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2015 365: My favorite albums

January 11, 2016

Tim’s 365 Favorite Albums, Day 1: No. 365. “The Game,” Queen (1980) – One of four Queen albums on this list. Their last gasp. Everyone makes effort to overcome “Another One Bites the Dust,” and they succeed well enough.

My favorites: “Rock It (Prime Jive),” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”

365, Day 2: No. 364. “The Magician’s Birthday,” Uriah Heep (1972) – Of course I realize the bombast is atrocious. But to Teen Tim, it was wondrous, especially when they put a kazoo and the song “Happy Birthday” in the middle of the 10-minute title cut.

Favorite songs: “Sweet Lorraine,” “The Magician’s Birthday”

365, Day 3: No. 363. “Around the World in a Day,” Prince (1985) – The last thing I expected as a follow-up to “Purple Rain” was this blissful psychedelia, which I enjoy more than almost anyone I know. This is one of five Prince albums on the list.

Favorite songs: “Raspberry Beret,” “Pop Life”

365, Day 4: No. 362. “The River,” Bruce Springsteen (1980) – One of three Springsteen albums on the list. A classic example of “Oh, hey! This song is on this album!” Bloated, but in a productive enough way.

Favorite songs: “Crush on You,” “Cadillac Ranch”

365, Day 5: No. 361. “Countdown to Ecstasy,” Steely Dan (1973) – It felt like a step back to me at the time. I just wasn’t ready for it. It’s remarkably dark for its time. The first of five Steely Dan albums on this list.

Favorite songs: “Bodhisattva,” “My Old School”

365, Day 6: No. 360. “L.A. Woman,” The Doors (1971) – The charm I find here is what irritates others. I love how they’re chasing their muse methodically and patiently (what else is the music on “Riders on the Storm”?) instead of violently shaking the listener.

Favorite songs: As cliche as it is, “Riders on the Storm” and “L.A. Woman”

365, Day 7: No. 359. “Josie and the Pussycats” soundtrack (2001) – Before actually watching and listening, I underestimated both the film (a clever and deep parody of teen culture) and the music. The music is solid power pop, by turns catchy and comic.

Favorite songs: “Turn Around,” “3 Small Words”

365, Day 8: No. 358. “Seven Separate Fools,” Three Dog Night (1972) – Perhaps nostalgia clouds my brain, but this holds up to me as their best non-compilation album. The first side is near-perfect.

Favorite songs: “My Old Kentucky Home,” “Going in Circles”

365, Day 9: No. 357. “Queen Elvis,” Robyn Hitchcock (1989) – This almost marks the end of Hitchcock playing rockier songs with a band. For “One Long Pair of Eyes” to not be a songwriter’s greatest effort means he’s written a lot of great songs.

Favorite songs: “One Long Pair of Eyes,” “Freeze”

365, Day 10: No. 356. “Yours Truly, Angry Mob,” Kaiser Chiefs (2007) – If an album could make this list based on one song, “Ruby” is a good enough tune. I don’t think these guys have recorded a thing that I dislike.

Favorite songs: “Ruby,” “Everything is Average Nowadays”

365, Day 11: No. 355. “Poodle Hat,” “Weird Al” Yankovic (2003) – One of three Yankovic albums on the list. What a diverse group he goes after: Eminem, Billy Joel, Zappa, Backstreet Boys, “angry white boy”s.

Favorite songs: “Hardware Store,” “Ode to a Superhero” (I know. Weird that I didn’t list the Zappa style parody, right?)

365, Day 12: No. 354. “Retrospective,” Buffalo Springfield (1969) – I might have known just the big hit except for this compilation, a vital part of any 1970s teen boy’s collection.

Favorite songs: “Bluebird,” “Rock and Roll Woman”

365, Day 13: No. 353. “All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes,” Pete Townshend (1982) – The last time I was willing to follow him anywhere. This was truly a worthwhile adventure into adventurousness.

Favorite songs: “Stop Hurting People,” “Slit Skirts”

365, Day 14: No. 352. “Teaser and the Firecat,” Cat Stevens (1971) – This is probably as much of a hippie-folkie compendium as there is on this list. I defy you to not be taken by the beauty of the songs.

Favorite songs: “Morning Has Broken,” “Peace Train”

365, Day 15: No. 351. “Tunnel of Love,” Bruce Springsteen (1987) – The album that proved he had quiet depth to go along with the arena bombast of “Born in the USA.” He also found an economy of words to make his lamentations punch you in the gut.

Favorite songs: “Brilliant Disguise,” “Tunnel of Love”

365, Day 16: No. 350. “Amanda Leigh,” Mandy Moore (2009) – I followed her career because people I respected said she was more than a Disney pop queen. This was the point where she proved them right.

Favorite songs: “Fern Dell,” “Merrimack River”

365, Day 17: No. 349. “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll,” The Rolling Stones (1974) – I didn’t know they were supposed to be over the hill. It felt like they’d just started.

Favorite songs: “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” “If You Really Want to Be My Friend”

365, Day 18: No. 348. “Sunshine on Leith,” Proclaimers (1988) – I found their hit single annoying, and ducked the album until swayed by a friend to uncover the beauty and brilliance in its concept of, quite simply, “home.” A nice place to be.

Favorite songs: “Sunshine on Leith,” “I’m on My Way”

365, Day 19: No. 347. “Ambrosia” (1975) – An unlikely cross of prog rock and sparkling AM pop. With lyrics for one song taken from Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle,” a fact I never tire of pointing out.

Favorite songs: “Nice, Nice, Very Nice,” “Holdin’ on to Yesterday”

365, Day 20: No. 346. “The Original Soundtrack,” 10cc (1975) – Three-quarters of a brilliant album with an amazing first side. It says something to me when “I’m Not in Love” is my fifth-favorite song on the album.

Favorite songs: “Une Nuit a Paris (One Night in Paris),” “Blackmail”

365, Day 21: No. 345. “Crowded House” (1986) – One of many 1980s pop bands whose debuts promised more potential than the groups had. They never approached this again, which doesn’t diminish its brilliance one iota.

Favorite songs: “Something So Strong,” “Now We’re Getting Somewhere”

365, Day 22: No. 344. “#1 Record,” Big Star (1972) – Responsible for much of the music I love that followed in its style wake. It’s guitar pop with soaring harmonies, a template for exactly the kind of music I have adored for a half-century.

Favorite songs: “The Ballad of El Goodo,” “Thirteen”

*****

365, Day 23: No. 343. “41 Original Hits from the Soundtrack of American Graffiti” (1973) – The manner by which a number of people my age without older siblings were introduced to pre-Beatles music. Fine flick, fun music.

Favorite songs: “Come Go With Me,” “Little Darlin’ ”

365, Day 24: No. 342. “Back to the Egg,” Wings (1979) – By this time, Paul McCartney was regarded as bloated and self-indulgent. That was difficult to argue against. I still like the production tricks, things that could only have come from inside the head of someone like McCartney. I take a lot of grief for liking this album. I’m good with that.

Favorite songs: “Spin It On,” “Arrow Through Me”

365, Day 25: No. 341. “It’ll End in Tears,” This Mortal Coil (1984) – I’m amused that comedian Patton Oswalt mentioning this in his act probably reached more people who’d previously heard it. At this time, I thought the 4AD label was infallible, and this set was just more proof.

Favorite songs: “Holocaust,” “Song to the Siren”

365, Day 26: No. 340. “Faithful,” Todd Rundgren (1976) – It was the side of covers (including a version of “Good Vibrations” that was a hit single) that drew me in, then the second side of originals kept me around.

Favorite songs: “Love of the Common Man,” “Boogies (Hamburger Hell)”

365, Day 27: No. 339. “Sticky Fingers,” The Rolling Stones (1971) – A real zipper on the cover? Yeah. Crazy dark music inside? Even better. Art with an edge, the best kind.

Favorite songs: “Brown Sugar,” “Bitch”

365, Day 28: No. 338. “The Point!” Nilsson (1971) – Watched the TV movie, loved the story, had to have the album. If this is where my love of good concept albums was born, well, thank you Harry Nilsson.

Favorite songs: “Everything’s Got ‘Em,” “Me and My Arrow”

365, Day 29: No. 337. “No Quarter (Unledded),” Jimmy Page and Robert Plant (1994) – I only saw a connection to Led Zeppelin in some of the songs used. These were (largely) whole new takes on Zeppelin songs.

Favorite songs: “Yallah,” “Gallows Pole”

365, Day 30: No. 336. “The Great Twenty-Eight,” Chuck Berry (1982) – As I was building my appreciation for rock’s pioneers, this issue of Chess sides (his original label) was a priceless replacement of my copies of his later Mercury re-recordings. These sounded right.

Favorite songs: “No Particular Place to Go,” “Havana Moon”

365, Day 31: No. 335. “Frampton Comes Alive,” Peter Frampton (1976) – It’s too easy to forget how perfect this album was for its time. A blend of AM radio hits with FM classic rock workouts. It chased me into his back catalog, which was better than I expected.

Favorite songs: “Doobie Wah,” “Lines on My Face”

365, Day 32: No. 334. “Alive!,” Kiss (1975) – Like “Frampton Comes Alive,” this was a greatest-hits by a band that had no real hits yet. Whatever they did to embed themselves in my skull started with this crazy breath of fresh air.

Favorite songs: “Strutter,” “Rock and Roll All Nite”

365, Day 33: No. 333. “Hot Rats,” Frank Zappa (1969) – It was well after Zappa’s 1993 death that I found this, which helped me better grasp modern jazz in general.

Favorite songs: “Peaches En Regalia,” “The Gumbo Variations”

365, Day 34: No. 332. “Control,” Janet Jackson (1986) – It was shocking because she wasn’t a little girl any more. It got repeat plays because she met Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and they wrote some great stuff.

Favorite songs: “Nasty,” “What Have You Done for Me Lately”

365, Day 35: No. 331. “Changesonebowie,” David Bowie (1976) – A great starter set for me before I got into Bowie’s albums proper. It was much easier for me to get in via the poppier of his music.

Favorite songs: “Young Americans,” “Golden Years”

365, Day 36: No. 330. “Piano Man,” Billy Joel (1973) – Fascinating how the formula here (epic opener, hit single, lengthy workout piece) was a template for Joel’s best work.

Favorite songs: “Piano Man,” “The Ballad of Billy the Kid”

365, Day 37: No. 329. “History: America’s Greatest Hits,” America (1975) – I can’t underestimate the quality and importance of greatest hits albums from my high school years.

Favorite songs: “Ventura Highway,” “Daisy Jane”

365, Day 38: No. 328. “Ten,” Pearl Jam (1991) – With each of their subsequent releases, I’ve come to realize how solid this album is, and how much it’s the only thing by them that I need.

Favorite songs: “Jeremy,” “Even Flow”

365, Day 39: No. 327. “Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine,” The Doors (1972) – I’m disinclined to reveal how much of my teens was spent listening to “When the Music’s Over.” And “Five to One” was and is, frankly, terrifying.

Favorite songs: “Five to One,” “When the Music’s Over”

365, Day 40: No. 326. “A Retrospective,” Linda Ronstadt (1977) – Exactly the compilation I needed from Ronstadt at the time, it gathered up all I needed from her Capitol albums, and made me regret buying “Silk Purse” solely for “Long Long Time.”

Favorite songs: “You’re No Good,” “Silver Threads and Golden Needles”

365, Day 41: No. 325. “The Slider,” T. Rex (1972) – It wasn’t until well after Marc Bolan’s death that I knew anything other than “Bang a Gong (Get It On).” I blame my and the Midwest’s reluctance to embrace glam rock. This is a solid one.

Favorite songs: “Metal Guru,” “Telegram Sam”

365, Day 42: No. 324. “Especially for You,” The Smithereens (1986) – A ton of bands came into my life around this time, bringing high expectations that couldn’t be fulfilled, even though none of us knew it at the time. This just sounds like a tough and rockin’ band.

Favorite songs: “Blood and Roses,” “Strangers When We Meet”

365, Day 43: No. 323. “Paul Simon” (1972) – The first time I heard this, I thought the split with Art Garfunkel was going to benefit all of us. The cover remains, for reasons I can’t explain, one of the strangest things I’ve seen.

Favorite songs: “Mother and Child Reunion,” “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard”

365, Day 44: No. 322. “This is The Moody Blues,” The Moody Blues (1974) – A perfect introduction for what the band’s albums proper were like. The poems and suites were pulled in fully intact. By the time I started digging into their catalog up to this album, I was both prepared and pleased.

Favorite songs: “Ride My See-Saw,” “The Story in Your Eyes”

365, Day 45: No. 321. “Care,” Shriekback (1983) – The description I read in a magazine (Penthouse, of all places) was intriguing, and the music was intoxicatingly different. They were far ahead of their time.

Favorite songs: “Lined Up,” “My Spine (is the Bassline)”

365, Day 46: No. 320. “Long Misty Days,” Robin Trower (1976) – More of a transition album than I realized at the time. I played it a ton. I didn’t like it as much as “Bridge of Sighs” (higher on this list), but I liked it more than “For Earth Below,” my first Trower album.

Favorite songs: “Same Rain Falls,” “Messin the Blues”

365, Day 47: No. 319. “Time and a Word,” Yes (1970) – I still love playing “No Opportunity Needed, No Experience Necessary” and watching the listener’s disbelief when the orchestra (and then the guitar) launches into “The Big Country.” Their bloat was still three years away. Of the piles of covers in which this album was released, this is the one I know.

Favorite songs: “Time and a Word,” “No Opportunity Needed, No Experience Necessary”

365, Day 48: No. 318. “Bad Girls,” Donna Summer (1979) – I had to catch up to this one. At the time, I’d lumped it in with much of the disco that I disliked. There’s depth here. And had she held back “I Feel Love” and put it on this album, it would be considerably higher on this list.

Favorite songs: “Dim All the Lights,” “Bad Girls”

365, Day 49: No. 317. “So Beautiful or So What,” Paul Simon (2011) – I was disappointed by his output for 20 years, then stunned when this album grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. There’s enough of his old style so it’s still him, and enough experimentation to keep it interesting.

