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Triniman has no taste: 125 recordings from 1985-2005

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These sort of lists are really silly and pointless. Spin recently came out with their list of the best 100 albums since 1985 and it sparked one of my Blogcritics colleagues to encourage the rest of us to come up with our own lists.

This list is not meant to be definitive or represent anything other than some recordings in my collection from the last twenty years that left a strong impression on me. I’ve left off lots of excellent albums.

1985
001 Marillion – Misplaced Childhood (Marillion’s pinnacle. Songs blend into one another. The music flows with brilliant flashes of artsy progression.)
002 INXS – Listen Like Thieves (Their breakthrough album before becoming an arena act…it was mostly downhill after this…The Swing is an amazing pop album.)
003 China Crisis – Flaunt The Imperfection (Their second solid pop album. That they were largely unknown outside of the UK was a shame. Exquisite pop songs without an overrliance on synths.)
004 Scorpions – World Wide Live (Their best live album and better than most live metal albums.)
005 A-Ha – Hunting High and Low (Synth-pop perfection that they never equalled.)
006 The Cult – Love
007 The Waterboys – This Is The Sea (Expansive sounding, well-crafted songs. Few “pop” songwriters put this much effort into their art.)
008 Metal Church – Metal Church (A stunning album with a dark atmosphere and brilliant songs. They never topped it. Better than most 99.99% of the metal albums released.)
009 Accept – Metal Heart (Well-crafted songs from a band described as Germany’s Judas Priest. With their backing vocals, no one sounded quite like Accept.)
010 Gary Moore – Run For Cover (Highly respected rock and now blues guitarist, this contains the final recording with former Thin Lizzy leader Phil Lynott.)

1986
011 Keith Jarrett Trio – Still Live (The best trio in the world? Quite possibly.)
012 XTC – Skylarking (A very difficult album to make with Todd Rundgren, but also a pop and sonic masterpiece.)
013 Queensryche – Rage For Order (At the time, a state of the art metal album by a uniquely talented band.)
014 Iron Maiden – Somewhere In Time (Maiden’s most advanced recording, full of great songs.)
015 Metallica – Master of Puppets (Arguably their finest moment..its mostly been downhill since the Black album.)

1987
016 Marillion – Clutching At Straws (The final album with Fish, loaded with memorable,introspective songs.)
017 The Pogues – If I Should Fall From Grace With God (On just about everyone’s list for a reason!)
018 Def Leppard – Hysteria (When metal and pop united. Polished but strong.)
019 Prince – Sign ‘O’ the Times (Imaginative, hear this if you think he’s one-dimensional.)
020 Ozzy Osbourne – Tribute (Killer live album with Ozzy’s young virtuoso, Randy Rhoads. The best live Ozzy album.)
021 Zakir Hussain – Making Music (Tabla master and musical innovator…saw him live last year and it was an amazing, jamming show. One of the world’s best players.)

1988
022 Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Devotional and Love Songs (The best collection of his material ever…very catchy, fast songs and other with unbelievable melodies…a voice that you must hear. Believe the hype.)
023 Helloween – The Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2 (European power metal at its finest, no one called them a Maiden clone ever again. Maiden wish they could have written this album.)
024 Enya – Watermark (If you have to own just one of her recordings, start here for sure. A landmark album by any measure.)

