read the qualifications regarding how my top 20 is chosen. (For those that are too lazy to click--see directly below for a brief description) You can also see the albums that just missed my top 20 in that link.
Music -- What is the musical quality of this album?
Freaking awesome -- How many freaking awesome songs are on this album?
Sealed with a memory -- Was there something that ingrained this album into your being in your past?
Wild-card -- Just as it reads.
They Might be Giants -- Flood (released 1990)
I don't even think there is a classification of music that could describe They Might be Giants. Regardless, this album is great. You can turn it on at any time and drop back 20 years in your life to better times.
Music -- I don't think this album is what we'd call one of the "influential greats." Lyrics, vocals, and instruments all border on acceptable. Regardless of this, all tunes are catchy...even if half the lyrics are nonsensical.
Awesome songs -- None of the songs on this album would reach my top 50. "Birdhouse in your Soul" was probably the highlight.
Memory -- I've sang along with this album in my car, with friends around a fire, in a boat, and just about anywhere else Fox in Socks could dream of. I can't hear the terms Istanbul/Constantinople without jumping into the chorus of that song. What the hell is a particle man? I don't care, but I love that song.
Wild Card -- Any album with 19 songs is a plus. Also, this is the only album in my list in which I know the words to every song by memory. If there is ever a TV show entitled "Name that They Might be Giants Tune from the album Flood," I'll clean house.
The Beatles -- Revolver (released 1966)
So I copped out and said I wouldn't include any "classic greats" just because they are considered classic by others. And I'm not. This is my favorite Beatles album, and I would be doing a dis-service by not including it in my list.
Music -- This was a major redirection in the Beatles career. Leaving behind the folksy music for the more psychedelic tunes with more electric guitar. Luckily they had some semblance of both types of music on the album. I love it for this.
Awesome Songs -- This would be a greatest hits for most bands...and the Beatles were just hitting their stride. "Yellow Submarine", "Here, There and Everywhere", "Tomorrow never Knows", etc.
Memory -- Would it be cheesy to say I enjoy playing Beatles Rock-band on the Wii with my family? If so, I'm king cheddar and proud of it.
Wild Card -- My family owns dozens vintage Beatles vinyl records still new in the plastic. They were passed on from my Dad.
The Cure -- Disintegration (Released 1989)
Robert Smith at his hallucinogenic-induced best. I can't decide if this album is meant to be spent in the arms of a significant other, or to drop acid. As some of the songs are almost 9 minutes, that automatically rules out the first option for me. I'm fast asleep by minute 6 or so.
Music -- The vocals of Smith and guitars are one of a kind on this album. The melodies are haunting and memorable. Unfortunately, multiple songs were peeled from this album and placed into the "Junior High Dance mix tape." Such a shame.
Awesome Songs -- "Untitled" is one of the all-time great slow songs. Why they hid this gem at the back of the album, I'll never know. There are multiple strong songs on this album, but this is by far my favorite.
Memory -- The very first concert I attended was the Cure. It was in a basketball stadium, and it was horrible. They sounded terrible live, and I couldn't see anything from my vantage point. I only wore jeans and a t-shirt, and felt very under-dressed. (Did I say all memories had to be positive? Wrong)
Wild Card -- In a college course I took of less than 20 people, we were supposed to write a paper on someone who affected our life. 2 separate people listed Robert Smith as this person. Each acted like they were the greater fan. I was hoping for blood, but got nothing but copious amounts of eye shadow.
Beastie Boys -- Licensed to Ill (released 1986)
This album needs no introduction. It was one of the first cassette tapes I ever purchased. (along with Tiffany and the Pet Shop Boys--both missing from my top 20) White rappers before white rappers were cool.
Music -- Catchy hooks and lyrics complement the surprisingly addictive annoying voices of all 3 members. You'd think that 3 guys rap-whining in a NY accent wouldn't work. It does.
Awesome Songs -- I could go into any bus station, greeting card store, or sport bar and start yelling the lyrics to Paul Revere. By the end of the song, at least 50% of all guys around would be singing along with me.
I have no idea what the song means...but I love it.
Memory -- I also liked Run DMC at the same time, but my boyish 11 year old voice couldn't belt out "Who's house? Run's House?" with the same believability as screeching out "Brass Monkey...That funky monkey"
Wild Card -- I met Adam Yauch in Park City Utah. I'm sure he still remembers me.
The Foo Fighters -- Echoes Silence Patience and Grace (released 2007)
There are multiple Foo Fighters albums in my top 25. This is the best true Rock band of the last decade. I think Dave Grohl is the most talented musician alive today. Everything this band puts out is instant gold. Do I have a man-crush...yes.
Music -- This would probably be considered the Foo Fighter's "slow album." It definitely has a different feel than Wasting Light, although neither are bad albums. Dave Grohl has great vocals on the slow songs in addition to the up-beat ones. Guitar work is strong as always.
Awesome Songs -- This album has 5 songs with a "5-star" rating according to my Ipod. "The Pretender", "Let it Die", "Stranger things have happened", "Statues", and "Home". There isn't a let-down at all on this album.
Memory -- I've listened to this album while mowing the lawn more than any other. Luckily, the loud mower covers my voice as I sing along.
Wild Card -- A true good album only gets better with time and repetitive play. Exhibit A: I had a Peter Gabriel tape (So) that I used to consider one of my favorites. I listened to it constantly. After a while, it started to wear on me...to the point now that I don't even like it. The Foo Fighters are the polar opposite of this. I am more endeared to their music over time.