Category Archives: Music

My Favorites By Decade: Music, Books and Movies

I made a list of my favorite books, movies and albums from each decade since the 1950s. I chose to begin with the 1950s, as that was the decade that the long-playing record album was introduced. I limited my picks to 12 or fewer in each category.

NOTE: To be clear, these are works of music, literature and film that were produced during the decades listed – it doesn’t mean I read, saw or listened to them during that particular decade (which would be particularly difficult for the 1950s, since I wasn’t born then!).

1950s

Albums
Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! (1956) – Frank Sinatra
Jazz at Massey Hall (1956) – The Quintet (Parker, Gillespie, Powell, Roach, Mingus)
After Midnight (1957) – Nat “King” Cole
West Side Story (1957) – Original Broadway Cast
Birth of the Cool (1957) – Miles Davis
Brilliant Corners (1957) – Thelonious Monk
Saxophone Colossus (1957) – Sonny Rollins
At the Opera House (1958) – Stan Getz & J.J. Johnson
Somethin’ Else (1958) – Cannonball Adderley
Blues from the Gutter (1959) – Champion Jack Dupree
Kind of Blue (1959) – Miles Davis
The Shape of Jazz to Come (1959) – Ornette Coleman

Books
Memoirs of Hadrian (1951) – Marguerite Yourcenar
Invisible Man (1952) – Ralph Ellison
Henry James: A Life (1953) – Leon Edel
Nine Stories (1953) – J.D. Salinger
The Foundation Trilogy (1953) – Isaac Asimov
Lucky Jim (1954) – Kingsley Amis
The Inheritors (1955) – William Golding
Lolita (1955) – Vladimir Nabokov
The Lord of the Rings (1956) – J.R.R. Tolkien
A Death in the Family (1957) – James Agee
Molloy; Malone Dies; The Unnameable (1958) – Samuel Beckett
The Tin Drum (1969) – Günter Grass

Movies
Sunset Blvd. (Wilder, 1950)
Ikiru (Kurosawa, 1952)
Singin’ in the Rain (Kelly & Donen, 1952)
Mr. Hulot’s Holiday (Tati, 1953)
Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)
The Apu Trilogy (Ray, 1955-1959)
The Searchers (Ford, 1956)
Wild Strawberries (Bergman, 1957)
Nights of Cabiria (Fellini, 1957)
Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
Touch of Evil (Welles, 1958)
The 400 Blows (Truffaut, 1959)

1960s

Albums
The Incredible Jazz Guitar (1960) – Wes Montgomery
Sunday at the Village Vanguard & Waltz for Debby (1962) – Bill Evans
Live at the Regal (1965) – B.B. King
A Love Supreme (1965) – John Coltrane
Highway 61 Revisited (1965) – Bob Dylan
Tristan und Isolde (1966) – Richard Wagner (Bayreuther Festspiele, Karl Böhm)
Chicago/The Blues/Today! (1966) – Various Artists
Blonde on Blonde (1966) – Bob Dylan
Revolver (1966) – The Beatles
The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967) – The Velvet Underground
The Beatles [White Album] – The Beatles
Tommy (1969) – The Who

Books
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1960) – William L. Shirer
Franny and Zooey (1961) – J.D. Salinger
The Golden Notebook (1962) – Doris Lessing
A Clockwork Orange (1962) – Anthony Burgess
Labyrinths (1962) – Jorge Luis Borges
Cat’s Cradle (1963) – Kurt Vonnegut
V. (1963) – Thoman Pynchon
Fanshen: A Documentary of Revolution in a Chinese Village (1966) – William Hinton
Giles Goat-Boy (1966) – John Barth
One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) – Gabriel García Márquez
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968) – Tom Wolfe
The Double Helix (1968) – James D. Watson

Movies
La Dolce Vita (Fellini, 1960)
L’Avventura (Antonioni, 1960)
The Exterminating Angel (Buñuel, 1962)
Vivre Sa Vie (Godard, 1962)
La Jetée (Marker, 1962)
Lawrence of Arabia (Lean, 1962)
8 ½ (Fellini, 1963)
The Servant (Losey, 1963)
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Kubrick, 1964)
Repulsion (Polanski, 1965)
2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968)
Midnight Cowboy (Schlesinger, 1969)

1970s

Albums
Moondance (1970) – Van Morrison
Plastic Ono Band (1970) – John Lennon
Blue (1971) – Joni Mitchell
The Dark Side of the Moon (1973) – Pink Floyd
There Goes Rhymin’ Simon (1973) – Paul Simon
Quadrophenia (1973) – The Who
Blood on the Tracks (1975) – Bob Dylan
Born to Run (1975) – Bruce Springsteen
Music of the Gothic Era (1976) – Early Music Consort of London (David Munrow)
Ice Pickin’ (1978) – Albert Collins
This Year’s Model (1978) – Elvis Costello
The Roches (1979) – The Roches

