4. The Living End by The Living End – Australian punk can never be wrong. When I heard the song “Prisoner of Society” for the first time, I had no clue who sang it but I was obsessed; it grabbed my attention like an airhorn in a library. I love the entire album, but my favorite song is “West End Riot”.
4. Thriller by Michael Jackson – It’s Michael Jackson’s thriller…do I really need to explain this?? Even though I have never been one of his crazed fans . . . when the King of Pop died, it made me sad. Similarly, he was the KING of Pop…that is a moniker truly earned in the music industry. And rightfully so, you can not deny how he was iconic and extremely influential to music (even that is an understatement). And Thriller? It’s fucking Thriller dude, come on.
4. Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf (1977) – Two years before I was born, this epic album was released, a collection of musical masterpieces amounting to the closest thing to a rock opera that had never been performed theatrically. Originally begun in 1974 as a workshop project called Neverland, songwriter Jim Steinman set out to do a sci-fi modernization of the Peter Pan story. The core songs of the project became this historic album that almost never was. Like many strokes of genius, this project was rejected by almost everyone in the music industry in the mid-to-late 1970s, that is until Tod Rundgren got a hold of the music being shopped around and decided to run with it, even though he found it more hilarious than serious and awe-inspiring. The album has sold more than 43 million copies in the 30 years since its release, and annually sells 200,000 copies. From first note to final, this album unfolds a story that is screaming to be made into a film or a theatrical production, the story of Romeo & Juliet romance between damned biker who meets his demise in a horrific motorcycle accident and an angel in the afterlife (my personal interpretation).
4. Shifting Skin by ON – I discovered this highly under-rated gem courtesy of one of Matt Pinfield’s radio shows, where he glowed about the upcoming solo release from former lead singer of alternative rock band Failure, Ken Andrews. What followed in the ensuing minutes was three minutes of catchy electro rock bliss of the album’s first single, “C’mon Collapse”. This album didn’t leave my CD player for months. I credit this album with introducing me to the wide and varied musical world of Ken Andrews, and allowed me to discover dozens of other associated acts, like the amazing Charlotte Martin. Thanks Ken!
4. Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette – Released in 1995, Jagged Little Pill launched Alanis’s music career and spawned half an album of hits. From the ex-boyfriend assault ‘You Oughta Know’ to the lovey ‘Head Over Feet,’ Alanis was a chick with edge. I still love this album.