Essential CDs (All Genres)

After ripping my CD collection, in preparation of my iPod arrival, I’ve figured out there are some major holes in the 4000 songs I have. So I’m looking for recommendations of albums there were life-changing in their awesomeness. Most of my collection revolves around alternative music, so I’m pretty good with that.

Let’s say you want to convince your friends on how good the Beatles are, what non-greatest hits album would you give them? That’s the kind of thing I’m looking for. And any hip-hop/rap CDs would really be appreciated; I’m figuring Public Enemy will pop up somewhere.

Much obliged for the help…

For the Beatles, definitely Revolver. As far as alternative rock goes, how familiar are you with pre-Nirvana alt rock?

What are we talking about here? Like The Pixies/Cure/Smiths/Ramones/Clash or something a bit different? I love all of those bands but I’d be definately be interested in some other older alternative music.

BTW, I love Herion by The Velvet Underground, you can’t get much older than that when talking about alt-rock.

I don’t know if college rock is your thing, but I don’t think it gets any better than Guster: Lost and Gone Forever.

Kind of alternative and kind of not, depending on who you ask.

Modern alt-rock didn’t really exist before punk (and you are aware of the Sex Pistols and Sonic Youth, right?), so it’s kinda hard to go back much older than that. Late-80’s college rock is definitely full of gems (They Might Be Giants, the Dead Milkmen, the Descendents, King Missile, etc.), so that’s worth checking out. And of course there are the Talking Heads, basically the greatest band of all time.

The AllMusic Guide will be your friend in this endeavor.

If you’re interested in metal recommendations, I can give you a few.

Mostly my thing is alternative music, but I’m hoping with this thread to listen totally different kinds of music. Prior to this, I was on a binge of albums released within the last few years, The Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, The Stills, Interpol, Modest Mouse, etc. Now I’m looking for other music, from different genres and decades.

How about The Cinematic Orchestra? You can have a listen here:

I just discovered them myself so I can’t tell you much about them but have you heard Frou Frou? The songs I’m familiar with are mesmerizing and beautiful and I’ve discovered they have quite the underground fan base by mentioning them here and there and having very positive reactions.

Also, Tool. You need Tool. And APC. I suggest “Undertow” and “Aenima” for the first and “Mer De Noms” for the second. Thank me later.

A very few suggestions of things that were highly alternative when they first came out and remain so today (just not in the recent alt-rock vein):

Enigmatic sampled electronic whatsis: Boards of Canada, Music has the Right to Children

Alt.bluegrass, before such a thing existed: John Hartford, Aereo-plain and/or Morning Bugle

American blues revival: Ry Cooder, Paradise and Lunch, Taj Mahal, The Natch’l Blues

Angular jazz variations: Lounge Lizards, Voice of Chunk

Started out country but crashed into the Beatles somewhere on the way: Sam Phillips, Martinis and Bikinis

Feel free to ignore the above if these are too far off the chosen genre.

Elvis Costello, Armed Forces, 'cause it’s no laughing party when you’ve been on the Murder Mile.

Junior Brown, Guit With It: Country Blues in its purest form.

Mary Chapin Carpenter, Come On Come On There’s not a wasted cut on this amazing album!

k.d. lang, Shadowland: The Owen Bradley Sessions The torchiest voice alive sings the torchiest ballads ever composed.

Lyle Lovett and his Large Band marks Lovett’s transition from Country to Jazz.

Garbage, 2.0 has two really brilliant cuts, but the rest of the album isn’t half bad.

Michelle Shocked, Arkansas Traveler Kind of a primer on the history of Southern music. Plus, the liner photo of her at the microphone is so damn cute…!

Ella Fitzgerald, Something to Live For Good God what a voice!

I was back in the U.S. on vacation a couple of months ago and one night was sitting around with a college friend - we were at school in the early to mid-'80s. As usual we spent part of the time talking music, and later that conversation inspired me to come up with a list of my own 10 favorite albums of the decade. I was thinking of starting a thread on it but haven’t got around to it, so I’ll just list them here and say I think they’re all well worth checking out. No particular order after number one.

Silvertone, Chris Isaak
Let It Be, the Replacements
Repercussion, the dB’s
East Side Story, Squeeze
Slow Turning, John Hiatt
Seven Year Ache, Roseanne Cash
Learning to Crawl, the Pretenders
King of America, the Costello Show (featuring Elvis Costello)
Guitar Beat, the Raybeats
Violent Femmes

Sonic Youth, the Sex Pistols and the Talking Heads? Who? Seriously though, I should get myself some Sonic Youth and Talking Heads, they are definately missing. This is what I mean about major holes in the collection.

Some metal recommendations would be awesome. Anything to expand my tastes.

I was shocked to find out I didn’t own Undertow. I was quiet dissappointed, I was sure I did. The other two I own though and they are both really good.

I’ve only heard Frou Frou on the Garden State ST. I liked the song and would probably like to hear more of it.

I have Geogaddi and have listened to it once. I think it needs more than one listen to really get into. Is this album similiar?