Favorite songs: “Getting Ready for Christmas Day,” “Rewrite”

365, Day 50: No. 316. “Simple Dreams,” Linda Ronstadt (1977) – That rarest of commodities, an artist at their peak, straddling almost every style imaginable. She makes Buddy Holly and Warren Zevon her own, and does FM and AM pop-rock along with country.

Favorite songs: “It’s So Easy,” “Poor Poor Pitiful Me”

365, Day 51: No. 315. “I’m Everyone I’ve Ever Loved,” Martin Mull (1977) – He played plenty of songs from this album when he did the “Fernwood 2Night” TV show. He was at his peak here, especially with the filthy song that is only filthy in the listener’s imagination.

Favorite songs: “The Humming Song,” “They Never Met”

365, Day 52: No. 314. “Pandemonium Shadow Show,” Nilsson (1967) – Catching up with Harry Nilsson’s output was as baffling as his early stuff was varied. This was great. He got fantastic a few years later. “You Can’t Do That” is one of my five favorite Beatles covers.

Favorite songs: “You Can’t Do That,” “Cuddly Toy”

365, Day 53: No. 313. “Tupelo Honey,” Van Morrison (1971) – The artist himself claims to dislike this album, regarding it as leftovers. Even if so, it’s from his strongest period as a writer.

Favorite songs: “Wild Night,” “Tupelo Honey”

365, Day 54: No. 312. “Flaming Pie,” Paul McCartney (1997) – McCartney can go years between good albums, and I will keep listening, because he has things like this in him. It was 15 years since he’d done anything I listened to continually. I will listen to “Beautiful Night” any time it is on.

Favorite songs: “Beautiful Night,” “The Song We Were Singing”

365, Day 55: No. 311. “The Hollies’ Greatest Hits” (1973) – Another greatest hits album from the 1970s with an absolutely awful cover. But a great way to link up the Graham Nash, Allan Clarke and Terry Sylvester years. And, blessedly, it left off “Jennifer Eccles.”

Favorite songs: “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress,” “Long Dark Road”

365, Day 56: No. 310. “Toulouse Street,” The Doobie Brothers (1972) – The prototype of an AM-FM crossover from the era. And they were eclectic enough to cover Seals and Crofts, Sonny Boy Williamson and The Byrds, and write one of the great guitar songs of all time.

Favorite songs: “Listen to the Music,” “Jesus is Just Alright”

365, Day 57: No. 309. “Double Fantasy,” John Lennon/Yoko Ono (1980) – He’d gone more than six years (even more of an eternity in the 1970s) with no new studio recordings. This could have been Lennon breaking wind for 30 minutes, and I’d have loved it. It was better than that, and Yoko’s songs were solid too.

Favorite songs: “(Just Like) Starting Over,” “Hard Times Are Over”

365, Day 58: No. 308. “Out of the Cradle,” Lindsey Buckingham (1992) – For a stretch, Lindsey Buckngham was infallible to me. This is the first of five albums on this list for him and his version of Fleetwood Mac. His having unique tunings for every song on the album is fantastic.

Favorite songs: “Soul Drifter,” “Don’t Look Down”

365, Day 59: No. 307. “Eye of the Zombie,” John Fogerty (1986) – I probably overrate this album since I saw him on this tour. It just seemed he was settling in on a recording routine, and then it was 11 years until another album. Great cover, though.

Favorite songs: “Change in the Weather,” “Soda Pop”

365, Day 60: No. 306. “Buddy Holly Lives,” Buddy Holly (1978) – Vital. This was a horrible-looking package I picked up in the aftermath of the film “The Buddy Holly Story.” The content rises well above the appearance. A vital record.

Favorite songs: “Rave On,” “Maybe Baby”

365, Day 61: No. 305. “Waka/Jawaka,” Frank Zappa (1972) – Zappa’s crazier jazz-based stuff took me longer to get into and appreciate. But “Big Swifty” always fascinated me from first listen.

Favorite songs: “Big Swifty,” “Your Mouth”

365, Day 62: No. 304. “The Future Is Medieval”/’Start the Revolution Without Me,” Kaiser Chiefs (2011) – Released as the former in the UK in 2011 (and my album of the year that year), a few songs were swapped out as it was released in the US a year later as the latter. They are my favorite new band, and this is my favorite album by them.

Favorite songs: “Little Shocks,” “Starts With Nothing”

365, Day 63: No. 303. “The Presidents of the United States of America” (1994) – An antidote to some of the grumpy music of its time, I was taken by their willingness to be complete happy idiots.

Favorite songs: “Kitty,” “Peaches”

365, Day 64: No. 302. “East Side Story,” Squeeze (1981) – By this point, you could fully believe their aspirations to Lennon and McCartney. More serious than their previous album (yet to come on this list), it was their last to have that rare combination of fun and gravitas.

Favorite songs: “Tempted,” “Messed Around”

365, Day 65: No. 301. “A Hard Day’s Night,” The Beatles (1964) – And we welcome my favorite group to The Big List, the first of 11 entries. The original British album, not the American film soundtrack. I love the power pop genre, which is particular about what it allows to call power pop. I call this album The Grandfather of Power Pop. Some people won’t talk to me as a result.

Favorite songs: “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “I Should Have Known Better”

365, Day 66: No. 300. “shock/denial/anger/acceptance,” Rick Springfield (2004) – There’s plenty of Springfield that’s worthwhile. This is the whole package, a cross-section of his skills that never fails to impress even the most skeptical.

Favorite songs: “I’ll Make You Happy,” “Alien Virus”

365, Day 67: No. 299. “Bargainville,” Moxy Fruvous (1993) – What a fantastic statement. Complex arrangements on some songs, minimal on others. Intelligent lyrics, and four guys who could sing. A 20th century pop music style sampler. And addictively clever.

Favorite songs: “King of Spain,” “My Baby Loves a Bunch of Authors”

365, Day 68: No. 298. “The Hoople,” Mott the Hoople (1974) – I thought this would be the album that broke them through huge. That’s how it felt to me. It didn’t work out like that. However much you appreciate Ian Hunter, you don’t appreciate him enough.

Favorite songs: “Born Late ’58,” “Roll Away the Stone”

365, Day 69: No. 297. “Taking Liberties,” Elvis Costello (1980) – This was his second 20-song album of the year. (The first occupies spot No. 8 on this list.) These outtakes and B-sides were largely new to me. Is it any wonder I considered him the most important artist in the world at this point?

Favorite songs: “Getting Mighty Crowded,” “Crawling to the U.S.A.”

365, Day 70: No. 296. “Shazam,” The Move (1970) – Heavier than what they were to become as they turned to quality pop. But it should have been perfect for FM radio at the time. There’s an eight-minute song about being institutionalized, for crying out loud.

Favorite songs: “Hello Susie,” “Cherry Blossom Clinic Revisited”

365, Day 71: No. 295. “Go Insane,” Lindsey Buckingham (1984) – One of the greatest headphone albums on this list. He was able to indulge himself more than he ever had. In many ways, he’s most interesting alone than with Fleetwood Mac.

Favorite songs: “Go Insane,” “Bang the Drum”

365, Day 72: No. 294. “Freedom,” Neil Young (1989) – I had given up on him. How much did I adore the guy? This is the first of 10 albums by him on this list, and only one of those 10 was released after this. As comebacks go, this rivals Fogerty and “Centerfield.”

Favorite songs: “Rockin’ in the Free World,” “Wrecking Ball”

365, Day 73: No. 293. “The Cars” (1978) – Is this what New Wave was supposed to sound like? Was this Devo with a huge dollop of pop sugar? All I knew at the time was when you heard The Cars on the radio, you knew it was different than everything else.

Favorite songs: “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight,” “Bye Bye Love”

365, Day 74: No. 292. “Centerfield,” John Fogerty (1985) – The biggest rock and roll comeback since Elvis. Fogerty has been a lot of things before and since, but this was probably the moment I loved him most dearly.

Favorite songs: “The Old Man Down the Road,” “Centerfield”

365, Day 75: No. 291. “Exile in Guyville,” Liz Phair (1993) – The claim that this was an answer record to “Exile on Main Street” may be one of rock’s great marketing efforts. It still amazes me how much Phair’s career puts people on both sides of thrilled and annoyed. I’m there fully, on both sides.

Favorite songs: “Flower,” “Never Said”

365, Day 76: No. 290. “At the Ryman,” Emmylou Harris (1992) – Almost every Emmylou Harris show is worthwhile. This one was historic as well. I love the lack of overdubs.

Favorite songs: “Walls of Time,” “Get Up John”

365, Day 77: No. 289. “Madman Across the Water,” Elton John (1971) – The only Elton John album like this. The songs are longer, and critics would argue the arrangements are bloated. If they are, they’re bloated in the best possible way.

Favorite songs: “Levon,” “Tiny Dancer”

365, Day 78: No. 288. “Dog and Butterfly,” Heart (1978) – I see this as their actual third album, after “Dreamboat Annie” and “Little Queen.” Not many acts start out of the box that strong.

Favorite songs: “Straight On,” “Mistral Wind”

365, Day 79: No. 287. “Shaved Fish,” John Lennon (1975) – A greatest hits album we needed, as it collected up some of his early 1970s non-album singles. I still can’t forgive whoever’s responsible for truncating “Give Peace a Chance.”

Favorite songs: “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” “Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)”

365, Day 80: No. 286. “In Search of the Lost Chord,” Moody Blues (1968) – What surprised me as I caught up with Moody Blues albums as an adult was the consistency and excellence of the first seven albums. This is my favorite now, and that could change in five years.

Favorite songs: “Ride My See-Saw,” “Legend of a Mind”

365, Day 81: No. 285. “Green River,” Creedence Clearwater Revival (1969) – The toughest thing about any Creedence album is narrowing your ‘favorite’ songs down to two or three. And this is the first of three of their albums on this list.

Favorite songs: “Green River,” “The Night Time is the Right Time”

365, Day 82: No. 284. “Are You Experienced,” Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967) – It’s an album that seems so obvious now that it’s almost overwhelming to consider how innovative and important it was in its time.

Favorite songs: “Manic Depression,” “Fire”

365, Day 83: No. 283. “Broadway the Hard Way,” Frank Zappa (1988) – Featuring Zappa’s new songs from his 1988 tour, focusing on politics and social issues. He’s blunt. And in retrospect, largely correct. This band was amazing.

Favorite songs: “Any Kind of Pain,” “Stolen Moments/Murder By Numbers”

365, Day 84: No. 282. “Gordon,” Barenaked Ladies (1992) – However much more popular their later work was, I always preferred this one. It struck out of the blue, with each song its own fantastic little symphony. They earned the right to write “Brian Wilson.”

Favorite songs: “Hello City,” “Grade 9”

365, Day 85: No. 281. “1962-1966,” The Beatles (1973) – “I’d have just bought the Blue one (‘1967-1970′),” my best friend said at the time. I didn’t have the words to describe how much I loved The Beatles’ early pop songs. They are the foundation of everything I love about music.

Favorite songs: “She Loves You,” “Can’t Buy Me Love”

365, Day 86: No. 280. “Portable Life,” Danielle Brisebois (1999) – Maybe the rarest album on the list. Promo copies were printed, but the album was never officially released. What was I supposed to do, erase it from my head? Especially with as good as this is?

Favorite songs: “I’ve Had It,” “Stop It Hurts You’re Killing Me Don’t Stop”

365, Day 87: No. 279. “Lumpy Gravy,” Frank Zappa (1967) – There are enough versions of this for me to not remember which one is “official” and which ones have been released or bootlegged. Zappa called this and the surrounding group of albums of one piece. It all sounds good to me.

Favorite songs: “Duodenum,” “Take Your Clothes Off”

365, Day 88: No. 278. “Seduced by Money,” Thieves (1989) – It had too much of each of its elements (pop, rock, country, honky tonk) to gain popular attraction. It was alternative country or Americana before either really existed.

Favorite songs: “Everything But My Heart,” “When I Wake With Someone New”

365, Day 89: No. 277. “That Thing You Do!” (1996) – Just when I thought this kind of music (pure power pop) would never return to the mainstream again, it did with this. As with before, it didn’t spark the genre explosion I’d hoped for. But it left behind a great movie and soundtrack.

Favorite songs: “Dance With Me Tonight,” “That Thing You Do!”

365, Day 90: No. 276. “Synchronicity,” The Police (1983) – Even at their peak, they were innovative and fantastic. Too bad the bass player was so difficult to get along with.

Favorite songs: “Synchronicity II,” “Murder by Numbers”

My 365 favorite albums, Day 91, No. 275. “Dare to Be Stupid,” “Weird Al” Yankovic (1985) – This was where Yankovic set his bar, where the originals and the style parodies matched or bettered his mocking of previous chart hits. This showed he had some longevity.

Favorite songs: “This Is the Life,” “One More Minute”

365, Day 92, No. 274. “Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake,” Small Faces (1968) – The novelty of the side two “concept” peters out after a few listens. But Steve Marriott knew his way around a tune, and if their catalog had been handled better, they might be a more legendary band.

Favorite songs: “Lazy Sunday,” “Afterglow of Your Love”

365, Day 93, No. 273. “Equinox,” Styx (1976) – As I go through this list, I find things even now in positions other than what they should be, or will be when I update this list. This is too high. Good. Not as good as I have it here.

Favorite songs:”Lorelei,” “Light Up”

365, Day 94, No. 272. “Hotter than July,” Stevie Wonder (1980) – His last home run (although he put out two more solid albums in the next 15 years). Go, now: listen to “Master Blaster” for about an hour. It’ll be the best part of your day. My other favorite from the album is my nominee for Wonder’s most amazing under-appreciated song.

Favorite songs: “Master Blaster (Jammin’),” “I Ain’t Gonna Stand For It”

365, Day 95, No. 271. “Recorded Live,” Ten Years After (1973) – I loved them because an older friend did, and that appreciation never died. They, to me, were the greatest of England’s second-level blues bands. Great guitar work, and some of the most mush-mouthed vocals in rock history.

Favorite songs: “You Give Me Loving,” “I’m Going Home”

365, Day 96, No. 270. “Celebrate: The Three Dog Night Story, 1965-1975,” Three Dog Night (1993) – What made this exciting was they used the more vibrant original 45 mixes in enough cases so the slightly more attuned were able to think, “Yeah, that’s what that was supposed to sound like.” Their later (post-“Shambala”) hits were much better than their chart positions indicated.

