Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Triniman has no taste: 125 recordings from 1985-2005

These sort of lists are really silly and pointless. Spin recently came out with their list of the best 100 albums since 1985 and it sparked one of my Blogcritics colleagues to encourage the rest of us to come up with our own lists.

This list is not meant to be definitive or represent anything other than some recordings in my collection from the last twenty years that left a strong impression on me. I've left off lots of excellent albums.


001 Marillion - Misplaced Childhood (Marillion's pinnacle. Songs blend into one another. The music flows with brilliant flashes of artsy progression.)

002 INXS - Listen Like Thieves .  This album rules the airwaves with a fresh sound.

003 China Crisis - Flaunt The Imperfection (Their second solid pop album. That they were largely unknown outside of the UK was a shame. Exquisite pop songs without an overreliance on synths.)

004 Scorpions - World Wide Live (Their best live album and better than most live metal albums.)

005 A-Ha - Hunting High and Low (Synth-pop perfection that they never equaled.)

006 The Cult - Love

007 The Waterboys - This Is The Sea 

008 Metal Church – Metal Church (A stunning album with a dark atmosphere and brilliant songs. They never topped it. Better than most 99.99% of the metal albums released.)

009 Accept - Metal Heart (Well-crafted songs from a band described as Germany's Judas Priest. With their backing vocals, no one sounded quite like Accept.)

010 Gary Moore – Run For Cover (1952-2011)


011 Keith Jarrett Trio - Still Live (The best trio in the world? Quite possibly.)

012 XTC - Skylarking (A very difficult album to make with Todd Rundgren, but also a pop and sonic masterpiece.)

013 Queensryche - Rage For Order (At the time, a state of the art metal album with a uniquely talented band.)

014 Iron Maiden – Somewhere In Time (Maiden's most advanced recording, full of great songs.)

015 Metallica – Master of Puppets (Arguably their finest moment..its mostly been downhill since the Black album.)


016 Marillion - Clutching At Straws (The final album with Fish, loaded with memorable, introspective songs.)

017 The Pogues - If I Should Fall From Grace With God (On just about everyone's list for a reason!)

018 Def Leppard - Hysteria (When metal and pop united. Polished but strong.)

019 Prince - Sign 'O' the Times (Imaginative, hear this if you think he's one-dimensional.)

020 Ozzy Osbourne - Tribute (Killer live album with Ozzy's young virtuoso, Randy Rhoads. The best live Ozzy album.)

021 Zakir Hussain – Making Music (Tabla master and musical innovator..saw him live last year and it was an amazing, jamming show. One of the world's best players.)


022 Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Devotional and Love Songs (The best collection of his material ever...very catchy, fast songs and other with unbelievable melodies...a voice that you must hear. Believe the hype.)

023 Helloween – The Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2 (European power metal at its finest, no one called them a Maiden clone ever again. Maiden wish they could have written this album.)

024 Enya – Watermark (If you have to own just one of her recordings start here for sure. A landmark album by any measure.)


025 Pat Metheny Group - Still Life (Talking) (Superb, memorable compositions with playing to match. Metheny is a genius.)

026 Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Shahen-Shah (Perhaps the best non-compilation album by the master. I turned a lot of people onto his music because of this album.)

027 Les Négresses Vertes - Mlah (The French Pogues? Hyperactive, and brilliant, they apparently disgraced themselves at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, but all is forgiven after listening to this, their best album.)

028 The Cure - Disintegration (Atmosphere...it's rarely done so well.)

029 XTC - Oranges and Lemons (Another fun, smart, sonically delicious offering.)

030 Peter Gabriel - Passion (Most of my friends heard this upon visiting. Gabriel's most uplifting recording, and the soundtrack to the controversial film, The Last Temptation of Christ.)

031 Quincy Jones - Back On The Block (So many strong tracks by a who's who of the R'n'B scene at the time.)

032 Roxy Music - Street Life: 20 Greatest Hits (Probably the recording I have played more than anything else. I must listen to this weekly.)

033 Soundgarden – Louder Than Love (Sludgy, raw, Zeppelinesque rock before they became more polished.)

034 Shawn Colvin – Steady On (Some stunning songs. This album won the popular folk vocalist a Grammmy.

035 Material – Seven Souls (Laswell and William S. Burroughs - a unique concept.)

036 Wynton Marsalis – Majesty of the Blues (Some of the catchiest jazz you can imagine.)

037 Faith No More – The Real Thing (I always thought the first track, From Out of Nowhere, was way better than Epic. Overall, a strong metal-rap-thrash album with the vocal gymnastics of Matt Patton.)

038 Chick Corea  - Akousitc Band (I prefer Corea's acoustic work the best...superb piano playing, top notch players.)

039 Vikrama – Hands On (Strong compositions, wonderful group led by Knut Haugsoen (1935 -2011), produced by ECM's Jan Erik Konshaug. As enjoyable as any jazz album in my collection.)


