The official UK album chart is currently celebrating its 50th birthday.
The fact that you have to choose albums that have reached number 1 is surprisingly restrictive. For instance, you won’t be able to select ‘Dark Side of the Moon’. Meanwhile almost all of my favourite albums apart from Radiohead probably didn’t even reach the top 40, never mind the top spot.
I do own a lot of the albums though, particularly from the late 1990s, when I obviously still wasn’t quite savvy enough to be buying albums that weren’t popular. I am afraid my oldest selection is from the mid-1990s. I could have chosen some older ones, but I didn’t want to select just any old album. For instance, I could have chosen ‘The Last Broadcast’ by Doves because I do really like the album. But is it one of my favourites? Probably not. So I chose albums that I have listened to over and over again, and really mean something to me.
Here are my choices then:
- Oasis — (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
I don’t actually own this album, but it is a bit difficult not to choose this album because I do quite like it. I realised it was great when I picked it up and realised that I knew every single one of the tracks, without ever having properly listened to it.
- Pulp — Different Class
Pulp was the first band I truly became obsessed with as a child. I recently rediscovered ‘Different Class’ — what a fine album it is. I have a whole blog post waiting to be posted about this though, so I’ll leave Pulp alone for the time being.
- Radiohead — OK Computer
One of the most overrated albums of all time, but it’s still quite good. It would probably be one of my favourites if it wasn’t for ‘Let Down’ and ‘Subterranean Homesick Alien’. Those tracks simply do not belong on an album lauded for being one of the greatest of all time.
- Pulp — This is Hardcore
It might not be quite as rounded as ‘Different Class’, certainly in terms of the appeal of Jarvis’ lyrics. The fun, poppy side was hidden away as the band became dark and creepy. Musically, bar a few turkeys, This is Hardcore is still very strong though. The title track is my favourite Pulp song.
- Massive Attack — Mezzanine
There are lots of very strong tracks on this album, particularly ‘Teardrop’ and ‘Group Four’. In my view this is Massive Attack’s best album by far.
- Blur — 13
This is an exceptional album from Blur at their very peak. Some might not have liked the band bringing their more experimental elements to the fore, but none of it is misplaced in my view. It is difficult to find a bad track in this album. Unfortunately it was to be Blur’s last vaguely good moment, as they could not be quite the same after Graham Coxon’s departure.
- Radiohead — Kid A
Still my favourite album of all time.
- Radiohead — Amnesiac
It hasn’t quite got the flow and polish of ‘Kid A’, but some of Radiohead’s best tracks are on here. ‘Pyramid Song’ is a pure stroke of genius, while none of Radiohead’s or Thom Yorke’s subsequent laptoppery has come close to topping ‘Pulk / Pull Revolving Doors’.
- Gorillaz — Demon Days
Well, maybe it is pushing it a bit to call this album a proper great. But this album was much better than Gorillaz already fine eponymous debut. And I am pleased that an album like this can become such a mainstream success.