MoSS? Presents… The Undisputed Top Albums Ever: Ineligible Albums and Those That Missed the Cut

We’re taking a little break from our Undisputed Top Albums Ever countdown during this busy holiday week. Instead, we are going to share with you a few albums that didn’t make the cut and a few albums that we’ve declared ineligible for selection. When we were first tasked with making these lists, we decided to limit our top 100 albums to proper releases. This meant no soundtracks, no live albums, no compilations etc. Some great material had to be omitted. Take a look at what didn’t make the cut. Your favorite record could be in there somewhere.

Don’t worry, the countdown continues next week with #20-16.

Chris’ 5 That Missed The Cut

Alice in Chains, Dirt

INXS, Kick

Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti

Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral

Van Halen, 1984 

A CLOSER LOOK AT…

INXS, Kick

cover for kickOnce I realized that Kick was not in my top 100 albums, I nearly chucked all of my analysis out the window. Not sure how this one landed at #102, given how much I worshipped this album growing up. I swear my friend Jeff and I listened to this album 800 times one year, doing SWEET DANCE MOVES more often than not (and changing the lyrics to fit our ridiculous sense of humor…we won’t go into that here). I even bought an INXS t-shirt (and it was tie-dye, naturally).

This was a more overall satisfying disc compared with Listen Like Thieves or The Swing, with song after song tailor made for modern radio but dissimilar from one another as well. “New Sensation” sounded nothing like “Devil Inside,” which sounded nothing like “Need You Tonight,” and then there was the one with the strings (“Never Tear Us Apart”). And then you had the leadoff track, “Guns in the Sky,” which is probably a bit flimsy as far as political commentary goes but sounded pretty kick-ass back then. And that monotone rhyming thing on “Mediate” was pretty cool…

Anyway, listen to my favorite song from the album below.

Chris’ 5 Ineligible Albums, Soundtracks or Live Albums

Descendents, Liveage!

Ramones, Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!: The Anthology

Wings, Wings Over America

Various artists, Pulp Fiction soundtrack

Various artists, No Alternative

A CLOSER LOOK AT…

Descendents, Liveage!

cover for liveageOne of the albums that created the era known as BMCJMMC (Before My Cousin Josh Made Me Cooler) was this wonderful 20-song blast of live ’80s punk by Descendents. (You can’t go wrong with the studio compilation, Somery, either.) Now, granted, my 13-year-old ears perked right up once opening track* “I’m Not a Loser” unleashed an avalanche of profanity (the last four lines or so are right in the wheelhouse of a junior high kid). But once I finally stopped laughing and rewinding that song (yep, cassette era), I discovered some of the greatest punk/pop moments from a band that had street cred.

(* – technically, the first track is the one word/one note blast called “All”)

The music is tight, lean, and full of wonderful lyric topics like suburban homes and funky vans that function as homes and silly girls and not being a cool guy anymore and wanting time to woo a woman and, um, dumb stuff like “I Wanna Be a Bear” and “Weinerschnitzel.” I remember Josh and I figured the singer, Milo, was probably lying in a drug-induced coma in some gutter somewhere, when it turns out he holds a doctorate in biochemistry. Milo Goes to College, indeed. Listen to “Silly Girl” below…

Todd’s 5 That Missed The Cut

Frank Ocean, Nostalgia Ultra

U2, Achtung Baby

Massive Attack, Protection

Pixies, Bossanova

M83, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

A CLOSER LOOK AT…

Frank Ocean, Nostalgia Ultra

I had two issues with this record being on the list.

Issue #1. It was too new. I have a very hard time ranking an album that is only a year old in my top 100. I need time to really decide if it is worthy. Check with me in two years and I bet it will make the cut. In the meantime, watch out Bjork, Frank is coming to take your spot.

Issue #2. That fucking “American Wedding” catastrophe near the end of the album. It’s basically him singing over the music of The Eagles “Hotel California.” A song I loath. Don Henley threatened to sue Frank Ocean if he didn’t quit sing the song. I think the world should threaten to sue Don Henley if he doesn’t stop singing it.

Here’s an example of a good song from the album.

Todd’s 5 Ineligible Albums, Soundtracks or Live Albums

Guns N’ Roses, Live Era ’87-’93

Fleetwood Mac, The Dance

Various Artists, Grosse Pointe Blank Soundtrack

Various Artists, Once (Music from the Motion Picture)

Various Artists, Singles Soundtrack

A CLOSER LOOK AT…

Gross Point Blank Soundtrack

I know this soundtrack is really just an ’80s music playlist but I love it. So many great artists on it. Violent Femmes, Guns N’ Roses, The Clash, Queen with David Bowie. How can you go wrong? Not only are the artists great but the songs they chose by those artists are some of my all time favorites. Examples: Queen’s “Under Pressure”(Not Rob Van Winkle’s “Ice Ice Baby”), The Clash’s “Rudy Can’t Fail” and one my top five favorite songs ever “Pressure Drop.” Many people have covered this Toots and the Maytals classic. The Clash actually have an A+ cover version that I love. My favorite version is on this soundtrack and it is done by legendary ska band The Specials.  Check it out below.

