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Hibees bounce Top albums - The Countdown

Two Headed Boy

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#170 - This is the Story - Proclaimers

This Is the Story is the debut studio album from our favourite Scottish rock duo The Proclaimers.

It was originally released with 12 tracks but after the success of the Gerry Rafferty-produced full band version of "Letter from America", which reached number 3 in the UK Single Chart, it was re-pressed later that year with that track added.

Featuring a stripped-back musical arrangement, the instrumentation on This Is The Story consisted exclusively of hand percussion, acoustic guitar and vocals.

Note: It is surprisingly tricky find critic reviews for this one.


 

Two Headed Boy

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#169 - The Sophtware Slump - Grandaddy

The Sophtware Slump is the second studio album by American indie rock band Grandaddy.

The album was written and recorded by frontman Jason Lytle alone in a remote farmhouse and contains three singles: "The Crystal Lake", "He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's the Pilot." and "Hewlett's Daughter", all of which charted on the UK Singles Chart.

The album's title The Sophtware Slump is a reference to a sophomore slump, a term given to an artist's second album which is seen to fail to live up to the first, as well as a double entendre on software.

Critic Reviews:

"A work of rare and precious qualities. A collection of emotional, richly melodic songs that deal with modern man's uneasy relationship with technology"

"A heart-achingly beautiful requiem for a culture in which progress and technology have led to alienation and disposability"

 

Two Headed Boy

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#168 - Good Deeds and Dirty Rags - Goodbye Mr Mckenzie

Good Deeds and Dirty Rags is the first album from the Bathgate band Goodbye Mr Mackenzie.

Like much of the Mackenzie’s catalogue, the subject matter of the songs on the album come from a variety of influences, many with a bleak background, tales steeped in nefarious roots. Covering topics like the impact of drugs and alcoholism, witch trials and misplaced religion and the advent of AIDS in Edinburgh.

Critic Reviews:

"This excellent debut draws from Bowie, Scott Walker-influences, yet maintains its own identity."

"All of tracks on this disc are great but the highlights are clear to see – the first track ‘Open Your Arms’, ‘Goodwill City’ and ‘The Rattler’ are all timeless classics."

Note: This album is not on Spotify so I've included the compilation below for anyone who wants to listen.

 

Two Headed Boy

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#167 - In The City – The Jam

In the City is the debut studio album by British band the Jam. The album features the band's debut single and title track "In the City".

Singer Paul Weller was only 18 when the group signed to Polydor. He sounds keenly aware of his age on this album, composing rallying cries of teenage rebellion and romance, and happily conflating the two emotions in his songwriting and performances.

Critic Reviews:

"In an era that preached attitude over musicianship, the Jam bettered the competition with good pop sense, strong melodies, and plenty of hooks."

"In The City was The Jam’s debut album, and as such it was the rawest, most punk album of their catalogue."

 

Two Headed Boy

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#166 - Hatful of Hollow - The Smiths

Hatful of Hollow is a compilation album by The Smiths. The album features BBC Radio 1 studio recordings and two contemporary singles with their B-sides.

Hatful of Hollow reached No. 7 on the UK Albums Chart, remaining on the chart for 46 weeks. In 2000, Q magazine placed the album at No. 44 on its list of the "100 Greatest British Albums Ever".

Critic Reviews:

"It is a band summing up beautifully what it means to be growing up awkwardly and feeling strange; wanting love and yet still not fully believing in it."

"Released nine months after The Smiths, Hatful of Hollow, a thrown-together collection of radio sessions predating the studio album and tracks from singles, could've been a lesser companion piece to it. Instead, it's a masterpiece."

 
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Jack K

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#176 - The Northern Soul Story Series – Various Artists

The Northern Soul Story Series is run of compilations that represent the various changes that the scene went through over the years as far as the sound and tempo of records that could fill the floors.

The Northern Soul phenomenon was one of the biggest musical movements of the '70s in the UK. At its height, thousands of party people would descend on the clubs and venues of the scene every weekend for all-night parties, driven by high octane Soul music from the previous decade up to the present day.

