Feb 10, 2007

My Top 50 Records; Or How I'd Forgotten How Much I Love Pavement

Whilst compiling my list of favourite records in my previous post, it made me reflect even more on my musical history. Also I started playing Pavement again and realised something, but more about that in a moment. I guess I have a vinyl and a CD history. I honestly can't remember my first record bought, but I cherish my vinyl collection. I think it started becoming serious with a Joy Division record or maybe a Talking Heads record. Then I became a sixties nut, buying every Beatles record and every Rolling Stones one as well. Then it was Dylan, The Who, The Byrds, The Kinks and so on. Then Paul Weller entered my life, The Jam were it for me, Setting Sons, Sound Effects, All Mod Cons. My vinyl collection grew, R.E.M, New Order, Ride, Husker Du, Buffalo Tom, Billy Bragg, Pixies, Sonic Youth, Go Betweens, Public Enemy, Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr, Superchunk and many, many more.

Well eventually I started buying CDs, the first was "Automatic for the People". Sebadoh followed, then something happened I bought "Slanted and Enchanted" and I knew Pavement were the perfect band for me. They presented a Slacker ethos, but they knew how to write a perfectly formed song. Then I saw them live, firstly at Max's at Petersham, followed by The Lansdowne (yes it used to be the best venue in Sydney). Gary Young selling tickets outside the venue, doing handstands during the set, Bob Nastanovich yelling and bashing drums, Mark Ibold quietly cool, Spiral vibrantly cool and Malkmus, oh Malkmus, what genius he was. "Lies and Betrayals, Fruit Covered Nails, Electricty and Lust" I would sing with him. They returned to play Summersault in 1996, along with Beck, Sonic Youth and Beastie Boys. First time I heard "Fight this Generation", I would jump up and down when they played "Unfair", "Down to Santa Rosa and over the bay, across the grapevine to LA. We got deserts we got trees, we got the hills of Beverly. Let's burn the hills of Beverly" we all screamed. They came, they saw, they conquered, without a false step.

Anyway, sorry to ramble on about Pavement, but they are genius to me. Soon after they had a contender. I bought "There is Nothing Wrong with Love", I heard "Car" and I think Built to Spill were vying for my affections. They didn't have Pavement's sheer cool, but they had enough heart to keep a small country pumping. Again Doug and his band would up the ante with future records. So to this day, my choice of favourite band essentially comes down to my mood on a given day. And I finally got to see them live, 3 times in 2003 in New York and New Orleans and once in Austin in 2005. Doug Martsch's fingers should be enshrined in whatever Hall of Fame is going these days.

So I thought would make a more definitive list, my favourite 50 records of all time. And in order, which is ridiculous but I'm going to do it anyway. Don't worry I'm not going to write incoherently about each one, a simple list will do, plus I will mention my favourite song off each one.

A few more thoughts before I start-
This is entirely personal so its only what comes from my heart and mind.
I own each of these records and because I'm not Bill Gates there are probably many great records I have missed in time.
I used to like Rap and Hip Hop (Public Enemy, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest) but I really haven't heard anything great in that genre for ages.
I will always choose melody over rhythm.
I never thought I would listen to country, but I am listening to more of that genre each passing year.
Will England ever produce a great band again? I'm not hearing anything new that is truly great coming out of that country at the moment.
Will Canada ever stop producing great bands or are we in some sort of twilight zone?
Conor Oberst is my Bob Dylan, there I said it.
Can Australia produce another Go Betweens, I know there are a lot of good bands here at the moment, but can anyone seriously tell me there is a truly great band here right now.
I don't like Metal, Heavy Metal, Techno or any other forms of music where
melody is sacrificed for pure repetition.
Is all top 40 radio pure crap?
Are Nickelback the devil incarnate?
Is Madonna the greatest fraud in the history of music?
While I am at it I never really got The Doors for that matter.
I love the violin and a REAL piano.
I don't like the Saxophone, but I like other Horn instruments.
Neko Case has the greatest voice I have ever heard.
Jim James has the greatest male voice I have ever heard.
I don't like people who are cynical and try to be so ultra cool about music, as if
they don't care, there is nothing wrong with expressing your love.
I like classical music, but some people still think music started and finished
with Mozart, although he was a genius.
I agree with Will Sheff, rock music doesn't have to be dumb, its lyrics don't have to be though of as 'poor man's poetry', it can be more beautiful.
Why doesn't Europe produce any good rock bands, I know, I know
Sweden, but really they are great at melody and pop I believe.
Living in a English speaking land, I know there is probably plenty
of great music from Africa and South America, etc. But you are
a product of your culture and I have enough trouble keeping
up with our small section of the world.
I don't know if this will interest you but I enjoyed doing it.
The future excites me more then the past, soon we will have a new Arcade Fire
and Spoon and Wilco and Wolf Parade, its all good!!!!!
FINALLY, I didn't include Sunset Rubdown in my initial top 20. Who am
I kidding?, Spencer belongs and he is going in.

