The countdown continues:
30. “Nevermind” by Nirvana
What’s there to say about Nirvana’s 1991 debut, recorded for just $65gs over two months, that hasn’t already been said? Maybe a few things, actually, since 20+ years will allow nostalgia to get in the way of the cold hard truth: “Nevermind” is a pop album, just as much as “Justified” and “Genie In a Bottle.” Sure, in terms of melodic rock bands, Nirvana is head and shoulders above the rest, but this whole “grunge” tag they’ve got was earned by the records before and after “Nevermind,” not by the playful, romantic “Drain You” or the hip “Lounge Act.” Kurt and Dave’s harmonies are beautiful and Krist’s bass lines are hypnotic. So don’t be fooled; grunge is for the birds, “Nevermind” is for the masses.
HIGHLIGHTS: “In Bloom,” “Lithium,” “Drain You,” “On A Plain”
29. “More Songs for Dreamsleepers & the Very Awake” by Christians & Lions
From the mega famous to the all but unheard of, we have the debut LP from folksters Christians & Lions. Hailing from the Boston area, C&L are blessed with one of the most pleasant sounds ever to exist in music. The guitars, the horns, the percussions…everything has been produced to such a standard of auditory excellence it is no wonder underground legend Ben Potrykus gives up some of his most impressive vocal performances to date. I will tell you this: if every man, woman and child in America were issued a copy of this album + a walkman (yeah, a walkman), you’d end the day with at least 100 million new C&L fans. The album is that good, that universal.
HIGHLIGHTS: “Stay Warm,” “Bones,” “Gimme Diction,” “Skinny Fists”
28. “Hi, Everything’s Great” by Limbeck
I’m starting to think it’s no coincidence that most of these are debut albums. Music is such a sporadic creation that it’s almost impossible to improve upon the original. That makes the case of Limbeck’s debut all the more interesting; they hit the road with a handful of generic pop punk/country rock songs and returned a dozen of the best traveling songs you’ll ever hear. Starting with the unforgettable opening chords of “Honk + Wave,” Limbeck begins on a joyful, reflective trip through memories, gladly bringing the listener along for the ride. This is a CD to play on a sunny summer day. No worries, no problems, hi, everything’s great.
HIGHLIGHTS: “Honk + Wave,” “Julia,” “Great Desert,” “In Ohio On Some Steps”
27. “The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi” by The Receiving End of Sirens
It’s tough to recover from losing a key vocalist/songwriter, and in truth most bands never recover. This was never an issue for TREOS, who still had two singer/songwriters on board and enough musical ingenuity/creative know how to blowup the moon. Think about it. Starting where their debut left off, “Mi Fa Mi” goes deeper into the human psyche and deeper into space. The conceptual spine of BTHATS is multiplied by a dozen as every single sound on “Mi Fa Mi” calls to another; it truly is the music of the spheres, sounds of the planets turning. Leave it to TREOS to take on the galaxy.
HIGHLIGHTS: “The Crop and the Pest,” “Wanderers,” “Saturnus,” “Pale Blue Dot”
26. “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: III” by Coheed and Cambria
Building off their sci-fi inspired debut, Coheed’s sophomore effort took “concept album” to a whole other level, with the title-track opener being literally a battle song, with verses reflecting the tense atmosphere of pre-war, the choruses exploding with the sounds of battle, and various bridges capturing the lulls and crescendos of battle. A myriad of new characters, places and evil space weapons are introduced, and all in a creepily cartoonish, poppy/metal genre-bending way. It’s a record you deserve to listen to at least twice; once to marvel at the guitar and vocal work, and again with the lyric booklet open in front of you so you can try and figure out what the fuck Claudio is singing about.