Spin magazine's 100 Greatest Albums 1985-2005

Posted by Al Barger on July 03, 2005 05:20 AM

Like my hometown Hoosier hero W Axl Rose, I'm calling out the punks over at Spin magazine for this crappy list supposedly representing the 100 greatest albums of the last two decades. Get in the ring. This has to be the worst, plain stupidest such list I've seen since the time some years ago when Spin picked "It Takes Two" by Rob Base as the greatest single. When was the last time any of y'all actually listened to that bit of effluvia?

What exactly are the qualifications to write for Spin? Judging by this list, it doesn't have anything to do with knowing or appreciating anything about music. One has to suspect that it has more to do with who's shtupping who at biz parties than with actually listening to the recordings.

Now, on the same general principles by which it is understood that a stopped clock is right twice a day, Spin picked out maybe half a dozen or so records out of the 100 that actually deserved to be there. There's no arguing against Sign O the Times, certainly. Of course, Appetite for Destruction continues to rule. White Blood Cells has actual outstanding SONGS. Fear of a Black Planet may be the greatest rap album ever. I put up Amazon links here for their decent picks.

Most of the rest of this crap is just tuneless nonsense hardly worth a listen even once. Certainly, there exists plenty of room for arguing aesthetic principles and matters of tastes. If you want to argue that the Stones were better than the Beatles or that U2 beats the Who, you might could make a reasonable case.

However, if you say that The Blueprint by Jay Z is superior to Macy Gray preaching On How Life Is (not on the list), then you're just wrong. And if you say that Master of Puppets rates over anything that Paul Simon's done, then obviously you are an idiot regarding music.

Hell, half the people on this list are not really musicians at all in any meaningful sense of the word. Is Courtney Love really even a musician? She could not begin to try to compete against, say, Alicia Keys (also not on the list) just on the basis of basic professional knowledge and skills. Time at the conservatory doesn't necessarily mean you've got anything to say, but basic musical competence is something of a prerequiste. If Courtney Love actually had something significant to say, she wouldn't have the musical fluency to express it.

I suspect that some of these picks come from wanting rock critic pets that just never ever could actually make a hit. Listen to the nasty off key atonal screeching of PJ Harvey, shrieking "Lick my legs of desire!" Ugh, no thank you. There's no danger that these editors will ever have to share her attentions with all them teenagers down at the mall. Hell, even I would rather listen to Britney Spears than this nonsense.

For whatever reasons, they've chosen here to canonize some of the dumbest window lickers in the music biz. The Meat Puppets and Slayer are pretty much worthless idiots, at least professionally speaking. Perhaps they're real nice fellows if you get to know them, but these are not real bands.

Then there's Sonic Youth, truly the most egregiously unlistenable critics pets of a generation. Any critic that comes up carrying on about this band should be considered highly suspect as to their credibility to judge music. Lengthy excursions of tuneless guitar screeching do not constitute music genius. They just represent unlistenable noise.

Consider some of what does NOT make their list. They've got plenty of room for multiple mediocre Radiohead and Husker Du records, but for starters there's no Paul Simon. Uh, Graceland, anyone? Nor is there any Elvis Costello. Apparently he's not cool anymore. There's no Sinead O'Connor here, or Tori Amos. Plus, there's no Michael Jackson. Terence Trent D'Arby? Richard Frickin' Thompson?!

Also, there's nothing here resembling a country album. There's no Johnny Cash, most egregiously. He did some of the finest work of his whole career in those last ten years at American. Dolly Parton has made some great bluegrass oriented records here recently. Granted, she's no Hole, but really. Oh, and there's June Carter.

Be looking for the official correct list of the 100 Best Albums of This Generation from me shortly, and for similar corrective input on this burning question from other Blogcritics.

