The List, Part 1: Greatest Albums Ever

It’s a busy time for me.  My girlfriend suffered a serious knee injury while skiing this weekend, just before our 5-day trip to Vegas.  So my blogging is going to have to take a backseat for a little while.

But fortunately for you, I have planned for these types of emergencies!

I’m a big fan of lists.  I love to rank things.  So I’ve been working for some time on my rankings for various things, and I’ll be posting these for the next couple weeks.  Feel free to comment, disagree, or even shred me to pieces.

Today we will start with my Top 10 Albums of All Time.  You will quickly see that I came of age in the early 90’s, but although I am a self-proclaimed Grunge lover I do have a little bit wider range of taste than just the Seattle Sound.  So here goes:

10. Kid Rock- Devil Without a Cause (1998)

Best Songs: Bawitdaba, Wasting Time, Only God Knows Why    

I’ve never been a fan of hip hop, but Kid Rock opened my eyes to the fact that it wasn’t the rapping that bothered me so much as the total lack of music in most hip hop.  Artists like Everlast and Kid Rock, however, combine solid music (you know, instruments instead of computer-generated beats or flat out stealing of other artists’ music without any sort of original addition to the sample) with rap and have been able to create a new crossover genre that I have to admit I quite like.

9. Jewel- This Way (2001)

Best Songs: Standing Still, Till We Run Out of Road

I take a lot of grief from people for being a Jewel fan.  My girlfriend, my guy friends, everyone tries to emasculate me. But I don’t care.  Jewel is without a doubt the greatest singer-songwriter of our generation.  And it really isn’t even close.  She’s Bob Dylan with more heart and a better voice.  And that’s not a knock on Dylan, she’s just that amazing.

8. Jack Johnson- Brushfire Fairytales (2001)

Best Songs: Flake, Bubble Toes, It’s All Understood

Another great singer-songwriter, Jack Johnson’s blend of folk with island music is the perfect soothing sound to relax to.  I don’t smoke pot but I suppose this is what stoners must feel like all the time.

7. The Why Store- The Why Store (1996)

Best Songs: Surround Me, Lies, Lack of Water

Most of you have probably never heard of The Why Store.  They were a college rock band doing the rounds of Midwestern campuses way back when I was in college.  They seemed on the verge of breaking into the mainstream in the mid-90’s with a couple tracks that got radio play; they toured with John Mellencamp and appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.  But they never got any further than that, which is sad because they’re still one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen.  You can still find this album on iTunes, you should definitely give it a listen.

6. Dido- Life for Rent (2003)

Best Songs: White Flag, Sand in My Shoes, This Land is Mine

Yes, I love female singers.  And Dido is one of the best.  Her voice sounds so sad yet somehow her music is still uplifting.  She’s a truly amazing talent, and Life for Rent is the highlight of her musical career and talents.

5. Jewel- Pieces of You (1995)

Best Songs: Who Will Save Your Soul, Foolish Games, Morning Song, You Were Meant for Me

What more can I say about Jewel?  This was the album that started it all.  She was such a raw talent when she started that this debut album feels like it was made in someone’s basement studio, and yet it is still one of the most amazing musical works ever produced.  (Side note: Jewel often pokes fun at herself about her voice in this recording of “Who Will Save Your Soul.”  She claims she was so nervous her throat closed up and she ended up sounding like Kermit the Frog.  Give it a listen and you’ll agree!  She sings it much better in concert but has still never re-recorded one of her most famous hits.)

4. Counting Crows- August and Everything After (1993)

Best Songs: Round Here, Anna Begins, Sullivan Street, Raining in Baltimore

I have to admit, I hated the Counting Crows when they first came out.  Their first big hit, Mr. Jones, was on the radio seemingly every other song.  And then one of my best friends from high school bought the CD and proceeded to play it out even more.  Thankfully, about a year after my buddy went off to another college and Mr. Jones had fallen off the radio playlist I rediscovered them and fell in love with this album.

