majerjack wrote:Good examples from all. Here are a few of mine:
The Beatles---Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
I admit to a bias where the Beatles are concerned. They are my favorite group of all time. Theirs were the first records I purchased and the ones to which I have listened the most. With certain minor exceptions, I believe that they could do no musical wrong. All their albums for me are perfect in that I enjoy all the tracks on them (I admit that I enjoy some tracks more than others). Sgt. Pepper is the Best of the Best. It has strong songwriting (always the Beatles' greatest strength), great playing and singing (the Beatles were at their peak at this time), amazing musical variety, and inspired production by George Martin. Of all perfect albums, this one is the most perfect.
The Who---Who's Next.
I like the Who almost as much as I like the Beatles. All four of the original group were distinctive stylists (Roger Daltrey as a vocalist, Pete Townshend as a guitarist, John Entwistle as a bassist, and Keith Moon as a drummer). Their individual styles blended into a sound like no other, and this sound propelled all their records to greatness. Pete Townshend is one of the greatest songwriters ever. He has a good ear for melody, his songs have interesting harmonic modulations, and his lyrics are meaningful and well-suited to the music. Both Townshend's songwriting and the group's musical prowess were at their peak at the time Who's Next was produced, and this resulted in their best record. This is how loud rock should be done. Turn it up.
Simon and Garfunkel---Bridge Over Troubled Water.
Paul Simon (another great songwriter) turned away from the navel gazing that had plagued his earlier songwriting and produced a collection of tunes that outshines anything he did before or after. Beautiful melodies, heartbreaking lyrics, great singing from Art Garfunkel. Simon's two greatest songs, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "The Boxer" are on this record.
Cat Stevens---Tea for the Tillerman.
This record has a sound that is unique in my experience. Quiet, contemplative, tuneful, innovative in its style. Cat Stevens had recovered from a bout with tuberculosis not long before this record was produced, and I believe this experience strongly influenced his songwriting. Good recorded sound, with an interesting use of compression on some instruments.
Bob Dylan---Blood on the Tracks.
Dylan's best, in my opinion. His lyrics here are less opaque than on some of his earlier records, his melodies are more tuneful, and his singing is less strident and more heartfelt and expressive. It seems to me that on this record, and to a similar degree on the earlier "New Morning", Dylan achieved a new and different style of songwiting and performing that lifted him as an artist to an even higher level than the one he had achieved before. You get the impression that Dylan is talking directly to you instead of talking at you. Great songs, good sound.
I can think of more examples, but for now I'll stop with these.
Nice choices! I agree that those are probably two of Paul Simon's best songs! (However, I liked their navel gazing songs too!)
Besides Dylan's Blood on the Tracks, I'd recommend Highway 61 Revisited. (Biograph isn't a bad collection, but I'm not sure it qualifies as an album.)
How about the Eagle's Hotel California? Yes the title song was overexposed, but there are other great songs such as Wasted Time and The Last Resort on the album.