Sandinista! – The Clash (1980)

Sandinista! - The Clash (1980)

The common criticism of Sandinista! is that it would’ve been better pared down to a double or single album. The Clash’s best album is contained in here (check out Joe’s excellent rapping on The Magnificent Seven, or the breezy pop/protest song Washington Bullets – which turn the album’s title into something incredibly catchy) and even at its worst, it’s still really interesting. Most of the throwaway stuff is buried way deep on side 6, which consists largely of dub versions and remixes of earlier songs. Removing those weaker tracks may improve the overall quality, but then it wouldn’t be the same – the sprawl is part of the package! “I stand proud of it,” Joe Strummer once said of the album, “warts and all.”

Choice Cut: Police on My Back

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Station to Station – David Bowie (1976)

Station to Station - David Bowie (1976)

The utterly brilliant product of a man so blitzed on cocaine that he doesn’t even remember recording it. Bowie had successfully killed off his most popular creation for good, replacing Ziggy Stardust with some grotesque creature called “The Thin White Duke.” If you ask five Bowie fans what their favorite Bowie record is, you’re gonna get five different answers. This is my pick. Blending suave disco and pop (Golden Years, Stay) with avant-garde awesomeness (the title track, TVC 15), Bowie makes his best record – which would make this head and shoulders above most other albums.

Choice Cut: Station to Station
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All ‘n All – Earth, Wind, and Fire (1977)

All 'n All - Earth, Wind, and Fire (1977)

Genres
R&B

Choice Cut
Fantasy

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If you are new to R&B and looking for easy starting points, this album should be added to your list. I was new to R&B when I first listened, and I had no problem getting into the songs on this album. The album starts off very strong with two of my favorite R&B songs of all time, “Serpentine Fire” and “Fantasy”. All ‘n All is an album of many strengths, and the elements of R&B, soul, jazz, and funk shine through beautifully to create a masterpiece in the R&B catalogue.

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