Best of the Best Vinyl Albums (PART 2)
Here we go again, the best vinyl albums round 2. Quite a response we’ve had to the ‘Part 1‘ of this article and by response we mean… mixed response! It’s been interesting reading the comments/feedback and it’s safe to say that music is completely subjective and personal taste plays a huge part. Whilst compiling this list we have been taking into consideration the recording quality and the value this has on a vinyl record, as well as artists/albums who have defined a genre, inspired a generation and thrown in a couple of personal favorites for good measure. Here are the next 10… Enjoy! 😉
Joy Division – Unknown Pleasure
Kicking off with the classic Post-Punk debut album by Joy Division, Unknown Pleasure. This young band fronted by the baritone voice and the insightful yet melancholic lyrics of Ian Curtis hail from the run-down post-industrial 1970’s Manchester UK. Their name taken from the literal translation of a prostitution wing of a Nazi Concentration camp. Unknown pleasure is an album that truly captures a mood and an era. Nothing before its release sounds like it, and nothing since has been able to recreate that bleak yet inspiring sound.
Led Zeppelin – IV
Led Zeppelin, the legends, the pioneers, the game changers. Another band that we felt unquestionably deserve their place on this list of the best vinyl albums. Their fourth studio album is our personal favorite and contains many of their most recognized songs. ‘Black Dog’ and it’s hard hitting guitar riffs, the beautiful and moving ‘Going to California’ and of course the epic journey that is ‘Stairway to Heaven’, often finding itself in the top end of best rock songs of all time lists. This album is a mixture of classic rock meets blues and beautiful acoustic pieces telling stories of love and folk-lore. Certainly a must have.
Marvin Gaye – What’s going on
‘What’s Going On’ is arguably Marvin Gayes most important album. An artist, who up until it’s release, had built his career on pop songs written by others being churned out by Motown. He recorded the extended demo of the title track only to have it turned down and told it was a terrible song. He later had to go behind the back of the Motown boss and release it without permission. It became an instant hit and catapulted Marvin Gayes career in the direction he was aspiring to. A place of full creative control over his music. An exquisite cohesive soulful master piece.
Massive Attack – Mezzanine
‘Mezzanine’ is Massive Attacks third studio album. Already achieving success with their previous two albums ‘Blue Lines’ and ‘Protection’, ‘Mezzanine’ delves into a darker moodier and a much more rounded, heavy and clean production style. In an album that focuses on passionately dark, heavy and underground tones, the stand out track is a glimmer of beauty and eloquence. A breathe of fresh air, and this is the timeless track, ‘Tear Drop’. A track that hits you with a sense of warm nostalgia as soon as that “dum dum, dum ta” hits your ears.
Michael Jackson – Thriller
Michael Jackson, undoubtedly the King of Pop and ‘Thriller’, a cultural phenomenon. During it’s first year of release singles kept dropping off it like golden fruit from a platinum tree. A ridiculous ever-yielding pop jukebox. 9 singles being released, all reaching the top 10. The short film music video for the single ‘Thriller’ was immensely successful, something never done before and something that paid off big time. With this album Michael Jackson truly claimed his seat on the pop throne. Certainly one of the best vinyl albums to add to any collection.
Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
Miles Davis’ ‘Kind of Blue’ has been known as the jazz album that even non-jazz fans will own. An album full of sophisticated improvisation which took the genre of jazz to a completely new level reaching a much wider audience. The moment the stylus touches the wax you are immediately transported to a smoky, cool low lit jazz bar. Suited and booted with a tap in your foot and a click on your finger. A phenomenally smooth, eloquent and stylish record. No doubt a must have.
Nick Drake – Pink Moon
Nick Drake’s tale is bitter sweet at best. A shy, confused recluse but undoubtedly a genius. His albums drew little to no attention during his short life time. He hated gigging and people audibly chatting throughout his sets did not help. Nonetheless his music has hit cult classic status decades later. ‘Pink Moon’ is beautiful, simple, sweet, thoughtful, haunting and true. It is too easy to get lost in this album with Nick’s soothing vocal enveloping you in a warm calming blanket. Definitely one of the best vinyl albums in my collection.
Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ is the epitome of a timeless piece of musical art. Massively ahead of its time, the entire album has a beautiful cohesion as one track becomes another, taking you on a blissful journey of psychedelia, joy, despair, optimism and unity. I would even go as far as saying it is flawless! The musicality and arrangements, the production and the journey they take you on from beginning to end. It’s no surprise that this album has spent a grand total of 14 years in the top 100 (so far). Lets not forget the iconic artwork and album cover that to this day has a huge role in pop-culture. Seriously, this is a must have!
Prince and the Revolution – Purple Rain
Prince had already achieved commercial success with his 1982 album ‘1999’. With all of its sexual shenanigans and electro-funk rock it was time for him to cement his place in the musical history books. Labelled by some as the imp of the perverse, ‘Purple Rain’ was the most audacious statement Prince could make and his most defining achievement (questionable accompanying movie aside). This album uniquely and originally provides an array of genres/styles from synth-pop to pleading soul and funk. A truly quirky and meaningful classic.
The Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street
The Rolling Stones ‘Exile on Main Street’ at first glance doesn’t look like an album that would be perhaps The Stones most acclaimed record. The majority of their hits not making an appearance and the recordings/performances often criticized. However this is an album about more than pristine smash hits. This is an album that captures a mood and a moment, a story and a vibe. Coming at a time when The Stones were at there most fractured, it is raw, edgy and real, and this comes across from beginning to end.
There you have it. We hope you found this useful, we certainly enjoyed compiling this list of the best vinyl albums.
If you are looking to get your hands on any of these records check out the Amazon Vinyl Store.
Check out Part 1 of this article.