In the meantime, here's the Spin magazine picks for the 100 Greatest Albums of the Last 20 Years:

1. OK Computer Radiohead 1997
2. It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back Public Enemy 1988
3. Nevermind Nirvana 1991
4. Slanted and Enchanted Pavement 1992
5. The Queen Is Dead The Smiths 1986
6. Surfer Rosa The Pixies 1988
7. 3 Feet High and Rising De La Soul 1989
8. Sign O the Times Prince 1987
9. Rid of Me PJ Harvey 1993
10. Straight Outta Compton NWA 1988
11. Achtung Baby U2 1991
12. Paul's Boutique Beastie Boys 1989
13. New Day Rising Husker Du 1985
14. Daydream Nation Sonic Youth 1988
15. Exile in Guyville Liz Phair 1993
16. Odelay Beck 1996
17. Illmatic Nas 1994
18. Appetite for Destruction Guns n Roses 1987
19. Live Through This Hole 1994
20. Enter the Wu Tang Clan (36 Chambers) Wu-Tang Clan 1993
21. Fear of a Black Planet Public Enemy 1990
22. Loveless My Bloody Valentine 1991
23. Stankonia Outkast 2000
24. Dig Me Out Sleater-Kinney 1997
25. The Downward Spiral Nine Inch Nails 1994
26. Post Bjork 1995
27. The Head on the Door The Cure 1985
28. Definitely Maybe Oasis 1994
29. 13 Songs Fugazi 1989
30. Ready to Die Notorious BIG 1994
31. You're Living All Over Me Dionsaur Jr 1987
32. Tim The Replacements 1985
33. AmeriKKKas Most Wanted Ice Cube 1990
34. Either/Or Elliott Smith 1997
35. The Chronic Dr Dre 1992
36. Doolittle The Pixies 1989
37. Bee Thousand Guided by Voices 1994
38. The Low End Theory A Tribe Called Quest 1991
39. Lucinda Williams Lucinda Williams 1988
40. Raising Hell Run DMC 1986
41. Siamese Dream Smashing Pumpkins 1993
42. Nothing's Shocking Jane's Addiction 1988
43. Criminal Minded Boogie Down Productions 1987
44. Dookie Green Day 1994
45. College Dropout Kanye West 2004
46. This Nation's Saving Grace The Fall 1985
47. Paid in Full Eric B & Rakim 1987
48. Kid A Radiohead 2000
49. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill Lauryn Hill 1998
50. Low Life New Order 1985
51. In Utero Nirvana 1993
52. Licensed to Ill Beastie Boys 1986
53. The Battle of Los Angeles Rage Against the Machine 1999
54. Last Splash The Breeders 1993
55. Dig Your Own Hole The Chemical Brothers 1997
56. To Bring You My Love PJ Harvey 1995
57. White Blood Cells The White Stripes 2001
58. Master of Puppets Metallica 1986
59. The Lonesome Crowded West Modest Mouse 1997
60. De La Soul Is Dead De La Soul 1991
61. Pinkerton Weezer 1996
62. Supa Dupa Fly Missy Elliott 1997
63. Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain Pavement 1994
64. The Marshal Mathers LP Eminem 2000
65. Remedy Basement Jaxx 1999
66. Aquemini Outkast 1998
67. Reign in Blood Slayer 1986
68. Maxiquaye Tricky 1995
69. Entroducing DJ Shadow DJ Shadow 1996
70. The Blueprint Jay Z 2001
71. Psychocandy The Jesus and Mary Chain 1985
72. Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Raekwon 1995
73. Different Class Pulp 1995
74. Dummy Portishead 1994
75. Le Tigre Le Tigre 1999
76. If You're Feeling Sinister Belle and Sebastian 1997
77. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Wilco 2002
78. The Stone Roses The Stone Roses 1989
79. Everything Is Wrong Moby 1995
80. Voodoo D'Angelo 2000
81. Mellow Gold Beck 1994
82. Grace Jeff Buckley 1994
83. Relationship of Command At the Drive-In 2000
84. Superunknown Soundgarden 1994
85. Automatic for the People REM 1992
86. Up on the Sun Meat Puppets 1985
87. Parklife Blur 1994
88. Emperor Tomato Ketchup Stereolab 1996
89. Fever to Tell Yeah Yeah Yeahs 2003
90. Sister Sonic Youth 1987
91. Skylarking XTC 1986
92. Atomizer Big Black 1986
93. Ten Pearl Jam 1991
94. Spiderland Slint 1991
95. Elastica Elastica 1995
96. Rum, Sodomy & the Lash The Pogues 1985
97. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea Neutral Milk Hotel 1998
98. When I Was Born for the 7th Time Cornershop 1997
99. Gentlemen Afghan Whigs 1993
100. Is This It The Strokes 2001

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