Tim’s Top 100 Albums of All-Time & Best Album of 2013

As 2013 draws to a close you’re probably being bombarded by year-end “Top 10/50/100 Album” lists.  And just like every year, I’ll lay down a sizable chunk of my hard-earned money on a handful of magazines to make sure I don’t miss out on anything good.  Yes, I’m a sucker for these lists – it’s people like me that are responsible for this year-end pontificating by music journalists…it’s probably the reason I immediately loved Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity with all the top 5 lists rattled off by the lovable slacker Rob and his record-shop sycophants.

Incidentally, High Fidelity is the only film soundtrack to make my list.  Read on.

Watch Rob reel off his “Top 5 Side 1’s Track 1’s” in the movie version.

High_Fidelity_Five

In summer of 2012 I began a project ambitious in scope and execution.  At 41 years old, I gave myself the challenge to make my very own top 100 list.  I figured I’d spent half my life reading about what others considered to be their top albums and therefore deserved to make my “Top 100 Albums Of All-Time”.

Here are the criteria I used:

  • Before an album could make the list, I had to listen to it in its entirety (no track skipping!) and enjoy every track on the album, i.e. the album as a complete piece of work.  As you can imagine, this automatically disqualified many worthy candidates which would easily have made my list if it had been a conversation down the pub – the most conducive environment to authentic list-making, in my opinion.  Sadly, I made it about 15 seconds into the Jacko-Macka duet, “The Girl Is Mine” off Thriller before it got the boot.
  • The album needed to have relevance to me now or was at least still capable of giving me an emotional reaction, i.e. nostalgia alone was not enough. (PJ Harvey / To Bring You My Love ’95 – Yes. Social Distortion / Social Distortion ’90 – No.)
  • The third and final criterion was that once the album went on the list, it had to stay there – in other words, no revising.  Firstly, it would have become a never-ending project.  Secondly, I wanted to trust my gut reaction on first listen.  Admittedly, I did give a few albums 2-3 listens to account for the odd bad mood or sub-optimal listening experience.  Case in point – Lou Reed’s  New York makes the cut on second listen, Steve Miller’s Fly Like An Eagle doesn’t.

Watch Lou rock “Dirty Blvd” with a little help from his friend David.

Lou Reed & David Bowie

As with all lists I’d imagine, it would certainly look a lot different if I now went back with my critically-trained editing pencil.  Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti easily knocks out Coldplay’s Rush of Blood to the Head.  Case in point.  However, I forced myself to abide by the self-inflicted criteria and live with the consequences.

If you’re interested in my final “rough” cut, I invite you to take this visual journey:

Tim’s Top 100 Albums.

If you made it to #100 you might not have recognized this album as it is just came out in October of ‘13.  Although it hasn’t stood the test of time like the other 99 entries on the list, The Avett Brother’s Magpie and the Dandelion has all the right stuff in my book – raw, heartfelt lyrics, great melodic hooks, soaring harmonies and most of all fantastic musicianship from this hirsute crew from North Carolina.  Watch them with special guest Chris Cornell play “Vanity” on Jimmy Fallon.  Hands down, my favorite album of 2013.

Let me know what you agree with or what you think is missing.  Or better yet, send me your top 100…or perhaps just your top 5:-).  Either way, I’d love to hear  your all-time favorite tunes…

Happy holidays and all the best to you in 2014!

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12 thoughts on “Tim’s Top 100 Albums of All-Time & Best Album of 2013

  1. That is a very strong list and I understand the criteria andconstraints you put on yourself. I couldn’t help but notice you leaving out an entire genre, grunge. I would have put Nirvana’s never mind somewhere in there as well as Alice in chains DIRT.

    Another artist Sam Beam of Iron and wine would not only have made my list but would have been close to the top. “Our endless summer days” is amazing.

    Here are a few more…
    Spoon- gimmie fiction
    Jonny Cash- live at Folsom prison
    Grateful Dead- American beauty
    Deep purple- machine head
    Talking heads- stop making sense
    Jimi Hendrix- are you experienced

    You had some gems in there as well as some artist that are not known to me. I will do my best to listen to them as I am always in search of new music, or music that is new to me!

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    • Yes, grunge! Although Nevermind and Ten had a huge impact on me 20+ years ago, I’m afraid I don’t connect as much to them anymore. However, I do have Pearl Jam’s Yield on my list. But I could easily have included 2-3 of their other albums. Was never a huge Alice In Chains fan, I did/do like Soundgarden, though. If it’s any consolation, did you watch the clip of the Avett Bro’s with Chris Cornell from my posting?

      Of the other albums you mentioned, I sadly forgot Gimme Fiction, should have made the list for sure! I think you first got me into Spoon 7-8 years ago. I like the others but don’t have the personal connection to them that you do. And for some reason I’ve never gotten into Iron and Wine. In fact, The Avett Bro’s are the first Americana band I’ve like in a long, long time. If Iron and Wine had been around in the 90’s, I have no doubt they would have been one of my favs, along with Uncle Tupelo (Wilco + Sun Volt), The Jayhawks, Whiskeytown/Ryan Adams and many more.

      Thanks for your feedback and your valuable musical input! BTW, I don’t know if you remember this but you gave me The Smiths Hatful of Hollow for X-MAS ’84 and that made my list.

      Cheers,

      Tim

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  2. Mate.

    This was indeed an awesome undertaking. Well done. Brilliant list. As you know many of these albums would be on my top one hundred list as well. I would say between forty and fifty would be on my list.

    A couple of stupid questions.

