My Journey Through Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time – Part 1

Some time ago I embarked on a quest to listen to all 500 of Rolling Stone’s list of what they feel to be the greatest albums of all time. I only got about seventeen albums in before I petered out. Soon after I noticed that Rolling Stone decided to update the list. They bumped a lot of albums out and put a lot of new ones in. I’ve been wanting to continue the quest and given that the list has changed I figured I would just start over. I can’t guarantee how long it will take (and I’m not going to put a timeframe on myself) but I’m going to try my best. I’m going to deliver my posts in installments of ten albums each, so if I manage to finish this endeavor there will be a total of fifty posts! Wow, here goes.

Note: If you’d like to check out the list for yourself or perhaps even follow along with me you can find it here.

500) Outkast - Aquemini (1998)

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This is a funky and groove-based hip hop album. Then again, I suppose that is the case with most hip hop albums. What sets this one apart, however, is the fact that it came out in 1998 – an era where mainstream r&b and hip hop was prevalent and it presents a very “underground” vibe.

Standout tracks: “Rosa Parks” and “Synthesizer”

Listened to via Spotify

499) B.B. King - Live In Cook County Jail (1971)

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Wow. This is an interesting album. Legend has it that the prisoners were quite hostile but The King was able to win them over. In the intro you can hear them booing quite loudly as the lady introduces various members of the prison staff, but it seemed like they were quite welcoming to the blues master.

Standout tracks: “Worry, Worry” and “The Thrill Is Gone”

Listened to via Spotify

498) The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses (1989)

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Rolling Stone claims this album was single-handedly responsible for launching ’90s brit pop and after having listened to it that doesn’t seem too far off the mark. You can certainly see where bands like Oasis and Blur got some of their inspiration. And for being one of only two studio albums this band ever released, it’s got staying power. I had never heard it prior to this listen and I’m glad I’ve been introduced to it.

Standout tracks: “Waterfall” and “Don’t Stop”

Listened to via Spotify

497) The White Stripes - White Blood Cells (2001)

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When this album released in 2001, even though it was the group’s third, people seemed to be just finding out about The White Stripes and either loved or hated them. I used to be in the latter camp. Thankfully, that has changed and I can appreciate this album in all its non-bass glory. Jack White is one of the greatest musicians of his generation and this album helped lay the groundwork for that.

Standout tracks: “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” and “We’re Going To Be Friends”

Listened to via Spotify

496) Boz Scaggs - Boz Scaggs (1969)

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The Jann Wenner-produced (maybe that’s why it’s on this list) sophomore album by this blues/folk master is at times reminiscent of Stevie Wonder and at others of Hank Williams. Scaggs demonstrates a wide range of musical talent and the epic “Loan Me A Dime” is evidence of that.

Standout tracks: “Now You’re Gone” and “Loan Me A Dime”

Listened to via YouTube

495) Bonnie Raitt - Give It Up (1972)

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Oh Bonnie. She is one of my favorite female musicians. Unfortunately, up until this point I’d never gone this far back in her discography. It was well worth it though! If you don’t think that a twenty-three-year old can sing the blues then you’re wrong. This album is proof that the blues have been flowing through Bonnie’s veins her whole life.

Standout tracks: “Give It Up or Let Me Go” and “Under the Falling Sky”

Listened to via Spotify

494) MGMT - Oracular Spectacular (2008)

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I’m not a fan of this band. They are a bit too hipster for my taste and their debut album is hit and miss. Thanks to one of the local radio stations here in Portland overplaying it, I change the station every time their hit song “Kids” comes on. For me, they just don’t belong between Bonnie Raitt and Wilco.

Standout tracks: You decide

Listened to via Spotify

493) Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)

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This is a delightfully cool album. It’s quirky, charming, and at times depressing, and that’s okay. I had the pleasure of seeing these guys at Coachella in 2005 and I remember my reaction to them being similar to when I first heard Radiohead. In other words, I didn’t like them but even then I was oddly drawn to “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart.” Thankfully, I love them now and as ashamed as I am to admit it, my listen for this post was my first full listen through the album. I’ll be listening to it a lot more from now on.

