Masterpieces (No Particular Order)

By luna128 luna128
updated 29 days ago

  1. Radiohead - In Rainbows

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    The year is 2007, legendary UK outfit Radiohead has dropped one of the most poignant and supremely ethereal releases of its make in an unusual context, in a pay-what-you-want download-based storefront on InRainbows.com. Influential.

  2. Swans - Soundtracks For The Blind

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    Superb. A landmark in its movement and long-winded nature as more of a narrative experience than anything else, a record like this was incredible for its time given its contemporaries and its ability to present its ideas in such an awesome way.

  3. Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The Sea

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    Another essential indie release. It really defined storytelling and personal lyricism in prose for its time and context, an influence surely seen even today in many mainstream and internet-indie releases alike. The way Mangum showcases his ideas and struggles as so analogous to the uncertain fear experienced by the world population in World War II would come off as self-aggrandizing and hedonistic with any other artist of the time's direction.

  4. Madvillain - Madvillainy

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    In 2001, prestigious producer Madlib teamed up with underground poet MF DOOM to work on and off again on material as Madvillain. In 2004, they released their debut (and only) record, Madvillainy. Expertly combining savant-level production with the flows and rhymes of one of the greatest in the game at the time, Madvillainy holds up today as one of the most consistent underground hip-hop records of all time.

  5. My Bloody Valentine - Loveless

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    Never have I seen album art so directly representative of the content beneath. My Bloody Valentine's Loveless is an neigh-incomprehensible work of amped and fuzzy guitars mixed with the beautiful feminine whisperings of band member Bilindia Butcher. A defining mark in the shoegaze field and a concentrated blast of sounds from another dimension.

  6. Arcade Fire - Funeral

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    Arcade Fire is a Canadian baroque pop revival group formed in 2002. In 2004, they announced their debut LP, Funeral.Having released their debut EP almost two years earlier in late 2002, many in the scene hotly anticipated this release and I think we can all say the rest is history. Frequently cited as one of the greatest albums of all time, Funeral weaves a new spin on the time-tested classical sounds of Baroque with then-trendy "sad indie" motifs, creating one of the most intricate and earnest efforts in the field. Its consistent and running themes of death and gentrified nostalgia give birth to a sonic soundscape that is so concentrated and pure that I can surely say this is a collection of songs that'll be with you for a long time.

  7. Joanna Newsom - Ys

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    I'm just going to go out and say it right now: I think Joanna Newsom's Ys is the greatest album ever recorded. It's another one of those records I'd have to come up with a succinct way of describing the common threads of, and with this I'd probably have to go with Baroque. This album's soundscape is very traditional and through her excellent harp performance and an handpicked orchestra assembled just for this record, Joanna exhibits a very Nordic and dark presentation for the duration of the record, going as far as to use a self-portrait of herself in time-period-appropriate clothing for the artwork and having one of the best tracks on the album told as a fable. The skeletal structuring of this album allows some of the most poignant and through poetry I've ever heard in label-backed music recordings to be displayed with a consistency and beauty I've yet to resonate with on another record. I won't divulge any of her brilliancy in this review, but it genuinely sends shivers down my spine, even on the 200th listen. You see, Joanna's lyrics are very, very deeply personal. This creates a very intriguing situation, as I could break her writing down and analyze it as deeply as I'd want, but it still wouldn't reveal a dimension of the record that will never come to my understanding, as I am not Joanna. Still, she provides enough information for any attentive listener to piece together a decent profiling of the expounding factors that compelled Joanna to create Ys. Through painfully detailed and vivid imagery, she paints this characterization of herself to cope with what I assume were her real-life demons at the time. Joanna speaks of womanhood, family, love, and her own perception of the world through this mouthpiece she weaves of a fictionalization of herself that conforms to the skeletal structure mentioned previous. It's somehow both densely layered in this production and incredibly sincere at the same time, its intensely metaphorical design not ever restraining its ability to resonate as a genuine human experience.

