Retro Records: Top Five Albums

Chris reveals his favourite albums of all time…

flickr/K. oa

Pet Sounds (1966), The Beach Boys – Beautiful orchestration throughout, with lyrics ruminating on love (‘God Only Knows’) and the loss of innocence (‘Caroline, No’) to heart-breaking effect. Brian Wilson suffered a nervous breakdown a year later when he heard ‘Sgt. Pepper’, believing it surpassed this album. He was wrong. Nothing ever has.

Revolver (1966), The Beatles – Most their albums are great, but this represents their peak. The variety is stunning, from a solo string quartet on ‘Eleanor Rigby’ to the psychedelic kaleidoscope of ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’. Never again were they this inspired, and, unbelievably, it comes only three years after their first record.

Paul’s Boutique (1989), The Beastie Boys – The pinnacle of Golden Age hip-hop. Samples come from sources as diverse as Led Zeppelin, Donovan and the Psycho soundtrack. Vocal snippets come courtesy of Public Enemy and Johnny Cash. All in addition to the never-funnier rapping and name-dropping of the Beasties themselves. Essential.

Different Class (1995), Pulp– Forget Oasis and Blur, Pulp were the true stars of Britpop. While the Gallaghers and Damon Albarn admired 60s British Invasion slightly too much, Jarvis Cocker is indebted to a thrilling mix of 70s synthesiser pop and new wave. Yet

flickr/Arizona Parrot

despite the fantastic music, the lyrics, considering the absurdities of the English class system, are even better.

Born to Run (1975), Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band – The title track is my favourite song. The moment after the guitar solo when Bruce escapes with Wendy from small-town life, accompanied by that unforgettable riff, is the encapsulation of rock and roll. Yet the rest of the album is nearly as good. Grandiose, yes, but in a perfect way.


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