Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Favorite Rock Albums

I thought I would take a break from the usual fare, and talk about music today.  My wife is much more musically-inclined than I am, but I know what I like.  She has her favorites (her email addresses are usually some variation of "Bowie fan"), and I have mine.  We agree on a lot, but differ on some.

Below is a list of some of my favorite Rock Albums of all time (the use of the term "album" probably kind of dates me here).  You should know that these are just MY favorites, and this list will no doubt vary greatly from any given person's. The criteria I used for this list is simple.  The album a) has to be Rock n Roll, b) can't be a "greatest hits" compilation, and c) has to be an album that I like most, if not all of the songs on.

Reckless - Bryan Adams
When I was a sophomore in high school, my new step dad (who is only 9 years older than was a cougar, apparently) gave me a handful of his records.  This one was the one I listened to the most, and the one that really set the stage for my musical tastes.  I love most of what Bryan Adams does, but this album is by far my favorite.  When I used to have boyhood fantasies of being a rock star, I would sing along with this album, playing my air-guitar like nobody's business.  To this day, I still love these songs.

Appetite for Destruction - Guns n' Roses
This is the album that got me into metal.  Prior to this, I was only passively interested in the sub-genre, preferring more standard fare, like Bryan Adams, Foreigner, Journey, and the like.  But Appetite really grabbed me by the balls.  I still believe that GnR had the chops to become one of the greatest bands in history, and could have been on the level of Led Zeppelin and The Who.  Too bad they imploded, and kind of faded away.  Still, Slash is arguably one of the greatest guitarists in rock history.

5150 - Van Halen
Ok, let me just start by stating that I am one of those strange people who think that Van Halen actually sounded better when they had Sammy Hagar.  I like the Diamond Dave stuff too, but I like the Sammy albums better.  In fact, picking one of those to be my favorite is hard.  But I think, overall, 5150, their fist with Sammy, is my favorite.  A lot of good songs on that one.  And a good mix of sounds.  Some whimsical, some heavy, and all rock.  The album still kicks ass.  And even though they had some great songs in later albums with Sammy, this one was the only one that was a "complete package" for me.

Pride - White Lion
Probably one of the most underrated of the "big hair" bands of the late 80's, White Lion's Pride was and is one of my all-time favorites.  Mike Tramp's vocals are awesome, the lyrics are deep and often thought-provoking, and the riffs are well done.  When the Children Cry is one of the most emotionally charged rock ballads ever, simply because it's not just about the singer's personal love-life.

Escape - Journey
Anyone who knows me personally knows that no list of mine involving music would be complete without some mention of Journey.  It was hard to pick a favorite album, because I know most of their music from their Greatest Hits compilation.  But Escape had the most songs that I love (I even wore a replica t-shirt for a themed family photo a couple of years ago), so it makes my list.  The episode of the TV series "Glee" called "Journeys" is my favorite, and their Journey mix is my all-time favorite TV musical performance.

Operation: Mindcrime - Queensryche
When I was in the Army, my buddy used to listen to this in our room all the time.  I didn't like it at first, but then he made me a copy, and I would listen to it while I walked a guard post around the motor pool late at night.  It amazed me that album tells a story, and a very emotional and cinematic story.  I used to dream about making a movie based on this album.  It's because of this that I can't just listen to one track from it.  That would be like opening a favorite book, and just reading one chapter.  The album as a whole is an experience.

This is just a partial list, and I am sure that, if I thought about it for a long time, I'd probably come up with at least a dozen more to add to it.  But this is what came to me as I thought about it.

As with most of my lists, you can see that I am a child of the 80's.  What can I say?


Tim Shorts said...

I believe I have everyone of these 'albulms'. Throw in some Pink Floyd, Iggy Pop, Motorhead and we got ourself a party.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've listened to most of these. I'd say the GNR is the one I'd certainly include on my list as well. I'm a child of the slightly earlier 80s I'd think, and of the late 70s.

barbarella said...

Please add the Crue to the list with Shout at the Devil, Live Wire, or even Girls, Girls, Girls...

P.S. I live in Madison!