Those "Influential" Albums Being Discussed on Facebook? They're Garbage

The Chameleons: more influential than Ray Charles and James Brown combined is a "quiz" one of your Facebook friends might've posted, boasting "Very few people own 70 or more. How many have you got?" and listing 100 albums ranging from the duh (Blonde on Blonde, Pet Sounds) to the hmmm (Gerry Rafferty? Felt??) to the genuinely bizarre (well, see below). The most obvious thing that stands out is the list doesn't claim to be only "rock" albums, but other genres are represented with just one thing apiece. The staggering amount of white people makes a Rolling Stone list look like a Complex list. No one knows where this thing comes from, although selections like Super Furry Animals are a dead giveaway that the "quiz"/list/viralbait is probably of British origin. Still, it's a pretty astonishingly bloodless compendium (hint: the jazz album ain't Miles, Monk or Coltrane). So here's a futile attempt to corral the most bizarre inclusions and exclusions. Hopefully chanting "For Emma, Forever Ago" three times at a mirror will banish this thing from whence it came.

1. No rap.
Don't do what I did and attempt to count how many artists of color there are on here. Public Enemy of course, the What's Going On of token rap albums (What's Going On is here too, although no Kind of Blue???) is a safe bet for the afterthought section of any white rockist's pantheon. But instead of Biggie you get Bloc Party and a member of Massive Attack. Not even the OutKast album with noted not-even-a-rap-song "Hey Ya!" is reporting for duty. Even Gen. Wesley Clark was influenced by "Hey Ya!" But clearly we have been duped and implanted with false memories. We were listening to the Delgados the whole time.

See also: The Ten Best New York City Rap Albums of 2012

2. No...well anything else except rock and uh, post-rock.
Country, r&b, jazz and rap share the same number of albums on this list as Slint. Electronic and "world" music, forget it. There's not even Moby. There's not even fucking Bob Marley's Legend. Zero blues. Even the only jazz performer on here, Dave Brubeck, could only have been included for completely depressing "white" and "just died" reasons. Total Grammy Illuminati garbage.

3. Mazzy Star - So That Tonight I May See
Did I mention there are no women on this thing? Even for a token female spot, Mazzy Star is completely puzzling over PJ Harvey, Janis Joplin, Liz Phair, Bjork....Hoping for Aretha or Missy would be inane, of course. The more important artists would've been even lazier and easier to include, so someone at like Bizarro Zynga or whatever hellmouth spawned this thing would've had to work to lobby for Mazzy fucking Star. Look, "Fade Into You" was slow and pretty. I bet the rest of this album is too, except I don't actually know because no one in history has ever urgently demanded that their hardcore music buddy drop everything and throw on a Mazzy Star album.

See also: How Not To Write About Female Musicians: A Handy Guide

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epac666 topcommenter

"No rap." Um...that's a good thing.


Mazzy Star - So That Tonight I May See is a classic. I would have taken the quiz but it involves dopey Facebook which I refuse to get involved with.  I do own all of the ones pictured. And yes, The Chameleons were an awesome band. Overall these lists are good for one thing - checking out music you may have overlooked. But getting mad and whining about it.....


Seconding the comment on the Chameleons. They are an essential listen.


Uhhhh if you're dissing The Chameleons we're not friends anymore dude.


So this quiz made you mad enough to write this article? All lists like this are garbage, even the ones posted by the Village Voice. ---->insert "U GOT MAD" jpg here.


A Facebook friend took this quiz and proudly posted that he owned exactly ONE of those records. Commenters agreed that the records were just post 60s rock, obscure, hipster, etc., but c'mon -- ONE of those records? If you change the quiz's title to "50 Classic Rock Records and 50 Questionable Ones" it's a bit more accurate, but it doesn't change the fact that if you haven't listened to at least 40 of them (and don't worship at least ten), you just don't listen to music.


Ok. I know this is comment bait, just as the original Facebook list was. But this comment killed me:

The Pretty Things - S.F. Sorrow.
I don't know what this is but it's missing the phrase "36 Chambers" and can go fuck itself in the nostril." 

A journalist should research before making such baseless comments. I fucking love 36 Chambers, but you've just committed a music journalism sin in shitting on S.F. Sorrow making this list. 

History lesson: The Pretty Things were one of many early British rock bands. Founding member Dick Taylor was an original member of the Rolling Stones. They started off sounding rather similarly. But The Pretty Things embraced the psychedelic scene at its birth, and in 1968 they released the masterpiece known as S.F. Sorrow. Released on the same day as The White Album, Let It Bleed, and The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation, the album wasn't nearly as successful as any of those records. Partially because the band opted not to tour the US. But S.F. Sorrow is the regarded by most experts as first concept album. Also, considering it is one of the earliest and greatest psych records, I'd say it's pretty damn influential. 

If you're gonna criticize the stupid influence list, why not mention early blues? Rock music wouldn't exist without it. How about Sam Cook? Eric B and Rakim? Bo Diddley?

This was clearly some British kid's list of favorite albums or something. Are they sure as hell ain't the most influential records of all time. But at least the vast majority of them are great.

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