Favorite songs: “Eli’s Coming,” “Pieces of April”

365, Day 97, No. 269. “Oklahoma!” (film soundtrack) (1955) – This dominated the listening experiences of my childhood, before I was allowed to operate the record player. “Out of My Dreams” is one of the most beautiful songs written for musicals in the 20th century.

Favorite songs: “The Farmer and the Cowman,” “Out of My Dreams”

365, Day 98, No. 268. “Stranger in Town,” Bob Seger (1978) – Seger solidified his position by duplicating the “Night Moves” album effort and doing it with better songs. “Old Time Rock and Roll” got the attention of a few people.

Favorite songs: “Hollywood Nights,” “Still the Same”

365, Day 99, No. 267. “Sing it Again Rod,” Rod Stewart (1973) – A vital greatest hits package for me, a nascent Stewart fan as a teen. In spite of annoying cross-fading (to better fit in 51 minutes of music). It included (out of order) the second side of the “Every Picture Tells a Story” album, which will show up at No. 17. Also, the album was die-cut into a bizarre drink glass shape, making it pretty much impossible for me to stick the sleeve back in without destroying cardboard.

Favorite songs: “Twistin’ the Night Away,” “(I Know) I’m Losing You”

365, Day 100, No. 266. “My Fair Lady” (Broadway cast) (1956) – This is the one on which I grew up, thanks to my parents’ enthusiasm for musicals. When asked my favorite musical, I always say, “For the ‘traditional’ and ‘classic’ musicals, it’s ‘Oklahoma!’ or ‘My Fair Lady,’ whichever one I’ve seen most recently.”

Favorite songs: “I’m an Ordinary Man,” “Just You Wait”

365, Day 101, No. 265. “Forever Your Girl,” Paula Abdul (1988) – Before she was an insane reality TV judge and star, she sang infectious dance pop and made cool videos. I can still listen to this album without skipping a song.

Favorite songs: “Straight Up,” “Cold Hearted”

365, Day 102, No. 264. “Stray Cats,” Stray Cats (1981) – My peer group was listening to this UK-only release 16 months before the US “Built For Speed,” which was a best-of the two UK albums they’d released. As such, “Rock This Town” was not the revelation to me that it was to those who heard that song first.

Favorite songs: “Runaway Boys,” “Fishnet Stockings”

365, Day 103, No. 263. “The Completion Backward Principle,” The Tubes (1981) – Is it OK for bad boys to clean up and have a hit if they’re doing it to pay bills? If the songs are this good, it’s indeed OK.

Favorite songs: “Talk to Ya Later,” “Let’s Make Some Noise”

365, Day 104, No. 262. “Styx II,” Styx (1973) – The early 1970s was a perfect time to blend obvious pop with prog, and Styx was on the cutting edge. And they had a sense of humor. In one song, a man’s tryst leads to him about to become a father and contracting an STD at the same time. Ahh, the 70s.

Favorite songs: “You Need Love,” “You Better Ask”

365, Day 105, No. 261. “Xanadu” (1980) – I have defended and will continue defending this album through all mocking. It has its soulless disco elements, certainly. But both Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra made sure the pop elements were top-notch, and they do a good job hiding the dreck.

Favorite songs:”Don’t Walk Away,” “Magic”

365, Day 106, No. 260. “Greatest Hits,” Cat Stevens (1975) – It was difficult to reconcile this album with the Cat Stevens I was learning about. The songs here come largely from three albums, and mainly being exposed to him through his singles, it would be years before I realized the quality of his discography.

Favorite songs: “Sitting,” “Oh Very Young”

365, Day 107, No. 259. “Blast From Your Past,” Ringo Starr (1975) – Like John Lennon’s “Shaved Fish,” this has value in what it collects. “It Don’t Come Easy” makes its first appearance on an album, as does “Back Off Boogaloo.”

Favorite songs: “You’re Sixteen,” “It Don’t Come Easy”

365, Day 108, No. 258. “Dottie’s Charms,” Jill Sobule (2014) – Sobule crafts her brilliant lyrics. Here, she conceived a concept album, and approached others to write the lyrics. Breathtaking, and entertaining.

Favorite songs: “Flight,” “Wedding Ring”

365, Day 109, No. 257. “Sgt. Pepper’s,” Big Daddy (1992) – Big Daddy rearranged popular 80s songs 50s style. Then they took on The Beatles, in the styles of bebop poets, Little Richard, Johnny Mathis, The Coasters and more. When I first heard the Buddy Holly-styled “A Day in the Life,” I burst into tears at the end.

Favorite songs: “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” “A Day in the Life”

365, Day 110, No. 256. “Something/Anything?” Todd Rundgren (1972) – I’ve always said if he’d continued in this direction, he would have rivaled Elton John as the king of ’70s pop. In spite of what Rundgren fans may think, I’ve never said anything in his career was a mistake.

Favorite songs: “Hello It’s Me,” “Couldn’t I Just Tell You”

365, Day 111, No. 255. “Live Rust,” Neil Young (1979) – The conclusion of the decade he truly owned. Of his 10 albums on this list, seven were released in the 1970s. I saw this tour. I miss the “Road-eyes” (a version of Jawas from “Star Wars”) dancing during “Cinnamon Girl.”

Favorite songs: “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black),” “Sugar Mountain”

365, Day 112, No. 254. “Running with Scissors,” “Weird Al” Yankovic (1999) – He wrote the “Star Wars”/”American Pie” parody before seeing the film. Incredible. And it ends with 11 1/2 minutes of brilliant obnoxiousness in “Albuquerque.”

Favorite songs: “Albuquerque,” “The Saga Begins”

365, Day 113, No. 253. “There’s a Riot Goin’ On,” Sly and the Family Stone (1971) – The necessity of listening to Sly’s albums as one piece has become more clear to me over the years. The mood of this is hopefully bleak or bleakly hopeful. It’s inspiring.

Favorite songs: “Family Affair,” “(You Caught Me) Smilin’ ”

365, Day 114, No. 252. “West Side Story” (soundtrack) (1961) – One of the first albums “everybody” owned. The largest seller of the decade. The populace isn’t always right. This time they were.

Favorite songs: “Jet Song,” “America”

365, Day 115, No. 251. “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme,” Simon and Garfunkel (1966) – They got better than this. But they were already style-hopping and perfecting the forms at which they were best, especially the acoustic folk song.

Favorite songs: “Homeward Bound,” “A Simple Desultory Philippic (or How I Was Robert McNamara’d into Submission)”

365, Day 116, No. 250. “God In Three Persons,” The Residents (1988) – A chilling piece that’s as close to a whole piece. I don’t go back to it often, but when I do, I find it overwhelming. I don’t even hear it as tracks, so I’m not listing any favorite songs.

365, Day 117, No. 249. “Beggars Banquet,” The Rolling Stones (1968) – The Summer of Love dissolved into this. Good music on both sides. We listeners won. I always considered this the most legitimate and honest of the Stones’ styles.

Favorite songs: “Sympathy for the Devil,” “Doctor Doctor”

365, Day 118, No. 248. “Looking On,” The Move (1970) – I didn’t find them until 10 years later. By that time, I was plenty prepared for anything weird and out of the ordinary. That they did it so melodically was a bonus.

Favorite songs: “Brontosaurus,” “What?”

365, Day 119, No. 247. “Outlandos d’Amour,” The Police (1978) – By this time, a lot of punk/New Wave seemed to be incorporating reggae rhythms, but these guys mixed in enough pop to make it palatable for those weary of reggae. And we’d never heard a song like “Roxanne.”

Favorite songs: “Next to You,” “Roxanne”

365, Day 120, No. 246. “Let It Be,” The Replacements (1984) – The point at which they started to do things just to annoy people coincided with better songs. Even the KISS cover song makes me smile.

Favorite songs: “I Will Dare,” “Androgynous”

My 365 favorite albums, Day 121, No. 245. “The River & the Thread,” Rosanne Cash (2014) – One of two albums from last year that joined my all-time favorites. It’s a loose concept album, and contains some of her most solid originals. She does Americana like she invented it.

Favorite songs: “A Feather’s Not a Bird,” “Modern Blue”

365, Day 122, No. 244. “Songs for Drella,” Lou Reed and John Cale (1990) – We should all be allowed an elegy this beautiful. The stripped-down sound makes us concentrate on beautiful songs. Too bad these two had such trouble getting along. One of those albums that must be consumed as a whole.

Favorite songs: “Work,” “I Believe”

365, Day 123, No. 243. “Free-for-All,” Ted Nugent (1976) – Nugent’s most consistent album, one I can listen to without wanting to skip a track. It’s out of control in the best possible way.

Favorite songs: “Free-for-All,” “I Love You So I Told You a Lie”

365, Day 124, No. 242. “Sail Away,” Randy Newman (1972) – Discovering the beauty in this album set me up to love Newman for the rest of my life. It sounded like it might have come out of the 1920s, until you started concentrating on the words.

Favorite songs: “Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear,” “God’s Song (That’s Why I Love Mankind)”

365, Day 125, No. 241. “Destroyer,” Kiss (1976) – It started with what sounded like a radio report about a death, briefly gave us a piece of the live “Rock and Roll All Nite,” and an actual song doesn’t start until 90 seconds in. It was so lovably pretentious, and was one more notch in the belt of fantastic bombastic producer Bob Ezrin. I start listening even now, and want to hear it all.

Favorite songs: “Detroit Rock City,” “Shout It Out Loud”

365, Day 126, No. 240. “Ray of Light,” Madonna (1998) – She’d been around almost two decades, and still was leading the way, this time bringing electronica to the mainstream. That it sounds tamer now shows what a breakthrough it was and how deep it went. With this, she earned Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.

Favorite songs: “Ray of Light,” “Skin”

365, Day 127, No. 239. “A Different Story,” Deadeye Dick (1994) – if you ignore the “Dumb and Dumber” song (although I do like it), the album may be more palatable. This was a fantastic flash they were doomed to be incapable of matching. The lyrics are clever and solid.

Favorite songs: “Like a Shadow,” “Perfect Family”

365, Day 128, No. 238. “London Calling,” The Clash (1979) – The first Clash album I heard, although I knew the band’s name. “Train in Vain” set the hook, and the rest of the album drilled it in. Every man I went to college with loved “Death or Glory.”

Favorite songs: “Brand New Cadillac,” “Train in Vain”

365, Day 129, No. 237. “Out of the Blue,” Electric Light Orchestra (1977) – They were atop the pop pile at the time, and delivered a double album that was better than it had any right to be. The first side is practically perfect.

Favorite songs: “Turn To Stone,” “Mr. Blue Sky”

365, Day 130, No. 236. “Willy and the Poor Boys,” Creedence Clearwater Revival (1969) – There are three Creedence Clearwater Revival albums on this list. They were released in a period of less than 12 months. John Fogerty’s consistency and passion remain remarkable.

Favorite songs: “Down On the Corner,” “Up Around the Bend”

365, Day 131, No. 235. “Armed Forces,” Elvis Costello (1979) – He abandoned the breakneck punky garage sound for an Abba-ish pop sheen. The lyrics were more British, and turned even more so later. This is the album I recommend to pop lovers as an introduction to Costello.

Favorite songs: “Accidents Will Happen,” “Oliver’s Army”

365, Day 132, No. 234. “American Highway Flower,” Dada (1994) – The ease and depth with which the three band members layered the sound hypnotizes me to this day. The guitar work may be simple. It sounds complex. Great variety in song subjects too.

Favorite songs: “All I Am,” “Feel Me Don’t You”

365, Day 133, No. 233. “Legend,” Bob Marley and the Wailers (1984) – I didn’t appreciate Marley in his prime as much as I do now. When I began to be able to differentiate the songs, I felt sorry for myself. Wish I’d realized his talent when he was alive.

Favorite songs: “Is This Love,” “Jamming”

365, Day 134, No. 232. “Golden Bisquits,” Three Dog Night (1971) – That title remains a painful pun. But the album was a must for young teens (like me) who were tight of cash. That explains the presence of almost every compilation album on this list: I was buying singles and waiting for greatest hits packages.

Favorite songs: “Mama Told Me (Not to Come),” “Eli’s Coming”

365, Day 135, No. 231. “Werewolves and Lollipops,” Patton Oswalt (2007) – At the peak of his breakthrough period. This is boiled down from a fantastic two-hour set where he displays his love of pop culture and contempt for a pre-packaged world. And it’s a howler.

Favorite pieces: “America Has Spoken,” “At Midnight I Will Kill George Lucas with a Shovel”

365, Day 136, No. 230. “Chicago V” (1972) – My first lesson in jazz rock. What made it most palatable, though, was “Saturday in the Park,” one of my favorite songs ever. I cannot give the song enough accolades. It might be enough to put the album in this position by itself. But there’s a whole lot more.

Favorite songs: “Saturday in the Park,” “Dialogue (Part II)”

365, Day 137, No. 229. “Jesus Christ Superstar” (1970) – Divisive in its time and always eye-opening. Popular music that was discussed (not simply condemned) from pulpits. And some rocking stuff to boot. Never mind that it unleashed Andrew Lloyd Webber on us. And how cool was is that Jesus was the same guy who sang “Smoke on the Water”?

Favorite songs: “Heaven on Their Minds,” “Superstar”

365, Day 138, No. 228. “Pretenders,” The Pretenders (1980) – Chrissie Hynde was the first “rock chick” who earned my attention strictly for the music. What a tough band. And no matter what she did in its wake, I was always interested.

Favorite songs: “Precious,” “Tattooed Love Boys”

365, Day 139, No. 227. “Exodus,” Bob Marley and the Wailers (1977) – I had to backtrack for this one. My peers were listening to it while I was finding punk and New Wave imports. Glad I caught up.

Favorite songs: “Three Little Birds,” “One Love/People Get Ready”

365, Day 140, No. 226. “The Beat and the Time,” The Lackloves (2004) – A miracle out of Milwaukee. A power pop band that adapted any number of my favorite styles from the mid-1960s, and did them close to the originals, but still with a twist. I’ve always described Lackloves as The Beatles had John Lennon decided to take over everything.