3. Guns N’Roses- Appetite for Destruction (1987)

Best Songs: Nightrain, Paradise City, Sweet Child o’ Mine, Rocket Queen

Heavy metal the way it was meant to be!  There’s not a bad song on this album.  Axl, Slash and the rest of G’N’F’n’R’ were such a volatile combination there was no way they could ever last, but they sure managed to capture lightning in a bottle for a few years.  You know what they say about the flame that burns twice as bright…

2. Garbage- Garbage (1995)

Best Songs: Only Happy When it Rains, A Stroke of Luck

What do you get when you mix some of the top producers in the music industry (drummer Butch Vig produced Nirvana’s first album) with one of the best female singers in the business?  One of the smartest, most raw bands around.  Their debut album is a masterpiece from first track to last, raw and dark and absolutely rockin’.

1. Pearl Jam- Ten (1991)

Best Songs: Once, Even Flow, Alive, Black, Garden

This album literally changed my life.  Up until about age 15 most of my musical taste was confined to the heavy metal and 80’s hair bands of the time, Metallica and Motley Crue and the like.  But the moment I saw the Alive video in September 1991 I was hooked on Grunge.  I fell in love with the Seattle sound, and I still am to this day, even though the genre has pretty much been pushed into obscurity.  Someday I’ll be an old man telling young whippersnappers how music used to be “in the old days.”

This album is unbelievable.  From the intro of the first track Once it’s unlike anything that has been ever been done before or since.  Alive is quite possibly my favorite song ever, with the best guitar solo I’ve ever heard.  But Even Flow and Black could easily carry an album all by themselves as well.  It’s simply the greatest collection of songs ever assembled.  While Nirvana gets most of the credit for the Grunge Revolution, to me Pearl Jam and this album will always represent the music of the 90’s.

Honorable Mention: Bruce Springsteen- Born in the U.S.A. (1984); Led Zeppelin- Led Zeppelin IV (1971); Kid Rock- Rock and Roll Jesus (2007); Sheryl Crow- Tuesday Night Music Club (1993); The Why Store- Two Beasts (1998)

Don’t be shy, tell me what you think.  And tell me what’s your favorite album?


Do You Really Care?

A quick post today about my newest pet peeve.

In surfing through some other people’s blogs looking for inspiration, I noticed a strange (to me) phenomenon: people reporting what they were listening to while writing their post.  Some people even go so far as to report how many cups of coffee they’ve had on the day of their post, or some other inane personal tidbit that is completely irrelevant to their actual post.

This got me wondering… I don’t care if the author was listening to U2 or Justin Bieber; if they were wearing their pajamas or a 3-piece suit; if they were sipping on an iced caramel latte or a Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper (although I do care if you were drinking a strong alcoholic beverage; that’s always good information to have).

The point, I guess, is that people should be reading blogs for content.  Would it make my stories better if I told you I wrote them sitting at my desk at work when I was supposed to be working on a big project?  Or that I masturbated three times while deciding which picture I wanted to post today to offend the Preacher’s Daughter?  (Just kidding, PK!)

Just for you, PK! Even gave it a southern flair for you. Go Georgia!

For the record, I wrote this post while listening to Jewel.  That’s right, Jewel.  She’s the greatest singer/songwriter of our generation.  I love her music and I’m not ashamed of it.

I was wearing slacks and a polo shirt today when I wrote this.  The blue of the polo shirt really sets off my eyes.  Or so I’ve been told.

I was drinking water from the drinking fountain, but in my stylish Buffalo Sabres Tervis Tumbler.

Oh, and I was wearing black briefs today, just in case you were wondering.  They give me support in all the right places so I don’t care what you think.  Laugh away, assholes.

Random Thoughts

No story this time, just some random thoughts that have been buzzing around in my head.

The Godfather is the greatest movie ever made.  It’s not even close, nothing else is even in the same league.  They should make a new name for what kind of art The Godfather is, because trying to compare it to other movies is like comparing Michael Jordan’s basketball skills to my rec league’s talent pool.  Part II is also in the top 5, and Part III, for all the criticism it receives, is still top 10.  Too bad Mario Puzo died before they could complete the story for Part IV.  Puzo said in an interview that it would have been similar to Part II, with two storylines, one a continuation of Vincent’s story and the other a flashback to Don Vito’s ascension to power during Prohibition.  Who wouldn’t watch that?

–Why are Indian mascots the only ones that are considered offensive?  What about Vikings, Spartans and Trojans?

–Ray Lewis killed a man and still gets TV endorsements.  Maybe Old Spice should change their marketing slogan to, “We can even get the smell of blood off you.”

–No woman has ever been able to make me climax from just a blow job.  And yet, I consider the BJ to be the most important skill a woman can possess in the bedroom.