1989
025 Pat Metheny Group – Still Life (Talking) (Superb, memorable compositions with playing to match. Metheny is a genius.)
026 Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – Shahen-Shah (Perhaps the best non-compilation album by the master. I turned a lot of people onto his music because of this album.)
027 Les Négresses Vertes – Mlah (The French Pogues? Hyperactive, and brilliant, they apparently disgraced themselves at the Winnipeg Folk Festival, but all is forgiven after listening to this, their best album.)
028 The Cure – Disintegration (Atmosphere…it’s rarely done so well.)
029 XTC – Oranges and Lemons (Another fun, smart, sonically delicious offering.)
030 Peter Gabriel – Passion (Most of my friends heard this upon visiting. Gabriel’s most uplifting recording, and the soundtrack to the controversial film, The Last Temptation of Christ.)
031 Quincy Jones – Back On The Block (So many strong tracks by a who’s who of the R’n’B scene at the time.)
032 Roxy Music – Street Life: 20 Greatest Hits (Probably the recording I have played more than anything else. I must listen to this weekly.)
033 Soundgarden – Louder Than Love (Sludgy, raw, Zeppelinesque rock before they became more polished.)
034 Shawn Colvin – Steady On (Some stunning songs. This album won the popular folk vocalist a Grammmy.
035 Material – Seven Souls (Laswell and William S. Burroughs – a unique concept.)
036 Wynton Marsalis – Majesty of the Blues (Some of the catchiest jazz you can imagine.)
037 Faith No More – The Real Thing (I always thought the first track, From Out of Nowhere, was way better than Epic. Overall, a strong metal-rap-thrash album with the vocal gymnastics of Matt Patton.)
038 Chick Corea Akousitc Band (I prefer Corea’s accoustic work the best…superb piano playing, top nothc players.)
039 Vikrama – Hands On (Strong compositions, wonderful group led by Knut Haugsoen, produced by ECM’s Jan Erik Konshaug. As enjoyable as any jazz album in my collection.)

1990
040 The Stone Roses (A landmark British album, relive the 60s.)
040 Wynton Marsalis – J Mood (Solid.)
041 The Cure – Mixed Up (The Cure album that I have listened to the most. Heavenly.)
042 Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas (A commercial breakthrough, accessible but still not for the masses.)
043 Ravi Shankar \ Philip Glass – Passages (Not as avant garde as you might expect, but oh, so fantastic compositions with Indian vocals. Desert Island disc for sure.)
044 Black Sabbath – Headless Cross (The songs are excellent. Sabbath lives!)
045 Jill Sobule – Things Here Are Different (She disappeared for a while then repacked herself as a pop singer…listen to this for a quiet, late night album, with amazing songs…sounds nothing like the “I Kissed A Girl” material.
046 Public Enemy – Fear Of A Black Planet (Unequalled powerful album. Kills.)
047 Mo’ Better Blues Soundtrack (Terence Blanchard…great sound, catchy tunes.)
048 Pet Shop Boys – Behavior (Maybe their best album, mature sounding.)
049 Depeche Mode- Violator (The peack of Depeche Mode.)
050 3 Mustaphas 3 – Heart of Uncle (Again, most of my friends heard tracks from this breakthough album.)
051 Metheny with Dave Holland and Roy Haynes – Question And Answer (This started out as a jam session with the tapes rolling but ended up as an unbelievable album. Three virtuosos cutting loose has never sounded so good.)
052 Branford Marsalis – Crazy People Music (Branford is a star in his own right and plays with unreal players.)
053 King Sunny Ade – Juju Music (This was supposed to do for African music what Bob Marley albums did for reggae. It didn’t become as popular as it could have but it’s a gem.)

1991
052 Frank Zappa – Make A Jazz Noise Here (Wow. This is jazz and it is more than proof of what a seriously great player Zappa was.)
053 U2 – Achtung Baby (The most consistent U2 album, IMHO.)
054 Fishbone – The Reality of My Surroundings (A hugely talented band that can play funk, jazz, rock, metal, etc.)
055 Neil Young – Weld (You have to hear “Like A Hurricane”, the same tune recorded by Roxy Music. Neil’s live version here is unreal. One of my favorite all-time tracks.)