Note: I couldn't find any critic reviews for this album series

At least half the songs on that compilation are clunkers.
The release is an exploitation release by Sony utilising records they own the license for so there is a whole lot of filler.
Chuck the words Northern Soul on the front cover and wally's that don't know their onions will buy it.
A single disc of this particular compilation would be mostly killer with little filler.
 

Sancho Panza

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#169 - The Sophtware Slump - Grandaddy

The Sophtware Slump is the second studio album by American indie rock band Grandaddy.

The album was written and recorded by frontman Jason Lytle alone in a remote farmhouse and contains three singles: "The Crystal Lake", "He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's the Pilot." and "Hewlett's Daughter", all of which charted on the UK Singles Chart.

The album's title The Sophtware Slump is a reference to a sophomore slump, a term given to an artist's second album which is seen to fail to live up to the first, as well as a double entendre on software.

Critic Reviews:

"A work of rare and precious qualities. A collection of emotional, richly melodic songs that deal with modern man's uneasy relationship with technology"

"A heart-achingly beautiful requiem for a culture in which progress and technology have led to alienation and disposability"

Absolutely love this album. Saw JL doing it in its entirety at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in April. 1st gig I had been to since lockdown. The start of He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's the Pilot brought a tear to my eye, I have to admit.
 

Two Headed Boy

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#165 - Ocean Drive - The Lighthouse Family

Ocean Drive is the debut album by easy listening pop duo Lighthouse Family.

This album was massive in its year of release. UK top 10 hit "Lifted" was the most-played single on radio nationally during the first quarter of 1996 and subsequent hits saw the album spent 175 weeks on the UK Albums Chart and achieve 6 times Platinum sales.

Critic Reviews:

"While some may find Paul Tucker and Tunde Baiyewu's song stylings a little too soft rock for their taste, the smooth guitar chords and quiet percussion quickly become addictive."

 
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Two Headed Boy

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#164 - The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground & Nico is the debut album by the American rock band the Velvet Underground and German singer Nico.

Described as "the original art-rock record", it was a major influence on many subgenres of rock music and alternative music, including punk, garage, krautrock, post-punk, shoegaze, goth, and indie.

While the album only sold approximately 30,000 copies in its first five years, English musician Brian Eno famously said that "everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band"

Critic Reviews:

"The Velvet Underground & Nico is no longer the dangerous outsider. But that hasn’t changed the fact that listening to it can still be a revelatory experience, even for the initiated."

"One would be hard-pressed to name a rock album whose influence has been as broad and pervasive as The Velvet Underground & Nico."

 

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#163 - Still got the Blues - Gary Moore


Still Got the Blues is the eighth solo studio album by Northern Irish guitarist Gary Moore.

It marked a substantial change in style for Moore, who had been predominantly known for rock and hard rock music with Skid Row, Thin Lizzy, G-Force, Greg Lake and during his own extensive solo career. As indicated by its title, Still Got the Blues saw him delve into an electric blues style.

Critic Reviews:

"This album is brilliant for 2 reasons: Firstly, Gary Moore makes brilliant blues music, and his talented guitar work means he can translate his powerful rock solos and riffs and put them into a traditional blues format, creating some masterful and original blues-rock, and secondly, this album expresses some very diverse moods, from the triumphant highs, to the depressing lows, which makes for a perfect all-round blues-rock masterpiece."

"Moore plays better than ever, spitting out an endless stream of fiery licks that are both technically impressive and soulful."

 

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#162 - Woodface - Crowded House

Woodface is the third studio album by New Zealand-Australian band Crowded House.

A massive success for the band, it features five hit singles "Chocolate Cake", "Fall at Your Feet", "It's Only Natural", "Weather with You", and "Four Seasons in One Day".

Surprisingly, the album was a flop in the USA where their debut had performed extraordinarily well, but led to much greater success and recognition on the European stage than the band had received prior.

Critic Reviews:

"The songs are easily their finest to date, combining flawless melodies and the outstanding harmonies of the brothers' perfectly matched voices."

"A feast of beautifully crafted, airwave-friendly pop, Crowded House's 'Woodface' featured some of the band's most melodic, infectious tunes to date."

 

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#161 - Sheik Yerbouti - Frank Zappa

Sheik Yerbouti is a double album by Frank Zappa mostly made up of live material recorded in 1977 and 1978, with extensive overdubs added in the studio.

