KEXP Top 903 Albums

KEXP Top 903 Albums

KEXP is a Seattle Radio Institution

KEXP completed its pledge drive yesterday evening during which they played songs from their countdown of the top 903 albums of all time as voted on by listeners.  I suppose I should mention again that I spent too much time trying to come up with my top-ten and missed the voting deadline.  (see related post).

I have been a KEXP supporter since 1987 so I have a pretty good idea of what they are about.  That said, it was no surprise to me that a Radiohead album was chosen as the best album of all time.  I say that because I think that every year Radiohead has put out an album, they’ve been number one on the list for those years.  I’ve never been a big fan of them, but thousands of the stations listeners are.

Here are the top 40 albums on the list:

1   Radiohead – OK Computer
2   The Clash – London Calling
3   The Arcade Fire – Funeral
4   Nirvana – Nevermind
5   Pixies – Doolittle
6   Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
7   The Beatles – The White Album
8   U2 – The Joshua Tree
9   Radiohead – The Bends
10 Pixies – Surfer Rosa
11 Radiohead – Kid A
12 The Beatles – Abbey Road
13 Jeff Buckley – Grace
14 The Beatles – Revolver
15 Sufjan Stevens – Come on Feel the Illinois
16 The Smiths – The Queen is Dead
17 Pearl Jam – Ten
18 David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust
19 The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
20 Radiohead – In Rainbows
21 The Cure – Disintegration
22 Elliott Smith – Either/Or
23 Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
24 The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
25 Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique
26 Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks
27 Pavement – Slanted and Enchanted
28 Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street
29 My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
30 The Postal Service – Give Up
31 Modest Mouse – The Moon and Antarctica
32 Built to Spill – Perfect from Now On
33 Death Cab for Cutie – The New Year
34 Weezer – Weezer
35 The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
36 The Flaming Lips – The Soft Bulletin
37 Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde
38 The Replacements – Let it Be
39 The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground and Nico
40 Belle & Sebastian – If You’r Feeling Sinister

You can view the whole list here or you can download KEXP Top 903 Albums that I created in Excel from the list.

Yesterday when I was listening to the top 25, I kept waiting for one of the all-time greatest albums ever to be played, and it never was.  I was shocked to find that Patti Smith’s Horses was not in the top 25, not in the top 50, not even in the top 100!  It placed number 104 and was played at 5:34 a.m. Friday.  I began to wonder who the hell I was sharing this radio station with.  Seriously.  What’s up with you guys?

Take a look at the top 40 again.  Those of you who know Horses inside-out would probably agree with me when I say that it is far superior to at least 30 albums on that list, and it’s fifty times better than the album that came in at number 15.  So again, what’s up?  Is it a generation gap that I’m dealing with?  Probably not… There are other albums from the seventies and earlier on the list.  Did people just forget?

So, Patti, if you happen to come across this blog post, I just want you to know that in spite of a disrespectful placing of Horses on this list, we in Seattle love your work and can’t wait for you to come visit us again.

And if any of you KEXP DJs read this, well all I can say is please play more Patti Smith and play it often.  Your listeners are in need of some schooling.

Enough about that.  Here are some brief notes about some of the artists that placed several times:

Tom Waits had ten albums listed; his highest was #63, Rain Dogs.
REM had ten albums listed; their highest was #67, Murmur.
Talking Heads had eight albums listed; their highest was #54, Stop Making Sense.
Beck had eight albums listed; his highest was #43, Odelay.
David Bowie had eight albums listed, his highest was #18, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust.
Neil Young had seven albums listed; his highest was #65, Harvest.
Bob Dylan had seven albums listed; his highest was #26, Blood on the Tracks.
Radiohead had six albums listed; their highest was #1, OK Computer.

And the greatest living composer of music today, Nick Cave, had six albums listed (including the GRINDERMAN album); his highest was #333, The Boatman’s Call.

One last note:  Today I went out and bought my first Radiohead album.  I picked up OK Computer and I am listening to it as I write this.  I’m trying to figure out what all the fuss is about.  While I’m doing that, you all should be listening to Patti Smith and Nick Cave.

2 thoughts on “KEXP Top 903 Albums

  1. Well, damn, Brad. This list practically mirrors my taste. I haven’t heard of many of these bands, but most of them are my particular favorites which I’ve considered music few other people really seem to get.

    I’m not as unique as I thought, I guess.

    But I really disagree that these are the best albums of all time. The Beatles should be higher than Radiohead, Arcade Fire shouldn’t be in the top ten, Johnny Cash should hold a lead in the top ten, Patti Smith. Tom Waits isn’t in the top ten? Holy shit – The Clash definitely deserve their spot. Pixies too. Pixies transformed music for me. Their contribution was a perpendicular shift when I first heard them.

    I differ with you on Radiohead. My opinion is that they are genius on the level of Shakespeare. Musical patterns that will endure for ages and possibly have deep effects in a similar way.

    David Bowie did that. Nine Inch Nails did it. Nirvana did it. The Smiths sort of had a crazy derivation from that theme of changing everything. Patti Smith was disruptive in a forcefully gravitational way.

    The Cure’s Disintegration had a mind blowing effect on me. I’ve never fallen so deeply into an album the way I did into that one. And I know you’ll hate me for this one, but Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual is something I can listen to every day for the rest of my life.

    Joy Division, New Order, Dead Can Dance melted my mind. Amazing new musical formations came from their creations.

    I can specifically point to music you introduced me to that changed what I believed was possible. The Coathangers! Jesus Christ that shit is amazing. Patti Smith (though I loved her for years before I even knew you) you had this electricity when you talked about her. I went back and re-lit my own fire for her. Tom Waits was another. Nick Cave. I love your passion for music.

    Anyway, awesome post. Thanks.

  2. Shit, I forget what my top ten were five minutes ago when I started thinking about this. Here it goes:

    In no particular order.

    London Calling
    Los Angeles
    Darkness on the Edge of Town
    Live through This
    Workers Playtime
    This Years Model
    Murder Ballads
    Let It Be
    (Replacements! not the pathetic Beatles)

    OK the order is semi-particular. The Clash are the greatest band that ever walked the face of the Earth. There is no mood that I can have that the Clash don’t address or have the perfect song to fix. There is no time that I cannot listen to the Clash and not feel uplifted or amazed or want to scream or sing at the top of my lungs.

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