Sunday Question – What Is The Last Great Album In Your Opinion?

Man, talk about a tough question for someone like me. Well, it’s not, but when I give my answer you’re going to say “no way”. But I at least have criteria; I wonder if you have the same thing or just go by the last thing you bought that you liked.

by Jem Stone

Ah yes, criteria. Without criteria, you’re just guessing and throwing things out without any meaning. Not having criteria allows you to say “Ooh, I love Lady Gaga because she did a song called Allesandro” without listening to anything else she might have done. Not having criteria allows you to say “Man, I hate Aretha Franklin” while you’re walking around the house singing “Respect.”

I have criteria that disallows things. Let’s take a look:

1. Classical albums of existing music don’t count. Sure, I love Rachmaninoff and Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, but if a monkey had enough talent to play that music and I bought it I would probably love it, and it would be a great album, but it’s not new music. So, that has to be thrown out.

2. Show tunes and movie music doesn’t count. Both are scripted to enhance a movie and to have flow throughout a full performance. I love both Phantom of the Opera and Wicked, but I have to ask if I’d have enjoyed both albums without their being a show to follow along with. I’m thinking that without the show I’d have never even given the music a shot, so they get excluded.

3. A great album doesn’t necessarily have to have a great hit, but whether it does or doesn’t, you have to like at least 75% of the music on it. We don’t have sides of an album anymore, but if you find yourself skipping songs you don’t want to hear, then it’s probably not a great album, just a pretty good album with a few songs you absolutely love. If that’s the best you can come up with for a great album then your criteria has a grading curve to it; don’t settle!

4. If this doesn’t start giving it away, if you folks know me, then nothing will. Your favorite album will most probably correspond with your favorite artist or artists. Man, I have a lot of great albums in my repertoire. There are so many that I loved either every song or almost every song, to the point that I’ll even listen to the not very good songs because if I didn’t I’d feel like I was taking away from the entire experience of the album.

My problem is that all the great albums (and yes, I still call them “albums” instead of CDs) are from when I was younger. Not necessarily my 20’s, but I have to face the fact that when I want to listen to certain things over and over, I go back to older songs. Sure, there are some newer songs I like, and I’ve even bought an album or two over the last bunch of years. But if I tell you that the last thing I bought was Mariah Carey’s Emancipation of Mimi, which came out in 2005… yeah, you know my collection of music is kind of old. lol

So, for me, the last, or newest I guess I’ll say, great album was… Dangerous by Michael Jackson. I almost said HIStory, but the first CD was a collection of old hits I loved and I didn’t make my 75% quota on the second album. Dangerous came out in 1991; isn’t that a shame? But off that album of 14 songs I loved 12 of them, which is 86%. And 9 songs, count ’em, 9 were released as singles from that album; who else has had that many songs stand on their own from one album except… oh yeah, Michael Jackson & the Beatles? 😉

Heck, let’s end with one of those songs; what album was your last greatest?

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20 thoughts on “Sunday Question – What Is The Last Great Album In Your Opinion?”

  1. I actually have two: Steely Dan’s Aja and Donna Summer VH1 Presents: Live & More Encore. Both of these albums had non-stop hits. As you can see I’ve gone waaaaay back.

    1. Wow, you did go way back! My wife had the first album, and I had the second. Both were very good albums, and that Donna Summer album got a lot of action out of me. 🙂

  2. Difficult to say, mostly I am listening old songs, the latest music is not really for my taste. I am going to surprise you with answer, the last album of Fukuyama Yoshiki is very good, I’ve discovered the band watching Japanese anime with my son and currently listening a lot Japanese music and I can tell you why. It seems that Japanese bands do not care much about the trends in music or style. They are doing music that is good for listening and the lyrics really can touch.

    1. Carl, I’d always heard that much of Japanese music was kind of behind the times because they love older music and dress for the most part. Of course it couldn’t be across the board. And a Japanese rocker near my age; of all things! 🙂

  3. Heck, Mitch, you sound like an old man calling these things “albums”. But what else would you call them? CDs doesn’t work either. I call them albums too.

