I have been thinking recently about how I would rank my top ten all time favorite records. This is an incredibly difficult task, and even though they could change from minute to minute, I gave it a shot. Here we go:
#10 Injected ‘Burn It Black’ (2002)
This Atlanta band seemingly came out of nowhere to put out this straight up, no frills hard rock record that boasts riffs and songwriting that are equally amazing. The energy of their live shows was second to none. With such a solid major label debut, I expected a long career from them, but that was not to be. Their follow up record was shelved, and they broke up shortly after.
Key Tracks: When She Comes, Faithless
#9 Veruca Salt ‘Eight Arms To Hold You’ (1997)
This is a huge sounding rock record, with big drums, bigger guitars, and the beautiful vocals of Nina Gordon and Louise Post. Whether singing alone, or singing harmonies together, the vocal performances on this record by both women are stellar. Their use of guitar feedback is also a high point of the record for me.
Key Tracks: Straight, Volcano Girls
#8 Living Colour ‘Vivid’ (1988)
This is such an important record to me, considering it was the first record I owned that truly made me think. Not only do you get ridiculous musical performances on every level with this record, but you get lyrics that paint pictures of racism and other injustices that are burned into your brain, and make you want to take action. The individual performances by Vernon Reid, Will Calhoun, Muzz Skillings, and Corey Glover are just on a whole different plane.
Key Tracks: Cult Of Personality, Open Letter (To A Landlord)
#7 Jane’s Addiction ‘Ritual De Lo Habitual’ (1990)
Finding a perfect balance between art and Rock, this record pummels one minute, and makes you cry the next. The amount of musical styles and directions are many, and the guitar work overall by the great Dave Navarro is jaw-dropping, specifically his solo on the beautiful Three Days.
Key Tracks: Stop!, Three Days
#6 White Zombie ‘La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Volume 1’ (1992)
This record is pure hard rock insanity, sprinkled with a little bit of evil. Vicious riffs, punctuated by B-Horror movie quotes, along with Rob Zombies signature vocal style, all make this record the fun trip that it is. I have been listening to it for well over 20 years now, and I still hear something new that I have never heard before with each listen.
Key Tracks: Welcome To Planet Motherfucker/Psychoholic Slag, Thunder Kiss ’65
#5 Metallica ‘…And Justice For All’ (1988)
The production issues with this record are well documented, but you have to be able to look past that and really focus on the brutality of the songs. They paint a picture of war, betrayal, despair, etc. Riffs galore by Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield, and an exceptional drum performance by Lars Ulrich make this a record for the ages.
Key Tracks: Blackened, The Shortest Straw
#4 Prince ‘The Gold Experience’ (1995)
I love all eras of Prince, but for my money, Prince is at his best when tearing it up on guitar. And that is exactly what he does on this record. Between Prince’s guitar performance and Michael Bland’s drumming (check out the intro on Shhh), it is damn near musical heaven. This record is another great example of an artist that can weave in and out of a ton of different styles, all without breaking a sweat. And even if he does break a sweat, I’m sure he has minions that come out of nowhere to fan him with purple palm leaves, because, well, he’s Prince.
Key Tracks: Endorphinmachine, Gold
#3 Failure ‘Fantastic Planet’ (1996)
Good God, where do I begin here? With this record, Failure manages to paint a lush sonic landscape that is ultimately guitar driven, but includes many sounds that fit perfectly into the overall puzzle. Over the years, it has been well documented that substance abuse played a big part in the creation of this record, and you can almost hear that. Listening to it front to back is almost a disorienting experience, because you get the sensation of being lost in this world that Ken Andrews and Greg Edwards created. I can say without hesitation that to me, this is a perfect record.
Key Tracks: Saturday Saviour, The Nurse Who Loved Me
#2 Guns N’ Roses ‘Appetite For Destruction’ (1987)
One of the reasons I loved this record as a 13 year old when it was released is that it felt dangerous, and it still feels the same way to me today. Even the less abrasive songs feel like the could come unhinged at any moment. The whole record just has a dirty sound to it, and that’s the way I like it. It makes you feel like you are in the seedy parts of Los Angeles after midnight, and they say nothing good ever happens after midnight, don’t they? Well, I say EVERYTHING good happens after midnight!
Key Tracks: It’s So Easy, Rocket Queen
#1 KISS ‘Alive’ (1975)
This record was made to capture the energy of a KISS concert, like the perfect souvenir from going to see them live. They hit it out of the park with this one. There has been much debate and speculation over the years as to how much is actually live, and how much was overdubbed in the studio, but I honestly don’t give a shit about any of that. I do know that when I was 3 years old and I got my little hands on this, I was obsessed. Down came the Mickey Mouse stuff off the walls, up went Gene, Paul, Ace, and Peter, and I never turned back. You can almost feel the explosions and fire when you listen to it, which I’m sure was the original intention. Brilliant.
Key Tracks: Deuce, 100,000 Years
Well, I hope you enjoyed checking out my list, considering next week could potentially be ten different records! And please, if there are records on this list that you have never heard, and you have a few minutes, please check them out. There are not many things that make me happier than turning people on to new music!