040 The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses.  A highly influential album, cited as the top UK album of all time, also credited with launching the Britpop phenomenon.

041 Wynton Marsalis – J Mood

042 The Cure - Mixed Up 

043 Cocteau Twins - Heaven or Las Vegas

044 Ravi Shankar - Philip Glass - Passages (Not as avant garde as you might expect, but oh, so fantastic compositions with Indian vocals. Desert island disc for sure.)

045 Black Sabbath – Headless Cross (The songs are excellent. Sabbath lives!)


046 Jill Sobule – Things Here Are Different (She disappeared for a while then repacked herself as a pop singer...listen to this for a quiet, late night album, with amazing songs...sounds nothing like the "I Kissed A Girl" material.

047 Public Enemy – Fear Of A Black Planet (Unequalled powerful album. Kills.)

048 Terence Blanchard - Mo’ Better Blues Soundtrack (...great sound, catchy tunes.)

049 Pet Shop Boys - Behavior (Maybe their best album, mature sounding.)

050 Depeche Mode - Violator (The peack of Depeche Mode.)

051 3 Mustaphas 3 – Heart of Uncle (Again, most of my friends heard tracks from this breakthough album.)

052 Metheny with Dave Holland and Roy Haynes – Question And Answer (This started out as a jam session with the tapes rolling but ended up as an unbelievable album. Three virtuosos cutting loose has never sounded so good.)

053 Branford Marsalis – Crazy People Music (Branford is a star in his own right and plays with unreal players.)

054 King Sunny Ade – Juju Music (This was supposed to do for African music what Bob Marley albums did for reggae. It didn't become as popular as it could have but it's a gem.)


055 Frank Zappa - Make A Jazz Noise Here (Wow. This is jazz and it is more than proof of what a seriously great player Zappa was.)

056 U2 - Achtung Baby


057 Fishbone – The Reality of My Surroundings

058 Neil Young – Weld (You have to hear "Like A Hurricane", the same tune recorded by Roxy Music. Neil's live version here is unreal. One of my favorite all-time tracks.)


059 R.E.M. - Automatic For The People 

060 Loreena McKennitt – The Visit (I ended up buying several copies for friends and relatives, it's that good. She's one of the finest singers in the world and this is another Desert island recording. Everybody loves it.)

061 Talking Heads – Sand In the Vaseline (it's a compilation but I love it.)

062 The Cure – Wish (Maybe their most commercial album, but also very strong.)

063 The Roy / Lerner Quartet – Quarter To Three (Another jazz album that is as good as anything I have. Larry Roy has his own sound as a virtuoso guitarist and Marilyn Lerner matches note for note on the piano.)

064 Ofra Haza – Kirya (With Lou Reed and Iggy Pop helping out, this album was artistic deelopment from a singer who left us much too soon.)


065 Dead Can Dance - Into The Labyrinth (Probably their breakthrough album, stunning sound, exquisite otherworldly songs.)

066 Enigma - The Cross of Changes (Maybe the most accessible Enigma album.)

067 Al Di Meola – Heart of the Immigrants (Tasty fusion with Eastern European soundscapes. I saw him live when this came out and we were all thrilled by the concert. Di Meola is a giant.)

068 Pet Shop Boys – Very (Another pop triumph. They haven't been this consistent recently.)


069 Dead Can Dance - Toward The Within soundtrack

070 Delerium - Semantic Spaces (Another Desert Island disc for me. It takes several listens to get into, but once you're hooked, there is no going back. The peak of swirling, ethno-ambient pop.)

071 Global Communication - 76:14 (An ambient classic.)

072 Aphex Twin - Selected Ambient Works, Vol. 2  (Another ambient classic.)

073 The Future Sound of London - Cascade EP (This can't be improved. Still sounds state of the art today.)


074 Intermix - Future Primitives (More tribal sounding than ambient, but still sounds like the offshoot of Delerium that it is.)

075 Trial of the Bow – Ornamentation (The most ambient sounding Indian-influenced music ever!)

076 The Orb - U. F. Off: The Best Of The Orb

077 Synaesthesia – Desideratum (Dreamy ethno-ambient music from the Delerium guys again.)

078 Tricky – Maxinquaye

079 The Best of Alaap (Very catchy Pakistani group located in England.)


080 Delerium - Karma

081 Vas - Sunyata (A duo specializing in Persian music.)

082 AR Rahman – Vande Mastram (The top Indian music composer.)

083 Banco de Gaia – Big Men Cry (More ethno-ambient pop.)

084 Chumbawamba – Tubthumper (The rest of the album is very solid.)

085 Arcana – Cantar de Procella (Mediaeval funeral music? Influenced by Dead Can Dance, no doubt.)

086 Pro-Tech – Orbiting Cathedrals (Techno drums and beat from the Delerium guys.)

087 Prodigy – The Fat of the Land


088 Air - Moon Safari (Dreamy pop that they haven't been able to top.)

089 Black Sabbath - Reunion (I listen to this all the time.)

090 Fun da Mental – Erotic Terrorism (Political ethno-pop band. Some great sounds.)

091 Robert Rich – Seven Veils (Ambient Middle eastern music.)

092 Talvin Singh – Ok 

093 Mythos – Mythos (Very catchy new age music, and Canadian, too.)

094 Sacred System – Nagual Site (Jamming Bill Laswell album with exotic instruments - priceless.)

095 Kruder and Dorfmeister – Session (Pop, jazz, hip-hop-influenced DJ recording. Instant karma.)


096 XTC - Apple Venus Volume 1 (What a comeback for XTC! Few groups have had such a long career and yet manage to come up with such stellar material.)

