Matt's Top 20 Albums of All Time -- Foreword

     Oh joy!  Another "Top ###" list by some blustery self-promoting blogger.  I know you're probably saying "Who gives a crap.  What does a review blogger who holds the world-record for self-deprecating fat jokes know about music?"  Not much, although I forked over thousands of dollars as a young man for cassette tapes, concerts, and guns and roses pins for my Levi jean jacket.  I also used to record music off the radio to tape, and write out the lyrics in a notebook to memorize...I still have that notebook.  That is my resume.

See the lists right here!

An enormous list of caveats directly below:

-- I was a child of the 80's.  For me to start listing Pink Floyd, Cream, or Beatles albums all through out my Top 20 would be disingenuous.  Just because some stoner in 7th grade taught me to play Stairway to Heaven on the guitar doesn't make me a die-hard Led Zeppelin fan.  These songs were not played on the radio--and the radio was the main source of my introduction to new bands/songs.  I had a very personal relationship with Casey Kasem.

-- Staying power means nothing to me. (just ask my wife)  Just because U2 and Eddie Vedder have cranked out 79 albums between the two of them does not guarantee a single album on my list.  There is no "lifetime achievement" award bonus.  I'd take the top 10 Neil Diamond or Johnny Cash songs and place them up to any other artists--but they had to make 1300 songs each to get a decent top 10. (Yeah...I love Neil Diamond and am proud of it)

-- I'm not really into Chick bands/singers. (using the word chick is intentional for the sole purpose of perpetuating the fact that the entire top 20 is dude-centric)  I can't explain it.  Maybe it's because my second cassette tape purchase was Tiffany.  Am I miffed because I never got to see her perform in Layton Hills Mall as a kid?  I'm not sure.  I've discussed this topic in another blog posting on my once-loved (barely) humor blog.  You can analyze my female bigotry at this link.

-- "Greatest Hits" albums do not count.  Period.

-- You must own the album for it to be in your "Top 20."  I have always liked Thriller by Michael Jackson--but never purchased it.  Doesn't count.

-- I gravitate to alternative and rock music rather than pop, rap, polka, or country.  Deal with it.

-- Grading an album based on the music alone is not enough.  I know...how can I say that the music alone isn't enough to rate an album?  Continue reading, and you'll find my qualifications for entry into my "Top 20."

Qualifications to be called a great album:

-- Good music.  I mean the whole deal.  Instruments, vocals, rhythms, intros, outros, etc.  (Spoiler--Billy Squier is not on this list.)

-- Number of "freaking awesome" songs on the album.  Most good albums have a song or two that when finished, you say to yourself--"That was freaking awesome."  Think about it.  It's rare for an album to be at the tops of your list without an anthem that moves you.
On a side note--what you may have thought was "freaking awesome" at 13 years old may not be so "freaking awesome" anymore.  I "Walked like an Egyptian" with the best of them back in the day, but with apologies to the Bangles--that song just sucks.
Think about it--your musical tastes improve and change with time.  I used to think Sizzler was the greatest restaurant in the world at 9 years old.  Now??  Pass.  I also thought "Seventeen" by Winger was such a good song, that it inspired me to buy the tape.  Damn you Kip Winger and your hypnotic hair.  You cost me 13 bucks.

-- Seal the deal with a memory.  Does the music/album invoke a memory or thought of something that happened in your past?  Did Lionel Richie sign your cleavage at a concert?  Did you pump up in preparation for high school football games with Metallica cranked in your Suzuki Samurai?  How many hours did you waste with buddies watching MTV?  Did you make out with a mix tape that was "Toad the Wet Sprocket-centric?"
If an album does not invoke a emotional response, then it hasn't done it's job--and thus isn't worthy to be included in your list.

--Wild Card.  Did Garth Brooks come and sing at a charity event to raise money for your dying brother?  Is there a Van Halen song named specifically after you?  Do you cut Kenny G's hair?  These wild cards can propel an album to the top based on some quirky fact alone. (And the fact that I'm 1/4 Jewish does not make me like Neil Diamond any more...but his chest hair does)

So, after the longest pre-review ever, let's get down to business.  Over the next few weeks, I'll count down my top 20 with 5 albums per review.

Unfortunately, this weeks offering is only the albums that ALMOST got in.  WHAT!??  Yeah, I like to set the table and then shoot an air ball with 3 seconds left on the clock.
Enough setting...let the air balls begin.

The next 5--Just missed making the list. 
Some are trending up, and some trending down.  I suspect this list will look different in the next 5 years.

-- Sum 41 -- Screaming Bloody Murder:  Love this album.  One drawback is a song named Scumfuk.  Really?  Good song...stupid name.  Scumhug would have been better.

-- Coldplay--A Rush of Blood to the Head:  Really good album from a band at their peak.  I'm of the belief that you could splice all Coldplay albums together, start it on shuffle, and nobody would know they were different albums.  Is that good or bad?  Probably good...as I like most of their music.

-- Ben Folds Five -- The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner:  I still miss Darren Jesse and Robert Sledge.  Rumors of one "get the band back together album" are making the rounds.  This one rumor gets me more hot and bothered than any late-night Cinemax.

-- Sum 41 -- Underclass Hero:  I have an obsession with Sum 41...so what?  In my opinion, they are the best holdout from the "2000's teen punk bands."  In fact, I think they are only getting better.

-- Foo Fighters -- Wasting Light.  I first heard this album first filed it under "OK, but a little too heavy for my taste."  Further listening has shown me the error of my ways.  This is a true, great rock album in a time when rock is a dirty word.

Other albums that received consideration:

Red Hot Chili Peppers -- Stadium Arcadium
Red Hot Chili Peppers -- Blod Sugar Sex Magic
Stone Temple Pilots -- Core
Third Eye Blind -- Third Eye Blind
U2 -- Achtung Baby
Metallica -- Metallica (The black album)
Yes -- Fragile
Guns n Roses -- Appetite for Destruction
Nirvana -- Nevermind
Aerosmith -- Pump

Tune in for the next installment--Albums #20-16.


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