I saw an article on Yahoo music today about the top 20 albums of all time. The criteria was pretty inclusive–critical acclaim, sales, time on the charts, etc. Certain types of albums were excluded, namely compilations and live albums. I actually agreed with many of the album choices, and even owned several of them myself.
But I thought it would be fun to see what my top 20 albums of all time would be, based solely upon my own criteria, which is my opinion of their awesomeness. I’ll start at 20, and count down to 1:
20. Van Halen–Van Halen . It introduced to world to Eddie Van Halen, and “shredding.” And it’s awesome. Just listen to “Eruption.”
19. Rush–2112. The first concept album I ever heard. Rush in their heyday, while Geddy Lee could still shriek like a banshee. Listen to side 1, or better yet, play the entire thing.
18. The Who–Tommy. Come on. Pinball Wizard? Tommy was the first real “rock opera,” and kicked ass before “Rent” was even a twinkle in anyone’s eye. Listen to Pinball Wizard.
17. Bruce Springsteen–The River. Epic double album–and before Bruce began his liberal soapboxing in earnest. Listen to the title track.
16. System of a Down–Toxicity. Brought hardcore weirdness to the masses. Maybe one of the most ass-kicking albums of the past decade. Listen to Prison Song or Chop Suey!
15. Iron Maiden–Live After Death. Recorded in Long Beach, back when I still had hair. Maybe my favorite live album of all time. Bruce Dickinson sounds like an opera singer. Listen to Running Free, or Hallowed be thy Name.
14. Barren Cross–Rock for the King. Horrible cover, without a doubt. Probably the first legit Christian Heavy Metal band I ever heard. Got me thinking a little, too. Listen to Give your Life.
13. Jeff Healey Band–See the Light. So good. Blues rock, heavy on the blues. Jeff is blind as the proverbial bat, and plays with the guitar on his lap. I think I listened to this album at least once a week back in the early 90’s. Listen to See the Light, or Confidence Man.
12. Beastie Boys–Licensed to Ill. I didn’t listen to it much in the 80’s, but have since grown quite fond of it. It makes me want to drink beer, for some reason. Maybe it’s good I haven’t listened to it in a little while. Anyway, the Beastie’s mixed rock and rap way before Limp Bizkit were defiling eardrums. Listen to “No Sleep ’til Brooklyn.” Guitar by Kerry King from Slayer.
11. Judas Priest– Screaming for Vengeance. I remember listening to this for the first time when I was in high school and feeling like someone set my hair on fire. These guys really gave metal its image, and signature look, what with enough leather and spikes to have their own S & M convention. Who knew Rob Halford wasn’t all about the ladies? Listen to the title track.
10. Petra–Captured in time and Space. This was literally the first Christian band I ever heard, even before Stryper. Prior to that, I thought Christian music was all played on the organ, and sung by people in robes. I was surprised by two things: Petra was really good live, and they actually rocked. Not that hard, but they could both play and sing. Listen to God Pleaser.
9. Dio- Last in Line. I sort of had to ignore the psuedo-satanic imagery, and just listen to the music, which, well, really kicked ass. Dio is a cartoon, almost, but I love his voice. Listen to the title track.
8. Todd Agnew– Grace Like Rain. I had no idea this guy existed until 2007. But this CD (oops, album) gave me so much to think about, I might even have to bump it up a notch or two next time. Listen to This Fragile Breath
7. My Chemical Romance– The Black Parade. I make a lousy emo guy (I hate tight pants), but I love this album. I love stories, and this tells an awesome one–great concept album. Listen to the entire thing.
6. Matisyahu– Live at Stubbs. Hasidic reggae. Chew on that for a while. Listen to Warrior, or King without a Crown.
5. Aaron Shust- Anything Worth Saying. Discovered him the same day as Todd Agnew. Equally awesome. Listen to My Savior, My God
4. Todd Agnew– Reflection of Something. Blues/rock. And Jesus. Listen to New Name.
3. Metallica– Master of Puppets. I hardly play this at all anymore, but if you do, and you turn it up loud enough, your head will literally explode. Listen to Battery, or the title track. Classic Metal.
2. Todd Agnew–Better Questions. Have you guessed yet I’m a Todd Agnew Fan? Listen to Our Great God, or War Inside.
1. Bruce Springsteen–Born in the USA. Not because it has a flag on the cover (though I love my county), and not because Bruce Springsteen is unequivocally number one in my book (he isn’t). This is just simply a great album, and a perfect snapshot of the country’s social and political working class climate during the time it was released. And it got me through one of the most trying times of my adolescence (my dad’s death). Listen to No Surrender.