Books
A Theory of Justice (1971) – John Rawls
Invisible Cities (1972) – Italo Calvino
The Gulag Archipelago (1973) – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Breakfast of Champions (1973) – Kurt Vonnegut
Gravity’s Rainbow (1973) – Thomas Pynchon
All the President’s Men (1974) – Carl Bernstein and Robert Woodward
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974) – Robert Pirsig
Ragtime (1975) – E.L. Doctorow
Song of Solomon (1977) – Toni Morrison
The Family Crucible (1977) – Augustus Napier
The Stories of John Cheever (1978) – John Cheever
On Human Nature (1978) – E.O. Wilson

Movies
Five Easy Pieces (Rafelson, 1970)
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Buñuel, 1972)
Cries and Whispers (Bergman, 1972)
Aguirre: The Wrath of God (Herzog, 1972)
Badlands (Malick, 1973)
Chinatown (Polanski, 1974)
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (Herzog, 1974)
A Woman Under the Influence (Cassavetes, 1974)
The Godfather: Part II (Coppola, 1974)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Forman, 1975)
3 Women (Altman, 1977)
Apocalypse Now (Coppola, 1979)

1980s

Albums
Remain in Light (1980) – Talking Heads
Making Movies (1980) – Dire Straits
Pirates Choice (1982) – Orchestra Baobab
Imperial Bedroom (1982) – Elvis Costello
Legend (1984) – Bob Marley
Rain Dogs (1985) – Tom Waits
King of America (1986) – Elvis Costello
So (1986) – Peter Gabriel
The Joshua Tree (1987) – U2
Shadowland (1988) – k.d. lang

Books
A People’s History of the United States (1980) – Howard Zinn
The White Hotel (1981) – D.M. Thomas
Midnight’s Children (1981) – Salman Rushdie
What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (1981) – Raymond Carver
The Growth of Biological Thought (1982) – Ernst Mayr
White Noise (1984) – Don DeLillo
Money: A Suicide Note (1984) – Martin Amis
Common Ground (1985) – J. Anthony Lukas
World’s End (1987) – T.C. Boyle
And the Band Played On (1987) – Randy Shilts
Battle Cry of Freedom (1988) – James M. McPherson
Parting the Waters: America in the King Years (1988) – Taylor Branch

Movies
Stardust Memories (Allen, 1980)
Raging Bull (Scorcese, 1980)
My Dinner With Andre
 (Malle, 1981)
The King of Comedy (Scorcese, 1982)
Fanny and Alexander (Bergman, 1982)
Local Hero (Forsyth, 1983)
Brazil (Gilliam, 1985)
Blue Velvet (Lynch, 1986)
The Sacrifice (Tarkovsky, 1986)
Wings of Desire (Wenders, 1987)
Raising Arizona (Coen & Coen, 1987)
Do the Right Thing (Lee, 1989)

1990s

Albums
Goodbye Jumbo (1990) – World Party
Out of Time (1991) – R.E.M.
Aurora Gory Alice (1993) – Letters to Cleo
Whatever (1993) – Aimee Mann
Exile in Guyville (1993) – Liz Phair
To Bring You My Love (1995) – PJ Harvey
Garbage (1995) – Garbage
Odelay! (1996) – Beck
OK Computer (1997) – Radiohead
A Go Go (1998) – John Scofield
Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (1998) – Lucinda Williams
69 Love Songs (1999) – The Magnetic Fields

Books
The Things They Carried (1990) – Tim O’Brien
Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos (1991) – Dennis Overbye
Consciousness Explained (1991) – Daniel C. Dennett
Mating (1991) – Norman Rush
Hard Rain: A Dylan Commentary (1992) – Tim Riley
Charles Darwin: Voyaging (1995) – Janet Browne
Ship Fever (1996) – Andrea Barrett
Infinite Jest (1996) – David Foster Wallace
Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth (1997) – Richard Fortey
The God of Small Things (1997) – Arundhati Roy
Annals of the Former World (1998) – John McPhee
We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families (1998) – Philip Gourevich

Movies
Unforgiven (Eastwood, 1992)
Short Cuts (Altman, 1993)
Pulp Fiction (Tarantino, 1994)
Before Sunrise (Linklater, 1995)
Lone Star (Sayles, 1996)
Secrets & Lies (Leigh, 1996)
Fast, Cheap and Out of Control (Morris, 1997)
The Sweet Hereafter (Egoyan, 1997)
Happiness (Solondz, 1998)
The Celebration (Vinterberg, 1998)
Being John Malkovich (Jonze, 1999)
Magnolia (P.T. Anderson, 1999)
All About My Mother (Almodóvar, 1999)

