The 50(ish) Greatest Albums Of All Time…

Weekly reviews of ‘the classics’ I’ve never bothered to listen to.

Hello. Happy New Year!

Ok, so, for 2021 we’re going to do something different. Lord knows we don’t need a repeat of 2020. The new plan is to review a ‘classic’ album every week. Some of them I have heard before (some of them many, many times), but most I have never clapped ears on.

So many records, so little time… until now! (Photo by blocks on Unsplash)

I am hoping that I will actually be able to do things in 2021 and so this structure will keep me accountable when I don’t have time to dawdle and will force me to write weekly. …

The 50(ish) Greatest Albums of All Time

Album #19 : Kendrick Lamar — To Pimp A Butterfly

Long term readers may have noticed the elephant in the room. Of all the subjects 2021 has thrown up, one has been conspicuously absent from these weekly reviews. I could have mentioned it the week I reviewed Beyoncé, or maybe Mary J Blige, probably Love, definitely Michael Kiwanuka.

Don’t mind me… (Photo by James Hammond on Unsplash)

If this Kendrick Lamar album hadn’t coincided with a long weekend social media blackout from sporting stars and institutions, intended to highlight the impact of online abuse, I probably would have found a way to avoid the subject again. Whether or not that boycott was a success remains to be seen (although…

The 50(ish) Greatest Albums of All Time

Album #18 : Nirvana — Nevermind

This week, I saw my mum and dad for the first time in 7 months. It was brilliant. (Admittedly, I still haven’t seen my sister, brother or sister-in-law but you know what they say about beggars and choosing…) It goes without saying really, but the last year has been really tough for families living apart — especially over winter and the festive period. The soul-destroying boredom of lockdowns made the prospect of spending Christmas together even sweeter than usual and to have that ripped away at the last minute was, honestly, absolutely devastating.

Soon… (Photo by Kevin Delvecchio on Unsplash)

Fortunately, I am not someone who has…

The Greatest 50(ish) Albums of All Time

Album #17 : Mary J Blige — What’s The 411?

I really didn’t want to write about football this week. Especially after I have written about my relationship with the beautiful game previously. But, to be honest, I haven’t been able to summon much interest to write about anything else, and this album didn’t exactly help to inspire me.

Although it is widely recognised as a seminal album, What’s the 411? is not exactly enthralling. It is one of those records that suffers because it was the first to do what it did. Nobody had really fused hip hop beats with R&B melodies before. Today, it sounds tired, like it…

The 50(ish) Greatest Albums of All Time

Album #16 : Arctic Monkeys — Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

This album reminds me of everyone’s favourite topic — the past. The songs are about going on nights out, jumping taxis, rubbish college band nights and, of course, being afraid to speak to people you fancy. The experiences in these songs are my experiences (with the exception of that song about the prostitute, I should add).

For me this album was released at exactly the right time. I am the Arctic Monkeys generation. I would listen to lyrics like “anticipation has a habit to set you up, for disappointment in evening entertainment but,” whilst getting ready to go out nights…


Album #15 : The Smashing Pumpkins — Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Conveniently, because I just got one last week, this album is a lot like a new puppy. It starts off with the soothing and chilled out instrumental of the title track before easing gently into Tonight Tonight (which, for the record, is one of the most beautiful songs ever). Like our new arrival, everything is cool and calm and simple — gentle even.

Then, without any warning, all hell breaks loose. Grunge tracks and grunge tracks and little accidents on the kitchen floor. Running around like crazy and learning that, despite all our rage, we are all just a rat…

The 50(ish) Greatest Albums of All Time

Album #14 : Bob Dylan — Highway 61 Revisited

Photo by Caleb Woods on Unsplash

The year is 1965. It is the end of August. You are in New York, or Los Angeles, or somewhere in-between. It’s a hot day and the sun bears down on you as you walk down the street. You step into your favourite record store and the cool breeze of a fan chills the sweat underneath your t-shirt. It is dark in here, so you take of your sunglasses as you nod to the man behind the counter. You’ve never learnt his name, but you know him and he knows you.

“Hey,” he says, elbows leaning on the counter as…

RE: The Shakespeare Estate’s Cease-and-Desist Letter

Photo by Andre Mouton on Unsplash

Dear Sirs,

In response to the cease-and-desist letter you issued my handlers, my name is Monkey #467. Contrary to that old wives tale, it was not one thousand monkeys at one thousand typewriters, it was just me. I am the monkey who you allege copied the entire works of one ‘William Shakespeare’ and, frankly, I am furious.

First and foremost, the sheer abundance of my work makes it impossible for me to have copied your client. What has he written?! I have written thirty-seven plays! And one hundred and fifty-four sonnets! Do you even know what a sonnet is?! I…

The 50(ish) Greatest Albums of All Time

Album #13 : Paul Simon — Graceland

Spring has definitely sprung where I am. The mornings are brighter and the evenings are lighter, the weather has turned a corner (although, I live in Glasgow, so it is probably doing a three-point turn) and nature is showing signs of new life.

Photo by Andréas BRUN on Unsplash

I was driving on the weekend and saw hundreds of daffodils sprouting up beneath the still leafless, wintery trees. It reminded me that, whilst hope is here now, the evidence of the harsh winter that has come before is still there for all to see. Appropriately, this week also mark’s exactly 1 year since the UK was…

The 50(ish) Greatest Albums of All Time

Album #12 : Black Sabbath — Black Sabbath

“What did you put in this cake?!” (Photo by Nathan Bingle on Unsplash)

Try and have a think, when was the last time you were pleasantly surprised by something?

Sure, you will have been alarmed by stuff, appalled even, and probably daily. Especially if you read the Daily Mail. But when was the last time you had a good surprise? Right now, it seems as though the world is as repetitive as it is depressing. Rolling, stale news about the pandemic, only abruptly and brutally interrupted with all too familiar tales of unspeakable violence against women or racial prejudices. I’ve heard the word ‘drudgery’ more times in the last 12 months than in…

James Beck

(n): Glasgow-based Stopfordian. See also; Books, Sport, Nonsense

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