Friday, October 17, 2014

Albums of the Year

I've often thought about the whole question of album of the year. Around Mercury prize time it comes along. Sometimes I agree with the award; others I get the impression it is either being awarded for longevity (back catalogue taken into account) or some act of great PR on quite ordinary work (I'm looking at you Klaxons).

But looking back over 40 plus years of enthusiasm for popular music, what, I wondered, have been the albums each year that could best be described as game-changers? Genre-busters? Or just completely new? Picking only from the albums I own.

Choosing one album a year has produced an interesting result, a sort of top fifty of my life. And of course they are not my top fifty albums for that would involve two from the same year. 1973 and 1997 were a very tough call.

Aware that all such lists do is generate comment storms, here is my discussion starter for ten:

1959 Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
1964 Sounds Incorporated - Sounds Incorporated
1967 Ten Years After - Ten Years After
1969 Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II
1971 Traffic - The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys
1972 Roxy Music - Roxy Music
1973 Herbie Hancock - Headhunter
1974 Supertramp - Crime of the Century
1975 John Lennon - Rock 'N' Roll
1976 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
1977 Ian Dury and the Blockheads - New Boots and Panties
1978 Brian Eno - Ambient 1: Music for Airports
1979 Joe Jackson - Look Sharp
1980 Talking Heads - Remain in Light
1981 The Police - Ghost in the Machine
1982 Dire Straits - Love Over Gold
1983 The Thompson Twins - Quick Step and Side Kick
1984 Howard Jones - Human's Lib
1985 Big Audio Dynamite - This is...
1986 Sting - Bring on the Night
1987 U2 - The Joshua Tree
1988 Dan Reed Network - Dan Reed Network
1989 Neneh Cherry - Raw Like Sushi
1990 The Sundays - Reading, Writing and Arithmetic
1991 Massive Attack - Blue Lines
1992 The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprasy - Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury
1993 Crowded House - Together Alone
1994 Blur - Parklife
1995 Black Grape - It's Great When You're Straight... Yeah
1996 Everything but the Girl - Walking Wounded
1997 Alabama 3 - Exile on Coldharbour Lane
1998 Faithless - Sunday 9pm
1999 Moby - Play
2000 Lexis - Branch of Knowledge
2001 Zero 7 - Simple Things
2002 Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head
2003 The Shins - Shutes Too Narrow
2004 Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
2005 Roots Manuva- Awfully Deep
2006 Burial - Burial
2007 Jazz Liberatorz - Clin d'oeil
2008 Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
2009 The xx - The xx
2010 Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
2011 Radiohead - The King of Limbs
2012 Robert Glasper Experiment - Black Radio
2013 Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
2014 Metronomy - Love Letters


Doug Chaplin said...

Back in 1998, did you forget to change the clocks when Faithless released your album of the year? You seem to be an hour out!

Steve Tilley said...

That's a good spot Doug. Fat iPad fingers to blame.