Favorite songs: “The Radio’s Mine,” “Nowhere Near Here”

365, Day 141, No. 225. “Do You Believe In Magic,” Lovin’ Spoonful (1965) – This is their debut. They were right at the top of the pops artistically with this one as well. Major leaguers.

Favorite songs: “Do You Believe in Magic,” “Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?”

365, Day 142, No. 224. “Kiko,” Los Lobos (1992) – I’m not proud to admit that I considered them just this side of a novelty act before this album. It surprised me more than it should have. It remains classic.

Favorite songs: “That Train Don’t Stop Here,” “Kiko and the Lavender Moon”

365, Day 143, No. 223. “Staying Out Late With Beat Rodeo,” Beat Rodeo (1984) – I can allow detractors their complaints: It’s lightweight, musically and lyrically; its country lands to much on the side of pop; and it’s forgettable. I can see how all of those points would be true for someone else. Not for me.

Favorite songs: “Just Friends,” “Falling Out of Love”

365, Day 144, No. 222. “State of Our Union,” Long Ryders (1985) – “Looking for Lewis and Clark” is one of the greatest album openers ever. The best, most-sincere compliment I can give them is I always found them to be authentic.

Favorite songs: “Looking for Lewis and Clark,” “State of My Union”

365, Day 145, No. 221. “True Blue,” Madonna (1986) – The album that convinced me she was more than a pop tart. There’s some seriously diverse styles here. And she co-wrote and co-produced everything.

Favorite songs: “True Blue,” “La Isla Bonita”

365, Day 146, No. 220. “Starting Over,” Raspberries (1974) – They seemed at the time to me to simply be a good singles band. But like Creedence Clearwater Revival, the hits were the cream of a fantastic crop.

Favorite songs: “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record),” “Play On”

365, Day 147, No. 219. “Dance to the Music,” Sly and the Family Stone (1968) – I probably should flip this with “There’s a Riot Going On” (No. 253) when I revise the list. It’s one of the most influential soul records of its time.

Favorite songs: “Dance to the Music,” “Higher”

365, Day 148, No. 218. “Laurel Canyon,” Jackie DeShannon (1968) – It might as well be the soundtrack to pre-Charles Manson California. It’s a vital snapshot of a place in time.

Favorite songs: “Laurel Canyon,” “The Weight”

365, Day 149, No. 217. “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon,” Paul Simon (1973) – This was back when Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder went back and forth winning best album Grammys. This was was varied and solid. Who could have guessed he was just getting started?

Favorite songs: “Loves Me Like a Rock,” “Kodachrome”

365, Day 150, No. 216. “Stand!” Sly and the Family Stone (1969) – Every song on this album is great. One could argue the title cut is Sly’s greatest song. I’d disagree (“If You Want Me To Stay”), but I could help you make your case as well.

Favorite songs: “I Want to Take You Higher,” “Stand!”

365, Day 151, No. 215. “Even in the Quietest Moments…,” Supertramp (1977) – Building toward their ultimate achievement. “Give a Little Bit” is unique, and their most distinctive radio tune.

Favorite songs: “Give a Little Bit,” “From Now On”

My 365 favorite albums, Day 152, No. 214. “Jackie,” Jackie DeShannon (1972) – This album comes across like she’s living in her own world, and blessing us with some music from it. Why has Van Morrison never recorded “Vanilla ‘Olay”?

Favorite songs: “Vanilla ‘Olay,” “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”

Day 153, No. 213. “In City Dreams,” Robin Trower (1977) – The drift toward funk (Rustee Allen joined the band on bass straight from The Family Stone) didn’t bother me, because the guitar work was so soulful. He lost me after this one, though.

Favorite songs: “Somebody Calling,” “Farther On Up the Road”

Day 154, No. 212. “Songs in the Key of Life,” Stevie Wonder (1976) – It wasn’t unexpected that he put out a great album. Look at the roll he was on at the time. But it was audacious that he put out two albums plus a four-cut EP. Not for nothing is it both Elton John’s and George Michaels’ favorite album.

Favorite songs: “I Wish,” “As”

Day 155, No. 211. “Drums and Wires,” XTC (1979) – This was an odd step toward the mainstream based on what they’d done previously. But Colin Moulding sure wrote some sweet palatable songs for this one.

Favorite songs: “Ten Feet Tall,” “Real by Reel”

Day 156, No. 210. “Garbage” (1995) – I’m not sure I laughed as hard at anything in 1995 as when I first heard Shirley Manson sing “Pour some misery down on me.” It’s like the perfect song for nihilism. And you can tap your foot to it.

Favorite songs: “Only Happy When It Rains,” “Queer”

Day 157, No. 209. “Like a Prayer,” Madonna (1989) – This was the one. This put her ahead of Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen for most artistically significant act of the 1980s. She was doing what she wanted, without apology, and love it or hate it, she demanded attention. I loved it.

Favorite songs: “Like a Prayer,” “Cherish”

Day 158, No. 208. “Fulfillingness’ First Finale,” Stevie Wonder (1974) – This album is just plain funky. How can you resist “Boogie On Reggae Woman”? It represents the tough side of Wonder for me.
Favorite songs: “You Haven’t Done Nothin’,” “Boogie On Reggae Woman”

Day 159, No. 207. “Purple Rain,” Prince (1984) – Not his best. That was yet to come. But definitely the one that made you pay attention. I could do without ever again hearing “When Doves Cry,” and when you play “Let’s Go Crazy,” be sure it’s the full 7 1/2-minute version.

Favorite songs: “I Would Die 4 U,” “Let’s Go Crazy”

Day 160, No. 206. “Jazz,” Queen (1978) – Even a college roommate regularly waking me from a deep sleep by blasting “Mustapha” couldn’t stop me from loving this album.

Favorite songs: “Bicycle Race,” “Don’t Stop Me Now”

Day 161, No. 205. “Dusty in Memphis,” Dusty Springfield (1969) – One of the greatest soul albums ever, and easily her best. Even at that, I probably have this a shade too high.

Favorite songs: “Son of a Preacher Man,” “Just One Smile”

Day 162, No. 204. “Greatest Hits,” Sly and the Family Stone (1970) – Shows exactly how perfect they were for three years. The hits just kept on comin’.

Favorite songs: “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” “Everybody Is a Star”

Day 163, No. 203. “Bridge over Troubled Water,” Simon and Garfunkel (1970) – Deservedly one of the best-selling albums ever. And it’s not even my favorite by them.

Favorite songs: “Cecilia,” “The Boxer”

Day 164, No. 202. “Diamonds and Pearls,” Prince (1991) – From a time when he could do no wrong in my book. His early 1990s were an amazing creative resurgence.

Favorite songs: “Diamonds and Pearls,” “Gett Off”

Day 165, No. 201. “Deluxe,” Better Than Ezra (1993) – They were unjustly grouped with grunge-wannabes. There’s many more styles on display here.

Favorite songs: “In the Blood,” “Coyote”

Day 166, No. 200. “Music From Big Pink,” The Band (1968) – It still seems to have come from another planet out of nowhere. Every time I listen to it, I think, “No wonder The Beatles loved these guys.”

Favorite songs: “I Shall Be Released,” “The Weight,” “This Wheel’s On Fire”

Day 167, No. 199. “II,” Bachman-Turner Overdrive (1973) – They were one of those 1970s bands who had radio hits, but the albums were equally important. This was their peak for albums, but there were still plenty of hits coming.

Favorite songs: “Let It Ride,” “Give It Time,” “Takin’ Care of Business”

Day 168, No. 198. “The Chicago Transit Authority” (1969) – This version of the band would not have recognized the band they became. Which is neither praise nor criticism.

Favorite songs: “Beginnings,” “Questions 67 and 68,” “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?”

Day 169, No. 197. “Llamalamp,” The Oohs (2006) – I’m continually amazed that this was recorded within an hour’s drive of my house. One of the greatest power pop albums ever.

Favorite songs: “Pretty,” “Get It Straight,” “That’s What She Said”

Day 170, No. 196. “Big Money Item” Greenberry Woods (1995) – I love this even more as I listen again and realize it’s not only great music, but amazing style parodies as well.

Favorite songs: “Back Seat Driver,” “Baby You Can’t Get It Back,” “Nice Girl”

Day 171, No. 195. “We’re An American Band,” Grand Funk (1973) – By this time, I was ignoring the grief I’d get for liking them, and just digging how much I was liking each album more than the previous one. That original copies were pressed in gold vinyl was fantastic.
Favorite songs: “We’re an American Band,” “The Railroad,” “Loneliest Rider”

Day 172, No. 194. “Book of Hours,” Green Pajamas (1987) – A few years later, when Seattle became a national musical hotbed, I was convinced someone would find these guys. They’re practically baroque, and practically perfect.

Favorite songs: “Ain’t So Bad,” “Paula,” “Men in Your Life”

Day 173, No. 193. “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust,” David Bowie (1972) – You don’t need to understand the concept at all when “Suffragette City” grabs you by the ears and pulls you in.

Favorite songs: “Hang On to Yourself,” “Ziggy Stardust,” “Suffragette City”

Day 174, No. 192. “Who Are You,” The Who (1978) – I listened to a lot of this through tears, mourning Keith Moon. Pete Townshend’s personal battles are well on display, but didn’t affect his adventurousness.

Favorite songs: “New Song,” “Had Enough,” “Who Are You”

Day 175, No. 191. “New York,” Lou Reed (1989) – I’ve long suspected this album means so much to me because it was the first one that sunk in after a huge life event. Reed was real, and for the first time, I felt like I was living a real with him.

Favorite songs: “There Is No Time,” “Busload of Faith,” “Dirty Blvd.”

Day 176, No. 190. “Burn,” Deep Purple (1974) – Even with a new singer and bass player, the juggernaut continued with what ended up being one of their greatest records. At this time, I was convinced Ritchie Blackmore was infallible.

Favorite songs: “Burn,” “You Fool No One,” “Lay Down, Stay Down”

Day 177, No. 189. “Tapestry,” Carole King (1971) – I’ve finally settled on love in my love-hate relationship with this album. King wrote great songs. It wasn’t her fault our parents loved them too (back when that was a much bigger deal than it is now).

Favorite songs: “I Feel the Earth Move,” “So Far Away,” “It’s Too Late”

Day 178, No. 188. “Sign o the Times,” Prince (1987) – After everything he’d done in the previous five years, he decides to throw out a double album? That was top-to-bottom solid? Amazing. I was at a club where “The Cross” was played, pre-release. The crowd listened in silence for five minutes, then exploded in applause. For a record.

Favorite songs: “U Got the Look,” “Starfish and Coffee,” “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man”

Day 179, No. 187. “Little Queen,” Heart (1977) – This was the first time I was in on the ground floor of a band, and they started great and stayed great. Because it just had the one hit single (“Barracuda”), this one seemed a little more exotic. The renaissance fair cover photo helped too.

Favorite songs: “Love Alive,” “Kick it Out,” “Say Hello”

Day 180, No. 186. “Greendale,” Neil Young (2003) – At the time, few people, especially Neil Young fans, had much interest in a concept album about ecology. And to many, these songs all sounded the same. If true, that was still fine by me. And the lyrics were what mattered most.

Favorite songs: “Double E,” “Grandpa’s Interview,” “Sun Green”

Day 181, No. 185. “White Light/White Heat,” Velvet Underground (1968) – Loud, fast and experimental, and maybe even sometimes unlistenable for some. Scary audio experiments. And instantly memorable.

Favorite songs: “The Gift,” “White Light/White Heat,” “Sister Ray”

My 365 favorite albums, Day 182, No. 184. “Sheer Heart Attack,” Queen (1974) – The album that put them on notice for me. At their best, they regularly style-hopped the way they do here.
Favorite songs: “Brighton Rock,” “Killer Queen,” “Now I’m Here”
Day 183, No. 183. “Surrealistic Pillow,” Jefferson Airplane (1967) – I confess my early prejudices against hippie folk music had me coming to this late. To my shame and regret. They were really distinct talents.
Favorite songs: “Somebody to Love,” “Today,” “White Rabbit”
Day 184, No. 182. “The Thorns” (2003) – A brief (unfortunately, their sole album) return to the lyrical harmonies and laid-back sounds of California, early 1970s. Gorgeous.
Favorite songs: “No Blue Sky,” “Runaway Feeling,” “Blue”
Day 185, No. 181. “You Will Go to the Moon,” Moxy Fruvous (1997) – The first thing I heard by them was a distorted banjo mangling the riff to “Last Train to Clarksville.” Four years later, I’d seen them perform live in excess of two dozen times.
Favorite songs: “Your New Boyfriend,” “Kick in the Ass,” “Michigan Militia”
Day 186, No. 180. “Quadrophenia,” The Who (1973) – I didn’t know I was supposed to be disappointed in this. It was dense and English, but I felt like if you knew anything about the band (and I did), this wasn’t that difficult to grasp.
Favorite songs: “The Real Me,” “Love Reign O’er Me,” “5:15”
Day 187, No. 179. “Sladest,” Slade (1973) – If this were the first Slade album you heard, you couldn’t be blamed for buying into the hype they earned as England’s biggest band at the time. Their later MTV renaissance was embarrassing to those bragging up this version of their music.
Favorite songs: “Gudbuy T’Jane,” “Skweeze Me Pleeze Me,” “Get Down and Get With It”
Day 188, No. 178. “Still Crazy After All These Years,” Paul Simon (1975) – He was riding one of music’s hottest artistic streaks. The three songs I list as favorites are unmistakably Simon, and also impossibly distinct.
Favorite songs: “Still Crazy After All These Years,” “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” “Gone at Last”

Day 189, No. 177. “Sit Down and Listen to Hooverphonic,” Hooverphonic (2003) – A trip-hop band demonstrates its songs are “real” by performing them with an orchestra. It works, bringing out unheard beauty in the songs, and pointing out the quality of the writing.
Favorite songs: “One,” “Vinegar and Salt,” “The Last Thing I Need is You”
Day 190, No. 176. “Tusk,” Fleetwood Mac (1979) – The whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts. The sound of a band that can do anything it wants, and a lead guitar player taking it to the extreme. Both of those sentences are intended as compliments.
Favorite songs: “Sara,” “Tusk,” “Not That Funny”
Day 191, No. 175. “Brothers in Arms,” Dire Straits (1985) – A huge step forward for them, although ardent fans could be forgiven for being upset at some mainstream concessions. One of MTV’s most improbable success stories.
Favorite songs: “So Far Away,” “Money for Nothing,” “Brothers in Arms”