2000s

Albums
Fado em Mim (2000) – Mariza
I Am Shelby Lynne (2000) – Shelby Lynne
Strories from the City, Stories from the Sea (2000) – PJ Harvey
Sweet Tea (2001) – Buddy Guy
The Id (2001) – Macy Gray
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002) – Wilco
Fever to Tell (2003) – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Electric Version (2003) – The New Pornographers
Funeral (2004) – Arcade Fire
Shostakovich: String Quartets (2006) – Emerson String Quartet
Boys and Girls in America (2006) – The Hold Steady
Bird-Brains (2009) – Tune-Yards

Books
White Teeth (2000) – Zadie Smith
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000) – Dave Eggers
Atonement (2001) – Ian McEwan
Austerlitz (2001) – W.G. Sebald
Middlesex (2002)  – Jeffrey Eugenides
Europe Central (2005) – William T. Vollmann
1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus (2005) – Charles C. Mann
Never Let Me Go (2005) – Kazuo Ishiguro
The Omnivore’s Dilemma (2006) – Michael Pollan
The Inheritance of Loss (2006) – Kiran Desai
The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century (2007) – Alex Ross
The Hemingses of Monticello (2008) – Annette Gordon-Reed

Movies
Yi Yi: A One and a Two (Yang, 2000)
In the Mood for Love (Wong, 2000)
Requiem for a Dream (Aronofsky, 2000)
Mulholland Dr. (Lynch, 2001)
Waking Life (Linklater, 2001)
The Royal Tenenbaums (Anderson, 2001)
Talk to Her (Almodóvar, 2002)
Dogville (von Trier, 2003)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry, 2004)
Grizzly Man (Herzog, 2005)
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Mungiu, 2007)
No Country for Old Men (Coen, 2007)

2010s (so far)

Albums
The Suburbs (2010) – Arcade Fire
The King Is Dead (2011) – The Decemberists
Let England Shake (2011) – PJ Harvey
Yuck (2011) – Yuck
Four Sonatas by Charles Ives (2011) – Hilary Hahn & Valentina Lisitsa
Bad As Me (2011) – Tom Waits
Visions (2012) – Grimes
Pedestrian Verse (2013) – Frightened Rabbit
Brill Bruisers (2014) – The New Pornographers
Monteverdi (2016) – Magdalena Kožená
My Woman (2016) – Angel Olsen
Antisocialites (2017) – Alvvays

Books
Cleopatra: A Life (2010) – Stacy Schiff
Lennon: The Man, the Myth, the Music (2010) – Tim Riley
There But For the (2011) – Ali Smith
Tenth of December (2013) – George Saunders
The Riddle of the Labyrinth (2013) – Margalit Fox
Lawrence in Arabia (2013) – Scott Anderson
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (2013) – Elena Ferrante

Movies
Cave of Forgotten Dreams (Herzog, 2010)
The Tree of Life (Malick, 2011)
Moonrise Kingdom (Anderson, 2012)
The Act of Killing (Oppenheimer, 2012)
Boyhood (Linklater, 2014)
Anomalisa (Kaufman & Johnson, 2015)
Moonlight (Jenkins, 2016)
The Florida Project (Baker, 2017)

 

New and Updated Meta-Lists: Guitarists and Scientists

I recently added two new meta-lists to the Make Lists, Not War website:

Best Guitarists of All Time – Ranked
Best Guitarists of All Time – Chronological

(Spoiler Alert: I did not make it onto the list! But if you want to hear me play and sing, check out this website.)

I also updated the Greatest Scientists of All Time – Ranked meta-list and added a new meta-list: Greatest Scientists of All Time – Chronological.

Feel free to check them out!

All That Jazz: Introducing the New Improved Jazz Meta-Lists

If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know. – Louis Armstrong (www.brainyquote.com)

I’ve completely revised the jazz meta-lists on Make Lists, Not War, removed an outdated list and added three new lists.  Here are the links:

Best Jazz Albums of All Time – Ranked
Best Jazz Albums of All Time – Chronological
Best Jazz Musicians and their Best Work – Ranked
Best Jazz Musicians and their Best Work – Chronological
Best Contemporary Jazz Musicians

In this post introducing these new lists, I’ve decided to forego writing an essay about jazz from my limited perspective and instead to include some quotes and definitions from other, more authoritative sources, as well as a very short jazz history timeline.

Jazz is the most significant form of musical expression in American culture and outstanding contribution to the art of musichttp://www.apassion4jazz.net

Jazz: American music developed especially from ragtime and blues and characterized by propulsive syncopated rhythms, polyphonic ensemble playing, varying degrees of improvisation, and often deliberate distortions of pitch and timbre. – merriam-webster.com

The real power of Jazz is that a group of people can come together and create improvised art and negotiate their agendas… and that negotiation is the art Wynton Marsalis in Ken Burns’ Jazz.

