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Chest Rockwell

Perfect Albums

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What are some examples of perfect albums? Albums with not an ounce of fat on them - just masterfully composed, produced and arranged to be the absolute pinnacle of musical achievement, that form an experience greater than the sum of their parts.

Not your favourite albums - I have a lot of favourite hip hop albums that wouldn't make the cut due to shit skits and intros. Let's keep some quality control here, people!

 

I'll start with an old album and a recent one. I look forward to other suggestions and then people telling each other why their choices are wrong:

Therapy? - Troublegum

 

Arctic Monkeys - Tranquility Base.

You might say it's a bit too soon to say for this one, but I have listened to it incessantly since it came out, so I can say you are wrong. I was always a faofff them before but they've really surpassed themselves. Really gratifying to see a band go from strength to strength like they have.

 

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While I was thinking about this, I wouldn’t have expected this to jump out at me the way it did. 

I remember buying it around 95’ish. After hearing at at a pals house courtesy of his brother. It’s close to perfection as fan as acoustic albums go. I appreciate the album is tunes pulled together from other areas, but the song selection is excellent. All solid too.

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It’s not an album I’ve listened to in yonks, and it’s not something I’d think about reaching for, but as soon as it came to my head, I couldn’t argue with myself.

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Mastodon - Crack the Skye

While I appreciate it's not going to be to everyone's taste, I love this album. Every track on it is great in isolation, but it also works brilliantly as a whole as a bonkers quasi-concept album. It's only seven tracks, but it goes for 50 glorious minutes, and as consistently brilliant as Mastodon are this is a peak I'm not sure they'll ever match. 

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I haven't listened to it in a while but, from memory it's very impressive on that album that the songs don't feel overlong even though they are epics. I will relisten to it to see if I think they should have trimmed the fat anywhere and reserve final judgement until then but I think that could be a good shout!

And it's made me think of another possible contender in Tool - Lateralus.

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1 minute ago, Chest Rockwell said:

And it's made me think of another possible contender in Tool - Lateralus.

That's a cracking shout. I've not listened to it in a while, but I can't think of any filler on that album at all. 

For me, it's all about the difference between singles and albums. Tracks can be great in isolation, even a great collection of tracks but they have to work as a whole entity. I think of Foo Fighters as a great example of a band who I really enjoy, and who produce incredible singles, and often very good album tracks, but I'd be hard pressed to argue they've ever made a truly great album. 

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Weezer-Blue Album. Absolute pop perfection, every track is 10/10 and it ends in such an epic way.

I don’t actually like Weezer that much bar a few songs, but this is definitely in my top 5 albums of all time. 

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@Chest Rockwell & @mim731

You’d both maybe enjoy Obsidian Kingdom’s ‘Mantiis: The Agony In Fourteen Bites’

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Everything on there flows really well and it builds and drops at the right moments. There are enough small interludes to break up the main songs, but it’s mixed really well (by Jens Bogren whose worked with practically everybody) that unless your looking at specific tracks numbers you plow through it all without even realising. It’s 14 tracks, but plays out like an 8 or 9 track album and runs about 45 minutes. 

Edited by WyattSheepMask

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Yeah Lateralus by Tool immediately sprang to mind. Other notable mentions –

Counting Crows – August & Everything After. Also one for the ‘things that have aged well’ thread. Perfectly sequenced & doesn’t reek of the 90’s like other bands that were out around that time.

Rancid - ….And Out Come The Wolves. Just joyous. I still listen to this album at least once every 3 months & have done for about the past 15 years.

Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American. I’m not a huge JEW fan & the whole emo scene passed me by at the time but there’s literally no fat on this. Every song is a winner.

Machine Head – The Blackening. There seemed to be a bit of a backlash over this album as they toured it for years & the critical reception at the time was so big that a lot of people seemed to get sick of hearing about it. Doesn’t change the fact that it’s the best thrash album since 2000 & the production is perfect. This record made me do a complete 180 on this band who before I heard this had little to no interest in.