Thanks, for all the albums so far.

In terms of entire albums of greatness, Five Days In July by Blue Rodeo is one of my favorite albums, not a bad song on it. Give me that and Violent Femmes and I’m happy.

In terms of rap, my schooling is very sparse, but beyond Public Enemy, I’m partial to Cypress Hill, Dub Pistols, and Seeed. YMMV.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers - What Hits

Supermodified, by Amon Tobin - this is to typical big-beat electronica what Miles Davis is to Kenny G.

Kind of Blue, by Miles Davis - speaking of Miles Davis, if you don’t own this, there is a gigantic hole in your life.

Five Leaves Left, Bryter Later, or Pink Moon, by Nick Drake - get them all. Nick Drake’s pre-mortem discography is simply flawless, and the whole shebang can be gotten for a total of under 30 bucks Canadian.

I See a Darkness, by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy - buy it now. Buy it now. Buy it now.

[hijack]By the way, the Pixies were incredible live.[/hijack]

That reminds me: Pick up *By the Way *by RHCP while you’re at it. It’s very trippy for lack of a better word. Great, great album.

Picking a Sex Pistols album is easy. For the Sonic Youth, try Daydream Nation. For the

Talking Heads…honestly, all of their albums are damn good, so it’s hard to pick one. The first four

are absolutely essential, the next two are up there, True Stories is kinda weak but still good,

and Naked is incredibly underrated.

Here are what I consider the essential metal CDs, broken down by genre and not in any particular

order. These are what most people would consider either one of the best albums by one of the most

influential bands in a given genre, or at least very representative of the genre. Most of them have

had some degree of commercial success (relatively speaking, anyway) and I like them. Without further

ado, here’s the list:

Classic Metal
Black Sabbath, Paranoid
Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II

New Wave Of British Heavy Metal
Iron Maiden, Number Of The Beast
Judas Priest, British Steel

Hair Metal
Guns N’ Roses, Appetite For Destruction
Van Halen, 1984

Power Metal
Helloween, Keeper Of The Seven Keys Part I
Stratovarius, Dreamspace

Thrash Metal
Metallica, Master Of Puppets
Slayer, Reign In Blood

Industrial Thrash Metal
Ministry, Psalm 69
Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral

Punk Metal
D.R.I., Thrash Zone
Suicidal Tendencies, How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can’t Even Smile Today

Death Metal
Carcass, Heartwork
Morbid Angel, Covenant

Napalm Death, Scum
Terrorizer, World Downfall

Gothenburg Metal
At The Gates, Slaughter Of The Soul
In Flames, The Jester Race

Doom Metal
Candlemass, Epicus Doomicus Metallicus
Saint Vitus, Born Too Late

Stoner Metal
Kyuss, Blues For The Red Sun
Monster Magnet, Powertrip

Goth Metal
My Dying Bride, Turn Loose The Swans
Theatre Of Tragedy, Velvet Darkness They Fear

Sludge Metal
Corrosion Of Conformity, Deliverance
Crowbar, Crowbar

Drone Metal
Earth, Earth 2
SUNN 0))), Flight Of The Behemoth

Psychedelic Metal
Isis, Oceanic
Neurosis, A Sun That Never Sets

Black Metal
Bathory, Blood Fire Death
Mayhem, De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas

Viking Metal
Bathory, Hammerheart
Falkenbach, Magni Blandinn Ok Megintiri

Nu Metal
Korn, Korn
Rage Against The Machine, Rage Against The Machine

Rap Metal
Biohazard, Urban Discipline
Linkin Park, Hybrid Theory

Funk Metal
Primus, Sailing The Seas Of Cheese
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blood Sugar Sex Magick

Alternative Industrial Metal
Fear Factory, Demanufacture
Marilyn Manson, Antichrist Superstar

Poison The Well, The Opposite Of December
Vision Of Disorder, Imprint

Dillinger Escape Plan, Calculating Infinity
Mastodon, Leviathan

New Wave Of American Heavy Metal
Killswitch Engage, Alive Or Just Breathing
Shadows Fall, The Art Of Balance

Er…I guess notepad auto-inserts line breaks. I previewed, but didn’t catch that. Oops.

And I forgot one…

Progressive Metal
Dream Theater, Images And Words
Queensrÿche, Operation Mindcrime

Well, for essential pseudo-rap, you can’t go wrong with Run DMC’s Raising Hell and the Beastie Boys’ License to Ill and/or Paul’s Boutique.

I’d say Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here is essential. So is Animals. Hell, even Meddle.
Dire Straits’ self-titled album.
Jimi Hendrix Experience Electric Ladyland
Eric Clapton Unplugged and 461 Ocean Blvd.
Ween’s The Mollusk
Someone else mentioned Primus. I’d suggest Suck on This.
The Black Keys Thickfreakness simply rules.
Anything by JJ Cale, except Guitar Man. Either the Best of or Any Way the Wind Blows: The Anthology would be a great start, but Naturally and Troubador are essential. If you like Mark Knopfler and/or Eric Clapton, JJ Cale will show you where they came from.