Album

No.27 – U2, ‘The Joshua Tree’

What is it?: One of the most popular albums from Irish band U2, fronted by local utter knob Bono.

What’s it like?: Considering the whole idea of listening to U2 made me inwardly groan, and considering I think Bono should just go away… ‘The Joshua Tree’ is pretty darn good. I put off listening to it for about four days, but damn if I was proven wrong.

It kicks in with ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ and you think okay, it’s starting strong, but then, holy crap, it just keeps going. It doesn’t slow down. ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ is obviously a killer track, ‘With Or Without You’ rocks – it’s a continuous stream of enjoyable music.

What the hell is going on?

Verdict: I’ve been put in my place here. If we just take the music on its own, it’s a solid 8/10, but Bono is such a knob that I’ve had to knock a point off.

7/10

 

Album

No.26 – Fleetwood Mac, ‘Rumours’

What is it?: ‘Rumours’, the music-savant-slash-magical-woodland-being’s record of choice, and the Mac at their finest.

What’s it like?: I’ve listened to Rumours casually before and enjoyed it, but sitting down and paying attention to the whole of it really drove home how good it is. What a beautifully crafted album. What excellent musicianship. What gorgeous, thoughtful songwriting.

I could not be more into this. I’m ready to give up London and go live in a treehouse in a forest somewhere and just play this all day until I become one with the trees.

When to listen to it: Whilst frolicking.

Verdict: I am absolutely in love with ‘Rumours’. More please.

9/10

Album

No.25 – James Brown, ‘Live at the Apollo’

What is it?: A standup routine presented by Michael McIntyre Our first live album so far, from none other than the Godfather of Soul himself.

What’s it like?: I mean… I do enjoy James Brown but this isn’t really what I expected of the highest-ranked album of his on the list. This was an excellent live album, I’ll give it that, but I didn’t particularly feel like it let me get to know his music at all.

I guess if you really, really like live albums, like if live albums are your thing, this is one of the best you can get. But if you just fancy a bit of James Brown right now, this ain’t the one.

It didn’t even have ‘I Feel Good’ on it.

When to listen to it: The Apollo Theater, Harlem, in 1962 is probably a good shout.

Verdict: A good live album, a mediocre entry to the list, a bad choice for Baby’s First James Brown Record.

5/10

Album

No.24 – Stevie Wonder, ‘Innervisions’

What is it?: A “landmark recording of [Wonder’s] classical period”, according to Wikipedia, and his sixteenth album. Dude was prolific, I’ll give him that.

What’s it like?: It’s official, folks: the list has finally shifted away from dad music and into mom music territory.

I loved this, actually. It isn’t just a collection of songs that somehow fit together, it’s an album, you know? ‘Innervisions’ is entirely cohesive, with the themes and music blending perfectly, and barely faulting on its way. Almost every song is worthy of a listen in its own right, but as an album it works juuuuust nice.

When to listen to it: When it’s late at night, you’re in the flat on your own, and you just feel like doing something special for yourself. Pour a glass of wine, run a bubble bath, and stick ‘Innervisions’ on.

Verdict: Enjoyable.

7.5/10

Album

No.23 – John Lennon, ‘Plastic Ono Band’

What is it?: A solo album from one member of a band who may look a bit familiar by now.

What’s it like?: Just when I was starting to think, hey, we haven’t had a Beatles record in a while, the list cheats and throws us this.

I’ll be honest, I really don’t like Lennon enough to even bother with this one. This was the first album on the list that I saw and thought ugh, no, and went ahead and skipped. There’s really only so much of the unbearable shiteness of Lennon a gal can take, and we’ve reached my limit.

When to listen to it: Whenever you like, just don’t use my speakers.

Verdict: I have no idea.

??/10

Album

No.22 – Robert Johnson, ‘The Complete Recordings’

What is it?: A collection of recordings by blues legend and crossroad enthusiast Robert Johnson.

What’s it like?: If Johnson really did sell his soul to make this music, fair play to him.

I haven’t listened to as much blues in my life as I’d like, but even I know it’s rare to find it as good as this. Johnson is a pioneer and insanely skillful, equally as a guitarist, a singer, and a songwriter. The album positively hums with talent.

The multiple takes got a bit tiresome – I don’t necessarily need to hear a track twice in a row but slightly different – though I see why they’re there.

It honestly doesn’t matter what my opinion is on this record. You should listen to it.

When to listen to it: While sipping a whiskey and applying for a job as Lucifer’s PA.

Verdict: A vital collection, even if it’s not your standard background music. Sit down and take this one in.

8/10

Album

No.21 – Chuck Berry, ‘The Great Twenty-Eight’

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.

6.5/10