    1. Is the list in order of preference?

    2. Why is Ringo riding an exercise bike in that photo?

    Here’s a few I would include in my top one hundred of all time.

    Fleetwood Mac. Rumours. 1977
    Patti Smith. Horses. 1975.
    Nirvana. Nevermind. 1991.
    Chris Whitley. Living With The Law. 1990.
    Miles Davis. Kind Of Blue.1958

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    • Greg,

      Cheers for your feedback! I knew I was going to have to explain the Ringo on a bike thing to you…but seriously, I knew Living With The Law was going to be on your list. I didn’t know you were such a big Nevermind fan, though. Must have been that Grohl doco that tipped the scales for you, eh? I would have expected a bit more late-70’s Bowie or mid-90’s Firestarting from you!? And no, it is not in order of preference – that would truly have been the never-ending project. Alright El Heisenberg, I’m gonna put on some Miles circa ’58…and shoot up. Cheers, Tim

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  3. What a cool project! You can tell a lot about a person by looking at a highly subjective list like this one. It’s almost like browsing through someone’s bookcases in their home. I also loved the fact that you included the album covers. These days it’s easy to forget about the relevance of cover art. Nice work.

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  4. Cool list, Tim. There are a couple of matches with my favorite albums, e.g. Radiohead, Bowie or The Smiths.

    Here are some of my alltime favorites:
    * Talk Talk. The Spirit of Eden
    * Pulp. This is Hardcore
    * Amy Winehouse. Back to Black
    * Arcade Fire. Funeral
    * Antony and the Johnsons. I am a Bird now
    * Björk. Homogenic
    * Prince. Sign O the Times
    * Belle and Sebastian. The Life Pursuit
    * Depeche Mode. Violator
    * Eels. Beautiful Freak
    * Element of Crime. Weißes Papier
    * Air. Soundtrack The Virgin Suicides
    * Original Soundtrack. Requiem for a Dream
    * Original Soundtrack. Moulin Rouge!
    * Original Soundtrack. 2046
    * Original Soundtrack. O Brother where art thou
    * Kronos Quartett. Pieces of Africa
    * Kraftwerk. Die Mensch-Maschine
    * Lambchop. Is a Woman
    * Lou Reed & John Cale. Songs for Drella
    * MGMT. Congratulations
    * Morrissey. You are the Quarry
    * Nana Mouskouri. The Girl from Greece sings
    * Paul Weller. Wild Wood
    * Peter Gabriel. So
    * PInk Floyd. Wish you were here
    * Tom Waits. Bone Machine
    * The Velvet Underground & Nico
    * DJ Shadow. Entroducing…
    * Can. Cannibalism I

    Happy Holidays, Tim!
    Josef

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  5. Thanks for sharing, Josef! I’m a big fan of many of your favs, incl. Prince, Paul Weller and Peter Gabriel…Barry from Championship Vinyl (Jack Black in High Fidelity) would question your inclusion of Belle & Sebastian (“sad bastard music”). Happy holidays to you and see you very soon! Cheers, Tim

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  6. Fun to see your pics Tim!!! I hope you’re feeling we’ll after surgery. Are you okay? Want a visitor tomorrow?

    — Sent from Mailbox for iPhone

    On Sun, Dec 15, 2013 at 11:53 AM, intelligent media

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    • Thanks, Gabriel. Would love to see a list of yours – perhaps a holiday challenge?

      Will be in and out tomorrow for the surgery but would love a house visit if you’re up for coming round on Friday. I’m sure Thursday I’ll still be a little bit out of it. If not, have fun in Austria and the States and see you in the new year! Cheers, Tim

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  7. Excellent work my friend. That is a serious undertaking and a task that I know you did not take lightly. Sadly, I have fallen victim to the digital age and have lost the art of listening to an entire album track by track. I don’t even own a record player, tape player (cassette or 8 track), or even a CD player anymore. I would tend to favor Robs Monday Morning mix tape. Maybe not Katrina and the waves, but what the kids would call a playlist now. Therefore, I am unqualified to comment here – but it won’t stop me for doing it anyway! I think my absolute favorite selection on here is Run DMC – not only because I love Run DMC but because you included a rap group on a greatest of all time list and I don’t think anyone could argue that it doesn’t warrant consideration. Even Rob or Lester Bangs himself could agree. Nice work. I suppose the Beastie Boys is technically rap, but is more genre bending in my opinion. A few two-timers that were surprising – Crowded House and Ryan Adams. I think I liked the CH incarnation of Split Enz a little better, but pineapple head is one of my favorite crowded house songs , though not on either of your listed albums. Neil Young falling short of The Stones, the Fab Four, and Dylan in the Five Timers Club “one, two, three, four, five…you’re great” Thought maybe I would see a little more on there from thre 80s new wave – Depeche Mode Violator or Some Great reward. Maybe New Order Substance. Anyway, much more to discuss. Looking forward to more! Love you brother!

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  8. Tony – thanks for the comments! Yes, 80’s electronica (Depeche Mode et al) was a bit like my grunge dilemma. If any of that music still packed a punch, it would have to be their first album, Speak & Spell. Or perhaps what packs the punch is the recollection of you and I cruising the River Rd. “gut” to the muted sounds of Speak & Spell NOT blaring out the windows of the pea green Cougar…incidentally, I had never felt cooler in my entire life…Razzles or Streets? Good to hear you connected with my DMC entry. Now there’s an album that still packs a punch…”Peter – Piper – Picked – A Peper!” Then again, that could simply be my recollection of listening to one of the great first generation Pete Peppley rap tapes with Boomer…or was it Baron? Merry Christmas, bro! Hi to Rae & the boys, Tim

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