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Shape Created with Sketch. The 40 best albums to listen to before you die Show all Chris Harvey. When Jerry Wexler signed the daughter of a violent, philandering preacher to Atlantic records, he "took her to church, sat her down at the piano, and let her be herself". The Queen of Soul gave herself the same space.
Helen Brown. Propulsive polyrhythms drive against the lyrical pleas for us to stop and take stock. Same as it ever was. The album that carried reggae music to the four corners of the Earth and made Bob Marley an international superstar also set the political tone for many artists to follow. Released outside of Jamaica by Island Records with guitar overdubs and ornamentation, the original Jamaican version is a stripped-down masterpiece.
The turbulent early years
An unprecedented hours of studio experimentation saw George Martin and The Beatles looping, speeding, slowing and spooling tapes backwards to create a terrifically trippy new sound. The album was also about an artist taking control over her own narrative, after releasing records that asked the audience — and the press — to like her. Millennials coming at this album can end up feeling like the guy who saw Hamlet and complained it was all quotations.
Oh no. Oh no no no no no, no one ever did teen heartbreak quite like the Shangri-Las.
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But the Shangri-Las sang with an ardour that was so streetwise, passionate and raw that it still reaches across more than half a century without losing any of its power. This compilation captures them at their early Sixties peak. He may have come to rue his Ziggy Stardust character, but with it, Bowie transcended artists seeking authenticity via more mundane means.
It was his most ambitious album — musically and thematically — that, like Prince, saw him unite his greatest strengths from previous works and pull off one of the great rock and roll albums without losing his sense of humour, or the wish to continue entertaining his fans. In their brief career, ended by the suicide of year-old singer Ian Curtis, Joy Division created two candidates for the best album by anyone ever. Closer may be a final flowering, but Unknown Pleasures is more tonally consistent, utterly unlike anything before or since.
The mood is an all-pervading ink-black darkness, but there is a spiritual force coming out of the grooves that is so far beyond pop or rock, it feels almost Dostoevskyan.
- 'Looks That Kill'.
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Though her album, Blue, is usually chosen for these kinds of lists, Mitchell surpassed its silvery, heartbroken folk five years later with a record that found her confidently questioning its culturally conditioned expectations of womanhood. The answer to whether Robyn could follow up the brilliance of her self-titled album came in a burst of releases in , the EPs Body Talk Pt 1, Pt 2 and Pt3, and this track effort, essentially a compilation album. Body Talk is simply jammed with great songs. Produced by Quincy Jones, the sophisticated disco funk nails the balance between tight, tendon-twanging grooves and liberated euphoria.
Glitter ball magic.
How good can rap get? This good. There are albums where the myth can transcend the music — not on Illmatic, where Nas vaulted himself into the ranks of the greatest MCs in , with an album that countless artists since have tried — and failed — to emulate. Nas used the sounds of the densely-populated New York streets he grew up on. This is the album that changes everything. All electronic dance music starts here.
Book Review - Dead Girls Are Easy by Terri Garey - Maryse's Book Blog
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