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The Essential Rock Albums (In My Opinion) (Part 2)

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In this sequel to last week’s article, I take a critical and exhaustive look into the albums I feel have come to define each genre of rock music. The albums are selected based on historical and cultural significance, critical acclaim and a little on record sales. With that being said, I look at the next 10 albums that have come to artistically represent their different genres.

10. Grateful Dead – American Beauty

American BeautyBack when psychedelia was the rave and The Beatles had all but quit, The Grateful Dead released a wonderful piece of art that was both revered for its legendary fusion of bluegrass, country and ol’ school rock n roll.

Replacing ubiquitous lead guitars with pedal steel guitars, the Dead cemented their place in rock history with this album.

09. The White Stripes – Elephant

ElephantRock music’s most bizarre couple, the garage rock duo of Jack and Meg White not only created a masterpiece of the era, they showed a watching world that they could bring bizarre, paranoid rock into the world of acclaim. This record is a definitive statement of the garage rock revival, and is one of the essential albums of any rock fan.

08. Faith No More – The Real Thing

The Real ThingMike Patton might be the weirdest human to consider himself a musician, but that being said, he carried the fledgling band to the heights of hard alternative music with the 1989 release, an influential record in the numerous marriages of rap and rock.

07. Foo Fighters – Foo Fighters

Foo FightersLaying down the blueprints of what was to become one of the most commercially viable rock genres, Nirvana alumnus Dave Grohl created an album that was as beautiful as it was grungy. Reinventing himself as a singer, he recorded and released a solo album as the Foo Fighters. Emboldened by his success, he then put together a new band and went on to help found the genre we all know as post-grunge.

06. Green Day – American Idiot

American IdiotPop punk had never been blessed with so beautiful an album, let alone the idea of a concept album. In 2004, Green Day, leaving a large part of their punk roots behind, and focusing on songs with a pop aura, managed to create a classic that has stood the test of time.

05. Korn – Korn

KornBleak, angry and overall angst-ridden, the band’s 1994 debut helped create the nu-metal genre. Focusing on topics like drug use and abuse, Korn’s angry music reached out to the millions of angst-ridden kids the world over.

04. Jimmy Eat World – Clarity

 ClarityTo me, this album, along with Weezer’s Pinkerton, helped carve out the depressed-teenager genre of emo. Riveting, emotional and a wonderful listen, Jimmy Eat World created the best album of their catalog and possibly one of the best albums of the ’90s.

03. Within Temptation – Mother Earth

Mother EarthEasily the most essential symphonic metal record, Within Temptation abandoned the death-metal growls on their debut album and drew on Celtic influences. Relying a lot on the eerie, perfect vocals of lead singer Sharon Del Adel, this album catapulted the band to international fame and secured their place in symphonic metal history.

02. Children Of Bodom – Hate Crew Deathroll

Hate Crew DeathrollExtreme metal is mostly a Scandinavian affair and is almost always underground material. But these guys from Finland took a mainstream-oriented approach, infusing melodic playing with fierce sounds, and came up with one of the best albums for any extreme metal lover and arguably the best of their career.

01. Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral

The Downward SpiralTrent Reznor is a sick, twisted genius. Everyone who listens to industrial rock can tell you this. But this album showed a stunned world that he was also capable of producing timeless classics. Easily the best industrial rock album of all time, Reznor delves into a world of paranoia, delusion and insanity with such conviction that it is almost impossible not to feel the paranoia when listening to the album. Folie a deux, people.

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About Tolu Awobusuyi

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    Nice list, but is one paragraph for each album really exhaustive?

  • Tolu

    My bad. Sorry for the oversight.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    “…the albums I feel have come to define each genre of rock music.”

    Then how do you pick Children of Bodom over DEATH?? Never mind the fact that Chuck Shuldiner had already defined Death Metal back in ’87 with “Scream Bloody Gore”, DEATH was also one of the bands (from the US) that laid out the blueprints for all future extreme music in 1993 with “Individual Thought Patterns”. His ability to intertwine melody with such technical movements really showed how complex this genre of music could get.

    But, even when talking about the year 2001, a little Swedish band named Opeth dropped another defining moment on extreme music history entitled “Blackwater Park” which showed the music world what Death Metal might sound like had Pink Floyd stumbled upon a time machine. This album really showcased beautiful songwriting that had a range of emotion with top notch production.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    BTW, “The Downward Spiral” was your most accurate pick. Plus, if you wanted to be exhaustive, you could have mentioned that it was one of the first electronic albums on vinyl to be rated by Stereophile magazine back in 1995 for its production value.

  • Tolu

    Extreme metal is NOT death metal. This list is not complete, it’s in parts

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    “Extreme metal is NOT death metal”

    I never said that it was, but it is an “umbrella” term for extreme genres including Death Metal.