Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Classic Records - Part 1

The term 'classic record' is a load of old shit in reality. Everyone has different tastes, and that's good. Horses for courses, one man's meat is another man's poison, it takes diff'rent strokes to move the world, and all that. No one persons opinion or taste of music is final, and we can fall in and out of love with a song at the drop of a hat. But ignoring all of that, I'm going to do a series of what I consider 'classic albums'. 5 albums in each post, each with some sort of theme, such as 'best hip hop albums', 'best best of albums', 'most influential punk records' and such likes. There's no reason for you to feel like you have to agree, or that you have to tell me I'm wrong. It doesn't matter, this is my blog, my rules, and my choices. So it is without further ado that I kick things off, with my 5 favourite (or the 5 best) albums of all time...

 1: Beastie Boys 'Check Your Head' (1992)
I will always claim that The Beastie Boys are the greatest hip hop group ever. And a lot of people will disagree with me on it. That's fine, I really don't care. To me The Beasties encompass everything good about the hip hop scene, all of it, the art, the music, the positivity, the energy. Of course, they're not always strictly making rap music, and have dabbled in all genres from punk, to country to lounge instrumentals. On this album, this is where they first started mixing it up, and although it's mostly hip hop, there is a bit of punk rock, funk and other styles making an appearance. Everything about this album is perfect to me, the styles, the flows, even the Glen Friedman photo on the cover just makes it perfect. I loved this so much, I actually got one of the song titles, 'Gratitude', tattooed on my neck. ‎ There's a place for this album in everyones collection, no matter how your music taste spans, there'll be at least one track on here for everyone.

2: Bob Marley/The Wailers 'Burnin' (1973)
I've been to Jamaica, went to Bob Marleys old house and got red eyed as hell while I sat on the same rock he'd sit and write his songs on, it was one of the most spiritual journeys I'll ever take. ‎I'd probably consider most of his albums worthy of a mention, but this one is without a doubt my favourite. No one can do reggae like Bob Marley, his sound just captures your heart from the first listen, if you don't like it then chances are you don't like music. Burnin features some of his more well know tracks, such as 'Get Up, Stand Up' & 'I Shot The sheriff', and also features some often over looked classics, like 'Burning & Looting' and 'Small Axe'. Whether you look at this album as a summertime, feel good, relaxing soundtrack, or as an uplifting, spiritual/social/political call to revolution, you wouldn't be wrong, it is, quite simply, both. This was the last Wailers album, before they became Bob Marley & The Wailers.

3 & 4: The Clash 'S/T' (1977) & 'Londons Burning' (1979)
Without a doubt, The Clash are one of the finest bands to ever come out of these isles. Granted, a few of their albums were a bit average, and a couple were really just not that good, but 'The Clash' & 'Londons Calling' are just flawless, solid, great albums. Whereas the self titled album is more 'punk' sounding, a lot rawer, angrier and politically charged‎, 'Londons Calling' has a different feel, a bit more of a rock'n'roll influence, and certainly more poppy. I've had to include them both, because my brain really started hurting trying to choose which was my favourite, its just an impossibility. I remember as a teen, and I heard The Clash plenty of times, but one summer I stayed at my cousins, and he'd just bought a best of The Clash, and played it over and over pretty much the whole time I was there, and even though I'd already got into punk by then, one band has never touched my soul so much. I think it was then that I shaved my hair into a mowhawk for the first time, and never looked back. The Clash, at least on these two albums, had everything, they hit the nail right on the head. The combined great song writing, a rough attitude, amazing duel vocals by Joe Strummer & Mick Jones which worked so well, and they were one of the first bands to see that punk, the spirit of punk, needed to evolve if it was to survive. Again, if you don't own these albums, go out and get them one way or another, they're sum up that time period so perfectly, and still 30+ years on they sound relevant and fresh.

5: ‎Operation Ivy 'Energy' (1989)
‎I don't think any single album has had as profound influence on my life as this one. I've been in dozens of bands in my life, and Op Ivy has influenced the sound of practically all of them. And lyrically, their social commentary clicked with me in a way very few have done before, or since, and their values and views still very much mirror how I feel today, over 20 years since I first heard it. Their ska tinged punk rock, packed full of energy and positivity, snarly vocals and intelligent lyrics were the soundtrack to my teens, more than any other band. Unlike the other albums on this list, I wouldn't say everybody needs this album in their collection, it's a unique punk rock taste, and holds its place in my heart mostly because it turned up at the right time in me & my friends lives. Every house party, every car ride, every mix tape, these songs featured heavily, even now when a song comes on randomly on itunes it takes me back to being a young idealistic punk rocker. And that's not a bad thing at all.

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