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Dominic Howard. You had all the money you could spend ker-ching! You didn't get on with your bandmates because they all had superiority complexes. You couldn't enter the recording booth without having an existential crisis. Alongside The Harder They Come movie and soundtrackCatch a Fire changed the perception of reggae from eccentric, lightweight pop to a music of mystery and power. Dressed in a snappy Zippo lighter sleeve, and launched with rock razzmatazz, it delivered a polished, guitar-sweetened version of what Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer had made when white audiences weren't listening.
By turns militant, mystic and sexy, it helped make Bob Marley the first Third World superstar. Until the late Eighties, Manchester was thought to be a forbidding, dour place where the ghost of Ian Curtis still clanked about.
The Stone Roses' concatenation of sweet West Coast psychedelia and the lairy, loved-up rave culture was as unforeseeable as it was seismic. Ecstasy pulled the sniffy rock kids away from their Smiths records and into clubland; the result was an album whose woozy words and funky drumming sounded as guileless as it did hedonistic.
Until Stax Records and Otis Redding arrived, the Southern states were a place you had to leave to make it unless you were a country singer.
Recorded weeks after the death of Redding's idol, Sam Cooke, the album cast Otis as Cooke's successor, an embodiment of young black America with white appeal - alongside Cooke's 'A Change is Gonna Come' was the Simon Di - Trip Hop Nation (CD 'Satisfaction'. With terrific backings from the MGs and the Markeys horns behind Otis's rasping vocals, it defined 'soul'. Equally important was the use of electronic keyboards, then in their infancy, which vastly expanded the range of available textures.
Head Hunters kickstarted the stylistic and ethnic fusions that have enlivened jazz for 30 years. A mere 30 minutes long, this was none the less the album where heavy metal was first forged.
Its ponderous tempos, cod-satanic imagery bassist Geezer Butler was a Roman Catholic and Dennis Wheatley fanTony Iommi's sledgehammer guitar riffs and Ozzy Osbourne's shrieking vocals all went on to define the genre and shaped most arena rock of the Seventies and Eighties. To restore it took he and his three 'brothers' just one album and 16 tracks, all under three minutes. Brevity was the New York punk rockers' first lesson to the world, along with speed, a distorted guitar thrash and a knowing line in faux-dumb lyrics.
In an era of 'progressive' rock pomposity and minute tracks, the Ramones' Album) approach was rousing and confrontational. Long before they recorded the first rock opera, Tommy, they unleashed a stream of singles that articulated all the youthful pent-up frustration of Sixties London before it started to swing. Obliterators of rap's boundaries, Massive Attack pioneered the cinematic trip hop movement.
Massive Attack's debut LP spawned the unforgettable 'Unfinished Sympathy' and remains a modern classic. In fact, there would be no British urban music scene to speak of. In parallel with Jeff Buckley, Radiohead's Thom Yorke popularised the angst-laden falsetto, a thoughtful opposite to the chest-beating lad-rock personified by Oasis's Liam Gallagher. Sounding girly to a backdrop of churning guitars became a much-copied idea, however, one which eventually coalesced into an entire decade of sound.
Coldplay would not exist, nor Keane, nor James Blunt. Pure, startling genius Album) beginning to end, Michael Jackson and producer Quincy Jones seemed hellbent on creating the biggest, most universally appealing pop album ever made. Jones introduced elements of rock into soul and vice versa in such a way that it's now no surprise to hear a pop record that mashes up more marginal genres into a form that will have universal relevance. Their self-titled debut - the first rap album to go gold - was rough around the edges and catchy as hell.
The Chic Organisation revolutionised disco music in the late Seventies, reclaiming it from the naff Bee Gees and ensuring the pre-eminence of slickly produced party music in the charts for the next three decades. They also created a hit-making formula that mixed dance beats with monster hooks. Yearning, melodic, jangly, and very northern, The Smiths' first album was quite unlike anything that had gone before. It helped that Morrissey was a one-off and Simon Di - Trip Hop Nation (CD Johnny Marr had taken all the best riffs from Sixties pop, punk and disco and melded them into his own unique style.