  8. Yes - Close To The Edge

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    Close to the Edge is certainly what I'd describe to be Yes' masterwork. Using a diverse array of timbral expansion in their cohesive 23-minute work, Yes somehow, with some ethereal and divine power of musical production, actually emulate more of a visual aritst's technique with their piece. Formulating a soundscape of guitar and bass that soar effortlessly as if they were brush strokes during the creative process of a classical masterpiece, the solos of course pouring all of their focus into this during peak emotional points in the composition, creating this beautiful illusion perfectly analogous to the tools of the painter [to be cont]

  9. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band* - Trout Mask Replica

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    Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica is one of the most contested albums in music-based online communities today. Because of this, I cannot promise that you'll necessarily "get" this record until you've made peace with the fact that it is not high-art despite the constant whining on the internet to the contrary. You might be asking why this is on the Masterpiece list then, but nobody ever said a masterpiece needed to be high art. There's a certain undeniable beauty to this record I don't think will ever be replicated, and therefore I see fit to categorize it among all of these other works that elicit such emotion in me.

  10. Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly

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    The best way I can describe Kendrick Lamar's second mainline studio release, To Pimp a Butterfly, is in one word: Historical. Really, history is a theme that runs to the roots of this album's landscape. Utilizing key production and composition techniques used in traditionally black genres like jazz and R&B, Kendrick reveals one of music's strongest narratives, rapping on the record about black history as he beautifully lays out his interpretation of the events and how they impact and effect black culture today. He does this in a very refined and mature way to outline his personal growth in concurrency with the evolution of the African-American culture, but he never compromises himself and stays true to his personal history and certainly doesn't contort his image to obey mass appeal. Really, Kendrick is very earnest on this record, threading these ideas of evolution through one of the greatest metaphors for the state of urban affairs I've ever heard, and by the end of the record, he lays his soul bare in the most powerful ending track ever put onto a hip-hop album.

  11. Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

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    Kanye West is a contentious man. His fifth studio LP, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, is not a contentious album.I often find that some of the most acclaimed albums of all time nail consistency in sound, theme, and presentation without ever sounding bland or "samey." MBDTF is one of those albums. Featuring a completely unheard of take on Yeezy's production while maintaining a crude lyricism approach with absolute groaner lines that you cant help but be charmed by, this album easily takes the cake as the peak of his discography.

  12. J Dilla - Donuts

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    On the day of February 10, 2006, beatmaker and respected MC James Dewitt Yancey, better known by fans as J Dilla, passed away of cardiac arrest. Three days prior he released his self-described masterpiece, Donuts. You see, the recording process of the record was a grueling and painful experience for James, as he was hosptialized for the majority of its production, working out of a hospital in Detroit, sampling his source material from 7 inches (the album's name is a direct reference to both these records and his fondness for pastries.) he had to explicitly request his mother for every time she visited. The context in which this album came to life obviously had a large impact on how it sounds, same for every record, but there's a unique feeling of release present. It was very, very clear that this wasn't just any collection of beats to Dilla, it was what he wanted the world to remember him by: His work ethic, his art, and his unstoppable love for confectioneries.

  13. Radiohead - OK Computer

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    OK Computer is not among my personal favorite albums of all time. You can get your pitchforks (hah) out right now, but personally its a recording that doesnt elicit as strong of an emotional response as other records mentioned on this page. However, there is no denying that it is, in fact, still one of the most urgent and important albums of our time. I do often think about how interesting it is that a lot of what Thom states he fears on this record, either directly or in metaphor, has come true. Specifically, well, the album is named OK Computer, a titling that personally reads as a conformity to authority. OK is indifference and submission, while Computer is a direct reference to a machine of our creation that exhibits a higher ability and power over us. Now, this may have been seen as a pipe dream at the time of release, but to a certain extent it has come true. We're living in increasingly technological times, but at the cost of rising authoritarian ideals. Of course, because of this (and no doubt because of its pretty stellar composition of sounds unheard of in mainstream music at the time), OK Computer is very fondly remembered and I agree with a lot of positive critique on it. I'm not going into detail as analysis of this album is played out and I cannot possibly say anything that hasn't been said before, but I do place this record on more of a cultural pedestal than a personal one.