Ranking albums

Greatest Music

I tried to resist but I just couldn’t. I first saw links to Rolling Stone.com‘s 50 Coolest Records and 50 UnCoolest Records a few days ago. I visited and started looking at the Cool list.

The site is designed intentionally (apparently) to force you to look at the albums one at a time; there’s no place with just a list of them. So that’s kind of annoying. (The same is true of the UnCool list.) After the first five I got bored when I realized that these aren’t supposed to be the “best” records or the “most influential” records or anything like that. They’re just supposed to be “cool” or “uncool” based on the opinions of some dorks folks at RS.

I suppose I don’t need to say that I disagree with the inclusion of most of the albums on both lists. I didn’t even bother to finish looking at them until I read Kottke’s post on the subject. He mentions that he owns one record from the cool list and none of the records on the uncool list. I’m just sitting here listening to APHC on a lazy Saturday afternoon in LA and decided to see how many I have from each list.

I suppose it’s a testament to my taste. I have five from each list. I was obviously not content to let RS decide a matter of such great importance, so I compiled my own list. It was tough to not include Nirvana‘s Nevermind or Soul Coughing‘s Irresistable Bliss, but I tried to just rank the ten “coolest” albums I own, based on RS’s enigmatic non-definition of “cool”. So here you go.

The Ten (or so) “Coolest” Albums of All-Time (according to me):

By the way, you can click “read more” to see which of the albums I own from RS’s lists.

From the Cool list:

From the UnCool list:

And, quickly, here are the albums that *almost* made it onto my top ten list: Damn the TorpedosTom Petty and the Heartbreakers, 101Depeche Mode, The Colour and the ShapeFoo Fighters, CalifornicationRed Hot Chili Peppers, Synchronicity – The Police, Before These Crowded StreetsDave Matthews Band, Pretty Hate MachineNine Inch Nails, 40 oz. to FreedomSublime, Van Halen II and Diver DownVan Halen

2024-02-06: Broken links in this post have been removed and/or updated.

There are 3 comments on this post

  1. The albums that didn’t make it onto your list (Foo Fighters, NIN and Sublime) would have been included on mine. Incidentally, I blogged about this today also, saying pretty much that if RS thinks I am uncool then that’s the best news I heard all day. RS is highly uncool to my decidely un-indie type taste. And Weezer on the NOT COOL list? What’s up with that?

    Oh, you are much better person than me for admitting in your blog that you own a Cinderalla album.

  2. I think the reason the albums are each on a separate page at RS is so they can pump as many pop-unders as possible at you, as well as push CD sales for Best Buy. I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole feature was paid for by Best Buy, actually.

  3. I listed most of your “top 10” on “best in class and other best of lists at AMAZON.com. But when it came to “coolest albums”, it was clear that excellence was not necessarily the essence of cool.

    To be honest, I still can’t decide which ‘Rolling Stones’ CD is actually their coolest: Sticky Fingers, Let it Bleed, Beggar’s Banquet, Aftermath, December’s Children, Some Girls, and Exile on Main Street are all better than many other band’s best works. But for coolness, I figured “It’s only Rock and Roll” worked, and kept things in proper perspective.

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