    I haven’t bought that many albums that have been released in recent years. To me the real Golden Age of Albums was in the 70s.

    If tribute compilation albums are acceptable I’m going to pick Where the Pyramid Meets the Eye which was a tribute to Roky Erikson released in 1990. Great recreations of his songs done by outstanding cutting edge artists. It brought some much deserved attention to this neglected artist.

    Otherwise, one that comes to my mind is Van Morrison’s Poetic Champions Compose (1987) sublime jazzy, R & B influenced genius.

    Love topics like this.

    Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011

    1. See Lee, you might think it makes me sound old, but that’s how it goes. Matter of fact, I’ve noticed on these entertainment shows that most of them still call them albums as well. I haven’t heard the name Van Morrison in a long time. As for compilation albums, it’s an album so it counts. Can’t say I’ve ever heard of this person, though. I did go take a listen; almost reminds me of a cross between Dylan and Cat Stevens.

    1. Ah, so you’ve gone with the newer music, eh DeAnna? Of course, for the reasons you mentioned, nothing wrong with that.

  4. Your distracting me. I am suppose to be doing something else and then I got sucked into your post. My last great album, and this shocked me is Guilty by Barbara Streisand with Barry Gibb. I love that album and everything on it. I’ve had it in several formats over the years and still get stoned out listening to it.

    Watch the Jackson video really churned up the emotions. He was really so beautiful back them and so talented always. You get the feeling when he is on the stage, all else fades away.

    I think if he had gotten back to the stage earlier he would still be alive today.

    Great question.


    1. Thanks Nick. Ah yes, believe it or not I know that album of which you speak, though I didn’t buy it. The last Streisand album I purchased was Superman, but I loved the soundtrack to A Star Is Born. And what you say about Michael Jackson just might be true; I think he stopped because of back pain, though.

  5. Good question. . . My favorite song from the HIStory is Little Susie. I think it’s a masterpiece.

    Right now, I really like Janelle Monae on ArchAndroid. I could listen to it everyday.

    1. Ah Monique, the one I’ve called the “big haired chick”. lol I liked her performance on the Grammys, but I have to admit that up to that day I had no idea who she was, though I’d seen her picture somewhere else before then.

  6. I buy 40-50 albums per year. I’m old enough that I too refer to albums and I still buy mine at record stores.

    The last great album from my favorite artist was “Magic” by Bruce Springsteen (2007) His most recent work are retrospectives of past work, so they do not count under your guidelines (but the Darkness box set and The Promise set of songs that didn’t make the album are both well worth the time.)

    The last album that just knocked me out was “Boys And Girls In America” by the Hold Steady (2006) Classic rock riffs with an indie rock sensibility and an English lit major writing the lyrics–incredible. It led me to get all the rest of their albums and even catch their local show at the Westcott last year.

    Great topic Mitch!

    1. Wow Phil, you’re definitely an audiophile; good for you! It’s been years since I bought a Springsteen album, but I’ve loved individual songs. The Rising most particularly.

  7. Hi Mitch,
    Being a fan of anime, I love anime music. Actually, I do agree with you that the last greatest album is that of Michael Jackson’s. It’s truly a loss when he suddenly died. I mean, no one was expecting that, as he was just preparing for his concert at that time.

    1. Thanks Johanna; I miss him as well. As for anime music, I don’t even know what that really means. Isn’t it all different for each cartoon? Is any of it ever released as solo music in stores?

  8. For me, I think it’s Britney’s unfortunate flop, BLACKOUT. The album was simply amazing and I loved EVERY single track on it ;-).

    By the way, it’s Alejandro not Allesandro. Me loves Mother Monster. lol.

    I’m a LAMB but I didn’t really care for Emancipation of Mimi. Charmbracelet and Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel were more like it ;-).

    1. I don’t know that I’d call it a flop, Chuks. After all, it did sell more than 3 million copies and won the European MTV awards Album of the Year. And thanks for the correction on Alejandro; I’ve never seen the spelling of the song so I just went with it. lol

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