Initially, the album was met with mixed reviews, due to the lyrical content -"Bobby Brown" was banned from US airplay due to its sexually explicit lyrics, but despite this, the album remains a cult favorite among Zappa fans to this day.

Sheik Yerbouti is Zappa's biggest selling album with over 2 million units sold worldwide.

Critic Reviews:

"The "dumb entertainment" (as Zappa liked to describe this style) on Sheik Yerbouti was some of his dumbest, for better or worse, and the music was undeniably good - easily some of his best."

"If Zappa’s humour appeals to you, then this is probably going to be your favourite Zappa album."

 

Two Headed Boy

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Well... todays run of albums couldn't have started and ended more differently if you planned it.
 

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#160 The Chronic - Dr Dre

The Chronic was Dr. Dre's first solo album after he departed the hip hop group N.W.A and its label Ruthless Records over a financial dispute.

It includes insults towards Ruthless and its owner, the former N.W.A member Eazy-E. It features many appearances by then-emerging American rapper Snoop Dogg, who used the album as a launch pad for his own solo career.

Critic Reviews:

"Together as a united front, Snoop and Dre are swaggering, unfadable. But more than anything, across The Chronic being gangsta is a state of mind."

"Arguably the most important album in hip-hop history."

 

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#159 Hounds of Love - Kate Bush

Say hello to our first album in the countdown with multiple votes!

Hounds of Love is the fifth studio album by English singer Kate Bush. It was a commercial success and marked a return to the public eye for Bush after the relatively low sales of her previous album, 1982's The Dreaming.

Hounds of Love received critical acclaim both on its release and in retrospective reviews and spawned four hit singles: "Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)", "Cloudbusting", "Hounds of Love", and "The Big Sky".

Critic Reviews:

"Hounds of Love proved there were no compositional mountains Bush couldn’t climb. While the second side asserted her vanguard bent, the first side yielded four UK Top 40 hits."

"Almost three decades after Hounds Of Love’s release, Kate Bush is regarded as pop royalty and the album is still regarded as a masterpiece"

 

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#158 - The Stranger - Billy Joel

The Stranger is the fifth studio album by American singer Billy Joel.

The Stranger is considered Joel's critical and commercial breakthrough. Four singles were released in the US, all of which became top-40 hits: : "Just the Way You Are", "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)", "She's Always a Woman" and "Only the Good Die Young".

Critic Reviews:

"Joel rarely wrote a set of songs better than those on The Stranger, nor did he often deliver an album as consistently listenable."

"Joel constructs monster melodies and choruses with his band."

 

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#157 - Toxicity - System of a Down

Toxicity is the second studio album by Armenian-American alternative metal band System of a Down.

Toxicity features elements of multiple genres, including folk, progressive rock, jazz, and Armenian and Greek music, including prominent use of instruments like the sitar, banjo, keyboards, and piano. It contains a wide array of weighty themes, such as mass incarceration, the CIA, the environment, police brutality, drug addiction and scientific reductionism.

Critic Reviews:

"Toxicity, is a perfect balance between gorgeous growling guitars, schizoid bellows and adrenaline-inducing sick beats."

"Toxicity is heavy, making abundant use of the juiciest guitar distortion in its class thanks to the density of Rick Rubin’s production. But more importantly, the album is restless, bounding from one idea to another before the first can sink in."

 

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#156 - Cracked Rear View - Hootie & The Blowfish

Cracked Rear View is the debut studio album by American soft rock band Hootie & the Blowfish.

Contrasting with the sound of their 90's grunge contemporaries, Hootie & the Blowfish's music was described as "a mainstream pop variation of blues rock".

Though the band are best known to British audiences through American television, Cracked Rear View was a massively successful album in their homeland. The album has been certified 21x platinum (double diamond) as of 2018. It is the joint 19th-best-selling album of all time in the United States.

Critic Reviews:

"Although Hootie & the Blowfish aren't innovative, they deliver the goods, turning out an album of solid, rootsy folk-rock songs that have simple, powerful hooks."

"Musically, Hootie & the Blowfish have an almost philosophical commitment to keeping the good times rolling."

 

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