Although jazz is considered highly difficult to define, at least in part because it contains so many varied subgenres, improvisation is consistently regarded as being one of its key elements. The centrality of improvisation in jazz is attributed to influential earlier forms of music: the early blues, a form of folk music which arose in part from the work songs and field hollers of the African-American slaves on plantations. … [J]azz is often characterized as the product of group creativity, interaction, and collaboration, which places varying degrees of value on the contributions of the composer (if there is one) and performers.In jazz, the skilled performer will interpret a tune in very individual ways, never playing the same composition the same way twice; depending on the performer’s mood and personal experience, interactions with other musicians, or even members of the audience, a jazz musician may alter melodies, harmonies or time signature at will.  Wikipedia.com

Jazz, to me, is one of the inherent expressions of Negro life in America: the eternal tom-tom beating in the Negro soul – the tom-tom of revolt against weariness in a white world, a world of subway trains, and work, work, work; the tom-tom of joy and laughter, and pain swallowed in a smile. – Langston Hughes (www.brainyquote.com)

Jazz is the only music in which the same note can be played night after night but differently each time. – Ornette Coleman (www.brainyquote.com)

Jazz stands for freedom. It’s supposed to be the voice of freedom: Get out there and improvise, and take chances, and don’t be a perfectionist – leave that to the classical musicians. – Dave Brubeck (www.brainyquote.com)

A Very Short History of Jazz

1890s-1910s: Jazz is born in New Orleans from a mix of pre-existing musical styles: ragtime, early blues, spirituals, marching bands, vaudeville, dance bands.

1900-1930: New Orleans Jazz, Trad Jazz, Dixieland Jazz (Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Bix Beiderbecke, etc.)

1920s-1930s: Classic female blues (Bessie Smith, etc.)

1930s-1940s: Swing and big band jazz (Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Lester Young, Billie Holiday)

Mid-1940s: Bebop arrives (Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, Bud Powell)

Late 1940s-early1950s: Cool jazz and West Coast jazz are born (Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Stan Getz, Dave Brubeck)

1950s-1960s: Bebop evolves into hard bop (Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, Lee Morgan,
Freddie Hubbard, Hank Mobley, Joe Henderson, John Coltrane)

1950s: Third stream mixes cool jazz and classical music (Gil Evans, Modern Jazz Quartet, Miles Davis)

1950s: Modal jazz appears (Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans)

1959: Free jazz appears (Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane)

Late 1950s-early1960s: Soul jazz arrives (Jimmy Smith, etc.)

Late 1960s-1970s: Jazz-rock fusion and funk-jazz arrive (Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report)

1980s-Present: Revival of older styles (neo-bop), continuation of newer styles. Crossover jazz.

Enjoy the lists, jazz lovers.  And please remember: These are meta-lists, which are compilations of lists I collected, not lists I made.  THESE ARE NOT MY PERSONAL OPINIONS.  I HAVE NOT LISTENED TO ALL THIS MUSIC.

The Best Albums by Women: Another Perspective

You may have seen the list published last week by NPR of the best 150 albums by women since 1964 (click here to see it).  Like all the best lists, it is fun to read and fun to argue with. To provide another perspective, I went through my lists of Best Albums of All Time, Best Jazz, Best Blues, Best World Music, Best Hip Hop, Best Country, Best Music – Year by Year and Best Songs to compile an alternative list.  This one has 164 albums, in chronological order by date of the earliest recording on the album – the recordings here begin in 1920 and go all the way to 2016. I have added an asterisk to any album on my list that is also on the NPR list. Enjoy!

NOTE: Unlike the NPR list, which focuses almost exclusively on female vocalists, I have also including albums from bands with female instrumentalists, like Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five, The Velvet Underground, Talking Heads and The Smashing Pumpkins.