Day 192, No. 174. “My Aim is True,” Elvis Costello (1977) – As a matter of fact, he WAS angry, which was a huge part of the appeal to me. As much as I loved this album, I never dreamed he’d make four more in the next 10 years that I’d rank ahead of this.
Favorite songs: “I’m Not Angry,” “Watching the Detectives,” “Mystery Dance”
Day 193, No. 173. “Honky Chateau,” Elton John (1972) – The peak of his pre-pop dominance. William Shatner aside, “Rocket Man” is still a brilliant song. He moved closer to mainstream success after this, leaving a whole group of fanatics who swear this is his last good album before selling out.
Favorite songs: “Hercules,” “Susie (Dramas),” “Rocket Man”
Day 194, No. 172. “Led Zeppelin II” (1969) – Even if you don’t like this album, you’ve heard it dozens of times. Recorded all over the world and sounding like it, this is the template for their style-hopping and their proficiency.
Favorite songs: “The Lemon Song,” “Whole Lotta Love,” “Ramble On”
Day 195, No. 171. “Imagine,” John Lennon (1971) – It says a lot that songs like the title track and the hilariously angry “How Do You Sleep?” don’t even make my top three favorite songs on the record.
Favorite songs: “Gimme Some Truth,” “It’s So Hard,” “Oh! Yoko”
Day 196, No. 170. “Love Symbol Album,” Prince (1992) – Another of his albums that works better as a whole than in its pieces. “Sexy MF” makes me laugh as well as want to dance.
Favorite songs: “My Name is Prince,” “Sexy MF,” “Damn U”
Day 197, No. 169. “Bookends,” Simon and Garfunkel (1968) – A concept album, more subtle than most and more mature for its time.
Favorite songs: “America,” “A Hazy Shade of Winter,” “Mrs. Robinson”
Day 198, No. 168. “Harvest,” Neil Young (1972) – If this was the sugar newcomers needed to swallow what was to come from Young, that was fine. The hints of everything about his future find their seeds here.
Favorite songs: “Alabama,” “The Needle and the Damage Done,” “Words (Between the Lines of Age)”
Day 199, No. 167. “Black Sea,” XTC (1980) – That cover sure wasn’t a New Wave group. But the contents were. It proved earlier albums weren’t a fluke, and what followed was even more amazing.
Favorite songs: “Respectable Street,” “Generals and Majors,” “Love at First Sight”
Day 200, No. 166. “Pronounced,” Lynyrd Skynyrd (1973) – It seems pretty obvious to call this the pinnacle of Southern rock. Not everyone thinks so. Not everyone laughs as much as I do during “Gimme Three Steps,” either.
Favorite songs: “Tuesday’s Gone,” “Gimme Three Steps,” “Free Bird”
Day 201, No. 165. “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” Procol Harum (1967) – “Repent Walpurgis” is a sadly underrecognized instrumental classic. For some reason, it’s wildly important to me to point out my album cover was burgundy and gray and called “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” not the black and white cover just called “Procol Harum.”
Favorite songs: “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” “Conquistador,” “Repent Walpurgis”
Day 202, No. 164. “Bare Trees,” Fleetwood Mac (1972) – One of my first “FM” albums. I wasn’t hearing any of these songs on any stations I listened to. Still, these were good. What else was missing in my life? I was on my way to finding out.
Favorite songs: “Homeward Bound,” “Bare Trees,” “Child of Mine”
Day 203, No. 163. “Heaven Tonight,” Cheap Trick (1978) – The first Cheap Trick album I bought. Everything I’d read about them was accurate. I thought they were the next Beatles. Not for the first time, I was wrong. I can still make a case.
Favorite songs: “Surrender,” “On Top of the World,” “Heaven Tonight”
Day 204, No. 162. “Whatever,” Aimee Mann (1993) – It took this to convince me how great Aimee Mann was. And then she got better.
Favorite songs: “I Should’ve Known,” “Could’ve Been Anyone,” “Say Anything”
Day 205, No. 161. “The Gold Experience,” Prince (1995) – His best. I can listen to each track any time and enjoy it fully, even the ones that come off as risque or misogynistic or both.
Favorite songs: “Endorphinmachine,” “Shy,” “Gold”
Day 206, No. 160. “The Third Reich ‘n Roll,” The Residents (1976) – A total deconstruction of rock and roll. Each side is a full-length suite of avant garde, with frighteningly recognizable fragments. Every time the outchorus of “Hey Jude” melds into “Sympathy for the Devil,” I get chills.
Day 207, No. 159. “Fables of the Reconstruction,” R.E.M. (1985) – Or is it “Reconstruction of the Fables”? Hard to believe this was a hit just like Whitney Houston and Miami Sound Machine when it came out. Singer Michael Stipe’s mushmouth had me listening to this album altogether too often.
Favorite songs: “Feeling Gravitys Pull,” “Can’t Get There From Here,” “Green Grow the Rushes”
Day 208, No. 158. “International Pop Overthrow,” Material Issue (1991) – This slice of genius out of Chicago gave birth to an ongoing music festival of the same name. One of the best power pop albums ever.
Favorite songs: “Valerie Loves Me,” “Diane,” “Very First Lie”
Day 209, No. 157. “American Stars n Bars,” Neil Young (1977) – By this time, I’d have bought an album of Neil Young reading a phone book. But he put out this, a collection as disorganized as its cover. But I listened, and kept listening.
Favorite songs: “Hey Babe,” “Will to Love,” “Like A Hurricane”
Day 210, No. 156. “Brain Salad Surgery,” Emerson Lake and Palmer (1973) – And we didn’t even mind that the epic piece was so long it had to be split over two sides. The arrogance of these guys was almost comical. Their brilliance was inarguable.
Favorite songs: “Karn Evil 9,” “Still … You Turn Me On,” “Benny the Bouncer”
Day 211, No. 155. “Skylarking,” XTC (1986) – Every XTC album is really a concept album. This one is a little more obvious. “Dear God” was originally not on the album. I don’t find it as trite as its author.
Favorite songs: “Dear God,” “Earn Enough For Us,” “Season Cycle”
Day 212, No. 154. “Tea for the Tillerman,” Cat Stevens (1970) – Great artists generally have at least one amazing five-year stretch in them. This was the start of his.
Favorite songs: “Where Do the Children Play?”, “On the Road to Find Out”, “Father and Son”

My 365 favorite albums, Day 213, No. 153. “Innervisions,” Stevie Wonder (1973) – The reason there are four hit singles on this album is because they stopped putting out songs from the album as singles. Every one could have been a hit. And this starts the tradition of horrible Stevie Wonder albums covers.
Favorite songs: “Higher Ground,” “Living for the City,” “Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing”
Day 214, No. 152. “Black Ribbons,” Shooter Jennings & Hierophant (2010) – The Stephen King-as-DJ sub-story in this album can be hokey at times, but it can also be chilling. “All of This Could Have Been Yours” may be my favorite song of this century.
Favorite songs: “All of This Could Have Been Yours,” “Triskaidekaphobia,” “Wake Up!”
Day 215, No. 151. “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs,” Derek and the Dominos (1970) – The best recorded advertisement of the creative benefits of cocaine. Of course they had to flame out. I also bought the “Layla Sessions” album, which featured close to 2 1/2 hours of jams. I listened to it more than a lot of Clapton albums.
Favorite songs: “Layla,” “Bell Bottom Blues,” “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?”
Day 216, No. 150. “Trouble in Paradise,” Randy Newman (1983) – I didn’t believe he really loved L.A., and continue to hold that position. It makes the song better. More commercially accessible than anything else he’s done. And getting Paul Simon to sing on a song that makes fun of songs like Paul Simon writes is genius.
Favorite songs: “Christmas in Capetown,” “I’m Different,” “The Blues”
Day 217, No. 149. “The Stranger,” Billy Joel (1977) – If you knew him before this (and I did), you knew this one was going to be the album that turned it around and made him a superstar. When he started issuing his later nonsense, I’d go back to this album to remember what he had in him.
Favorite songs: “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant,” “Only the Good Die Young,” “Vienna”
Day 218, No. 148. “The Who Sell Out,” The Who (1967) – I wish the radio parody with the commercials had been throughout the album, as it was on the reissue. This really was art rock, and remains very clever.
Favorite songs: “Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand,” “I Can See For Miles,” “Rael (1 and 2)”
Day 219, No. 147. “Close to the Edge,” Yes (1972) – I have this too low. Of all the albums I’ve revisited with this project, this is the one I’ve grown to appreciate much more. I still don’t think it’s their best album (many do), but it’s closer than I thought a year ago.
Favorite songs: “Close to the Edge,” “And You and I,” “Siberian Khatru” (it’s a three-song album)
Day 220, No. 146. “Underdog Victorious,” Jill Sobule (2004) – Sobule tells stories effortlessly, giving listeners a feel of the familiar (“Strawberry Gloss”), the exotic (“Tel Aviv” and “Joey”) and the hilarious (“Under the Disco Ball”). Part of the stretch where, for me, she could do no wrong.
Favorite songs: “Cinnamon Park,” “Tel Aviv,” “I Saw a Cop”
Day 221, No. 145. “Good Old Boys,” Randy Newman (1974) – If you listen to this album and are convinced Newman lived his entire life in the South and this was autobiographical, you’d be just like teenage me. He didn’t, and it’s gorgeous.
Favorite songs: “Louisiana 1927,” “Rednecks,” “Marie”
Day 222, No. 144. “Volunteers,” Jefferson Airplane (1969) – The last album by the original band. Epic. This is so tight, arguments at the time of their importance are less ridiculous than they seemed in retrospect.
Favorite songs: “We Can Be Together,” “Volunteers,” “Wooden Ships”
Day 223, No. 143. “Stevie Wonder’s Original Musiquarium I,” Stevie Wonder (1982) – A best-of that included four new songs, and alternate (sometimes better) versions of the hits. It wasn’t hubris. It was just Stevie.
Favorite songs: “Living for the City,” “Master Blaster (Jammin’),” “Boogie On Reggae Woman”
Day 224, No. 142. “Odds & Sods,” The Who (1974) – They were so prolific, they needed collections like this just to satiate fans who didn’t want to mess with all the 45s. I’m happy “Long Live Rock” managed to rise above its being dumped in this package for fanatics.
Favorite songs: “Glow Girl,” “Pure and Easy,” “Long Live Rock”
Day 225, No. 141. “The World is a Ghetto,” WAR (1972) – I’m not sure why WAR was my favorite group at the time. I can’t imagine I grasped what they were doing. But they laid a great foundation. An underrated band.
Favorite songs: “The Cisco Kid,” “The World Is a Ghetto,” “City, Country, City”
Day 226, No. 140. “The Six Wives of Henry VIII,” Rick Wakeman (1973) – Even when the punks were complaining about prog rock and I was supposed to be on their side, I always had a weak spot for stuff like this. There are really a gorgeous collection of melodies here.

Favorite songs: “Catherine of Aragon,” “Catherine Parr,” “Catherine Howard”

Day 227, No. 139. “Security,” Peter Gabriel (1982) – Somewhere around this time, I learned Gabriel wouldn’t let his drummers play cymbals. It changed the sound incredibly. I didn’t call it “world music,” although it was. I just called it “good.”
Favorite songs: “I Have the Touch,” “Lay Your Hands on Me,” “Kiss of Life”
Day 228, No. 138. “The Best of The Guess Who,” The Guess Who (1971) – This was the first album I remember feeling fully aware that every song was excellent. I like having more by them, but if you’re pressed for time and space, this is really the only one you need. I like this so much that “American Woman” isn’t even one of my three favorite songs on it.
Favorite songs: “No Time,” “No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature,” “Hang on to Your Life”
Day 229, No. 137. “Fegmania!,” Robyn Hitchcock (1985) – I dove into Hitchcock fully after first hearing him. He was still solidly doing pop (albeit weird pop) at the time.

Favorite songs: “Another Bubble,” “My Wife & My Dead Wife,” “Heaven”
Day 230, No. 136. “The Rutles” (1978) – A timeless classic. I have a feeling even Neil Innes, who wrote all the songs, would be amused that this is ahead of two Beatles albums and six of their solo albums. Sadly, “Get Up and Go” is not on the original album.
Favorite songs: “Hold My Hand,” “I Must Be in Love,” “Let’s Be Natural”
Day 231, No. 135. “Fleetwood Mac,” Fleetwood Mac (1975) – Their warmest album. I’m not sure they were ever this happy and optimistic again. So, of course, the music got better. And the world realized Lindsey Buckingham was a genius. As his eccentricities grew, so did my appreciation.
Favorite songs: “Monday Morning,” “Blue Letter,” “Over My Head”
Day 232, No. 134. “Nilsson Schmilsson,” Nilsson (1971) – A little cheekiness with your pure pop. Later, he stopped caring, and while his talent remained obvious, it didn’t always show through. This. though, was fantastic fun.
Favorite songs: “Gotta Get Up,” “Coconut,” “Jump into the Fire”
Day 233, No. 133. “Live at the Portland Arms,” The Soft Boys (1983) – “Unplugged,” before we called it that. What sounds like a small yet appreciative crowd is treated to lunacy all the way through, including them hilariously massacring Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up.”

Favorite songs: “Human Music,” “I Like Bananas (Because They Have No Bones,” “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin”
Day 234, No. 132. “Deja Vu,” Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young (1970) – This album is too often criticized for what it isn’t than what it is. It is an attempt at American Beatles (never mind that Nash is English and Young Canadian). It is successful, if disjointed. They never really were a “group” group.

Favorite songs: “Carry On,” “Woodstock,” “4 + 20”
Day 235, No. 131. “Girlfriend,” Matthew Sweet (1990) – Boy, did this come out of nowhere. Friends and I listened to previous albums of Sweet’s, trying to find a hint of how tight and tough this album turned out to be.

