The Essential Music Library: Modern Rock

Lamb was released in 1974, so it doesn’t fit the time frame.

It is hard to classify any Genesis album after 1980 as “essential.” I’ll say Duke, from 1980 would be the closest. There are some good tracks on the latter albums, but a bit too much filler for an “essential” albums collection.

No surprise to anyone who knows me, but I’d put Husker Du’s Zen Arcade or New Day Rising (or even Warehouse: Songs And Stories) up there. I think both Pleased To Meet Me and Let It Be (each of which have been mentioned) by The Replacements should be included. And for R.E.M., I’d go with Murmur.
Also not mentioned yet (I don’t think): Psychocandy by The Jesus & Mary Chain , Wild Gift by X, Underwater Moonlight by The Soft Boys, I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One by Yo La Tengo, Dig Me Out or All Hands On The Bad One by Sleater-Kinney, Emperor Tomato Ketchup by Stereolab, Rum, Sodomy and the Lash and If I Should Fall From Grace With God by The Pogues, Copper Blue by Sugar, Violent Femmes’ self-titled debut, Crazy Rhythms by The Feelies, Substance by New Order, Rock ‘n’ Roll by The Mekons, Upstairs at Eric’s by Yaz, 16 Lovers Lane by The Go-Betweens…and more I’m sure will come to me later.

Apologizing in advance for any duplications, here’s a few more to consider:

The Jam: Sound Effects
The Police: Reggatta de Blanc
The Pretenders: Learning to Crawl
The Feelies: The Feelies
Devo: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
The Specials: The Specials
The dB’s: Repercussion (although some would pick their debut, Stands for Decibels)
The Dead Milkmen: Beelzebubba (or Bucky Fellini)
Golden Palominos: Blast of Silence (maybe not the critics’ typical pick, but this one anticipated the alt-country movement)
Wire: Pink Flag
The Minutemen: Double Nickels on the Dime
Squeeze: I dunno. I’ve got three of theirs, all very different compilations, all great… someone needs to nominate a proper album of theirs.
Brian Eno/John Cale: Wrong Way Up
Massive Attack: Blue Lines
Toad the Wet Sprocket: Fear
The The: Dusk, Naked Self (although many would choose Mind Bomb)
Jeff Buckley: Grace
Portishead: Dummy
Soundgarden: Superunknown
Jellyfish: Bellybutton, Spilt Milk (both, definitely)
Southern Culture On the Skids: Dirt Track Date
The Go-Betweens: 16 Lovers Lane
Squirrel Nut Zippers: Hot
Pulp: Different Class
Yo La Tengo: I Can Feel My Heart Beating as One
Morcheeba: Big Calm
Sloan: One Chord to Another
The Old 97’s: Fight Songs
The Beta Band: The Three EPs (o.k., it’s a bit of a cheat, but their album-albums weren’t as good).
The Propellerheads: Decksanddrumsandrockandroll
Amy Rigby: Diary of a Mad Housewife
Gomez: Bring It On
Ween: Chocolate and Cheese
Aimee Mann: Whatever, Batchelor #2
Semisonic: The Great Divide
The Sea and Cake: One Bedroom

Crowded House: Crowded House, Temple of Low Men, and Woodface are all good… anyone feel like narrowing it down further?

XTC: arguments could be made for Drums and Wires ('79), Black Sea, English Settlement, and The Big Express, in addition to the aforementioned Skylarking and Oranges & Lemons. D&W was tremendously influential on other artists, though, with its innovative production techniques and “big drum” sound.

Both albums are available on one CD now (either as Stands for Decibels/Repercussion or Neverland) anyway; I don’t think you can find them separately any more except on LP.

Nice picks - can’t believe I forgot the Minutemen and The Specials - but (just to be a geek) The Feelies didn’t have a self-titled album. Crazy Rhythms (my pick) what you meant? Actually, I think you could make a case for any of their albums, depending on what mood you were going for.

:smack: Crazy Rhythms it was. I was going from memory on that one and must’ve had a, ahem, senior moment…

And I can’t believe I forgot The Mekons – although my favorite of theirs (so far, since I don’t have their entire discography yet) is The Curse of the Mekons.
The grain of sand that always works its way into my oyster shell when putting together lists like this is the vexing problem of acknowledging important or interesting artists who, for all the great individual songs they’ve put out, nevertheless released albums of scattershot quality throughout their career. Robyn Hitchcock’s one of those. Ditto for The Woodentops – I debated whether to list Giant or Wooden Footed Cops on the Highway, but neither really stood out in my memory as an album. (But compile their strongest material on one disc… wow!)

Yeah, I know what you mean - I was thinking of listing either Fegmania! or Element of Light, but then I figured they probably weren’t essential albums to non-fans. Another one I wavered on was the Meat Puppets (maybe Up On The Sun?) - much as I loved them, they’re probably not that “important”, and definitely are an acquired taste.