–I am the Cleveland Browns of fantasy football.  I’ve won a championship but it was so long ago no one remembers it.

Yeah it looks like a shithole, but it's a great place to drink at 3am.

–It’s an insult to call Reno a poor man’s Las Vegas.  An insult to Vegas, that is.  Las Vegas is paradise on earth, a bastion of sin and depravity and debauchery.  Reno is a mid-sized city with a couple casinos.  But if you ever find yourself in Reno, I suggest a bar called Tonic.  It’s an easy cab ride from the casinos and it’s open long past when the casino bars shut down.  One night in Tonic I was witness to an amazing trifecta.  My boss was making out with a guy who wasn’t her boyfriend.  Another co-worker was making out with a guy who wasn’t her fiancee.  And my lesbian friend Shane was making out with a guy who wasn’t a girl.  I’ll let you figure out which of those three lucky guys I was…

–Why are Indian mascots the only ones that are considered offensive?  What about Cowboys, Miners and Lumberjacks?

–How did we survive before cell phones?  I’m not even talking about the convenience of having a phone on you at all times, for emergenices or being able to make changes to your plans on the fly, yada yada yada.  Forget all that crap.  I mean how did we survive before drunk texting?  And before I call send pictures of my penis to girls?  Not to mention being able to avoid assholes at work by simply whipping out your cell phone and pretending to talk to someone?

–I love freckles but moles feak me out.  I know, it’s a fine line, and I couldn’t explain it to you if I had to.  But freckles on a girl are hot, especially on the cleavage.  Moles on the other hand… well, I swear they start talking to me when I’m drunk.

–I was a Jenn Sterger fan long before that douchebag Brett Favre made her famous.

Jenn Sterger

–The first four girls I slept with all had names that started with the letter S.  For a long time I thought I was cursed.  My game is bad enough as it is, if you cut my odds to 1/26th I might as well just give up.

–I’m not afraid of dying alone.  But drinking alone depresses me.

–The only movie I’ve ever cried at is Rocky III.  How could it not break your heart when Mick is dying in the locker room while Rocky is getting bludgeoned by Clubber Lang?  And then after the fight when Balboa, bloodied and beaten, lies to Mick in his last moments, telling him he won?  If that doesn’t get to you then you’re some kind of robot.

–Why are Indian mascots the only ones that are considered offensive?  What about Canucks, Ragin’ Cajuns and Fightin’ Irish?

–I might just be the world’s biggest Jewel fan.  Go ahead, laugh all you want. I’ve heard it all before and I don’t care.  Jewel’s music is magical.  I’ve seen her in concert seven times (and it’d be more if I hadn’t moved to End Of The World, UT), and I have approximately 250 Jewel songs on my iPod.  I know, it doesn’t exactly fit with all my stories of drinking, swearing and attempted fornicating.  What can I say, I’m a complicated man.

–Muhammed Ali is the most overrated fighter in boxing history, and possibly the most overrated athlete ever.  (And no, I’m not just saying that because I hate draft dodgers and Muslim terrorists.)  Everyone talks about how Ali beat Joe Frazier two out of three times, but they never mention that both boxers were pretty much washed up and at the end of their careers for the last two fights.  In the only fight that truly matters, the first one, when both fighters were undefeated, Frazier beat Ali soundly, nearly knocking him out in the 15th round and winning on all three scorecards.  Smokin’ Joe is the greatest fighter of that era, it’s not even up for debate.

–In the first 30 years of my life the extent of my criminal record consisted of one speeding ticket.  That’s it.  But then I moved to Utah.  Within 3 months I had been arrested for DUI (later plead down to reckless driving, thank you very much.)  Then I got a public urination.  Oh yeah, and I’ve gotten another speeding ticket.  If I stay here in Mormonland much longer I’ll have to stop making jokes about Ray Lewis.

–I’m not really into lesbian porn.  I like to see hot girls getting fucked by guys.  Some people might think that’s gay.  But my fantasy is to fuck a busty blonde pornstar, not watch her fuck another girl (not that that would be all that bad either).

–The greatest line in movie history comes from V for Vendetta: “People should not be afraid of their governments.  Governments should be afraid of their people.”

–Why are Indian mascots the only ones that are considered offensive?  What about Friars, Demon Deacons and Crusaders?