  1. Umm Kulthum (Oum Kalsoum): The Legend: The Arab World’s Greatest Singer (1920-1949)
  2. Bessie Smith: The Essential Bessie Smith (alternative pick: The Collection) (1923-1933)
  3. Ma Rainey: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (1924-1928)
  4. Louis Armstrong: The Complete Hot Fives and Hot Sevens (1925-1930) (feat. Lil Armstrong)
  5. Memphis Minnie: Bumble Bee: Essential Recordings of Memphis Minnie (1929-1941)
  6. Billie Holiday: Lady Day (1933-1944)
  7. Big Maybelle: The Complete Okeh Sessions (1952-1955)
  8. Big Mama Thornton: Hound Dog – The Peacock Recordings (1952-1957)
  9. Amália Rodriques: The Art of Amália (1952-1970)
  10. Sarah Vaughan: Sarah Vaughan with Clifford Brown (1954)
  11. June Christy: Something Cool (1955)
  12. Ella Fitzgerald: The Complete Songbooks (1956-1964) (NPR lists Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Johnny Mercer Songbook (1964)*)
  13. Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong: Ella and Louis (1957)
  14. Billie Holiday: Songs for Distingué Lovers (1957)
  15. Patsy Cline: The Definitive Collection (1957-1963)
  16. Asha Bhosle: The Rough Guide to Bollywood Legends: Asha Bhosle (1957-1999)
  17. Billie Holiday: Lady in Satin (1958)
  18. Lambert, Hendricks & Ross: Everybody’s Boppin’ (1959-1961) (feat. Annie Ross)
  19. Koko Taylor: What It Takes – The Chess Years (1960-1971)
  20. Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderley: Nancy Wilson/Cannonball Adderley (1961)
  21. Abbey Lincoln: Straight Ahead (1961)
  22. Dionne Warwick: Make Way for Dionne Warwick (1964)
  23. Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto: Getz/Gilberto (1964) (feat. Astrud Gilberto)
  24. Big Mama Thornton: Ball n’ Chain (1965-1968)
  25. The Mamas & the Papas: If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears (1966) (feat. Cass Elliott and Michelle Phillips)
  26. Aretha Franklin: I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You (1967)*
  27. Bobbie Gentry: Ode to Billie Joe (1967)*
  28. The Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967) (feat. Nico and Maureen Tucker)
  29. Aretha Franklin: Lady Soul (1968)
  30. Tammy Wynette: D-I-V-O-R-C-E (1968)
  31. Carla Bley & Paul Haines: Escalator over the Hill (1968-1971)
  32. Dusty Springfield: Dusty in Memphis (1969)*
  33. Tammy Wynette: Stand By Your Man (1969)*
  34. Gal Costa: Gal Costa (1969)
  35. The Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground (1969) (feat. Maureen Tucker)
  36. Fairport Convention: Liege & Leaf (1969) (feat. Sandy Denny)
  37. Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner’s Daughter (1970)*
  38. Essra Mohawk: Primordial Lovers (1970)
  39. The Velvet Underground: Loaded (1970) (feat. Maureen Tucker)
  40. Joni Mitchell: Blue (1971)*
  41. Carole King: Tapestry (1971)*
  42. Janis Joplin: Pearl (1971)*
  43. Dolly Parton: Coat of Many Colors (1971)*
  44. Aretha Franklin: Young Gifted and Black (1972)*
  45. Roberta Flack: Killing Me Softly (1973)
  46. Joni Mitchell: Court and Spark (1974)
  47. Richard & Linda Thompson: I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight (1974)
  48. Elis Regina & Tom Jobin: Elis & Tom (1974)
  49. Celia Cruz & Johnny Pacheco: Celia & Johnny (1974)
  50. Patti Smith: Horses (1975)*
  51. Joni Mitchell: The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975)
  52. Koko Taylor: I Got What It Takes (1975)
  53. Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Kate & Anna McGarrigle (1975)
  54. Emmylou Harris: Elite Hotel (1975)
  55. Joni Mitchell: Hejira (1976)*
  56. ABBA: Arrival (1976) (feat. Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad)
  57. Fleetwood Mac: Rumours (1977) (feat. Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie)*
  58. Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris: Trio (1977)
  59. Blondie: Parallel Lines (1978) (feat. Deborah Harry)*
  60. The Slits: Cut (1979) (feat. Ari Up, Viv Albertine and Tessa Pollitt)*
  61. Talking Heads: Fear of Music (1979) (feat. Tina Weymouth)
  62. Gloria Gaynor: Love Tracks (1979)
  63. Pretenders: Pretenders (1980) (feat. Chrissie Hynde)*
  64. Talking Heads: Remain in Light (1980) (feat. Tina Weymouth)
  65. Rosanne Cash: Seven Year Ache (1981)
  66. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts: I Love Rock ‘n Roll (1981)
  67. Eurythmics: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) (1983) (feat. Annie Lennox)
  68. Madonna: The Immaculate Collection (1983-1990)
  69. Prince & The Revolution: Purple Rain (1984) (feat. Wendy Melvoin, Lisa Coleman, Novi Novoq, Suzie Katayama and Apollonia)
  70. Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense (1984) (feat. Tina Weymouth)
  71. Tina Turner: Private Dancer (1984)*
  72. Kate Bush: Hounds of Love (1985)*
  73. Ofra Haza: Fifty Gates of Wisdom: Yemenite Songs (1985)*
  74. Salt-N-Pepa: Hot, Cool & Vicious (1986) (feat. Cheryl James and Sandra Denton)
  75. Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir: Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares (1987)*