But there was something magical about their sound that endless successors have tried to replicate. Thanks to producer Andrew Weatherall and some debauched raving, this former fey indie outfit enthusiastically took on dance music's heady rushes.
It was a conversion bordering on the Damascene, but one being mirrored in halls of residence, cars, clubs and bedsits all around the nation. Screamadelica brought hedonism crashing into the mainstream. There's something refreshingly jolly about the modern-life paranoia expressed by chief Talking Head David Byrne on this album that moany old Radiohead could learn from. Opening track 'I Zimbra' splices funk with afrobeat, paving the way for Byrne and Eno's mould-breaking My Life in the Bush of Ghosts album a few years later.
Paul Simon's Graceland might never have been made. The birth of English folk-rock. Considered an act of heresy by folk purists, this electrified album fragmented the band. No matter, the opening cry of 'Come all you roving minstrels' proved galvanic.
Until Dare, synthesisers meant solemnity. Phil Oakey's reinvention of the group as chirpy popsters, complete with two flailing, girl-next-door vocalists, feminised electronica. You might argue Nirvana's landmark album changed nothing whatsoever. All their best seditious instincts came to nothing, after all. And yet Nevermind still rocks mightily, capturing a moment when the vituperative US underground imposed its agenda on the staid mainstream.
Five good-looking young men hauled the jangling sound of Television and the Velvet Underground into the new millennium, reinvigorating rock's obsession with having a good time. Ten years after hip hop's arrival, its original joie de vivre had been subsumed by macho braggadocio.
Three Feet High made hip hop playful again, with light rhythms, Simon Di - Trip Hop Nation (CD, unusual sound samples and its talk of the D. Acid house was sniffed at as a fad until it started producing 'proper' albums. Frequencies was its first masterpiece. Updating the pristine blueprint of Kraftwerk with house, acid, ambient and hip hop, it made dance music legitimate to album-buyers. Restricting our anniversary list to a mere 50 was a tortuous process.
We know you have opinions on these highly emotive matters, so join the debate and make a case for your choice of record at observer. Another apocalypse, another side of Bob Dylan. The man really knows how to pick his moments. Dylan has brilliantly timed his new masterwork for a summer when the hard rain is falling all over the nation: a plague, a quarantine, revolutionary action in the streets, cities on fire, phones out of order.
During the past two years, Bad Bunny has left no box unchecked en route to attaining global crossover superstardom. An artist of his merit might try to further stretch his clout by recruiting even more maximalist pop stars and producers, guaranteed to win mainstream ubiquity the world over. Gaga has crafted a potent antidote to the quarantine blues. On her latest album, Saint Cloudyear old songwriter Katie Crutchfield trades in the indie-rock neurosis of her previous work for a mellower, twangy sound that nods toward her roots in Birmingham, Alabama.
But her piercing observations have only grown sharper with time. The sun-kissed compositions match her words perfectly. You can hear these songs playing out of car speakers on a daytime road trip, or by a summer bonfire once it starts to die down. High Off Life is the first Future album since January — an eternity by his standards. High Off Life is Future at his most optimistic, as the man from Pluto decides to send out a positive message.
A pop savant whose vision keeps getting more all-encompassing as he keeps making records, Mike Hadreas a. Perfume Genius has delivered his most ambitious music yet on his fifth LP. As such, Reunions feels meaningfully, if subtly, removed from the trilogy of post-sobriety records the Nashville-via-North Alabama songwriter has written over the past decade.
Even when songs wander off into diffuse eddies, or when he crams several distinct micro-movements into the same tune, everything seems obsessively considered, as if he spends more time perfecting the high-hat clicks than most artists take making their whole record. Of the two LPs, Locusts is the darkest and the most engrossing.
It makes for a complex, harrowing listen. So Megan Thee Stallion chose the right moment to break free. But as the new songs show, Megan at her most vulnerable is still as tough as a tank.
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