Favorite songs: “Divine Intervention,” “I’ve Been Waiting,” “Girlfriend”
Day 236, No. 130. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” The Beatles (1967) – I go back and forth on this regularly. It’s a new Beatles, a whole other band, but there may be a bit too much McCartney on her for the tastes of some. (The second album named “Sgt. Pepper” on the list. See also No. 257)
Favorite songs: “Fixing a Hole,” “Lovely Rita,” “A Day in the Life”
Day 237, No. 129. “Raspberries” (1972) – I was young enough and loved the 60s British sounds here so much that I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to like this if I wanted to be “cool.” “Go All the Way,” which has one of the five greatest song openings in rock history, is cool enough for me.
Favorite songs: “Go All the Way,” “Come Around and See Me,” “Don’t Want To Say Goodbye”
Day 238, No. 128. “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols,” Sex Pistols (1977) – There was no way the band or the album could live up to the billing. And then they did. In my circle, declaring you liked this album was drawing a huge line in the cement.
Favorite songs: “God Save the Queen,” “Anarchy in the U.K.,” “Pretty Vacant”
Day 239, No. 127. “Hot Rocks 1964-1971,” The Rolling Stones (1971) – A necessary primer on The Rolling Stones. Their discography was plenty confusing, and this helped straighten things out. It also made Mick Jagger seem larger and scarier than life. Side three is vital.
Favorite songs: “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Honky Tonk Women”
Day 240, No. 126. “London 0 Hull 4,” The Housemartins (1986) – Another one of those British groups that came from nowhere and made one brilliant album. Probably placed a little too high.
Favorite songs: “Happy Hour,” “Flag Day,” “Sheep”

Day 241, No. 125. “Southern Rock Opera,” Drive-By Truckers (2002) – Every time I think concept albums are an outdated idea, something comes along to change my mind. This ambitious opus, with nods to Lynyrd Skynyrd and their tragic conclusion as well as Southern culture in general, changed my mind when this came out. It had to be changed again a few years later.
Favorite songs: “Shut Up and Get on the Plane,” “Days of Graduation,” “Ronnie and Neil”

Day 242, No. 124. “Nevermind,” Nirvana (1991) – Like the Sex Pistols’ album, it’s easy to forget what a blast, what a culture-changer this album was.
Favorite songs: “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Come As You Are,” “Stay Away”
Day 243, No. 123. “Introducing The Beatles,” The Beatles (1964) – How many copies of this album do I own? How many are counterfeits? The colors on the cover generally indicate when it was released. The newest copy I own probably came out sometime in the 1980s. The music is great, although they were still clearly feeling their way.
Favorite songs: “Anna (Go To Him),” “P.S. I Love You,” “Twist and Shout”

My 365 favorite albums, Day 244, No. 122. “Apostrophe (‘),” Frank Zappa (1974) – For years, this was my sole Zappa album. There were better ones to be had, but this was plenty good. “Uncle Remus” is a devastating track.
Favorite songs: “Apostrophe (‘), “Cosmik Debris,” “Uncle Remus”
Day 245, No. 121. “Can’t Buy a Thrill,” Steely Dan (1972) – The hits sounded strange on AM radio. (Donnie Osmond, Dawn and Vicki Lawrence all charted ahead of “Reeling in the Years.”) They set the stage for a decade of important albums.
Favorite songs: “Reeling in the Years,” “Midnight Cruiser,” “Dirty Work”
Day 246, No. 120. “Mind Games,” John Lennon (1973) – History writes this as a vacant period for Lennon, but that’s not what I was experiencing. The title track is my favorite solo Lennon song.
Favorite songs: “Mind Games,” “Tight A$,” “I Know (I Know)”
Day 247, No. 119. “Born to Run,” Bruce Springsteen (1975) – It may have been hype that brought him to the masses, but there was quality to back it up. This is the template for his most successful efforts.
Favorite songs: “Born to Run,” “Jungleland,” “Meeting Across the River”
Day 248, No. 118. “The Big Express,” XTC (1984) – It was a but of a chnage of direction, but didn’t really hint at the ornate stuff that was to come. It was still abrasive in the ears of people who needed to hear it abrasively.
Favorite songs: “Wake Up,” “Shake You Donkey Up,” “You’re the Wish You Are I Had”
Day 249, No. 117. “Argybargy,” Squeeze (1980) – My first Squeeze album. It probably shouldn’t be this low. A number of “New Wave” bands were putting out infectious albums like this at the time. I could have lived there forever.
Favorite songs: “Another Nail in My Heart,” “Farfisa Beat,” “Wrong Side of the Moon”
Day 250, No. 116. “Repercussion,” The dB’s (1982) – The more odd of their first two albums, the first side neverthess totally nails it. “Amplifier” should be a famous anthem.
Favorite songs: “Living a Lie,” “Amplifier,” “Ask for Jill”
Day 251, No. 115. “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo,” Devo (1978) – IIn addition to this being plain good, thoughtful music, I owe it for giving me a pathway to even stranger stuff. I may have never listened to Velvet Underground or The Residents without Devo.
Favorite songs: “Uncontrollable Urge,” “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” “Jocko Homo”
Day 252, No. 114. “Velvet Underground and Nico,” Velvet Underground (1967) – You either get it or you don’t, and you likely have trouble understanding the opinions of those who feel differently from you. I’ll admit it took me a while to grasp it, and it was “Venus in Furs” that led me in.
Favorite songs: “Femme Fatale,” “Venus in Furs,” “All Tomorrow’s Parties”
Day 253, No. 113. “Daryl Hall and John Oates” (silver album) (1975) – Any number of bands in the 1970s had fantastic hits that far outshone the rest of the album. On this one, “Sara Smile” was just part of the package to my ear. Truly blue-eyed soul.
Favorite songs: “Camellia,” “Gino (The Manager),” “Grounds for Separation”
Day 254, No. 112. “Rubber Soul,” The Beatles (1965) – I’m speaking here of the original U.S. album, which ended up leaning lighter in tone. I could pick three different favorite songs off the album tomorrow and it would still be accurate.
Favorite songs: “The Word,” “It’s Only Love,” “Run for Your Life”
Day 255, No. 111. “All Things Must Pass,” George Harrison (1970) – This is sprawling and amazing, and it’s haunting to consider how The Beatles might have incorporated these songs had they stayed together. And anyone with the nerve is 1970 to rhyme “Jesus” and “visas” was plenty impressive for me.
Favorite songs: “Wah-Wah,” “What Is Life,” “Awaiting on You All”
Day 256, No. 110. “Houses of the Holy,” Led Zeppelin (1973) – We knew it wasn’t as good as the one before it. My appreciation has grown as I’ve aged. Still, bad cover. I tried to keep my paper band around the album intact.
Favorite songs: “The Song Remains the Same,” “No Quarter,” “The Ocean”
Day 257, No. 109. “Blonde on Blonde,” Bob Dylan (1966) – I steered clear of this one for a long time, understanding that double Dylan could hurt my tiny teenage brain. I was right, but it was OK. I caught up.
Favorite songs: “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35,” “Visions of Johanna,” “I Want You”
Day 258, No. 108. “Help!” The Beatles (1965) – This ranking is for the original U.K. album. When I finally acquired it via import in the late 1970s, I understood better what a horrible job had been done in eviscerating those albums for the U.S. market.
Favorite songs: “The Night Before,” “You’re Going to Lose That Girl,” “Help!”
Day 259, No. 107. “In Utero,” Nirvana (1993) – It was loud and obnoxious and a little scary, and for a minute when it was the most popular album in the country, it seemed they might have succeeded where the Sex Pistols fell short in changing the entire sound of music.
Favorite songs: “Serve the Servants,” “Heart-Shaped Box,” “All Apologies”
Day 260, No. 106. “Talking Book,” Stevie Wonder (1972) – This started what became close to a perfect decade for him. To this day, those swirling keyboards make my head swim. In a great way. “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” is so timeless, I can’t believe it was written during my lifetime.
Favorite songs: “Maybe Your Baby,” “Superstition,” “You Are the Sunshine of My Life”
Day 261, No. 105. “Some Girls,” The Rolling Stones (1978) – After meandering through the middle of the 70s, this kicked back with a vengeance. The extended “Miss You” was one of the greatest dance mixes ever. This is funny and sassy and they’re on top of their game, for the final time.
Favorite songs: “Miss You,” “Some Girls,” “Shattered”
Day 262, No. 104. “Gaucho,” Steely Dan (1980) – I appreciate this far more now than I did when it was released. It was too dark and too laid back for me at the time. It’s grown on me.
Favorite songs: “Babylon Sisters,” “Hey Nineteen,” “Time Out of Mind”
Day 263, No. 103. “Arizona Bay,” Bill Hicks (1993) – Released after his death, it cemented for me his brilliance. With the mood music, he created a piece that stood up to repeated listens, and showed what might have been and what was lost when he passed.
Favorite songs: “Step on the Gas (L.A. Riots),” “Hooligans,” “Elvis”
Day 264, No. 102. “Rhythm Nation 1814,” Janet Jackson (1989) – The best thing with which anyone from the Jackson family was involved. And she was far ahead of her time (or expanding on a noble concept) with its all-accepting message. Oh, and every time I hear the title cut and “Black Cat,” I want to turn the volume to 11.
Favorite songs: “Rhythm Nation,” “Miss You Much,” “Black Cat”
Day 265, No. 101. “King of America,” Elvis Costello (1986) – The last time he truly surprised me. At the time, it seemed he might surprise me every two or three years.
Favorite songs: “Brilliant Mistake,” “Indoor Fireworks,” “American Without Tears”
Day 266, No. 100. “Sandinista,” The Clash (1980) – Smart critics at the time called it their “White Album,” which makes more sense to me now than it did then. Then, I was excited about six sides of Clash music, even though I had no understanding of dub.
Favorite songs: “The Magnificent Seven,” “Police on My Back,” “Washington Bullets”
Day 267, No. 99. “Hey Jude/The Beatles Again,” The Beatles (1970) – As I tried to gather up all their tracks as a teen, this was vital because of how it gathered cuts previously unavailable on album. In addition, this holds up well with repeated listens.
Favorite songs: “Revolution,” “Hey Jude,” “The Ballad of John and Yoko”
Day 268, No. 98. “Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy,” The Who (1971) – In addition to helping me understand what they were before I became familiar with them, this gave me a chance to show off an identify which member was represented by what word in the title.
Favorite songs: “The Kids Are Alright,” “Happy Jack,” “Substitute”
Day 269, No. 97. “Aja,” Steely Dan (1977) – This is very close to “Gaucho” on this list, because I view them as two parts of a fantastic whole. This album sounds so good, and the title track, which then bored the impatient little punk rocker in me, I now find as subversive in its calm as any punk record that followed it.
Favorite songs: “Black Cow,” “I Got the News,” “Aja”
Day 270, No. 96. “Rumours,” Fleetwood Mac (1977) – The depth in this album was astonishing. That it was made by five angry, depressed and drug-addled people is a testament to their emotions and skills.
Favorite songs: “Second Hand News,” “The Chain,” “Gold Dust Woman”

Day 271, No. 95. “Them Or Us,” Frank Zappa (1984) – Probably Zappa’s most stylistically convoluted album. There are a lot of topical references and inside jokes that may put off the casual listener. But the casual listener probably shouldn’t be busting in to Frank Zappa double albums anyway.
Favorite songs: “In France,” “Stevie’s Spanking,” “Be in My Video”
Day 272, No. 94. “Killer,” Alice Cooper (1971) – The band at their most frightening. We move past Dwight Fry screaming “I want to get out of here” to the Jim Morrison-meets-Wild West “Desperado,” and the terrorizing “Dead Babies”/”Killer” closer. They weren’t yet the cartoon they became. (And that was still a really good cartoon.)
Favorite songs: “Halo of Flies,” “You Drive Me Nervous,” “Dead Babies”
Day 273, No. 93. “Highway 61 Revisited,” Bob Dylan (1965) – This album, more than anything else he did, overwhelmingly influenced the popular music that followed it. Maybe his acoustic protests didn’t get your attention. But if you could turn away after that rimshot gunshot that opens the album, you were incapable of paying attention at all.
Favorite songs: “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Ballad of a Thin Man”