  76. Sonic Youth: Sister (1987) (feat. Kim Gordon)*
  77. Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation (1988) (feat. Kim Gordon)
  78. Pixies: Surfer Rosa (1988) (feat. Kim Deal)
  79. Tracy Chapman: Tracy Chapman (1988)*
  80. Pixies: Doolittle (1989) (feat. Kim Deal)
  81. Madonna: Like a Prayer (1989)*
  82. Queen Latifah: All Hail the Queen (1989)*
  83. The B-52’s: Cosmic Thing (1989) (feat. Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson)
  84. Sinéad O’Connor: I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got (1990)*
  85. My Bloody Valentine: Loveless (1991) (feat. Bilinda Butcher and Debbie Googe)
  86. Mary Black: Babes in the Wood (1991)
  87. Bikini Kill: Revolution Girl Style Now! (1991) (feat. Kathleen Hanna, Kathi Wilcox and Tobi Vail)
  88. Tori Amos: Little Earthquakes (1992)*
  89. Cesária Évora: Miss Perfumado (1992)
  90. Cherish the Ladies: The Back Door (1992) (feat. Mary Coogan, Siobhan Egan, Eileen Golden, Winifred Horan, Maureen Doherty Macken, Joanie Madden, Cathie Ryan, & Linnane Wick)
  91. Altan: Harvest Storm (1992) (feat. Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh)
  92. Cassandra Wilson: Blue Light ‘Til Dawn (1993)*
  93. Björk: Debut (1993)
  94. Liz Phair: Exile in Guyville (1993)*
  95. PJ Harvey: Rid of Me (1993)*
  96. Sheryl Crow: Tuesday Night Music Club (1993)*
  97. Jane Siberry: When I Was A Boy (1993)
  98. The Smashing Pumpkins: Siamese Dream (1993) (feat. D’arcy Wretzky-Brown)
  99. Portishead: Dummy (1994) (feat. Beth Gibbons)*
  100. Hole: Live Through This (1994) (feat. Courtney Love, Kristen Pfaff and Patty Schemel)*
  101. Annbjørg Lien: Felefeber (1994)
  102. Alanis Morissette: Jagged Little Pill (1995)*
  103. Cesária Évora: Cesária Évora (1995)
  104. Emmylou Harris: Wrecking Ball (1995)*
  105. Shania Twain: The Woman in Me (1995)
  106. Björk: Post (1995)*
  107. No Doubt: Tragic Kingdom (1995) (feat. Gwen Stefani)*
  108. Garbage: Garbage (1995) (feat. Shirley Manson)
  109. The Smashing Pumpkins: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995) (feat. D’arcy Wretzky-Brown)
  110. Fugees: The Score (1996) (feat. Lauryn Hill)*
  111. Diana Krall: All for You (1996)
  112. Solas: Solas (1996) (feat. Karan Casey and Winifred Horan)
  113. Leann Rimes: Blue (1996)
  114. Susana Baca: Susana Baca (1997)
  115. Mary Jane Lamond: Suas e! (1997)
  116. Shania Twain: Come On Over (1997)*
  117. Lauryn Hill: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)*
  118. Lucinda Williams: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (1998)*
  119. Dixie Chicks: Wide Open Spaces (1998)*
  120. PJ Harvey: Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea (2000)
  121. Mariza: Fado em Mim (2000)
  122. Lo’Jo: Bohême de Cristal (2000) (feat. Yamina Nid el Mourid and Nadia Nid el Mourid)
  123. Sezen Aksu: Deliveren (2000)
  124. Diana Krall: Live in Paris (2001)
  125. Björk: Vespertine (2001)
  126. Gillian Welch: Time (The Revelator) (2001)*
  127. The White Stripes: White Blood Cells (2001) (feat. Meg White)
  128. Dixie Chicks: Home (2002)
  129. Missy Elliott: Under Construction (2002)
  130. Joyce (also known as Joyce Moreno): Just a Little Bit Crazy (2003)
  131. Sevara Narzarkhan: Yol Bolsin (2003)
  132. Madeleine Peyroux: Careless Love (2003)
  133. The White Stripes: Elephant (2003) (feat. Meg White)
  134. Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Fever to Tell (2003) (feat. Karen O)
  135. Maria Schneider: Concert in the Garden (2004)
  136. Angélique Kidjo: Oyaya! (2004)
  137. Loretta Lynn: Van Lear Rose (2004)
  138. Arcade Fire: Funeral (2004) (feat. Régine Chassagne and Sarah Neufeld)
  139. Sleater-Kinney: The Woods (2005) (feat. Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss)
  140. Amadou & Mariam: Dimanche à Bamako (2005) (feat. Mariam Doumbia)
  141. Amy Winehouse: Back to Black (2006)*
  142. Cat Power: The Greatest (2006)
  143. Joanna Newsom: Ys (2006)*
  144. Miranda Lambert: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2007)
  145. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss: Raising Sand (2007)
  146. Santigold: Santigold (2008)
  147. Portishead: Third (2008) (feat. Beth Gibbons)
  148. The xx: xx (2009) (feat. Romy Madley Croft)
  149. Miranda Lambert: Revolution (2009)
  150. Janelle Monáe: The ArchAndroid (2010)
  151. Arcade Fire: The Suburbs (2010) (feat. Régine Chassagne and Sarah Neufeld)
  152. PJ Harvey: Let England Shake (2011)
  153. Adele: 21 (2011)*
  154. Fiona Apple: The Idler Wheel… (2012)
  155. Sharon Van Etten: Tramp (2012)
  156. HAIM: Days Are Gone (2013) (feat. Este, Danielle & Alana Haim)
  157. Laura MarlingOnce I Was An Eagle (2013)
  158. LordePure Heroine (2013)
  159. FKA Twigs: LP1 (2014)
  160. Taylor Swift: 1989 (2014)
  161. Courtney Barnett: Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (2015)
  162. Grimes: Art Angels (2015)
  163. Beyoncé: Lemonade (2016)*
  164. Solange: A Seat at the Table (2016)*