1992
056 R.E.M. – Automatic For The People (My favorite recording by them – refreshing.)
057 Loreena McKennitt – The Visit (I ended up buying several copies for friends and relatives, it’s that good. She’s one of the finest singers in the world and this is another Desert Island recording. Everybody loves it.)
058 Talking Heads – Sand In the Vasoline (it’s a compilation but I love it.)
059 The Cure – Wish (Maybe their most commercial album, but also very strong.)
060 The Roy / Lerner Quartet – Quarter To Three (Another jazz album that is as good as anything I have. Larry Roy has his own sound as a virtuoso guitarist and Marilyn Lerner matches note for note on the piano.)
061 Ofra Haza – Kirya (With Lou Reed and Iggy Pop helping out, this album was artistic development from a singer who left us much too soon.)

1993
062 Dead Can Dance – Into The Labyrinth (Their breakthrough album, stunning sound, exquisite otherworldly songs.)
063 Enigma – The Cross of Changes (Maybe the most accessible Enigma album.)
064 Al Di Meola – Heart of the Immigrants (Tasty fusion with Eastern European soundscapes. I saw him live when this came out and we were all thrilled by the concert. Di Meola is a giant.)
065 Pet Shop Boys – Very (Another pop triumph. They haven’t been this consistent recently.)

1994
066 Dead Can Dance – Toward The Within soundtrack
067 Delerium – Semantic Spaces (Another Desert Island disc for me. It takes several listens to get into, but once you’re hooked, there is no going back. The peak of swirling, ethno-ambient pop.)
068 Global Communication 76:14 (An ambient classic.)
069 Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works, Vol. 2
070 The Future Sound of London – Cascade EP (This can’t be improved upon. Still sounds state of the art today.)

1995
071 Intermix – Future Primatives (More tribal sounding than ambient, but still sounds like the offshoot of Delerium that it is.)
072 Trial of the Bow – Ornamentation (The most ambient sounding Indian-influenced music ever!)
073 The Orb – U. F. Off: The Best Of The Orb
074 Synaesthesia – Desideratum (Dreamy ethno-ambient music from the Delerium guys again.)
075 Tricky – Maxinquaye
076 The Best of Alaap 1995 (Very catchy Pakistani group located in England.)

1997
077 Delerium – Karma
078 Vas – Sunyata (A duo specializing in Persian music.)
079 AR Rahman – Vande Maataram (The top Indian music composer.)
080 Banco de Gaia – Big Men Cry (More ethno-ambient pop.)
081 Chumbawamba – Tubthumper (The rest of the album is very solid.)
082 Arcana – Cantar de Procella (Mediaeval funeral music. Influenced by Dead Can Dance, no doubt.)
083 Pro-Tech – Orbiting Cathedrals (Techno drums and beat from the Delerium guys.)
083 Prodigy – The Fat of the Land

1998
085 Air – Moon Safari (Dreamy pop that they haven’t been able to top.)
086 Black Sabbath – Reunion (I listen to this all the time.)
087 Fun da Mental – Erotic Terrorism (Political ethno-pop band. Some great sounds.)
088 Robert Rich – Seven Veils (Ambient Middle eastern music.)
089 Talvin Singh – Ok
090 Mythos – Mythos (Very catchy new age music, and Canadian, too.)
091 Sacred System – Nagual Site (Jamming Bill Laswell album with exotic instruments – priceless.)
092 Kruder and Dorfmeister – Session (Pop, jazz, hip-hop-influenced DJ recording. Instant karma.)

1999
093 XTC – Apple Venus Volume 1 (What a comeback for XTC! Few groups have had such a long career and yet manage to come up with such stellar material.)
094 DJ Cheb I Sabbah – Shri Durga
095 Yes – The Ladder (After several so-so albums, Yes returned with a great album.)
096 Black Star Liner – Bengali Bantam Youth Experience (Indian pop from the UK, insanely catchy and fun. Underrated album.