Previous installments:

#100-91

#90-81

#80-71

#70-61

#60-51

#50-41

#40-31

#30-21

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Surviving the New Music Wasteland 3: A New Hope

For a few glorious years in the mid 90’s, the music I liked was considered popular music. I had no trouble finding out about new bands because they were actually being played on the radio. It was a golden age, but as Ponyboy once said, “Nothing Gold Can Stay”. (Man, those Greasers sure knew their Frost poems).

Slowly things began to change. I didn’t notice at first but there were warning signs. Eventually in the late ’90s and early 2000s radio stations were only playing carbon copied pop stars and awful post grunge rock bands. So I turned off the radio and wandered aimlessly through a period I called “The New Music Wasteland”. Good new music was so hard to find that I just gave up.

I spent my time rediscovering music that I already loved or did my homework on bands that I had always wanted to listen to. This would usually send me into 3-4 month obsessive periods where I would listen only to one artist or band. That meant all works by the band, including all side projects and solo recordings. It was a grueling effort and people within earshot of me tended to get a bit irritated. (By month 2 of my obsession with The Clash, my wife answered their question of ”Should I Stay or Should I Go?” with a resounding “Get the hell out and take Big Audio Dynamite I and II with you”.)

Of course, this cycle can only go on for so long. I was deep into a Pixies overdose and about to cook up a gigantic Frank Black speedball when I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, “There’s got to be a better way!” So I went cold turkey. There just had to be some decent new music out there and I would have to force myself to find it.

After a few days of Pixies detox, I went to my upstairs office PC. We’d had the computer for a year or more but it had mostly been used for email and checking porn scores…I mean sports porn…I mean…well, you know what I mean. So I sat down at the computer and brought up Windows Media Player. It instantly brought up the last thing I had listened to which just happened to be a Pixies/Frank Black/Breeders playlist. Not wanting to fall back into old habits I quickly deleted the playlist. Easy, Todd! One step at time.

Next I tried to find some completely innocuous music to play. Something entertaining but something that wouldn’t send me into another 3 month tailspin of research and investigation. That’s when I saw the Media Guide tab on the Windows player. I’d never noticed the tab before so I clicked on it. One of the options in the media guide was “Internet Radio”. Interesting. Radio on the Internet? How futuristic. There was a list of stations with any genre of music you could think of from Adult Contemporary to Urban/R&B and stuck in the middle was Indie Rock.

I clicked on one of the channels and was blown away. The artist and song title were listed on the screen. You didn’t have sit around and wait for a DJ to come on and recap the playlist. The first song I heard was by a band unknown to me at the time The Shins. The song was “Girl on the Wing”.

Needless to say I was hooked in right there. I spent the next few hours bouncing between radio stations and Napster (FYI, I only used Napster to preview music. I totally went out and bought the material later. Seriously, I’m not lying. What? OK, fine. SOMETIMES I just downloaded the music for free and didn’t go out and buy it. Sue me. Oh shit! No. Please don’t sue me)

I found plenty of other great songs like The Flaming Lips “Race for the Prize”. I was aware of The Flaming Lips mainly from their odd little song “She Don’t Use Jelly” from the early 90’s. Check out their bizarre appearance on 90210. They sing “She Don’t Use Jelly” at the world famous Beverly Hills hot spot The Peach Pit After Dark. Make sure you hang in until the 50 second mark so you can see Steve Sanders awkwardly rocking out. Cracks me up every time.

The Lips completely changed their musical direction with the album The Soft Bulletin featuring “Race for the Prize”  and I loved it.

The album I ran across that got the most air time afterwards was probably Ben Folds’ 1st solo album Rockin’ the Suburbs. Like the Flaming Lips I was familiar with his previous work. The Ben Folds 5 (The name gets extra cool points since there was only 3 of them) had a few records out in the 90’s but I was never a big fan. I kind of got burned out on their song “Brick”. The new solo record was different. It was one of those rare albums that I could just play the whole way through and never have to skip over any sucky songs. Rockin’ the Suburbs didn’t have a single stinker on it.

I liked it so much that I dragged my wife with me to Kansas City where we stood outside in the rain for hours to watch him perform. We came home with walking pneumonia and a sweet Rockin’ the Suburbs concert T-Shirt.

