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Still Must Hear?

January 16, 2021

[Albums 833 – 837 / 1001]

Going into 2021, I had 5 albums left to review from the 2000s:

Lightning Bolt – Wonderful Rainbow (2003)
Mylo – Destroy Rock & Roll (2004)
Icarus Line – Penance Soirée (2004)
Ozamatli – Street Signs (2004)
M.I.A. – Arular (2005)

I should note, I’m going through the original edition of the ‘1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die’ book, first published in 2005.

And by book, I mean 6 spreadsheets organized chronologically by decade (50s/60s/70s/80s/90s/2000s); I loaned my physical copy of the book out years ago!

Since the original publication, I understand that there have been several revised editions of the 1001 list.

Which means that, in order to make room for albums released after the year 2005 (whilst keeping the list at a brand-consistent 1001 albums), several of the albums that I’ve been listening to are no longer deemed ‘Must Hear.’

And of the 5 remaining reviews from the 2000s, apparently only 1 of the above albums is still in the 1001 club.

The question is / questions are:

Which of the remaining quintet do the editors still consider to be a ‘Must Hear’ album?

Of somewhat less global importance, which one(s) do I believe should stay on the list?

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Lightning Bolt – Wonderful Rainbow (2003)

“Thunderbolt & lightning, very very frightening me”
– Rhetorical question: do I even need to source this quote?

I wouldn’t say Wonderful Rainbow is all that frightening.

But on tunes like Crown of Storms, I was reminded of a variety of other wonderful sounds & songs:

The distorted voice brought back memories of Big Sugar’s Diggin’ a Hole.

The thundering bass quarter notes, maybe a bit of Runnin’ With the Devil?

The snare sound is about as tight as any I’ve heard on the 1001 list (or maybe a close second behind ?uestlove’s snare on Erykah Badu’s, Penitentiary Philosophy).

And I suppose it’s possible to hear the opening guitar finger-tapping and not think of AC (Lightning Bolt) DC’s Thunderstruck…but perhaps not probable.

In any event, those are all very very favourable associations, me.

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Mylo – Destroy Rock & Roll (2004)

“Now who’d have thought, that after all
Something as simple as Rock & Roll could save us all”
– Frank Turner, I Still Believe

Destroy Rock & Roll? What a terrible idea, I scoffed!

And it’s an electronica album to boot? Oh dear.

But then…I heard the title track here and learned the plan for the destruction of Rock &/or Roll.

And it’s amazing.

For how does one Destroy Rock & Roll?

Why, by rhyming off a list of musicians that were popular in 1984 and calling for “the judgement of the sacred fire of this hour before the throne of almighty god,” of course!

Bonus marks for the delightful mispronunciation of several artist names (such as Cyndi ‘Looper’) & for referencing Purple Rain not once (Prince), not twice (Morris Day & The Time), but thrice (Appolonia 6).

I was somewhat disappointed to learn that the speech was an actual 1984 recording of a new age spiritual organization speech that Mylo merely sampled; I was hoping it was an original diatribe, where the plan to Destroy Rock & Roll hinged upon delayed judgement of artists 2+ decades after the fact!

Until now, I have struggled to feel, well, much of anything when listening to Electronic Dance Music (EDM).

But to my pleasant surprise, I really enjoyed & looked forward to repeated listens of this album.

Perhaps the secret to my enjoyment of EDM rests in creating an upbeat ’80s vibe, most notably in songs like Drop The Pressure, In My Arms, Guilty of Love, and the aforementioned title track.

Great stuff!

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Icarus Line – Penance Soirée (2004)

“Are you familiar with the story of Icarus? He didn’t want to quit, he flew too close to the sun, his wax wings melted and he died.”
– Brooklyn 99, S1E15

I’m sure there’s a parallel here with The Icarus Line, possibly going too far with the distortion and burying the melodies on Penance Soirée. But it would be a stretch, as tunes like Spike Island or Big Sleep are still quite, um, tuneful.

Of the 5 remaining albums from the 2000s, this would be the closest to my usual cuppa.

So I’m not offended that it was included on the original list, not necessarily surprised it ended up being trimmed in future editions.

Perhaps the editors felt that the other remaining albums by similar-sounding late ’90s/early 2000s artists would be sufficient?

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Ozomatli – Street Signs (2004)

20-odd years ago, I made a road-trip with a few friends to see The Hip in Philadelphia (in a club with a few hundred people, amazing!) and to see a taping of David Letterman in NYC.

The musical guest at that episode?

W-e-e (oh my goodness, it’s going to be W-e-e-z-e-r?!!) – n.

Oh, Ween? Oh, OK.

And you know what, they were good too.

Fast forward 20-odd years.

