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Most unique albums of all time Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 11th September 2011
  #1
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Most unique albums of all time

Let's have a list!

Unique means just that - unique. It doesn't mean what you like/don't like, it doesn't mean what sounds good to your ears, it doesn't mean what is popular/not popular....it means unique. Here are some examples:

Led Zeppelin (1969) - that was unique

Motley Crue's 'Shout At The Devil' -tho a bit different for it's time, not unique

Zappa's 'Freak Out - unique

Pink's 'Can't Take Me Home' - umm, no


This list should be all-encompassing; any genre, any year, etc. Undoubtedly, there are going to be some albums that some may disagree with and feel aren't really unique; that's fine. Just use your better judgement, and don't list something just because you like it.

Here's what I can come up with off the top of my head:

  • Frank Zappa 'Freak Out'
  • Led Zeppelin (1969)
  • Metallica 'Kill 'Em All'
  • Jimi Hendrix Experience 'Are You Experienced'
  • Van Halen - 'VH1'
  • Black Sabbath - 'Black Sabbath'
  • Spiral Architect - 'A Sceptic's Universe'
  • Pink Floyd - 'The Wall'


Continue....
Old 11th September 2011
  #2
Lives for gear
Leo Kottke: 6 and 12 String Guitar
Michael Hedges: Breakfast in the Fields or Aerial Boundaries
Chick Corea: Return to Forever
Mahavishnu Orchestra: The Inner Mounting Flame
King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King
Beethoven's 5th Symphony, Fritz Reiner & the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Micky Heart: Dafos
Frank Zappa: You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore, V 1-6
Johnny Cash: Unchained
Doc and Merle Watson's Guitar Album
Rush: 2112
Howlin' Wolf: Real Folk Blues
Bartok: Concerto for Orchestra, Reiner and the Chicago Symphony
Ray Charles: Genius + Soul = Jazz
Boulez Conducts Varese
Little Richard: Here's Little Richard
Stevie Wonder: Innervisions
Jeff Beck: Blow By Blow
Tull: Aqualung
Steve Earle: Transcendental Blues
Dream Theater: Systematic Chaos
Alice in Chains: Jar of Flies
Old 11th September 2011
  #3
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musicbydesign's Avatar
 

Early "Yes" very unique

Early "Queen" Also
Old 11th September 2011
  #4
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so much stuff, you need to put it in it's time frame too

stuff like Boston's first record early sabbath stuff lyrically was very unique like you said kill em all but also
stuff like early Judas Priest, venom scorpions and UFO records for metal

Gentle giant, yes, crimson even Rush records for prog. All the early space rock stuff early punk glam
funk. who knows who started what??

some more modern stuff like the early slayer records and the early NWA records. There is so much stuff. Early hardcore from the late 70s 80s you could make a list a mile long. Most of the most unique stuff is unknown and mostly unheard. Just because it's unique does not mean it was popular or even good for that matter

most records are just someone's spin on someone else schtick.....which does not make it unique
Old 11th September 2011
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syncamorea View Post
Jeff Beck: Blow By Blow
John McLaughlin would prolly disagree, blow by blow was beck's take on Mahavishnu for sure

but not as much as a rip off as wired which he even hired the Mahavishnu drummer and kyb player write all the stuff. Which makes it sound like a Mahavishnu Orchestra record through and through
Old 11th September 2011
  #6
Lives for gear
Some that I like for different reasons: though 'most unique of all time' I have no idea...

-The Beatles (everything really, but...) - Sgt. Pepper/Revolver
-The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
-At The Drive-In - Relationship of Command
-Operation Ivy - s/t (energy comp)
-Pink Floyd - DSOTM
-Pixies - Surfa Rosa/Doolittle
-Weezer - Pinkerton
-Aesop Rock - Labor Days
-Peter Adams - The Spiral Eyes
Old 11th September 2011
  #7
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T'Mershi Duween's Avatar
 

Frank Zappa - Uncle Meat
The Residents - Mark Of The Mole
Univers Zero - Heresie
Scott Walker - Tilt
Magma - Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh
Kate Bush - The Dreaming
King Crimson - Lizard
Todd Rundgren - Initiation
Devo - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo
Brian Eno - Another Green World
Steve Hackett - Voyage Of The Acolyte
The Melvins - Lysol
Mr. Bungle - Disco Volante
Squarepusher - Go Plastic
Gong - Angel's Egg
Negativland - Escape From Noise
Chrome - 3rd From The Sun
Autechre - Chiastic Slide
Heldon - Stand By
Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica
Mahavishnu Orchestra - Birds of Fire
Steve Hillage - Rainbow Dome Music
Can - Tago Mago
Frank Zappa - Civilisation Phase III


