BBC Radio 1 do an annual series entitled 'Masterpieces'. It's a show where they highlight 4 albums which their music team have deemed to be 'Masterpieces'. They've been showcasing these for the past 5 years with artists like Nirvana, Amy Winehouse, Led Zeppelin, Oasis, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Metallica and The Clash - to name a few.
I believe albums are created in a very particular way and therefor meant to be heard in the order they appear on track listings. In a era of singles it's sad but most albums will not be experienced this way for future generations.
I recently asked my 13 year old niece what her favourite album of all time was. She was quick to respond with No Doubt's 'Rock Steady' and that was awesome. She would have only been 2 when it came out - but she grew-up with it and knows it as a full body of work from start to finish. She restored my faith.
I've taken a stab at a few albums I've come to love over the years - to which I consider masterpieces in every sense of the word.
Here goes nothing...
Led Zeppelin - 'IV'
This is classic Led Zeppelin album originally came out in November of 1971. It's a particular favourite of mine as it was my introduction to the band. The first track on side A is 'Black Dog' which comes right out of the gate with killer vocals and guitar riffs to smack you in the face. It's chalk full of hits and is also home to arguably their most recognizable tune 'Stairway To Heaven' as well as the amazing 'Going to California'. This album is 40 years old and will still sound amazing in another 40 years.
This album is off side. This album uses words that I find offensive today and I wouldn't feel comfortable singing along to songs like 'One In A Million' or 'I Used To Love Her'. Having said that 'Lies' truly is a masterpiece of an album. It came out in 1988 at a time when hair metal reigned. The difference between these guys and other hair bands was that they were hard core. These were angry anthems that didn't pander to radio. The band came out with a full throttle album that acted as an anchor to GN'R on the world stage.
I'm certain that every single person I grew-up with could recite the words to this verse from 'Patience'I've been walking the streets at night
Just trying to get it right
Its hard to see with so many around
You know I don't like being stuck in the crowd
And the streets don't change
But maybe the names
I ain't got time for the game cause I need you
Yeah, yeah, yeah, 'cause I need you
Ooo I need you, whoa I need you
Ooooh, all this time
Tom is one of the coolest men to have ever walk this earth. His first solo outing came out in 1989 and housed songs like 'Free Falling', 'I Won't Back Down', 'Love Is A Long Road' and 'Yer So Bad' to name a few. This album is fantastic complimented with some great videos showcasing Tom's sense of humour and creative sides. This man can do no wrong and 'Full Moon Fever' is one of the greatest rock n roll albums ever recorded.
I almost wish they weren't Canadian as this album would have and should have gone global. It was the band's 4th album and from the second the needle drops on 'Courage (For Huge MacLennan)' through 'Pigeon Camera' and 'Wheat Kings' on through until it ends with 'Eldorado' this album gorgeous. It made time stop for me when I first heard it in grade 10.
I've never stopped loving this band's body of work and could safely place all 12 of their studio albums on a list of Masterpieces.