Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Road Less Taken

The goal of our focus for the past month was to pinpoint those LPs that may or may not have been the pinnacle albums of the year, but in some way set a new standard, forged a new genre or set the world on fire. Not all of them are AM10s, indeed only 8 on the list are. Mostly the intent was to create a survey of diversity, to show the evolution of rock music in our culture. And with each entry, there was always the culture shock that this wasn't included or that. The biggest criticism of all was the exclusion of The Velvet Underground and Nico. AM critics were content in their knowledge that Sgt. Pepper, the greatest LP of all time, needed no further accolades and acquiesced on the fact that Sgt. Pepper only perfected what was already attempted on the nearly perfect Revolver. Album of the year would undoubtedly be a cage match between The Beatles and The Velvets, but it was The Moody Blues' Days of Future Passed that carried the torch. And in terms of revolution/evolution, VU fans were pissed. How does an AM8 beat out the seminal punk/garage LP? Days of Future Passed inspired the world without the world knowing and that's bullshit. There are websites that gush all over The Velvets and Nico; meanwhile The Moodys wallow near obscurity – so an AM8 beats the behemoth, get over it.

When all planets align, it is indeed the best LP of the year that is also the most evolutionary: Who's Next, Ziggy, Dark Side, Disintegration. These are the beautiful minds of rock 'n' roll. What was most difficult were those years when so many stellar LPs hit the charts. '67 not only had Sgt. P, The Velvets and The Moodys, there was Surrealistic Pillow and Disreali Gears and both Axis: Bold as Love and Are You Experienced. Magical Mystery Tour was in there as well; so was The Monkees' Headquarters and Donovan's A Gift From a Flower to a Garden. So many stellar LPs; conversely I was hard-pressed not to skip 1990, saved only by the seminal Behaviour. The 90s are lean at best and so the hardest part of this task is yet to come. Ho-Hum.

To get a grasp of the breath of diversity along the survey, here is the list to date: 1966 - Aftermath, 1967 - Days of Future Passed, 1968 - Blood, Sweat and Tears, 1969 - In the Court of the Crimson King, 1970 - After the Gold Rush, 1971 - Who’s Next, 1972 - Ziggy Stardust, 1973 – Dark Side of the Moon, 1974 - Court and Spark, 1975 - Night at the Opera, 1976 - The Ramones, 1977 - My Aim is True, 1978 - More Songs About Buildings and Food, 1979 - Unknown Pleasures, 1980 - Pretenders, 1981 - Architecture and Morality, 1982 - Nebraska, 1983 - Synchronicity, 1984 - Hatful of Hollow, 1985 - Hounds of Love, 1986 - Black Celebration, 1987 - Appetite for Destruction, 1988 - Nothing’s Shocking, 1989 - Disintegration, 1990 –Behaviour, 1991 – Nevermind.