2000
097 Delerium – Poem
098 The New Pornographers – Mass Romantic (On this album you can find what many were calling Canada’s new national anthem – “Letter From An Occupant” with Neko Case on vocals. This is powerpop at its most unpretentious and fun.)
099 Tabla Beat Science – Tala Matrix (More Laswell ethno-jamming.)
100 Rhea’s Obsession – Between Earth and Sky (Gothic Toronto band, influenced by Dead Can Dance, but never made it to my city.)
101 Weakerthans – Left and Leaning (My city’s favorite indie rock band and one of the top bands from North America. Songwriting is really strong.)

2001
102 Devin Townsend – Terria (He’s being heralded as a creative genius and after listening to several of his CDs, I would have to agree. Unreal metal multi-instrumentalist and singer. A national Canadian treasure. No one comes close to the level of creativity that Devin has. State of the art sound, too.)
103 Beulah – The Coast Is Never Clear (Consumate college radio indie-pop band who folded after not making the big times. If you like XTC-ish pop, this is worth having.)

Nicky Mehta

104 Nicky Mehta – Weather Vane (A stunning singer-songwriter, and master of both. My favorite solo artist from Canada. After this recording, she ended up in a new trio, the Wailin’ Jennys. Their first album won a Juno (Canada’s answer to the Grammy) for best folk album by a group, thanks in no small part to her brilliant songs.)

105 Carlos Santana – Divine Light (A Laswell produced ambient recording. Headphones music.)
106 Markus Stockhausen – Karta (Eurpoean jazz trumpeter par excellence.)

2002
106 The Future Sound of London – The Isness (I didn’t think they could reinvent themselves, but this is ethno-ambient pop heaven with English vocals. Who knew they had it in them?
107 Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (The most celebrated “indie” album of the year.)
108 Madrigaia – Viva Voice (An amazing a cappella album, sung in several European languages. They played for the Queen a couple of years ago.)

109 Bob Dylan – Bob Dylan Live 1975 (The Bootleg Series Volume 5) (Dylan can do no wrong.)
110 Neal Halstead – Sleeping On Roads (His debut solo album, full of strong songs. Formerly of Majave 3 and Slowdive.)

2003
111 Dimmu Borgir – Death Cult Armageddeon (Unbelieavable bruttal, orchestral black metal. The compositions have substance to them and are highly listenable, even though you won’t be able to make out the words. Great sound.)
112 Led Zeppelin – How The West Was Won (Another Desert Island disc, the epitome of live Led Zeppelin.)
113 The Postal Service – Give Up
114 Grandaddy – Sumday
115 Zwan – Mary Star of the Sea
116 Dave Holland Quintet – Extended Play: Live at Birdland (Superb jazz, excellent soloists all around.)

2004
117 The Wailin’ Jennys – 40 Days (This album has three-part harmonies and super songs, and has won over the Canadian folk scene. It won a Juno this year.)
118 Frank Marino – Real Live (Ledgendary Hendrix-esque guitarist who is one of the world’s best players. Must be heard to be believed.
119 Michael Kaeshammer – Strut (Too good to be true jazz pianist who could replace Diana Krall as the biggest star in jazz – yes, he is that good.)
120 The Futureheads – The Futureheads (Get the pop-punk-funk out!)
121 Sondre Lerche – Two Way Monologue (A rising star and clever songwriter who deserves a huge audience.)
122 Judas Priest – Metalogy (A boxed set showing that they have strong songs from every era – from the 70s to now.)
123 Tomasz Stanko Quartet – Suspended Night (Another European jazz trumpeter, and some are calling him the Polish Miles Davis.)

2005
124 Stars – Set Yourself On Fire (Canada’s top alternative recording by a band this year. Instantly enjoyable, clever, gorgeous pop songs,with two vocalists.)

Sufjan Stevens

125 Sufjan Stevens – Illinoise (He’s a much heralded singer-songwriter with two highly-acclaimed albums in the past two years. Well-crafted songs abound.)