For artists like that, I think greatest hits compilations are a good pick. Purists might turn up their nose, but screw 'em.

Hmm. Not bad, but not, IMHO, as good as Trip Shakespeare, from whose ashes they sprang. Trip Shakespeare’s albums, especially Lulu, are definitely on my own list of personal essentials, but I don’t know if they’re big enough to justify putting on the Doper List.

I could get behind you on that. I think they’re at least as deserving as some of the other bands that have been mentioned.

You’re right. I’ll add Up On The Sun (or Meat Puppets II) by The Meat Puppets. And why not throw in Fegmania by Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians while I’m at it? I think it’s at least good to have an idea of what he’s like for a list of modern rock.

The Clash - London Calling
Minutemen - Double Nickels on the Dime
Pixies - Doolittle, Surfer Rosa
Pearl Jam - Vs.
Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Uncle Tupelo - Still Feel Gone
Sublime - 40 oz to Freedom
Descendents - Milo Goes to College (maybe that one belongs in the punk thread)
At the Drive-In - In Casino Out
Rage Against the Machine - self-titled and Evil Empire
Smashing Pumpkins - Melloncollie and the Infinite Sadness
Metallica - Master of Puppets
Green Day - Dookie
Sparta - Wiretap Scars
Dispatch - Bang Bang

For Green Day, I’d pick American Idiot over Dookie, but I know lots of people who disagree.

Some others:

Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker
AC Newman - The Slow Wonder
The Black Crowes - Shake Your Money Maker
Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head
Warren Zevon - I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead Anthology
Cowboy Junkies - The Trinity Sessions
The Decemberists - Picaresque
Fountains of Wayne - Welcome Interstate Managers
Guns N’ Roses - Use Your Illusion I and II and Appetite for Destruction
The Traveling Wilburys - Vol 1
The Jayhawks - Hollywood Town Hall and Rainy Day Music
Beck - Odelay, Sea Change and Guero
The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema or Mass Romantic
Paul Simon - Graceland
Radiohead - OK Computer
Robbie Robertson - Robbie Robertson
Rush - Moving Pictures, Signals
Son Volt - Trace
Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble - Live, The Sky is Crying
Supertramp - Breakfast in America
Talk Talk - The Colour of Spring
The Tragically Hip - Fully, Completely, Up to Here, Road Apples
The White Stripes - White Blood Cells, De Stijl, Elephant
Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Aerosmith - Pump

No, you had it right. Blizzard came out in 1980, according to

I think if you like heavy metal, you might as well get all of their first 5 albums, they are all awesome. If someone needs a place to start with Metallica, I recommend either Ride the Lightning (for more heavy metal) or Metallica (for a slightly more mainstream effort).

You’re right, they probably should. Most people would probably say their best efforts are Van Halen or 1984.

As good as that album is, I don’t think you can have that one and not have British Steel.
I’d also like to add, just on the hard rock/metal side:

[ul][li]AC/DC - Back in Black (arguably their most consistent)[/li][li]Motörhead - Ace of Spades (ditto)[/li][li]Pearl Jam - Ten (in addition to Vs.)[/li][*]Pantera - Cowboys from Hell and Vulgar Display of Power (Pantera isn’t for everyone, but if you like heavy metal, they deliver in spades - especially on these two albums)[/ul]

The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses
The Happy Mondays - Pills n Thrills n Bellyaches
Primal Scream - Screamadelica
Verve - A Storm in Heaven, Urban Hymns

The other rock thread is more my era. Stylistically, most of these fit that thread more than this one. However, they are all from well past the 1980 cutoff.
If, by “essential”, we’re going for the “desert island” idea, I ain’t going without all of these:

Big Head Todd and the Monsters - Sister Sweetly
Freddy Jones Band - a mile high live (now defunct. Anyone know what happened to them?)
Gov’t Mule If I had to pick one it would be the 4 disc Live…With a little help from our friends. Please don’t make me go with just one! (Deja Voodoo is good, too). (and Dose) (and… ah, hell just add 'em all)
Jazz Is Dead - Great Sky River
Eric Johnson - Ah Via Musicon
Los Lonely Boys - Live at the Fillmore or their eponymous first (all they’ve done AFAIK)
Did I miss Dave Matthews Band? I like Under The Table And Dreaming best.
moe. - no doy (absolutely essential)
gotta have some Ozric Tentacles
Phish - Rift (personal choice. let the flames begin)
No love for Primus? Flying Frog Brigade or Col. Claypool’s Bucket Of Bernie’s Brains or Oysterhead? Okay, maybe not Oysterhead.
Joe Satriani - Surfing With The Alien
The Screaming Cheetah Wheelies - Magnolia (another band no longer around)
Spock’s Beard - V (modern prog-rock) (come back Neal, things just ain’t the same without you)
String Cheese Incident - 'Round The Wheel or Carnival '99 or…
Derek Trucks Band - Out Of The Madness
Widespread Panic - Bombs & Butterflies