My definitive list, unless it changes of course (favourite song in brackets)

1-In The Aeroplane Over The Sea-Neutral Milk Hotel (Two-Headed Boy Part 2)
2-The Glow Pt. 2-The Microphones (I Want Wind To Blow)
3-Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain-Pavement (Fillmore Jive)
4-Perfect From Now On-Built To Spill (Made-Up Dreams)
5-The Tennessee Fire-My Morning Jacket (The Bear)
6-Funeral-The Arcade Fire (Wake Up)
7-The Lonesome Crowded West-Modest Mouse (Bankrupt On Selling)
8-Meadowlands-The Wrens (Boys, You Won't)
9-Bee Thousand-Guided by Voices (Echos Myron)
10-This Night-Destroyer (Makin' Angels)
11-Surfer Rosa-Pixies (Gigantic)
12-Shut Up I Am Dreaming-Sunset Rubdown (Shut Up I Am Dreaming of Places Where Lovers Have Wings)
13-Apologies To The Queen Mary-Wolf Parade (I'll Believe in Anything)
14-Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever-Explosions in the Sky (A Poor Man's Memory)
15-You Forgot It In People-Broken Social Scene (Cause = Time)
16-F# A# (Infinity)-Godspeed You! Black Emperor (The Dead Flag Blues)
17-Gimme Fiction-Spoon (Sister Jack)
18-Blueberry Boat-The Fiery Furnaces (Mason City)
19-I See A Darkness-Bonnie "Prince" Billy (I See A Darkness)
20-Reckoning-R.E.M. (So. Central Rain)
21-Yankee Hotel Foxtrot-Wilco (Ashes Of American Flags)
22-Slanted & Enchanted-Pavement (Zurich Is Stained)
23-There's Nothing Wrong With Love-Built To Spill (Car)
24-Lifted Or The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear To The Ground-Bright Eyes (Waste of Paint)
25-Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?-The Unicorns (Les Os)
26-The Sophtware Slump-Grandaddy (Jed The Humanoid)
27-Viva Last Blues-Palace Music (New Partner)
28-Keep It Like A Secret-Built To Spill (You Were Right)
29-Horse Stories-Dirty Three (Sue's Last Ride)
30-Girls Can Tell-Spoon (Lines In The Suit)
31-Doolittle-Pixies (Debaser)
32-It Still Moves-My Morning Jacket (Mahgeetah)
33-The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place-Explosions in The Sky (Memorial)
34-Brighten The Corners-Pavement (Shady Lane)
35-Highway 61 Revisited-Bob Dylan (Desolation Row)
36-Come On Feel The Illinoise!-Sufjan Stevens (Chicago)
37-Feels-Animal Collective (Banshee Beat)
38-Bandwagonesue-Teenage Fanclub (The Concept)
39-Daydream Nation-Sonic Youth (Teen Age Riot)
40-Come On Die Young-Mogwai (Ex-Cowboy)
41-Fevers & Mirrors-Bright Eyes (The Center Of The World)
42-The Moon And Antarctica-Modest Mouse (Lives)
43-Before Hollywood-The Go Betweens (Cattle And Cane)
44-The Bends-Radiohead (Fake Plastic Trees)
45-All Mod Cons-The Jam (Down In The Tube Station At Midnight)
46-Don't Fall In Love With Everyone You See-Okkervil River (Westfall)
47-Life's Rich Pageant-R.E.M (Cuyahoga)
48-Nevermind-Nirvana (Smells Like Teen Spirit)
49-Time (The Revelator)-Gillian Welch (Revelator)
50-Meat is Murder- The Smiths (How Soon Is Now?)


  • At February 10, 2007 , Anonymous Angus said...

    Even though you testify your love of the Fabs in the earlier post, I am surprised not to see any of their records make this list!

    Great read, though.

  • At February 10, 2007 , Anonymous Karen said...

    Melody > rhythm any day of the week. I’d argue though that some heavier music can be melodic and not at all repetitious. Some, mind ;) I never really got the doors thing either – a friend of mine in high school was obsessed with them/him and I remained completely clueless, even after hours of forced listening.

    And what IS it with Canada? There must be something in the water over there.

    I would also say that if Augie March release even one more album of the same quality as Strange Bird or Moo, You Bloody Choir, in 5 to 10 years they will be seen as great. Just one girls opinion of course.

    I’m intrigued about your favourite song pick from ItAOtS.

    I admire the fact that you attempted to order these. This is a great list Wayne and I enjoyed reading it.

  • At February 10, 2007 , Anonymous Karen said...

    Oh and...

    'Are Nickelback the devil incarnate?'


  • At February 11, 2007 , Blogger Peter said...

    Wow. These last two posts must have taken an unimaginable amount of time and effort and I commend you for that; they were very good reads. You know someone really cares about music when their life can be retold by what they listened to. I love looking back at my own past and seeing how I evolved; it's always quite interesting. But let me get this straight, you compiled a list of your 20 favourite records (in order and with descriptions no less) and then a few days later made a new list, this time of your top 50 records.....are you insane? I couldn't even manage to order my top ten albums of this year! The thought of listing my all time favourite albums is just far too daunting. Again, well down. And now I will proceed to 'acquire' all of the records that I hadn't heard of (not only am I not Bill Gates but I'm unemployed and without morals). Thanks for the tips!

