Tagged: Desert Island Albums

The inimitable Count Fosco tagged me in a a recent post and demanded that I stand and deliver my five desert-island must-have albums. Not a man to shirk blogging responsibility, here I go:

1. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Let Love In.
One criteria I have for any "great album" is that the entire thing has to be good, less maybe one or two songs, and that the songs have to build on one another and be stronger than the sum of their parts. This is the album that led me to those conclusions back in the late 90s. This is Nick Cave and co. at their best: rock with sprinkles of ambiguous theology in a vaguely gothy mode, by way of Australians with bowie knives. "Red Right Hand" is itself in my top-five songs of all time.

2. Devo: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
This will come as no surprise, considering I have this album title tattooed on my shins. I've been a Devo fanatic since freshman year in high school, but for a long time I held the idiosyncratic opinion that their "robot dance phase" of Oh No! It's Devo and even the often-maligned Shout were their best albums. I finally reverted to orthodoxy in the last few years, acknowleding Are We Not Men as a really mind-bendingly good album. Their entire mythos of weird anti-science / performance art was at its best with this album, and the songs are all awesome.

3. Motorhead: Sacrifice.
When I was a scrawny would-be punk in high school, I thought that metal sucked. This was the early/mid 90s, and hair metal had reigned supreme recently enough that it was still the enemy. A few years later, however, I saw Motorhead play while I lived in England and I was instantly converted. Lemmy is, simply, the incarnation of rock on this planet. I didn't bother and compare Motorhead to Black Label Society in my last post because Motorhead transcends being "great at their genre" - they are to other metal bands as Bruce Lee is to anyone else who has ever been in a kung fu movie. 1995's Sacrifice is, for me, the best example of the best serious rock band in the history of the universe.

4. The Magnetic Fields: Get Lost.
One of these kids is not like the others. Magnetic Fields, the "main" one-man band of genius songwriter Stephen Merritt, used to make the best synth-pop/indie rock albums...ever. His 69 Love Songs was, I think, the last brilliant thing he did before indulging in more and more show-tunes style piano songs and abandoning, for the most part, the genre that he had been so good at. Get Lost is the exemplary album, full of brilliant, catchy, sad synthpop songs about love getting completely fucked up. (Side note: couldn't find any Youtube videos of songs off this one, so here's a slightly earlier but also brilliant tune, Strange Powers:)

5. Turbonegro, Apocalypse Dudes.
It's a hard decision to pick Apocalypse Dudes over the other fantastic album, Ass Cobra, by Norway's proudest sons since Ah Ha. I will cut to the chase: Jello Biafra once said Apocalypse Dudes was the greatest rock album of all time. I'm not sure if any one album can be that, but it's definitely up there in the firmament. This is stadium rock if it was totally evil, a "we will rock you" style of anthemic music in service to the prince of darkness alone (I mean this figuratively; in fact, Turbonegro invented their "gay fascist" schtick specifically to freak out their friends who really were satan-worshipping black metal guys back in Oslo.) I straight-up love this album.

I now tag Ransom. Get to work, dude.


FOSCO said...

Well done. I knew I would learn lots if you went along and did this meme.

One thing I learned: I'm scared of Motorhead. Eek!

Austin Rich said...

That's one way you can react to Motorhead. But what some call fear, others call the opening chords of "Iron Fist."

Nick Mullins said...

I've got a DVD of a Bad Seeds concert that I've gotta loan you. It's got a great version of "Red Right Hand" on it.