So, as a way to keep myself involved in writing on this blog and have a fun entertaining way have a reason to spout off, I'm starting a new series of posts. In a tribute to one of the most music nerdy movies ever made (High Fidelity, of course), I'm going to start doing Top Five lists every few days. The topics may seem esoteric or random, but I will try to keep them as interesting (and maybe even entertaining) as possible. There won't be a designated update day or time; simply whenever I feel like it. But expect at least a couple each week.
So, for today's topic, we'll start with something fairly simple and something close to my heart: the Top Five post-acid house/"Madchester" Manchester albums.
Countdown style.... here we go...
#5 — Oasis — The Masterplan (1998)
Ah, what a copout, they may say right off the bat. He put a fookin' b-sides compilation instead of a proper album. Yep, I suck because this, in my brain, is the finest Oasis album. But I like them ballads these boys be playin'. And, whoo boy, are there a bunch of great ones on here. You betcha.
#4 — Doves — Lost Souls (2000)
A fine introductory effort (or, re-introductory if you count Sub Sub), this album introduces these guys' intricate, Robert Smith-like layered style of songwriting and epic scope in one fell swoop. An album that grows and grows in stature with each listen, it has taken me years to fully appreciate it, but I think I'm finally there. In a rare occurance, the American version had bonus tracks. Cool.
#3 — Morrissey — Your Arsenal (1992)
Holy crap, did Morrissey let the dogs out on this one, or what? I sometimes have foolish moments of weakness and ridiculous nostalgia rembering seeing 'The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get' on MTV in the summer of 1994 and start to think that maybe Vauxhall & I is his best album, but then the ghost of Mick Ronson comes over and plays the lead riff from Ziggy Stardust in my face and I realize that, yes indeed, Your Arsenal is the finest album that Morrissey has stamped his name on. It is all of the following: his catchiest work, his hardest rocking work, his most personal work, his most scattered work and his most irreverently funny work. Whoo, this album rules.
#2 — New Order — Technique (1989)
One of the first albums to come out of Manchester in the initial aftermath of the 'Madchester' explosion, it's also one of the finest. I've said forever that this is one of the top ten or so albums of the 80's and everyone I say that to kind of gives me the shifty eye afterwards. But listen to the record and you can hear shreds of influence it's left on (and is still leaving on) countless bands ever since. Besides that though, the songs are top notch. There's not a bad one in the bunch. You know an album is delicious when the singles are the worst tracks on the album.
#1 — The Chameleons — Why Call It Anything? (2002)
As if you didn't see that coming! This is the Chams' best album. It is their most well-rounded, hardest rocking and best executed album. It sumarizes all of the best things about the band's old material and picks up on the directions the bands they influenced started and takes that direction into a special place. No singles, no b-sides. Just nine of the finest songs to ever come out of Manchester. A fitting and redemptive conclusion to their career.
Stay tuned for next time... it should be fun...