097 DJ Cheb I Sabbah – Shri Durga

098 Yes – The Ladder (After several so-so albums, Yes returned with a great album.)

099 Black Star Liner – Bengali Bantam Youth Experience (Indian pop from the UK, insanely catchy and fun. Underrated album.


100 Delerium - Poem

101 The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic (On this album you can find what many were calling Canada's new national anthem - "Letter From An Occupant," with Neko Case on vocals. This is powerpop at its most unpretentious and fun.)

102 Tabla Beat Science – Tala Matrix (More Laswell ethno-jamming.)

103 Rhea’s Obsession - Between Earth and Sky (Gothic Toronto band, influenced by Dead Can Dance, but never made it to my city.)

104 Weakerthans – Left and Leaning (My city's favorite indie rock band and one of the top bands from North America. Songwriting is really strong.)


105 Devin Townsend - Terria (He's being heralded as a creative genius and after listening to several of his CDs, I would have to agree. Unreal metal multi-instrumentalist and singer. A national Canadian treasure. No one comes close to the level of creativity that Devin has. State of the art sound, too.)

106 Beulah - The Coast Is Never Clear (Consumate college radio indie-pop band who folded after not making the big times. If you like XTC-ish pop, this is worth having.)

107 Nicky Mehta – Weather Vane (A stunning singer-songwriter, and master of both. My favorite solo artist from Canada. After this recording, she ended up in a new trio, the Wailin' Jennys. Their first album won a Juno (Canada's answer to the Grammy)for best folk album by a group, thanks in no small way to her brilliant songs.)

108 Carlos Santana – Divine Light (A Laswell produced ambient recording. Headphones music.)

109 Markus Stockhausen – Karta (Eurpoean jazz trumpeter par excellence.)


110 The Future Sound of London - The Isness (I didn't think they could reinvent themselves, but this is ethno-ambient pop heaven with English vocals. Who knew they had it in them?

111 Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (The most celebrated "indie" album of the year.)

112 Madrigaia – Viva Voice (An amazing a cappella album, sung in several European languages. They played for the Queen a couple of years ago.)

112 Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan Live 1975 (The Bootleg Series Volume 5) (Dylan can do no wrong.)

113 Neal Halstead – Sleeping On Roads (His debut solo album, full of strong songs. Formerly of Majave 3 and Slowdive.)


114 Dimmu Borgir - Death Cult Armageddeon (Unbelieavable bruttal, orchestral black metal. The compositions have substance to them and are highly listenable, even though you won't be able to make out the words. Great sound.)

115 Led Zeppelin - How The West Was Won (Another Desert Island disc, the epitome of live Led Zeppelin.)

116 The Postal Service – Give Up

117 Grandaddy – Sumday

118 Zwan – Mary Star of the Sea

119 Dave Holland Quintet - Extended Play: Live at Birdland (Superb jazz, excellent soloists all around.)


120 The Wailin' Jennys – 40 Days (This album has three-part harmonies and super songs, and has won over the Canadian folk scene. It won a Juno this year.)

121 Frank Marino - Real Live (Ledgendary Hendrix-esque guitarist who is one of the world's best players. Must be heard to be believed.

122 Michael Kaeshammer – Strut (Too good to be true jazz pianist who could replace Diana Krall as the biggest star in jazz - yes, he is that good.)

123 The Futureheads – The Futureheads (Get the pop-punk-funk out!)

124 Sondre Lerche – Two Way Monologue (A rising star and clever songwriter who deserves a huge audience.)

125 Judas Priest – Metalogy (A boxed set showing that they have strong songs from every era - from the 70s to now.)

126 Tomasz Stanko Quartet – Suspended Night (Another European jazz trumpeter, and some are calling him the Polish Miles Davis.)


127 Stars - Set Yourself On Fire (Canada's top alternative recording by a band this year. Instantly enjoyable, clever, gorgeous pop songs,with two vocalists.)

128 Sufjan Stevens – Illinoise (He's a much heralded singer-songwriter with two highly-acclaimed albums in the past two years. Well-crafted songs abound.  The original cover had Superman on it, but later releases had him airbrushed out and then eventually replaced by some balloons.

Okay, there's actually 128 recordings on this list, but who's counting?!

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