I could keep going forever. I have a very diverse and freaky music collection! heh
Old 11th September 2011
  #8
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Yfoiler's Avatar
Anything by the Beatles. Everything since then has just been microcosmic "spin-offs"... They changed the musical world forever.
Old 11th September 2011
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yfoiler View Post
Anything by the Beatles. Everything since then has just been microcosmic "spin-offs"... They changed the musical world forever.
somehow I don't think metallica, pantera or even sabbath owe much to the beatles musically and definitely not lyrically. It's owed more to Beethoven and Dylan. And there was this guy named Elvis who was sort of a rock star in the 50s. And a 100's blues and classical and jazz artists that layed down the foundation musically for everyone. Lyrically Bob Dylan was the pioneer of the deep stuff in pop music. Beatles were still singing love songs when Dylan & Mamas & Papas and the folk scene were writing meaningful stuff not fluff. It is what it is
Old 11th September 2011
  #10
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Slikjmuzik's Avatar
 

For unique, I definitely think Imogen Heap or Bjork
Old 11th September 2011
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
John McLaughlin would prolly disagree, blow by blow was beck's take on Mahavishnu for sure
I picked Blow by Blow due to the mood space it creates. Inner Mounting Flame, Birds of Fire and Between Nothingness and Eternity had more of a rawness than was more unpredictable then Blow by Blow to my younger ears at the time.
Old 11th September 2011
  #12
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FireMoon's Avatar
Hawkwind..............In Search of Space
Horslips.................The Tain
Kraftwerk..............Autobahn
Underworld............Dubnobasswithmyheadman
Celtic Frost............Into the Pandemonium
Bran Van 3000........Discosis
Calexico................Feast of Wire
John Martyn...........Inside Out
Big Audio Dynamite..E=Mc2
Old 11th September 2011
  #13
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Ernest Buckley's Avatar
The only records that stick out to me from the current day are the Bon Iver stuff, especially his last record. Some really nice use of distortion and warmth. His records completely stand on their own, taking the listener places and full of ear candy. I`m a big fan of that stuff. Considering the current landscape of popular music, its really great to see someone gain recognition for making records that sound so different or unique.
Old 11th September 2011
  #14
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Syncamorea View Post
I picked Blow by Blow due to the mood space it creates. Inner Mounting Flame, Birds of Fire and Between Nothingness and Eternity had more of a rawness than was more unpredictable then Blow by Blow to my younger ears at the time.
I think blow by blow sounds better than all MO records with the exception of apocalypse. Ironcially both George Martin disks, but I don't think musically Blow by Blow is unique from a pure musical perspective. Production may be a different story. Though Jeff Beck is maybe the best gtr shredder of all time
Old 11th September 2011
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireMoon View Post
Hawkwind..............In Search of Space
didn't George Martin kick them out of his studio during this record for being too rowdy? and to think Lemme wasn't even in the band yet.

anyway a classic space rock record along with the first UFO record
Old 11th September 2011
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
Yfoiler's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
somehow I don't think metallica, pantera or even sabbath owe much to the beatles musically and definitely not lyrically. It's owed more to Beethoven and Dylan. And there was this guy named Elvis who was sort of a rock star in the 50s. Lyrically Bob Dylan was the pioneer of the deep stuff. Beatles were still singing love songs when Dylan & Mamas & Papas and the folk scene were writing meaningful stuff not fluff. It is what it is
Your attempts at cynicism aside, I would have to agree with you. Metallica, Pantera, Sabbath really cannot say they owe much to the Beatles musically. If you analyze there compositions from a harmonic standpoint, they are nothing but quite primitive and musically lacking in sophisticated harmonic content. How many power chords and pentatonic scales can one really put up with before the tears of boredom stream... It is what it is. But more to the point of this thread, where is their uniqueness? I mean seriously, rushing pentatonic scales for days backed up by bar chords with no third bores one to tears. Some of this nonsense is admittedly assembled with flair and contrived towards excitement, and It appears that to the young and musically uneducated it might indeed be exciting. Perhaps this is why their crowds are full of middle school pubescent males, I don't know, but... if you had mentioned Hendrix I might have agreed with you for that particular genre...for HE was completely unique, groundbreaking, and to this day still is. So while the groups you mention surely have their followers that would disagree with me, I fail to see anything they did as worldly ground breaking, or even unique musically for that mater. I'll give you Elvis as being unique, but he never grew beyond his "fluff". In fact when his career died, my ex-boss of 13 years had to write songs for him to get another hit. And luckily Elvis made a comeback with them. (Thanks Mac! In the Ghetto, Don't Cry Daddy, Memories...fluff? your call)

