What is it?: A comprehensive collection of songs by the legendary Chuck Berry that – oh jesus there really are 28 songs on this album
What’s it like?: I’m thrilled an artist like Berry was included on here, and so high up as well. Given how inspiring and vital he was to most of our modern rock and pop music, it’s no surprise that this, a collection of some of his best work, is pretty darn good. Its only downfall is that it goes on for a very long time – 28 songs – and that means some of the tracks tend to get a bit lost.
Between me listening to the album and actually posting this review, of course, Berry has sadly passed away at the grand old age of 90. He achieved a heck of a lot in that time, and it started with the songs on ‘The Great Twenty-Eight’ – and although not every song is a 10/10, I really recommend giving it a listen.
When to listen to it: When you have a lot of time to kill and want to celebrate the life of one of music’s greats.
Verdict: Rest in peace, Chuck.
What is it?: The youngest Jackson brother serving casual white tie realness and making some good music while he’s at it.
What’s it like?: Apparently ‘Thriller’ is “better” and “more influential” than ‘In the Aeroplane Over the Sea’. Whatever, Rolling Stone, whatever.
Anyway. ‘Thriller’. If I remember rightly, this is the biggest-selling record in the UK, ever – and lord knows it’s iconic. It’s a surprise it hasn’t appeared until no.20 on this list. This is Jackson at his best, pumping out classics like ‘Beat It’ and ‘Billie Jean’, and making those squealing sounds we all love.
There are a few dud tracks present, though – more than I would have expected, actually – and that was a little disappointing. But on the whole, it’s clear ‘Thriller’ deserves its iconic status.
When to listen to it: When you have something to celebrate and want to do it in style, baby.
Verdict: It’s fab, but I do see why it only just cracked the top 20.
What is it?: Okay, before I continue with this review, let’s just address the elephant in the room: we’re nearly at the end of the top 20 greatest albums of all time, and there’s still no sign of Neutral Milk Hotel’s ‘In the Aeroplane Over the Sea’, i.e. the single best piece of music ever recorded. Disgusting, right? Utterly unbelievable? I can only assume that the Rolling Stone staff just have appalling taste and have put it, for some reason, as low down as no.20. Anyway. Whatever.
What’s it like?: It’s a sad-sounding man cawing dismally and a little too slowly over plucked guitars and occasional percussion.
‘Astral Weeks’ very much epitomises ‘it’s probably great if you’re into that sort of thing’, and unfortunately this album (and Van Morrison as a whole, I suspect) is merely on the outer fringes of the sort of thing I’m into.
On a side note, I absolutely love the album art.
When to listen to it: In a field somewhere on a summer’s day when you’re feeling a little bit heartbroken.
Verdict: Ehhh, it’s fine. I wouldn’t listen to it again though.