 

Best Albums of the 21st Century (So Far)

People who like to make lists have little patience, so it’s not surprising that even though our century is less than two decades old, I was able to find a bunch of “Best Music of the 21st Century” lists online.  Most of the lists focus on popular genres such as pop, rock, hip hop, R&B and alternative, so there is little or no jazz, classical or even country in this meta-list. For fun, I have also appended my personal five-star albums of the century so far (to match the meta-list, I’ve excluded classical and jazz).  Here are the albums on two or more of the original source lists I collected.

NOTE: Most of these lists were made long before 2017 – one of them is from 2009  and a few are from 2012 and 2013 – so there is a definite bias towards the first decade of the century.

On 10 “Best Music of the 21st Century” Lists
Elephant (2003) – The White Stripes

On 7 Lists
Stankonia (2000) – OutKast

6 Lists
Kid A (2000) – Radiohead
Is This It (2001) – The Strokes
Discovery (2001) – Daft Punk
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010) – Kanye West

5 Lists
Funeral (2004) – Arcade Fire
Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006) – Arctic Monkeys
Sound of Silver (2007) – LCD Soundsystem
In Rainbows (2007) – Radiohead
Fleet Foxes (2008) – Fleet Foxes   

4 Lists
American Idiot (2004) – Green Day
Back to Black (2006) – Amy Winehouse
Let England Shake (2011) – PJ Harvey
Channel Orange (2012) – Frank Ocean

3 Lists
The Blueprint (2001) – Jay-Z
Vespertine (2001) – Björk 
Up the Bracket (2002) – The Libertines
Songs for the Deaf (2002) – Queens of the Stone Age
Original Pirate Material (2002) – The Streets
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002) – Wilco
Fever to Tell (2003) – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Savane (2006) – Ali Farka Touré
xx (2009) – The xx 
Lost In The Dream (2014) – The War On Drugs

2 Lists
Relationship of Command (2000) – At The Drive In 
The Marshall Mathers LP (2000) – Eminem
Rated R (2000) – Queens of the Stone Age
Weezer [The Green Album] (2001) – Weezer
Lateralus (2001) – Tool
Radio Tisdas Sessions (2001) – Tinariwen  
Time (the Revelator) (2001) – Gillian Welch
American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002) – Johnny Cash
( ) (2002) – Sigur Rós 
The Black Album (2003) – Jay-Z
Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge (2004) – My Chemical Romance
A Grand Don’t Come for Free (2004) – The Streets
Aha Shake Heartbreak (2004) – Kings of Leon
College Dropout (2004) – Kanye West
I Am A Bird Now (2005) – Antony and the Johnsons
Gypsy Punks Underdog World Strike (2005) – Gogol Bordello
Sam’s Town (2006) – The Killers  
Donuts (2006) – J Dilla
Untrue (2007) – Burial 
Raising Sand (2007) – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
For Emma, Forever Ago (2007) – Bon Iver
Sky Blue Sky (2007) – Wilco
Dear Science (2008) – TV on the Radio  
808s and Heartache (2008) – Kanye West 
The ’59 Sound (2008) – The Gaslight Anthem
The Hazards of Love (2009) – The Decemberists
Good Kid, m.A.A.d City (2012) – Kendrick Lamar  
AM (2013) – Arctic Monkeys
Black Messiah (2014) – D’Angelo
To Pimp A Butterfly (2015) – Kendrick Lamar

And, for those who care, here are the albums from 2000 to present that I rated five out of five stars, in chronological order (excluding classical and jazz):