Day 274, No. 92. “Empty Glass,” Pete Townshend (1980) – The halo on the cover, given the contents of the record and of the remainder of the cover, is fantastically comic. I wouldn’t wish his issues at the time on anyone, but he turned it into the best album The Who never made.
Favorite songs: “Rough Boys,” “Let My Love Open the Door,” “Gonna Get Ya”
Day 275, No. 91. “She,” Willie Wisely (1996) – Clever and tight, but not too clever or too tight. While power pop, Wisely plays impressively with other styles. Given its time and the circumstances of its record, a particularly amazing production.
Favorite songs: “Ready to Wear,” “Lady of Love,” “Go!”
Day 276, No. 90. “Wish You Were Here,” Pink Floyd (1975) – Why was this such a disappointment at its time? Each piece fits, just as the pieces fit with “The Dark Side of the Moon.” Only this time, it’s more sad. The people who set the misery of everyday life to music with “Dark Side” here revealed the intensity of their own misery.
Favorite songs: “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I–V),” “Welcome to the Machine,” “Have a Cigar”
Day 277, No. 89. “Plastic Ono Band,” John Lennon (1970) – However prepared you are, it’s still a stunner to hear him sing “I don’t believe in Beatles.” The brilliance in its production is how few tricks there are. This is unabashedly honest. And maybe not many other people can, but I can sure hear the “wind” with which Yoko Ono is credited.
Favorite songs: “Working Class Hero,” “Look at Me,” “God”
Day 278, No. 88. “Imperial Bedroom,” Elvis Costello (1982) – I’ve always thought of this as his “Abbey Road.” The sounds come from everywhere, and polish up a cinemascopic collection of lyrics. “… And in Every Home” would have fit comfortably anywhere on The Beatles’ album.
Favorite songs: “Beyond Belief,” “Kid About It,” “Human Hands”
Day 279, No. 87. “Sheik Yerbouti,” Frank Zappa (1979) – His broad step into broad comedy. It still contains some amazing musicianship, and most of the style parodies are great songs in their own right. He did the same thing two years later with an album that sits at No. 28.
Favorite songs: “Flakes,” “I’m So Cute,” “Tryin’ to Grow a Chin”
Day 280, No. 86. “Pink Pearl,” Jill Sobule (2000) – Like Randy Newman, Sobule is at her best telling stories (true to life and presumably manufactured). For every smile, there’s a twinge of sympathy. Even for Mary Kay Letourneau.
Favorite songs: “Lucy at the Gym,” “Heroes,” “Mary Kay”
Day 281, No. 85. “Tommy,” The Who (1969) – The first (but not last) time they were transcendent. I never had trouble understanding the story. I also never lit a candle while it was playing to reveal my future. “See me, feel me, touch me, heal me” is among the greatest lyrics ever. The Broadway show and film are totally different and inferior entities.
Favorite songs: “Christmas,” “I’m Free,” “We’re Not Gonna Take It”
Day 282, No. 84. “Randy Newman’s ‘Faust’ ” (1995) – Now here’s a concept piece that floats around, confusing with the presence of James Taylor and Don Henley, and baffling with a title that doesn’t match the popular thought of what the album might be. It’s a combination of “Faust,” “Paradise Lost” and “The Devil and Daniel Webster.” Oh, and it ends with a love song to Las Vegas.
Favorite songs: “Glory Train,” “Feels Like Home,” “Happy Ending”
Day 283, No. 83. “Dog Problems,” The Format (2006) – A spectacularly tight concept album about relationship woes. (“Dog Problems” are what you have when you break up.) This paved the way for fun., but The Format was more fun.
Favorite songs: “Time Bomb,” “She Doesn’t Get It,” “Inches and Falling”
Day 284, No. 82. “Stands for Decibels,” The dB’s (1981) – I was so overwhelmed by the brilliance of this album, I was stunned to realize they weren’t a huge chart success. It didn’t make me like them any less. It might have made me like them more.
Favorite songs: “Black and White,” “Tearjerkin’,” “Big Brown Eyes”
Day 285, No. 81. “Big World,” Joe Jackson (1986) – This hit the music lover in me with the melodies, the disgusted cynic with the lyrics, and the absurdist in me with its methods. It was recorded live, and it has three sides on two albums, a concession the record company made so Jackson could release the same songs on vinyl and on CD. He cuts across styles effortlessly.
Favorite songs: “Wild West,” “We Can’t Live Together,” “The Jet Set”
Day 286, No. 80. “Legend,” Poco (1978) – Almost a country yacht rock album. By this time, even their label had given up on them. Fans from 10 years earlier might not have recognized or approved of the hits. Those hits were fantastic nevertheless.
Favorite songs: “Heart of the Night,” “The Last Goodbye,” “Legend”
Day 287, No. 79. “Hotel California,” Eagles (1976) – Pardons every excess which they ever committed, or of which they were ever accused. The closing solo(s) of the title cut is a lesson on how perfect pop and rock were constructed in the mid-70s.
Favorite songs: “Hotel California,” “Wasted Time,” “Victim of Love”
Day 288, No. 78. “Graceland,” Paul Simon (1986) – By this time, Simon had spent a decade drifting away from commercial success and public interest. The video for “You Can Call Me Al” seemed to run 24/7, but that was fine, because it was something fresh, different and fun.
Favorite songs: “The Boy in the Bubble,” “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,” “You Can Call Me Al”
Day 289, No. 77. “The Who By Numbers,” The Who (1975) – I didn’t realize how personal these songs were to and about Pete Townshend. They just felt honest, touching, and hit me somewhere deep in my soul.
Favorite songs: “Slip Kid,” “Blue, Red and Grey,” “In a Hand or a Face”
Day 290, No. 76. “Ram,” Paul and Linda McCartney (1971) – It can be easy to lose sight of the fact that he wasn’t Rock Senior Statesman at the time. He was the struggling Paul McCartney, who had less commercial success than his fellow ex-Beatles. This didn’t help much with his chart success, but it’s his most delightfully wacky efforts. No two songs are the same style, and “Monkberry Moon Delight” is his most brilliant non sequitur.
Favorite songs: “Too Many People,” “Smile Away,” “Monkberry Moon Delight”

Day 291, No. 75. “Dreamboat Annie,” Heart (1976) – Hearing the album in total for the first time 20 years after its release, a young friend said, “This is just like a greatest hits album, isn’t it?” I didn’t argue.
Favorite songs: “Crazy on You,” “Dreamboat Annie,” “How Deep It Goes”

Day 292, No. 74. “The List,” Rosanne Cash (2009) – A great tribute to her father, who provided her a list of songs vital for her to know as a performer. She twists up enough songs to make them hers.

Favorite songs: “Motherless Children,” “I’m Movin’ On,” “Long Black Veil”

Day 293, No. 73. “Zoot Allures,” Frank Zappa (1976) – Features a trio of songs that figured heavily in performances the rest of his career. But honestly, if this only had “Black Napkins,” it would still be pretty close to this high on the list.

Favorite songs: “Black Napkins,” “The Torture Never Stops,” “Disco Boy”

Day 294, No. 72. “Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Piano Player,” Elton John (1973) – This was in the midst of a six-year Elton John stretch (1970-1976) that I’ll stack up against any other performer’s six-year period. It’s as though each of the 10 songs fits a specific period genre. Perfectly.

Favorite songs: “Daniel,” “Teacher I Need You,” “Crocodile Rock”

Day 295, No. 71. “Toys in the Attic,” Aerosmith (1975) – They could have gone either way after the challenging “Get Your Wings.” This is merely the template for what was to come. (This is the first of three Aerosmith albums on this list.) We thought this was the grand slam, but it was just setting the table for “Rocks.”

Favorite songs: “Sweet Emotion,” “No More No More,” “You See Me Crying”

Day 296, No. 70. “A New World Record,” Electric Light Orchestra (1976) – They finally synthesized their perfect pop capability. With shorter songs and infectious melodies, they were set to rule. For at least a little bit.

Favorite songs: “Tightrope,” “So Fine,” “Rockaria!”

Day 297, No. 69. “Physical Graffiti,” Led Zeppelin (1975) – The longest wait endured (up to that time) for a Led Zeppelin album, or for an album by any major. But they tossed us a double-album set with some rock-n-roll, some blues, and a couple of things that reminded us of “Stairway to Heaven.” I should allow myself more than three favorite songs because it’s a double, But so are eight other albums still to come on this list. I’ll sadly lop off “Custard Pie.”

Favorite songs: “In My Time of Dying,” “Kashmir,” “Sick Again”

Day 298, No. 68. “Peggy Suicide,” Julian Cope (1991) – The greatest album title ever. Kind of an ecology and human rights concept piece, he mixed plenty of melody and rock with the preaching, which is just the right amount of not overt. The mixture of musical styles is as effortless as it is surprising.

Favorite songs: “Hanging Out & Hung Up on the Line,” “Safesurfer,” “Drive, She Said”

Day 299, No. 67.

Favorite songs:

Day 300, No. 66. “Treasure,” Cocteau Twins (1984) – An ambitious record store clerk challenged my preference for the “different” when he played this, not expecting that it would fire a three-year obsession with the band that played along with pre-recorded drum tracks and sang (beautifully) in a language they defied anyone to understand.

Favorite songs: “Ivo,” “Lorelei,” “Persephone”

Day 301, No. 65. “Magical Mystery Tour,” The Beatles (1967) – An album that isn’t really an album. The U.S. release gathered up the six-song double-EP and 1967 singles that hadn’t appeared on albums yet. The production strains in an effort to move beyond “Sgt. Pepper,” but the songs here are better.

Favorite songs: “I Am the Walrus,” “Hello, Goodbye,” “Strawberry Fields Forever”

Day 302, No. 64. “Cosmo’s Factory,” Creedence Clearwater Revival (1970) – The perfect peak for a close-to-perfect band. It’s fascinating to note how little “swamp rock” is here. These are just clean, well-crafted pop songs, impossible to not enjoy.

Favorite songs: “Travelin’ Band,” “Up Around the Bend,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain”

Day 303, No. 63. “Pump,” Aerosmith (1989) – Proving “Permanent Vacation” wasn’t a fluke, and cementing them at the top of their genre almost permanently from this point forward, regardless of this being their last gasp of greatness. “Janie’s Got a Gun” may be both the best and most important song they ever created.

Favorite songs: “Young Lust,” “Love in an Elevator,” “Janie’s Got a Gun”

Day 304, No. 62. “Decade,” Neil Young (1977) – For me, Young’s most important album (although not my favorite – there are still four more to come on this list). Even though it features five new songs (which I never would have realized), it gave a superb overview of Young’s numerous faces and styles.

Favorite songs: “Sugar Mountain,” “Soldier,” “Campaigner”

Day 305, No. 61. “Breakfast in America,” Supertramp (1979) – I didn’t really grasp the “Abbey Road” comparisons until I started to understand they were referencing the production. All I hear was wall-to-wall good songs, the peak for a band I’d been following for a few years.

Favorite songs: “Gone Hollywood,” “Goodbye Stranger,” “Take the Long Way Home”

Day 306, No. 60. “Moondance,” Van Morrison (1970) – The first side may be the most perfect album side ever. As I have observed more than once, “Crazy Love” makes Al Jarreau’s entire career redundant.

Favorite songs: “Moondance,” “Caravan,” “Into the Mystic”

Day 307, No. 59. “I’m With Stupid,” Aimee Mann (1995) – There are so many delightful things hidden in this album. Solos sneak in from other songs, sounds bounce across the spectrum, and it sounds like the boys from Squeeze who are guesting are having the time of their lives. Brutally sharp lyrics.

Favorite songs: “Superball,” “That’s Just What You Are,” “It’s Not Safe”

Day 308, No. 58. “I Often Dream of Trains,” Robyn Hitchcock (1984) – All acoustic, largely bleak, and fully memorable. Hitchcock sets autumn (the season and the time of life) perfectly to music. And there are jokes, too.

Favorite songs: “Uncorrected Personality Traits,” “Flavour of Night,” “I Often Dream of Trains”

Day 309, No. 57. “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road,” Elton John (1973) – He started the year with the “Don’t Shoot Me…” album and ended it with this. Not many performers have had a more impressive 12-month stretch.

Favorite songs: “I’ve Seen That Movie Too,” “All the Girls Love Alice,” “Harmony”

Day 310, No. 56. “Singles ’96-‘06,” Hooverphonic (2006) – I found this band via a friend listening to trip-hop on Pandora, a superb endorsement for that service. The chance to discover a decade of stunning music via binge listening was a delight.

Favorite songs: “Mad About You,” “Vinegar & Salt,” “You Hurt Me”

Day 311, No. 55. “Rust Never Sleeps,” Neil Young (1979) – A remarkable combination: An arena show well worth the experience, featuring an album’s worth of new songs the audience largely loved after one album. As he did years later when grunge deemed many rock veterans irrelevant, Young fired a shot back at punk, and hit.

Favorite songs: “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue),” “Thrasher,” “Powderfinger”

Day 312, No. 54. “Pretty Little Lonely,” Michael Petak (1994) – The album begins with an angry acoustic guitar riff and a man scream/singing “INSANE!” It immediately grabbed and held my attention. I was ready for much more.

Favorite songs: “Wrecking Ball,” “Careless,” “Medicinal Purposes”

Day 313, No. 53. “Hooverphonic Presents Jackie Cane,” Hooverphonic (2002)
A stunning pastiche of style and content. Beautifully layered songs, and a superbly gifted vocalist holding the whole thing together. I haven’t stopped listening to it for two years.

Favorite songs: “The World Is Mine”, “Sometimes,” “One”

Day 314, No. 52. “Aqualung,” Jethro Tull (1971) – Songwriter Ian Anderson always said this wasn’t a concept album. Everyone who listened to it knew otherwise. This is really all the Jethro Tull you need. But you should definitely have it.

Favorite songs: “Aqualung,” “Hymn 43,” “Locomotive Breath”

Day 315, No. 51. “After the Gold Rush,” Neil Young (1970) – Often overlooked in evaluating this album is how simply beautiful the songs are. The quieter songs show the depth of his composing capabilities.

Favorite songs: “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” “Southern Man,” “Birds”

Day 316, No. 50. “The Right to be Italian,” Holly and the Italians (1981) – A kind of cross between New Wave and melodic rock that seemed to slip through the cracks more during the 1980s than any other time.

Favorite songs: “I Wanna Go Home,” “Just For Tonight,” “Means to a Den”

Day 317, No. 49. “100 cc,” 10cc (1975) – My introduction to the band, enough to make me think they would rule the 1970s, if only people got a chance to hear them. I now realize they’re a little too odd for the mainstream, even though they sound like that’s where they ought to be.

Favorite songs: “Somewhere in Hollywood,” “Fresh Air for My Momma,” “Silly Love”

Day 318, No. 48. “The Pilgrim,” Marty Stuart (1999) – A concept album that not only spans the history of country music and has an interesting story, it has magnificent songs as well. The one country album I think every music fan should hear.

Favorite songs: “Hobo’s Prayer,” “Goin’ Nowhere Fast,” “The Observations Of A Crow”

Day 319, No. 47. “whitechocolatespaceegg,” Liz Phair (1998) – With its combination of indie edginess, pop sensibility and weird chords and sounds, this seems like the album that best represents all of what Liz Phair is.

Favorite songs: “Polyester Bride,” “Baby Got Going,” “Girls’ Room”

Day 320, No. 46. “Love Junk,” The Pursuit of Happiness (1988) – If I wasn’t the precise target for Moe Berg’s songs of anger, disappointment, misogyny and regret, I can’t imagine who was. His ability to wrap them all up in tasty and extra-powerful power pop was a bonus.

Favorite songs: “Hard to Laugh,” “I’m an Adult Now,” “Killed by Love”

Day 321, No. 45. “The Bis-Quits” (1993) – An interesting collection of folk, rock and country, with a little Bach thrown in on their “Johnny B. Goode”-alike track “Yo Yo Ma.” Comic, touching and repeatable.

Favorite songs: “Yo Yo Ma,” “Anal All Day,” “Walking on a Wire”

Day 322, No. 44. “SMiLE,” Brian Wilson (2004)/”Smile,” The Beach Boys (1966-1967, 2011) – The strangest journey of any release on this list. Rather than speculate about how its release would have been received in 1967, we should let the beauty of these odd songs settle in our skulls.