So I must give thanks to Bill Gates and technology in general for giving me new hope and showing me the path to escape  “The New Music Wasteland”.  Since then I’ve discovered many other new music sources and haven’t had any major Pixies or Clash related music relapses. That’s right. Clash free. I just got my 10 year chip. One day at a time.

Surviving the New Music Wasteland 2: Attack of the Clones

As you may have already read, there was a period in the late ’90s and early 2000s that I dubbed “The New Music Wasteland”. This was a period in which the music I listened to was no longer considered mainstream music. Radio stations changed formats, popular music took on a totally different shape, and I was left to wander aimlessly through the aftermath.

Now, I wasn’t living under a rock in those days. Even though I quit listening to the radio (All but sports talk. Who knew you could listen to people talk about the same three sports news items all day and not get bored?) I did see and hear what was happening in the world of pop music. It was The Clone Wars. Just like the Evil Empire, record companies took whatever crap was selling and copied it over and over. But unlike The Emperor who pumped out Stormtrooper after perfect Stormtrooper, (except maybe this one) the copies got shittier and shittier as they cranked them out. If we learned anything from the Michael Keaton movie Multiplicity, it was that a copy of a copy is always of lesser quality. Eventually, instead of a handsome movie star you end up with Sloth from Goonies. It happened in all genres of music but it was most notable in three basic forms.

Bellybutton Pop:

It all started with Britney Spears. Who didn’t feel for that young girl? Her loneliness was killing her! She pleaded for us to hit her “… Baby One More Time”. Next came Christina Aguilera with “Genie in a Bottle,” inappropriately asking us all for some release by “rubbing her the right way.” Soon any underage blonde that could hold a tune (Not even that important) had her tits propped up and her bellybutton out for perverts and little girls across the country. Check out these album covers from roughly the same 1-2 year period.

Blonde girl? Check.

Breasts in view? Check.

Bellybutton out? Check.

Lips slightly parted? Check.

Can she sing? Uhhh sort of.

Who cares! Let’s make a record!

Super Dreamy Boy Bands:

Now this trend has been around for a long time. The ’80s had their share of boy bands as New Edition, Menudo, and New Kids on the Block all had various levels of popularity. But in the late 90’s boy bands hit their peak. Groups like ‘N SYNC, 98 Degrees, and Backstreet Boys were all the rage, also to the delight of pervs and little girls everywhere. Don’t be fooled, there was a formula for it all. First, the poppy dance number to get our attention. Then, the slow emotional song to make us all fall in love. I know I couldn’t look into the eyes of any of these guys without them “Tearing Up My Heart”. Come on! Look at these press shots.

The fashion sense. The creepy facial hair. Are they good boys? Are they bad boys? Are they straight? Are they gay?

Who cares! Let’s make a record!

Shit Rock. Or The Horrible Never Ending Cavalcade of Shitty Post-Grunge Rock Bands:

They were usually either some awful Pearl Jam knock off, or some half rock, half rap 311 sounding crap. Judging by these band photos they all must have had the same publicist too.

For some reason it was very important for everyone to know the bands pecking order. Band members got lined up presumably by importance. Lead singer, Lead guitar, everyone else…

“Hey! You in back. Yeah, drummer guy. We’re still seeing too much of you.”

“Ok, no one smile and ….. perfect.”

But, are they any good?

Who cares! Let’s make a record!

Salvation finally came in the form of satellite and internet radio. But in the meantime I had to find alternate methods to satisfy my musical appetite. Naturally, I did what everyone does in times of trouble… look back on better days. Here are a few examples of some artists I rediscovered during this time. Maybe this could serve as a guide if you ever find yourself stuck in your own “New Music Wasteland”.

Pixies

Before there was grunge rock and Nirvana there was The Pixies. Kurt Cobain actually admitted that “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was a conscious attempt to copy the Pixies. He also said The Pixies’ Surfer Rosa was one of his main musical influences. I listened to all things Pixies for pretty much an entire year. This forced my wife to have to listen to all things Pixies. She didn’t mind too much until the Frank Black solo stuff came out. I think she began to feel like Manuel Noriega when the U.S. bombarded him with heavy metal music to get him to surrender. The Pixies were definitely ahead of their time and are worth a listen, but learn from my mistakes. There will be no “hunkering down” whilst the music of Doolittle is playing.

Springsteen

Every few years I see some retrospective or documentary about Bruce Springsteen and end up feeling like I should try to get into his music. I dive into his early work and then remember that I was not born in New Jersey nor am I the son of a coal miner. The music of “The Boss” just doesn’t speak to me like it does other people. Glowing review right? My ambivalence doesn’t mean it’s not work checking out though. There’s some good stuff there you just have to sift through the crap.

The most hilariously awkward moment in music video history

Coming Soon SNMW 3: A New Hope