I Am Shelby Lynne (2000) – Shelby Lynne 
Fado em Mim (2000) – Mariza  
Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea (2000) – PJ Harvey
All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000) – U2 
Sweet Tea (2001) – Buddy Guy     
The Id (2001) – Macy Gray  
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002) – Wilco    
Sea Change (2002) – Beck 
One Beat (2002) – Sleater-Kinney   
Fever to Tell (2003) – Yeah Yeah Yeahs   
Electric Version (2003) – The New Pornographers     
Funeral (2004) – Arcade Fire   
Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out (2005) – Petra Haden
Illinois (2005) – Sufjan Stevens   
Z (2005) – My Morning Jacket      
Boys and Girls in America (2006) – The Hold Steady
Let’s Get Out of This Country (2006) – Camera Obscura
Neon Bible (2007) – Arcade Fire
Challengers (2007) – The New Pornographers
Once: Music From the Motion Picture (2007) – Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova
White Chalk (2007) – PJ Harvey    
Hold On Now, Youngster… (2008) – Los Campesinos!     
Bird-Brains (2009) – Tune-Yards         
The Suburbs (2010) – Arcade Fire      
Majesty Shredding (2010) – Superchunk      
Cannibal Courtship (2011) – Dengue Fever       
Bad As Me (2011) – Tom Waits
Yuck (2011) – Yuck
The King Is Dead (2011) – The Decemberists 
Let England Shake (2011) – PJ Harvey
Visions (2012) – Grimes
Pedestrian Verse (2013) – Frightened Rabbit
Sleepwalker (2013) – Angel Olsen  
Alvvays (2014) – Alvvays
Brill Bruisers (2014) – The New Pornographers
My Woman (2016) – Angel Olsen
Antisocialites (2017) – Alvvays  

On the Town: Live Performances I’ve Attended

Although most of the lists on Make Lists, Not War are meta-lists, some are more personal in nature. Most recently I published a list of every place I’ve lived. Other personal lists include: Where Have I Been? (all the states and countries I’ve visited), The Birds (all the birds I’ve ever seen), My Backyard Menagerie (all the creatures I’ve seen near our house), Native Plants I Have Grown and Loved (Part I and Part II) and Concert Log (all the music and comedy performances I’ve been to). I recently revised the Concert Log to add plays and other theatrical performances, so that all the live performances are together in one list. (Note: I’ve omitted performances in which I participated in some way.)  There are significant gaps here – I know there are other plays, concerts and performances I’ve seen that I can’t recall right now, but I think I’ve covered the most significant ones. Here is the revised list: Live Performance Log.

I guess the real question is, why would anyone but me be interested in this list?  I don’t know the answer.  Some people like to look at other people’s experiences because it provides the vicarious pleasure of seeing through another’s eyes (“Oh, I would love to have seen Led Zeppelin live!”).  Others may use it as inspiration to dig into their own pasts (“I’m going to make my own list!”). For others, reading this list would be a complete waste of time.  No problem.  Read it or not, here I come!

Sean Osborn: Celebrity Guest Lister

Make Lists, Not War is proud to announce that celebrated American classical clarinetist and composer Sean Osborn – a visitor to the website – has provided us with some of his favorites – below are two lists he made: one is Best Operas and the other is Best Clarinet Concertos.  For those who want to know more about Mr. Osborn’s music, check out the following:

His website: http://www.osbornmusic.com/
His recordings: https://www.amazon.com/s?_encoding=UTF8&search-alias=music&field-artist=Sean%20Osborn
His compositions: http://www.osbornmusic.com/workslist.html

BEST CLARINET CONCERTOS (a list by Sean Osborn)
1. Carl Nielsen, Clarinet Concerto, op. 57 (1928)
2. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622 (1791) (tie)
2. John Adams, Gnarly Buttons (1996) (tie)
4. Aaron Copland, Clarinet Concerto (1949)
5. Carl Maria von Weber, Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in Eb Major, Op. 74 (1811)
6. Gerald Finzi, Clarinet Concerto, Op. 31 (1949)
7. Magnus Lindberg, Clarinet Concerto (2002)
8. Jean Françaix, Clarinet Concerto (1968)
9. Carl Maria von Weber, Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F minor, Op. 73 (1811)
10. William Bolcom, Clarinet Concerto (1992)

BEST OPERAS (a list by Sean Osborn)

Personal Favorite
IL TRITTICO (1. Il tabarro; 2. Suor Angelica; 3. Gianni Schicchi) (1918) Composer: Giacomo Puccini

Masterpieces
LA BOHÈME (THE BOHEMIAN LIFE) (1896) Composer: Giacomo Puccini
OTELLO (OTHELLO) (1887) Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG (TWILIGHT OF THE GODS) (1876) Composer: Richard Wagner
WOZZECK (1925) Composer: Alban Berg
LE NOZZE DI FIGARO (THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO) (1786) Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Some Near-Masterpieces
TOSCA (1900) Composer: Giacomo Puccini
PETER GRIMES (1945) Composer: Benjamin Britten
SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET (1979) Composer: Stephen Sondheim
COSÌ FAN TUTTE
 (THUS DO THEY ALL) (1790) Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
CARMEN (1875) Composer: Georges Bizet