  • At February 12, 2007 , Blogger Wayne said...

    Karen- I would put Augie March in that very good band category. I just haven't greatness yet. Maybe I am missing something. I think Two Headed Boy Part 2 is my fav song because it just builds to a perfect emotional climax, it starts off world weary and when Jeff sings "She will feed you tomatoes and radio wires and retire to sheets safe and clean But don't hate her when she gets up to leave" I am left feeling shattered.

    Peter- Yes I think I am insane. But I think it was more a labour of love. I initially had a list of about 100, which whittled to 20, but I just needed to give credit to more then the first list of 20. I think the best way to compile a list is to directly compare each item and then try to decide which one you can't possibly do without. Although the whole process is still relatively inexact. I'm just glad some people have bothered to read it. Stay tuned for a list of 50 best songs!

  • At February 12, 2007 , Blogger Peter said...

    Just another thing I'm curious about, how did you come across all these great records? An older brother? A friend? Radio? Magazines? Random selection at the record store?

  • At February 12, 2007 , Blogger Wayne said...

    I think initially it was a combination of radio (JJJ), magazines and using great record stores like Waterfront for recommending music. In recent years its nearly totally the internet, blogs and so forth. Also I buy Magnet and Under the Radar magazines for other good recommendations.

  • At February 12, 2007 , Blogger Jimmy Mac said...

    i've only been reading your page for a little while, and already i'm hooked (i hope you don't mind me linking my blog to yours). i was a pavement fan until i was swallowed up by the phish circus in 1995 and didn't rediscover the vast awesomeness of malkmus & co. until i rented slow century at the local video concern a few years ago. great essay my friend.

  • At February 12, 2007 , Blogger Wayne said...

    Glad you enjoy reading my stuff, certainly don't mind the link, I will do like wise. Every one should own Slow Century I believe, a great history and/or introduction to the greatness of Pavement!

  • At February 13, 2007 , Blogger Amanda said...

    Great couple of posts. I'm sort of inspired to do my own list but its a very scary prospect ...

  • At February 13, 2007 , Anonymous Pete said...

    What a list...strange, we all think we're so unique, us indie rockers, but damn near album for album I'm right in lock-step with you. Amazing, from the Jam to Pavement (I found you searching something on Arcade Fire).

    I live in NYC, and a good friend of mine tour manages Iggy Pop, but we were once at the Siren Fest in Coney Island (I think waiting to see the Electric Six), and this very nice guy came up and started chatting with my friend, as they new each other. I told my friend, Damn, he looks very familiar, and it was Mark Ibold, Pavement bassist.

    A friend also recently hooked me up with some Silver Jews, which I'd heartily recommend as well.

    I'd also recommend Yo La Tengo's "I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One," as a definite for your list, and a dash of Clash!

    But otherwise, Great Fuggin List!

  • At February 13, 2007 , Blogger Wayne said...

    I just think we're out of step with the rest of the world, but in our own community we seem to love generally the same music.

    I only have one Silver Jews CD, need to get more. And I see Yo La Tengo in 2 weeks, I'm not exactly an expert on them, but I'm looking forward to the show.

    Thanx for nice words...

  • At February 14, 2007 , Blogger Bill said...

    Excellent list, Wayne. I'm not sure if every album on that list would make my top 50, but probably more than half would. At the very least, I own and love 15 of your top 16. (And I will be looking for MMJ's "The Tennessee Fire" after finishing this post - are they on emusic?).

    I'm also intrigued by your favorite song on the album selections. "Fillmore Jive" used to be my fave Pavement song (and Pavement is my 2nd favorite band of all-time; loved the lengthy discussion), and "Two-Headed Boy Part 2" is a masterpiece (although Part 1 is my personal favorite off the album). OTOH, "Waste of Paint" is one of my least favorite off "Lifted" and the same for "You Were Right" off "Keep it Like a Secret". Yet I still love those albums. Very intriguing - to me at least.

  • At February 14, 2007 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    It's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," not "Feels Like Teen Spirit." You know, the biggest single off of the most important album of the 90s?

  • At February 14, 2007 , Blogger Wayne said...

    I have fixed Nirvana, as to the claim of it being the most important album of the 90's, well that's open to debate. Hence its place on my list...

    Bill- That MMJ album is to me perhaps the greatest record that doesn't get the acclaim it deserves. I don't know if its on Emusic, I don't use that service, but you should be able to pick it up in most good record stores. I'm surprised you don't like Waste of Paint, it really stands out for me, although everything off that record is great. I had a hard time choosing You Were Right, ahead of Time Trap, Bad Light, Broken Chairs. Just shows I guess that even if we love the same album, different songs become our favourites.


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