Standout tracks: “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart” and “Heavy Metal Drummer”

Listened to via Spotify

492) Eurythmics – Touch (1983)

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This is a delightfully ’80s-sounding album from the first note all the way to the last. Annie Lennox has that trademark lower-end voice for a female and it just lends itself to the musical style of Eurythmics. This album doesn’t showcase their most famous song “Sweet Dreams,” but it has a host of others which are just as good.

Standout tracks: “Here Comes the Rain Again” and “Paint A Rumour”

Listened to via Spotify

491) Albert King - Born Under A Bad Sign (1967)

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This is a great blues album. Albert King has that classic blues voice and his guitar chops make him the total package.

Standout tracks: “Born Under A Bad Sign” and “The Hunter”

Listened to via Spotify

 

The Sword!

I got the privilege of covering one of my favorite metal bands for the second time in about seven months the other night. Austin, Texas’ stoner metal quartet The Sword swung through Portland and thundered people’s faces off. It was enjoyable from front to back. Check out my full review here.

Review: Beck – Morning Phase

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Talk about anticipating an album for many years. We’ve all been waiting for a proper studio album from the great Beck for, what, six years now? His new one, Morning Phase, might not necessarily be the Beck you’re used to, but it doesn’t disappoint. Check out my full review here.

My Reason For Being

Life almost never turns out how we hope and rarely do things go the way we want. These are simple yet frustrating truths.

I am a broken man. When I was a boy and thought ahead to the man I wanted to become, none of those visions included a bad temper, a worried mind, and least of all OCD – all of which are parts of who I am today.

So what is supposed to happen when reality sets in, when we are faced with the realization that there are parts of us which are not only unwanted, but which we hate? What about when we start allowing ourselves to be defined by those things? You begin to tread water. You begin to do whatever it takes just to stay afloat.

Treading water can only be done for so long before you begin to give out. After a while of chasing God’s coattails we find ourselves asking Him, “Will I ever be able to just see you face-to-face?”

I’ve spent the last few years of my life feeling that way. I have anxiety and OCD and because of that, I spend the majority of my days feeling foggy headed, tired, and anxious. My OCD flares up during times like these and takes hold of my mind. It then becomes hard to concentrate on much else besides the troublesome thoughts that land in my head and before I know it, I’m a crumpled mess inside and it affects how I view life as well as treat my family. If I allow it to be, it’s a rather vicious cycle.

Today, by the Grace of God, I have realized that not only is the answer right in front of me, it is actually inside of me. It is a person with a name; His name is the Holy Spirit.

I’ve been a Christian my whole life and have understood little about the Holy Spirit. I’ve held little to no regard for Him mainly because I never really understood what His purpose was.

That all changed today when I heard a teaching at my church all about the presence of God. In short, the purpose of the Holy Spirit is so that we can live within God’s presence. And living within God’s presence is why we were created.

Why do we need to live in God’s presence? Well, apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). We need to live in His presence because we can’t expect to go into the world and accomplish God’s mission of our own strength and resolve. When we partner with the Holy Spirit – God’s presence – we begin to fire on all cylinders. And the really cool thing (I’m hoping to find this true for myself as I move forward) is that along the way, while spending each day relying upon and basking in the presence of God, we find that all those plans and desires we had for our lives that aren’t going as we’d hoped melt away in the light of His glorious embrace.

For me, that means that my bad temper, my worried mind, and my OCD all suddenly become small quirks about my life rather than things which define it. I become who I was meant to be, I become whole.

Suddenly, my life is defined by a recognition of and thirst for the presence of God. I orient my life around God’s presence by looking to Jesus as my example. In Him, I see a person who had a clear identity and a deep sense of intimacy with His Father – all stemming from and flowing out of His hunger for God’s presence and willingness to seek it out.

Why is this so important? Because the world thirsts for a church who knows what it is like to exist in the intimate presence of God.

May these things be true in my life. May I no longer chase God’s coattails, but instead be with Him wherever He is and partnered with Him in whatever He is doing there.

Then, and only then, will I be cooking with gas.