Favorite songs: “Heroes and Villains,” “Roll Plymouth Rock,” “Good Vibrations”

Day 323, No. 43. “Rough Mix,” Pete Townshend and Ronnie Lane (1977) – In the midst of a period where Townshend was creatively on fire. This is folk-based, and still allows Townshend plenty of room for experimentation. This includes some of his best songs.

Favorite songs: “Keep Me Turning,” “Annie,” “Heart to Hang Onto”

Day 324, No. 42. “Pet Sounds,” Beach Boys (1966) – Essentially of onje piece with the long-delayed “SMiLE.” You can’t understand this album until your heart has been crushed by someone you loved.

Favorite songs: “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times,” “Caroline, No”

Day 325, No. 41. “Bridge of Sighs,” Robin Trower (1974) – The spot where he came into his own and came closest to matching the work of his hero, Jimi Hendrix. One of the first of the second wave of great classic rock.

Favorite songs: “Bridge of Sighs,” “Too Rolling Stoned,” “Lady Love”

Day 326, No. 40. “Oil and Gold,” Shriekback (1985) – When people talked about “dance music,” I didn’t realize this was what they were talking about. I just thought this was solid rock with a bit of rhythmic beat. Not only are they the only band to fit the word “parthenogenesis” into a pop song, they use it right, and it fits the song’s story.

Favorite songs: “Malaria,” “Nemesis,” “Hammerheads”

Day 327, No. 39. “Venus and Mars,” Wings (1975) – I always liked McCartney’s 70s work more than anyone around me. This gave credence to my claim that he’d fully come back. This is a band album in theory, but as usual, McCartney’s handprints are everywhere.

Favorite songs: “Rock Show,” “Letting Go,” “Medicine Jar”

Day 328, No. 38. “We’re Only in it for the Money,” Frank Zappa/Mothers of Invention (1968) – When I was finally able to dig into this, years after its release, I was stunned to listen as he essentially predicted two years in advance what would happen at Kent State. This may not be the place to start with Zappa, but it’s a place that will nevertheless open your eyes.

Favorite songs: “Mom & Dad,” “Flower Punk,” “What’s the Ugliest Part of Your Body?”

Day 329, No. 37. “Jam Science,” Shriekback (1984) – It really felt as though they were pushing a new area of pop. They were, as it turned out, just not a very popular area. There are two versions of this. Both are good. The Arista release is better, and considered “official” by the band.

Favorite songs: “Hand on My Heart,” “Mercy Dash,” “Suck”

Day 330, No. 36. “Message from the Country,” The Move (1971) – As they transitioned into becoming Electric Light Orchestra, they recorded this, a last shot at offbeat and improbable rock. It’s better than any ELO album. It rocks, it pops, it even countrys once, and it’s endlessly entertaining.

Favorite songs: “Message from the Country,” “Don’t Mess Me Up,” “The Words of Aaron”

Day 331, No. 35. “Ringo,” Ringo Starr (1973) – There were Beatles and good feelings all over this album. In retrospect, it’s a soft-ish melodic effort, Boomer easy listening. It’s hard to complain about people clearly enjoying themselves.

Favorite songs: “Hold On (Have You Seen My Baby),” “You’re Sixteen,” “Six O’Clock”

Day 332, No. 34. “Band on the Run,” Paul McCartney and Wings (1973) – The uneven nature of his previous post-Beatles releases made this feel like a rocket exploding. “Here’s another good song. And another good song.” How confident he was, in the midst of a period of lows. Make sure your version has “Helen Wheels” on it.

Favorite songs: “Jet,” “Let Me Roll It,” “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five”

Day 333, No. 33. “Billion Dollar Babies,” Alice Cooper (1973) – Either the most successful melodic rock album ever, or the most successful parody album. Or maybe both. Alice and band could do no wrong at this point. Every song mocks a style or individual, but still works as a straight listen.

Favorite songs: “Unfinished Sweet,” “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “Generation Landslide”

Day 334, No. 32. “Revolver,” The Beatles (1966) – The certain sign they were on to something else. “Rubber Soul” was a huge step forward, but the work here left that album in the dust. A perfect opener, a perfect closer, and “Yellow Submarine” and “Good Day Sunshine” for feel-good good measure. And, one of the greatest album covers ever.

Favorite songs: “Here, There and Everywhere,” “Good Day Sunshine,” “Tomorrow Never Knows”

Day 335, No. 31. “Energized,” Foghat (1974) – Each classic rock band had in them one album where every cut was perfect. This was Foghat’s. It’s made more fascinating with the revelation that it was recorded soft. The recording was mostly live in the studio, and they all heard each other all the way through.

Favorite songs: “Honey Hush,” “Wild Cherry,” “Nothing I Won’t Do”

Day 336, No. 30. “Psonic Psunspot,” XTC/Dukes of Stratosphear (1987) – XTC dons the guises of any number of 1960s bands and styles: Procol Harum, The Hollies, The Beach Boys, The Byrds. It’s decidedly psychedelic, clued-in, and intelligent and catchy pop, both as parody and especially as form.

Favorite songs: “Vanishing Girl,” “Pale and Precious,” “You’re My Drug”

Day 337, No. 29. “A Night at the Opera,” Queen (1975) – As much of a step forward as “Sheer Heart Attack” was, this was that step forward tenfold. This is everything that’s great about Queen, with a minimal amount of those things that are annoying.

Favorite songs: ” ’39,” “Sweet Lady,” Bohemian Rhapsody”

Day 338, No. 28. “You Are What You Is,” Frank Zappa (1981) – He either skewers (listeners think) or reports (his version) on excesses of the late 70s and early 80s. He reserves his most intense venom for organized religion and televangelists.

Favorite songs: “Doreen,” “Dumb All Over,” “Drafted Again”

Day 339, No. 27. “Sound Affects,” The Jam (1980) – They peaked in New Wave’s most brilliant albums year. You can almost see the passion charging out of the speakers when you listen.

Favorite songs: “But I’m Different Now,” “That’s Entertainment,” “Boy About Town”
Day 340, No. 26. “Rocks,” Aerosmith (1976) – Their 1980s comeback didn’t approach this, because it couldn’t. They were the greatest American band at the time and they knew it. That almost made this effortless in its brilliance. Their best cover too.

Favorite songs: “Back in the Saddle,” “Sick as a Dog,” “Home Tonight”

Day 341, No. 25. “Fragile,” Yes (1971) – What an amazing stretch of albums these guys had. Fantastic that this has four “group” songs and how the linking pieces expand the band’s personality. This made prog as easy for me as bubblegum. Eventually.
Favorite songs: “Roundabout,” “South Side of the Sky,” “We Have Heaven”

Day 342, No. 24. “Abbey Road,” The Beatles (1969) – What a testament, even as their professional relationship was in tatters. This contains Harrison’s beautiful songs, Lennon’s craziest dark ideas, and McCartney acts as the glue to tie it all together.

Favorite songs: “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” “Come Together,” “Here Comes the Sun”

Day 343, No. 23. “This Year’s Model,” Elvis Costello (1978) – The way he spits out the lyrics of “Radio Radio” was the sound in my head at the time. He said his songs were about “revenge and guilt.” That was and remains wildly satisfying.

Favorite songs: “Radio Radio,” “Pump It Up,” “This Year’s Girl”

Day 344, No. 22. “Mistakes,” Gruppo Sportivo (1979) – an unbelievable concoction of perfect pop, as satirically seen through the eyes of a Dutch band with a delightfully warped sense of humor and satire.

Favorite songs: “Blah Blah Magazines,” “Beep Beep Love,” “Disco Really Made It”
Day 345, No. 21. “Who’s Next,” The Who (1971) – More brilliance borne out of band troubles. Pete Townshend wrote even more amazing songs, and the synthesizer work was groundbreaking and standard-setting.

Favorite songs: “Baba O’Riley,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Behind Blue Eyes”

Day 346, No. 20. “Marshall Crenshaw” (1982) – New Wave music was a pleasant shower that washed away a lot of dreck and replaced it with stuff like this, melodic pop delivered sincerely. It’s a treasure.

Favorite songs: “She Can’t Dance,” “Mary Anne,” “Cynical Girl”

Day 347, No. 19. “Animals,” Pink Floyd (1977) – It’s almost comic that this release was sort of a forced afterthought after the tracks were left off “Wish You Were Here.” Their most brutally cynical and depressing album.

Favorite songs: “Dogs,” “Pigs,” “Sheep (Three Different Ones)”

Day 348, No. 18. “English Settlement,” XTC (1982) – They moved further into exotic rhythms and odd song subjects. It was their creative peak. The British double-album version was the one to have.

Favorite songs: “Runaways,” “Snowman,” “No Thugs in Our House”

Day 349, No. 17. “Every Picture Tells a Story,” Rod Stewart (1971) – I wore out (literally) three vinyl copies of this album. A beautiful combination of folk and rock, and Stewart sings like he means it for close to the last time.

Favorite songs: “Every Picture Tells a Story,” “Mandolin Wind,” “Tomorrow Is a Long Time”

Day 350, No. 16. “Machine Head,” Deep Purple (1972) – They completed their transition from a cover-infatuated heavy pop group to the prototype working British band. “Smoke on the Water” is a cliche now. It was revolutionary then.

Favorite songs: “Highway Star,” “Space Truckin’,” “Never Before”

Day 351, No. 15. “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere,” Neil Young (1969) – Its lack of interest in what it was is part of its genius. There’s a mournful violin, roaming harmonies, and a song whose guitar solo features the same note 38 times. If you didn’t understand what was brilliant about that, you never could.

Favorite songs: “Cowgirl in the Sand,” “Cinnamon Girl,” “Down By the River”

Day 352, No. 14. “Odessey and Oracle,” The Zombies (1968) – An album that might as well have been dropped in from the 19th century. There’s little here to identify its time, despite “Time of the Season” becoming an anthem. They chose the misspelling in the title.

Favorite songs: “A Rose for Emily,” “This Will Be Our Year,” “Friends of Mine”

Day 353, No. 13. “The Dark Side of the Moon,” Pink Floyd (1973) – Of all the popular rock bands, Pink Floyd’s success baffles me most. This doesn’t seem to be the kind of package that would engage millions of listeners. But it does, and because of that engagement, I’d guess the majority of people reading have heard the album, like it or not.
Favorite songs: “Time,” “The Great Gig in the Sky,” “Us and Them”

Day 354, No. 12. “The Wall,” Pink Floyd (1979) – Creator Roger Waters has evolved the piece from whiny rock star biography to the tale of a war-weary world. The pure opera style of repeated themes and the disparate pieces (especially on side three) show the effort in the construction.

Favorite songs: “Comfortably Numb,” “Nobody Home,” “Another Brick in the Wall”

Day 355, No. 11. “Led Zeppelin IV” (1971) – Many albums in the upper reaches have that one iconic song. Some of them are iconic because they can’t not be. Each song here is iconic in a way equal to “Stairway to Heaven.”

Favorite songs: “When the Levee Breaks,” “Rock and Roll,” “Black Dog”

Day 356, No. 10. “The Records,” The Records (1979) – My favorite sub-genre of music is power pop, and for years this was power pop’s crowning achievement. To critics, these songs all sound the same. I can easily identify the differences between mixes on the American and U.K. editions. They’re still both good.

Favorite songs: “Starry Eyes,” “All Messed Up and Ready,” “Another Star”

Day 357, No. 9. “Joe’s Garage (Acts I, II and III),” Frank Zappa (1979) – It’s not about the story, although it could be. “Act I” is solid, but by the time we get to “Act III,” the songs are epic, complex, and constructed breathtakingly.

Favorite songs: “Catholic Girls,” “Packard Goose,” “Watermelon in Easter Hay”

Day 358, No. 8. “Get Happy!!,” Elvis Costello (1980) – After this plateau, he slowed down the breakneck speed of the music and the frequency of the releases. But this foray into soul and R&B showed there was more to the man than the New Wave efforts he’d presented.

Favorite songs: “Love for Tender,” “Clowntime Is Over,” “Riot Act”

Day 359, No. 7. “Squeezing Out Sparks,” Graham Parker (1979) – For a brief time, I thought everything I liked sounded like Elvis Costello, and it probably did. Parker’s lyrics were never better, and his recordings never more urgent.

Favorite songs: “Discovering Japan,” “Local Girls,” “Protection”

Day 360, No. 6. “Katy Lied,” Steely Dan (1975) – Oh, the world of miscreants, degenerates and misanthropes to which Steely Dan introduced us to here. And you could sing along without realizing that, for example, you were singing a song about a Nazi rally. This didn’t exactly hammer the Top 40.

Favorite songs: “Rose Darling,” “Chain Lightning,” “Any World (That I’m Welcome To)”

Day 361, No. 5. “Underwater Moonlight,” The Soft Boys (1980) – Robyn Hitchcock was a Syd Barrett acolyte who loved 1960s psychedelia. He and his band ran their offbeat songs through that filter, and came up with something altogether new.

Favorite songs: “I Wanna Destroy You,” “Insanely Jealous,” “Underwater Moonlight”

Day 362, No. 4. “Tonight’s the Night,” Neil Young (1975) – A friend introducing me to Young’s earlier work refused me access to this one, fearing my reaction. He was more frightened when the bleak songs, focusing on dying and death, were so much to my liking.

Favorite songs: “Tonight’s the Night,” “New Mama,” “Lookout Joe”

Day 363, No. 3. “Blood on the Tracks,” Bob Dylan (1975) – Dylan says he doesn’t understand people getting pleasure from his pain, as detailed on this divorce and departure album. It’s not pleasure. It’s more wallowing in the depression with him, and realizing there are opportunities to escape through to the other side.

Favorite songs: “Simple Twist of Fate,” “Idiot Wind,” “Shelter from the Storm”

Day 364, No. 2. “World So Bright,” Adam Schmitt (1991) – The songs were up-tempo, the guitars rung and rocked, and the lyrics were deceptively deep. The best power pop album ever made.

Favorite songs: “Can’t Get You on My Mind,” “My Killer,” “Elizabeth Einstein”

Day 365, No. 1. “The Beatles (The White Album),” The Beatles (1968) – For years, I have said this is the most significant artistic achievement of my lifetime, and possibly the most significant of the 20th century.

Favorite songs: “Dear Prudence,” “Helter Skelter,” “Cry Baby Cry”

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