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1 hour ago, Chest Rockwell said:

I have a lot of favourite hip hop albums that wouldn't make the cut due to shit skits and intros. Let's keep some quality control here, people!

I agree with that in the main, that said I think Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the  Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) is a perfect album. It isn't bloated like later Wu releases, limited studio time meant the 9 members would battle rap each other to see who would get on, letting the cream (sorry) rise to the top. They'e such an amazing clique of characters an despite some critics and fans focusing on their gritty realism, the best thing about them I reckon is they're a bunch of lads pretending to be samurai gangsters, and they are funny as fuck as this Ol Dirty Bastard verse confirms.

"Are uh-ah-uh Are you a warrior? Killer? Slicin shit like a samurai
The Ol' Dirty Bastard from the bar
Ol' Dirty clan of terrorists
Comin atcha ass like a sorceress, shootin' that PISS!"

 

That they end the album on this gag always makes me smile as well. 

 

 

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This - to me - is the most perfect album ever made.
It has everything, and usually in the one song, too.

I got this album for my 13th birthday in 1992 and almost thirty years later, I still listen to it on a weekly basis. It's gorgeous, it's bonkers, it's musical adhd, juvenile yet so musically mature, and it also taught me that it's okay to speak openly about having pedals and plopping.
So yeah, blame Bungle for me as a person.

 

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There's albums I prefer, but both of these come to mind as being utterly flawless. There's no wasted moments. The mix that Francois Kevorkian got on Violator is gobsmacking. It still sounds fantastic. 

I've never been mad into Slayer, but would Reign in Blood qualify? 

It's fun to think of all the albums I love that don't qualify for this thread. Rubber Soul is probably the most compact and seamless of the Beatles second half, but there's for sure one or two sleepers. Coming Up by Suede has wall to wall bangers but one or two probably blend together too much, for some. Hip-Hop and dance albums are notoriously inconsistent. Music for the Jilted Generation, the Downward Spiral, plenty more like that which all have a high place on my shelf fly at me but they're practically defined by how bloated they are. 

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Trendy choice, but go on then. Which bit would you take out?

Edited by Gay as FOOK

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Against Me! - Reinventing Axl Rose

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Still their strongest effort to date. Perfect punk for the disenfranchised, every track in this album has something to offer. Whether that's great lyrics or just a smashing tune ( or more often than not, both), everything hits hard. The backing vocals are infectious too. They've never really gone back to this sound, which is a shame as it's what I automatically relate AG! to. It still packs a punch, maybe even more so now.

 

Cursive - Burst And Bloom

Cheating maybe as this is an EP, but it's pound-for-pound Cursive's strongest work. 'The Ugly Organ' is my favourite album but it has the interludes which don't do much and a couple of weaker tracks. 

'Burst And Bloom' take all the themes, atmosphere and ingenuity of 'Ugly Organ' and compounds into five fantastic tracks. Each track would be THE killer on any album, and here you've got five of the fuckers in a row. 

 

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4 hours ago, Chest Rockwell said:

 I look forward to other suggestions and then people telling each other why their choices are wrong:

Don't encourage that nonsense Chest. 

anyway, 

Young people may think Red Hot Chilli peppers are just an old mainstream band that have been successful forever but when Blood Sugar Sex Magik came out they were cool as fuck and to 11 year old me the album was incredible and it's still an amazing listen today 

Guns n Roses- Appetite for Destruction - obvious choice but it is one of the best ever. Better "best of guns n roses" than their actual best of.

 

Couple of less mainstream choices

 

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Danzig II is my personal favourite album of all time and it really is all killer and no filler. Amazing stuff.

 

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Mercyful Fate - Don't Break the Oath 

Old ass super influential Danish metal band who were the prototype for loads of cool metal shit and this album is insane.

 

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As much as I like Reinventing Axl Rose, I think Searching For a Former Clarity is a stronger album I reckon.

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