Visit Triniman’s Blog for more album covers.

ed:Aaman

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About Triniman

Almost weekly, Triniman catches new movies, and adds one or two CDs to his collection. Due to time constraints, he blogs about only 5% of the CDs, books and DVDs that he purchases. Holed up in the geographic centre of North America, the cultural mecca of Canada, and the sunniest city north of the 49th, Winnipeg, Triniman blogs a bit when he's not swatting mosquitoes, shoveling snow or golfing.
  • http://selfaudit.blogspot.com Aaman

    Great selection Triniman, nicely arranged too – impressive selection of world music.

  • http://www.dorksandlosers.com Tan The Man

    I’m digging that A-Ha.

  • http://sterfish.blogspot.com Sterfish

    This is one very interesting and varied list. I’d love to hear some of these albums.

  • http://www.dorksandlosers.com Tan The Man

    And cheers cheers for Loreena McKennitt.

  • Shark

    Nice touch including Zakir Hussain and Pat Methany. I shoulda had both of ’em on my list! And, of course, Methany would have had like forty or so albums to choose from.

    Also: L. Shankar

    note: I saw Shankar and Hussain play together a few years ago; astonishing stuff! The concert was about four hours long — maybe 3 or 4 pieces total — but I loved every minute of it.

  • Shark

    re: Enya —

    Does anybody else hear Enya and immediately wanna hang yerself?

    …or is it just me?

  • Marty Thau

    I’m in the music business and it’s expected of me to keep abreast of the best and newest but I must admit I don’t even come close to the depth and knowledge of some of the individuals here on blogcritics. I am impressed.

  • http://w6daily.winn.com/ Phillip Winn

    Marty Thau! Uno of the original Tres Producers that preceded this very site! Nice to see you poking around the site, man.

  • Marty Thau

    Thank you Phillip. I enjoy reading blogcritics. Its diversity keeps me informed and constantly surprised. Glad to be a small part of it.

  • Eric Olsen

    fascinating and wide-ranging T-man! especially digging the art-ambience of Dead Can Dance, Neal Halstead (love Mojave 3!), dub Laswell (genius but asshole – it must be stated every time), Air, and the great worldbeat!

    Sunny Ade’s Juju Music was early-’80s by the way, but is one of the greats!!

  • http://trinimansblog.blogspot.com/ Triniman

    Right you are, Eric. Juju Music came out in 1982.

    I didn’t know that Laswell was an asshole. Have you met him personally? See all the cool things someone can learn by reading Blogcritics?!

  • Marty Thau

    I usually don’t like to put people down in public — oh well, maybe once in awhile — but I know Laswell and he ain’t exactly the sweetest guy around.
    Personally I think he’s over-rated.

  • Eric Olsen

    yes, I have talked to him a few times and he was ruder each time around

  • http://trinimansblog.blogspot.com/ Triniman

    It would be interesting for people to come up with lists of underrated albums, without duplicating their “top” lists.

    Hopefully, more follks will come up with their lists. Eric, I can’t wait to see yours. Duke, Chris B, MuzikMan, etc., ditto.

  • http://www.stevenicholas.com Steve

    Always good to see Marillion in context; being a fan I haven’t got a clue what they sound like to other people, nice mention. Have you heard their 2004 opus, ‘Marbles’?

  • Scott Butki

    You reminded me I need to pick up another copy of the Passion, since I lent it out and never got it back.

    I don’t know if I’ve ever actually heard how Marillon sounds.

    I might have to check out that Future Sounds of London Isness album. I like their older stuff but didn’t realize they had reinvented themselves.

    What, no Ani DiFranco or My Bloody Valentine – Loveless?

  • http://trinimansblog.blogspot.com/ Triniman

    I have heard Marbles but it didn’t leave a strong impression on me and I honestly didn’t listen to it a lot.

    I actually usually dislike such lists because they can change from day to day. No Ani DiFranco or My Bloody Valentine, but on another day, who knows?

    Did you make a similar list, Scott?