OK Computer – Radiohead (1997)

OK Computer - Radiohead (1997)

It’s the classic “best album of the ’90s” pick, which means that any backlash it gets is pretty much inevitable. Sure, there are other ’90s albums that are as creative (Ágætis byrjun), as emotionally resonant (Automatic for the People), as influential (Loveless), or as melodic (Grace) as this one. But what makes OK Computer the greatest album of its generation is the the way all of those elements come together in one place – most notably on the crushing, sweeping Paranoid Android. Listen to how perfectly it moves from the unnerving first part to the second part’s explosive rock (complete with an incredible guitar solo), to the chilling Gothic finale. Better songs have been written, but there aren’t many. Among them is Let Down, my favorite. The riff rules, but the real high point is the climax, with an army of overdubbed Thom Yorkes doing their thing.

Choice Cut: Let Down

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Lazzarato – Jack White (2014)

Lazzarato - Jack White (2014)

Jack White is an eclectic person with an eclectic taste in music. Lazaretto is probably his most eclectic album. There’s a lot of songs in here that have an interesting juxtaposition of country rock and alternative rock. I don’t mean alternative country either. Jack White just kind of decided he wanted to make some songs with country rock and alternative rock influences and it worked. Jack White also keeps his Detroit blues-garage rock roots in his guitar playing. I don’t know how he manages to do all these things, but I guess when you’re Jack White, you just do it.

Choice Cut: High Ball Stepper
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The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me – Brand New (2006)

The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me - Brand New (2006)

Emo is an appropriately rather misunderstood genre, with pop punk sort of bastardizing great bands like Cap’n Jazz, American Football, and Sunny Day Real Estate. From the moment I saw this album, I just knew it would be brilliant. The album cover is one of my favorites and perfectly reflects the sounds the band are making on the album. But the most important thing is the music, and The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me doesn’t have a weak moment – the five-song opening stretch in particular always leaves me stunned. A dark, intense and powerful album.

Choice Cut: Limousine (MS Rebridge)
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Elephant – The White Stripes (2003)

Elephant - The White Stripes (2003)

If I had to pick an album to describe what the spirit of rock music is, I would pick Elephant.  Its lack of bass is a little unorthodox, but isn’t the spirit of rock music supposed to be a little unorthodox?  Elephant exhibits the rawness and authenticity that I love about rock music.  This isn’t some over-produced bullshit that gets played a lot today.  This album is raw, authentic, dirty, simplistic, and I love it for those very reasons.  Sure, rock can have complexity to it, but something about the simplicity of Elephant just screams “ROCK AND ROLL, BITCH”.

Choice Cut: The Air Near My Fingers
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Wasting Light – Foo Fighters (2011)

Wasting Light - Foo Fighters (2011)

I never thought the Foo Fighters ever made an album that lived up to The Colour and The Shape. Not that the Foo Fighters suck, I actually enjoy most of their albums. I just always felt that The Colour and The Shape had something that all their albums after just simply lacked.  Then Wasting Light came out. Maybe it is because they recorded this album all on analog and could not go back and fix mistakes. Maybe it is because they had Butch Vig as producer. Whatever Foo Fighters did, they did it right.

Choice Cut: Bridge Burning
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Let It Be – The Replacements (1984)

Let It Be - The Replacements (1984)

That rare album you listen to and know with utmost certainty is the real thing. The Replacements really grew up here, and the result was their first classic album, and one of the top five albums of the ’80s. It shows us that those high school years weren’t as bad as we make them out to be. And I Will Dare (which features Peter Buck of R.E.M.) and Favorite Thing (a song about how that special someone is your favorite thing) are so optimistic! Oh man, those were the…

Wait, hold on.

Unsatisfied

Sixteen Blue

Answering Machine

Choice Cut: I Will Dare
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Torches – Foster the People (2011)

Torches - Foster the People (2011)

When I first heard my friends raving about Foster the People, I assumed they were just another no-name pop group that would pass in a couple years. Still, I checked out the album Torches just to see if I was right and I couldn’t believe how wrong I had been. The album nothing short of blew me away with how different it was from so many other popular albums of the year. Songs such as Pumped up Kicks, Call It What You Want and Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls) were incredibly easy to get into, and I can guarantee that anyone will find songs they enjoy on this album.

Choice Cut: Call It What You Want
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