Heavy Metal is more popilicious, and the overall sound more friendly.
It continues with “Take A Little Time”. Still a really good song, but a bit after the first two tracks. In my opinion this track get’s a little bit to flirty with the new style and the chorus isn’t far away from many other Dance-tracks.
The Loner is a true epic track with Moore showing of his rare sensitivity in creating emotions / feelings with a guitar. An awesome track!
The weakest part of this album may be the start of “Friday On My Mind”, and it doesn’t really kick off completely, but still is an okay track.
Strangers In The Darkness is a track that may be influenced by Billy Idol (?). The atmosphere, and even more, the vocals are pretty close.
Thunder Rising; a track with a heavy guitar adrenaline stamina that runs almost through the whole song, a punchy chorus and after approx 3:30 a guitar that almost sounds like a bagpipe.
Johnny Boy; a sad track with beautiful melodies dedicated to his friend Phil Lynnot that passed away 1986.
Don’t miss the last track (since it’s hidden behind a second version of “Over the hills and far away”). I’m not really sure how to comment on this track. This track is really different from the others. Some West Coast influences (?), some pop and a bit of a 70’s sound at the same time. In short, Great track! Don’t miss!
If you want to explore more songs from his previous albums I suggest: