Can't believe I missed this thread....oh well...
I'm a classic rock guy. Just can't get into a lot of the modern stuff. I was a weekend radio jock in the mid-90s though, and so I had to play a lot of (then-) modern stuff then, and I gotta say, there really was some killer stuff out then...Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, stuff like that...
But what I'm usually listening to is among the following:
The Beatles (who, to me, are the end-all, be-all)
The Who (pre-Kenney Jones)
Stevie Wonder (almost exclusively the "classic five" funk era)
The Beach Boys (I consider myself a *Brian Wilson* fan, though, not so much a Beach Boys fan)
Wondermints (basically the same kinda stuff as Jellyfish but less well known, undeservingly)
And I have some controversial musical tastes, too:
- I love Led Zeppelin, but only their first two albums. When they went all loud and (sort of) metal and mystical, they jumped the shark. And don't even get me started about my disdain for their fourth album.
- Pink Floyd was ruined when Syd Barrett was kicked out and Roger Waters took over as leader. Yeah, I know Syd was really messed up and started to drive things into the ground, but Waters just made it so effing depressing. The Syd-era material was exciting and experimental, while just dreariness was starting to seep in and overcome starting with A Suacerful of Secrets.
- I love The Doors, but Morrison's lyrics were basically the kind of stuff any high school student pulls out of his butt when he's bored in algebra class.
- I don't care what anybody says...the mono version of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a disaster. Definitely not the definitive listening experience of that album.
- Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys -- nothing will ever. EVER. top that. And when you first listen to it, you really have to be in the right atmosphere to get it, or else you'll brush it off. I just don't know what further to say.
- Who's Next by The Who -- probably the greatest pure rock'n'roll album ever. IMHO, it's way better than its original Lifehouse intention would have been. Great listening on Fridays...side 1 on the way to work, side 2 on the way home from work!
- What's Going On by Marvin Gaye - Marvin was coming out of a really bad time in his life when he recorded the album. His BFF Tammi Terrell had died from cancer, and that put him into a nasty depression. He tried playing for the Detroit Lions to take his mind off things, but that career didn't pan out. He came out of retirement with this album and based it on letters he and his brother wrote back and forth while his brother was off fighting in Vietnam. And when his brother came back home from 'Nam, his overall reaction to the state of the country was, "THIS is what I was fighting for?!" Pretty hardcore emotional stuff here. And it's a tragedy that Marvin just couldn't recover from all the demons he was fighting. They affected himself and those who loved him.
- Destroyer by Kiss -- not a big Kiss fan, but I do have a soft spot for early Kiss. I was maybe four years old, and one morning when my parents had left for work, my brother (ten years my senior) woke me up and said, "Come on downstairs! I got the new Kiss album!" I was groggy and didn't give two whatevers about what album he just got. But anyhoo, it was Double Platinum. He took over the Zenith record player console and blasted the album, and...I loved it! And over the years I became really, really fond of the Destroyer album (and only in recently years realized that "Detroit Rock City" is actually a pretty depressing song!) and found myself appreciating the amazing production more and more.
- Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones, Ltd. by The Monkees -- their fourth album. Their third album, Headquarters, I think is generally considered their best, and certainly a favorite because on that album they actually not only had complete creative control but they also actually all played instruments themselves on every track. With PACJL, the Monkees went back to primarily using a lot of session musicians, but they still had creative control, and creative it was. And with "Daily Nightly" and "Star Collector," you have two of the earliest known uses of a synth in rock music; very groundbreaking. Even the always-groundbreaking Beatles didn't use a synth until two years later with...
- Abbey Road -- the last album the Beatles recorded start-to-finish as a group (most of Let It Be was already recorded; "I, Me, Mine" would be recorded after Abbey Road), and arguably their best. My wife pointed out that Abbey Road is basically The Beatles' final thesis, as it puts together everything they learned in their career. You have just straight-ahead rock'n'roll with "Come Together" and "The End." You have the symphonic orchestrations (courtesy of George Martin) in "Carry That Weight." You have a paean to the reliable American rock'n'roll with "Oh! Darling." There's the Donovan-taught fingerpicking in "Her Majesty." There's the Sgt. Pepper's-esque combining of different songs into longer pieces with the two medleys on side 2. You have the multipart harmonies previously known from "This Boy," "Yes It Is," and "Nowhere Man" getting some practice once again in "Because." And those innovative Beatles, although a bit late in the game, did a first-time-ever-for-them thing in "Because" and "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" by using a synthesizer. Really, everything you'd expect from any Beatles era...except tape loops...probably because tape loops were so last year.