Okay, I can see why people like Arcade Fire. And I can see how this album may have influenced the genre following its release.
I got bored 3/4 of the way through listening. I finished but I would have rather not have.
Funny thing, Arcade Fire reminds me of a local band from the 90s back in Dayton, Ohio - Walaroo South. I could listen to Walaroo South all day. I don't know what's different about Arcade Fire but my interest always fades after a few songs.
499 Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan - Ask Rufus (1977)
This album has the beats. Not my favorite genre of all time but it's pretty great. The deeper into the album I got, the more I liked it. The ending piece (Egyptian Song) was absolutely fantastic.
498 Suicide - Suicide (1977)
My introduction to Suicide was Return of the Living Dead when the protagonists had the band name emblazoned across the front of their punk-mobile. The lead said "punk isn't a lifestyle, it's a way of life" or something to that effect.
As soon as the notes to the first track came across my headphones, I was hooked deep. This music speaks to my soul. When I'm in a mellow mood, it's usually Suicide or Morphine these days.
And this electronica coming from the 70s? WTF? I can see why this album ended up on this list.
497 Various Artists - The Indestructible Beat of Soweto (1985)
First off, this album caught my attention from the opening strains. The music here is solid.
Second, it's easy to forget in this day and age that in 1985 the Apartheid state in South Africa was still going strong and how much of a "Fuck You" to The Man this album was.
Seriously, at this point the US government under the Reagan Administration was still selling arms to the South African government and South Africa itself was a full blown nuclear power with an small arsenal of deliverable nuclear warheads.
As if nuking the black man in Africa would have been a good idea. And if that wasn't the intent why would South Africa need a nuke?
496 Shakira - Dónde Están los Ladrones (1998)
This one surprised me. It's fun. While I really like pop influenced rock, I seldom am a fan of pure pop. But the beats here are fun and the pop hook is steeped in greatness. If only Arcade Fire had half the pop sensibility that went into this album, they wouldn't be so boring.
I could listen to this all day on repeat easy.
495 Boyz II Men - II (1991)
Boyz II Men was just taking off during a period when I wasn't really listening to new music for a long time. I knew of them. I'd heard some of their tunes. But I wasn't ready for this album. It's so smooth. So danceable. It makes me want to get up and get down.
This one's most def going into my regular rotation.
494 The Ronettes - Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes (1964)
This album holds up pretty well. It's the Ronettes. It's what you would expect. I'm not sure what else to say. I started to get a bit bored listening to it. But not bored enough that I found myself wishing it were over.
493 Marvin Gaye - Here, My Dear (1978)
As a midwestern kid that grew up in the 70s watching PBS, I would categorize this as "Sesame Street music." You never heard anything like this on the radio but half of the music backed vignettes on Sesame Street had that funky R&B bass and wah-wah driven sound.
This album is especially tight. The musicians here do a lot of interesting things. On some of the tracks just when I start to get bored there's an unexpected fill or transition and the music gets très intéressant. It keeps my attention in ways that a lot of smooth but moody music does not.
492 Bonnie Raitt - Nick of Time (1989)
Between my tweener years and high school, I was only ever familiar with one Bonnie Raitt song - Holding Out for a Hero. It was a ballsy song, featured prominently in an 80s movie everyone forgets about - Streets of Fire - that brought the budding star Willem Dafoe his first major role. [UPDATE As pointed out in the comments, Holding Out for a Hero was Bonnie Tyler and featured on the Footloose soundtrack]
So this album was all new to me despite being released the year I graduated from high school. Certainly not my cup of tea. If I had to categorize it, it would be as lesbian soft rock. Tempo wise and stylistically it sounds a lot like all of the lesbian artists my mom and her then lover used to listen to during my sophomore and junior years of high school. I don't think my mom's musical tastes have changed much since.
Anyway, decent album. I can hear the artistry in the songs. But it doesn't do much for me. I'd be hard pressed to tell you why this is one of the most important albums in rock history.
491 Harry Styles - Fine Line (2019)
The 80s called. They want your pop back.
Not going to complain about this album. It's eminently listenable. But I don't see why it's on this list. Styles' solo effort sounds like any number of 80s pop bands. Or 90s pop bands. or 00s pop bands.
I guess it's not his fault that there is seldom something new with the genre. But I find it hard to believe that something where every song sounds so derivative is one of the 500 most important albums.
If this had been released in 1980 or 1981 it certainly would have been influential. In 2019?, yeah, no.
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