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Flawless Albums

I listen to a lot of music. I can find an enjoyable song or two on most albums I’m handed, regardless of genre, musician, or even language. However, there are a few that I feel are flawless in the sense that I can go back to them, and find almost nothing I dislike from it. They aren’t necessarily the best albums, or even my favorites, but they are time and time again albums I can listen to end to end without wanting to skip a track. I guess it’s rather telling about my musical tastes that these are the ones I picked though.

Criteria:

  • No soundtracks: that’s for a different post. Plus, between games, movies, and tv shows, that could get pretty intense. Not to mention the different between an OST and a soundtrack
  • No live/compilation/best of album: pretty unfair. That’s an album of what would be the most popular stuff, which might also be the best stuff.
  • No remix albums: I have like 4 different remixes of Jay Z’s The Black Album. And I like one of them better than the actual album. But that kinda ruins a “flawless” album, right?
  • No cover albums: I love Me First and the Gimme Gimmes and Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine and the Punk Goes… series, but again, popular songs being covered doesn’t really make an album flawless.

In no particular order:

  • My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West: Kanye’s masterpiece as far as I’m concerned. Over the top and emotional while still being hard hitting and rough. The diversity of the tracks on this album while still sounding like something cohesive when taken in as a whole is enviable to achieve. No, seriously. I know you hate Kanye for some reason. But I promise you that Runaway and Blame Game alone will make this album worth a listen (not to mention the rest of it. Power and All of the Lights and Monster are on this too). Also it had a short film (that is actually pretty not great. Kanye cannot act).
  • Discovery – Daft Punk: Daft Punk’s finest work. If you disagree you’re wrong. There’s even a cool movie for this one! It’s the one that Toonami aired! You know, the blue aliens playing One More Time? Yeah that one! Aerodynamic is brilliant, and Digital Love is gorgeous. Watch Interstella, or just chill out to this album while you read about space.
  • Deja Entendu – Brand New: I’ve written at length about how much I love this album.
  • New Maps of Hell – Bad Religion: it’s hard to pick a “best” Bad Religion album. I’m sure BR fans are screaming “SUFFER” or maybe even “STRANGER THAN FICTION” at their screens. And while yes, I love those albums, New Maps of Hell is solid from 52 Seconds to Fields of Mars and everything inbetween. Also, I’m on the concert dvd that came with the deluxe version of this album. They zoom in on me and my friend and everything (that chubby girl 45 seconds in with the crossbuster shirt next to the guy with glasses and facial hair? That’s us). It’s pretty cool.
  • Deep River/Ultra Blue – Utada Hikaru: I couldn’t pick between the two. Utada is pretty much flawless, but both of these albums are beautiful. Between them, they carry a bulk of songs many people outside of Japan know her for (not just Hikari and Passion, but Sakura Drops, Keep Trying, Be My Last, Traveling, and more). Honestly, almost her entire catalog is flawless. She’s so perfect.
  • Give Up – The Postal Service: the only album from the collaboration of Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello. And they made it count. The album that easily spawned Owl City, it was an electronic album emo kids of the early 2000s could get into. More than a decade later, and it’s still catchy, still somber and reflective, still hauntingly gorgeous. An album meant for big, over the ear headphones and maybe a sunny afternoon watching clouds, I’d kill for a sequel.
  • The Stadium Techno Experience – Scooter: when EDM got big in the US again, I feared so much Scooter (a German techno group) would get huge, and I’d be “that guy” yelling BUT I LIKED THEM BEFORE THEY GOT BIG IN THE US. They didn’t (at least not here), and maybe that’s for the best. Sure, this album has cheesy crowd feedback in some tracks, trying really hard to be a live album recorded in a studio, but it’s almost endearing. Play it loud like Maria likes, invite your friends over, and dance around with glowsticks.
  • Commit This to Memory – Motion City Soundtrack: a solid follow up to the debut I am the Movie, I don’t think an MCS album has been as good since. It too varies wildly from track to track, hiding rather dark and depressing lyrics behind poppy synths. A couple tearjerkers and some radio friendly pop rock round out an album that evokes a lot of emotions for me.
  • Demon Days – Gorillaz: it was really hard to decide which Gorillaz album to put on this list. They’re all so good. But in the end, Demon Days is so great. It gave the world Feel Good Inc and Dirty Harry and El Manana. I dance around to DARE more than I like to admit. The videos that accompanied this album were crazy awesome. While I think Plastic Beach was a more ambitious album, this really solidified The Gorillaz’s sound.

Honorable Mentions/Minorly Flawed Albums: Thriller – Michael Jackson, In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth 3 – Coheed and Cambria, Keasbey Nights – Catch 22 (or Streetlight Manifesto if you’re so inclined), Watch the Throne – Jay Z and Kanye West, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy – Sarah McLachlan, Toxicity – System of a Down, Flood – They Might Be Giants, Stadium Arcadium – Red Hot Chili Peppers, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge – My Chemical Romance, MCMLXXXV – Rufio, Elva – Unwritten Law



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