Oh look, there’s an artist from the early 2000s on the list, O-z-_-m-a (oh my goodness, could it really be Ozma?!!)-t-l-i.

Oh, Ozomatli? Oh, OK.

And you know what, they were good too.

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M.I.A. – Arular (2005)

Though M.I.A.’s song, Paper Planes, is not on this album, hearing Arular inevitably made me think of that song.

And that song makes me think of Pineapple Express & Slumdog Millionaire, a pair of good movies from 2008.

Though I thought both films were well done, I haven’t seen either again since.

And I imagine that might be the same fate for Arular as well.

Overall, it was well done; I’m just not sure if I’ll end up hearing it again.

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Of the 5 albums above, if I could only keep 1, which would I keep on the 1001 list?

Well, the list editors chose Mylo’s Destroy Rock & Roll.

And though I wouldn’t have guessed I’d go with the EDM album, I think they got it right!

…..

Verbalize the Positive

EDM can be really enjoyable, who knew?!

From → 2000s

24 Comments
  1. That is cool. Glad you agreed with their assessment. I was looking at the Updated Rolling Stones Top 500 albums and they dropped a lot from that original list. It is definitely more varied but now more wrong in my book.

    • A good point – I’ll have to check out that updated list, I’m guessing I might agree with that assessment!

  2. I like MIA a lot – I feel like she’s unique and has held up pretty well.

    • That’s definitely true – with a lot of the albums on the list, it feels like there are some reasonable, if imperfect, substitutes for their choices. But nothing else on the list really sounded anything like Arular!

  3. Another tight snare sound is Sad But True. When Lars hits that snare as the song starts chugging it’s such a phenomenal sound. Bob Rock nailed that sound too perfection.

  4. jprobichaud permalink

    I don’t know any of these albums so I can’t comment either way… but I will say this: “And I still believe in the saints. Yeah, in Jerry Lee and in Johnny and all the greats. And I still believe in the sound, that has the power to raise a temple and tear it down.” Amen.

    • That makes 2 of us, JP!
      And speaking of colourful vinyl, I recently ordered a blue copy of No Man’s Land, looking forward to its arrival!

      • jprobichaud permalink

        Nice! Coloured vinyl is a sweet bonus and often worth the extra few bucks if you’re shelling it out anyway…

  5. Mylo, eh? I can’t comment on that one… never heard it. But if I had to choose the one that stayed it would be Penance Soiree. That album is perfect. I’m surprised that the 1001 didn’t opt for M.I.A. though.

    • It’s possible they’ve included some of her more recent ones – I know that’s what they did with Radiohead (removed Hail to the Thief, put in In Rainbows).
      I think they’ve only trimmed albums as far back as 1997, so I suppose all the albums on the list released before then are still deemed essential!

      • I didn’t know that… I guess the thinking is that the pre-1997 sounds basically influence everything that came afterwards. Maybe. Still, they could maybe trim some of the selections from each artist. I don’t think there’s any need to include more than 3 (at the very max) by each artist.

      • It’s interesting which artists they choose to include multiple recordings – for example, Pearl Jam only has 1 album on the list (Ten).

        It took a while for me to arrive at accepting only having one PJ on the list, but I get it now that although Vitalogy/Vs./Yield/…are all great in my books, Ten at least gives an idea of what a Pearl Jam album sounds like.

        The one that puzzles me the most is Elvis Costello’s 6 albums. They’re all good, but none is radically different from the other (in quality or sound), so it feels like 1 might have been sufficient to know what an Elvis Costello album sounds like!

      • I would argue that Ten isn’t a typical sounding Pearl Jam album. Maybe Vitalogy offers more of where they were coming from and where they would go? Regardless, I getcha and agree. One seems a bit insufficient given the strength of the catalogue.

        As for Costello – I’m with you all the way. Absolutely no need. From what I can remember from my copy, there are quite a few with 5 albums or more. In my opinion, you shouldn’t need more than 3. With the exception of maybe Bowie and Dylan. They can have 5 (Bowie has 9!)

        Perhaps we should all band together and compile an alternative 1001. No more than 3 albums per artist.

      • I’d read that version of the 1001, J!
        Vitalogy is my favourite PJ, such a roller-coaster of an album, with perhaps their best track ever alongside maybe their least accessible track, the Corduroy / Bugs double-whammy!

      • Corduroy is a crackin’ tune. Easily one of the album’s many highlights… Tremor Christ is my favourite off Vitalogy, though. But yeah, such a great album.

  6. Attempting o predict what will remain relevant in the future can’t be an easy job for the editors. I wonder how these artist feels when their album is cut. Or do they even know…

  7. Man, you’re doing the work for them! I’d figure you’re best to just finish the original book, and then get whatever is the most recent copy at that time and cover whatever is new from there!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Like it’s 1999 | 1001albumsin10years

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