As far as the Mamas & Papas being world class unique? Surely you jest. I have some personal observations on this one. I was there. Google "The Lamp of Childhood". Yeah, we hung out with them. Our lead singer, James Hendricks was married to Mama Cass, and he, Denny and John were totally in awe of the Beatles, and I mean totally, but admittedly couldn't come close. The M&P's were really just a very good studio vocal group doing vanilla Laurel Canyon hippie folk music. Though I am glad you call it meaningful stuff. Perhaps to you it was, and there's nothing wrong with that. We were doing that too, but we never happened---meaningfully that is. Heck, the M&P's didn't even play any instruments except for John. They had to rely on Larry Knectal, Joe Osborne and Hal Blaine (and others in the Wrecking Crew) to back them up and how the heck are you going to be ground breaking and worldly unique with friggin' Jay Lasker (VP at ABC Dunhill) screaming "you HAVE to cut three backing tracks in three hours!!!" Budget!! Budget!! Budget!! Sorry...but that was the way they had to work. And not to take anything away from the studio cats, I think the tracks they cut for Dunhill show it. So there was no unique recording technique going on with the Mama & Papas and Bones Howe's engineering was as stock as it comes in those times. At least the Beatles (for the most part) played their own axes and anyone with a musical education can certainly see the very high level of their totally unique harmonic compositions and that couple with unique production was indeed world class and ground breaking for it's time. I am reasonably certain a guy named George Martin had a hand in their education too!

As slight digression on my part here but perhaps of interest to M&P fans; I worked at Gold Star Recording Studios during that period and was also with the group The Lamp of Childhood. We spent a lot of time in Studio 3 at United Western with Bones Howe (M&Ps engineer) more times than I can remember, and seriously, during the time of that fluffy Beatles HELP album the M&P's just wanted to go hide, and it wasn't long after that that Sgt Pepper laid waste to all of use trying to be "unique". I got the feeling it was a mini-version of Brian Wilson's reaction to hearing Sgt. Pepper's, but I may have been reading more in to it at the time.

Anyway, perhaps subjective and to each his/her own, but the M&P's were the ones in awe of the Beatles and the direction they were taking it. Funny, they wanted to know how the Beatles always sang so "in tune" all the time! That used to crack me up, because like it or not the M&P's had some serious pitch problems, and more than once in a while too. In fact, California Dreamin' comes to mind, but they kept it in. Jay Lasker was screaming $$$$! tutt
Old 11th September 2011
  #17
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Paul Vnuk Jr.'s Avatar
Mark Hollis - "Mark Hollis"
Brian Eno - "Music For Airports"
Peter Gabriel - "3rd Melted Face Album"
Jeff Buckly "Grace"
Game Theory - "Lolita Nation"
Grateful Dead - "Anthem Of The Sun" & "Aoxomoxoa"
Japan - "Tin Drum"
Talk Talk - "Laughing Stock"
Radiohead - "Kid A"
Chicago - "Chicago Transit Authority"
Old 11th September 2011
  #18
.

Plus one for The Wall.

Sheer genius.

.
Old 11th September 2011
  #19
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hasbeen's Avatar
Iron Butterfly: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Old 11th September 2011
  #20
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mirror symmetry's Avatar
 

My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
Old 11th September 2011
  #21
Sky
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Sky's Avatar
 

There are so many aren't there? Here are some that have always been special to me, especially considering when they were released:

Joni Mitchell: Don Juan's Reckless Daughter
Spirit: Twelve Dreams of Dr Sardonicus
Return to Forever: Romantic Warrior
The Woodstock Album (it captured the moment)
Genesis: Selling England By the Pound
Isao Tomita: Snowflakes Are Dancing
Passport: Infinity Machine
Donald Fagen: The Nightfly
Elton John: Tumbleweed Connection (amazing for 1970)
Firesign Theatre: I think We're All Bozos on This Bus (great production and storytelling)


Sky
Old 11th September 2011
  #22
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
John Coltrane-A Love Supreme
Beatles-Revolver (and every other record they did)
Chacago-I II III
Leppelin III
CHIC-any
Prince-1999
Los Lobos-Colossal Head
Flaming Lips-The Soft Bulletin
Ben Folds Five-Renihold Messner
The Weakerthans-Reunion Tour
Old 11th September 2011
  #23
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Rotaholic's Avatar
 

MR BUNGLE any album, just pick one........
Old 11th September 2011
  #24
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erikdrink's Avatar
RS - RS
Old 11th September 2011
  #25
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LeMauce's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yfoiler View Post
Anything by the Beatles. Everything since then has just been microcosmic "spin-offs"... They changed the musical world forever.
MY GOD... not this again... Can we please let go the Beatles. Really there are alot other musicians that maked far better unique sounding albums then them. The Beatles where just the first big "boy"band that took music in the worldwide commercial money making industrie what it is now today.
Ever heard Pink Floyd, Fleetwood mac, Bob Dylan, Elvis, Jimi, Quincy Jones to name a few?
Old 11th September 2011
  #26
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hasbeen's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeMauce View Post
MY GOD... not this again... Can we please let go the Beatles. Really there are alot other musicians that maked far better unique sounding albums then them. The Beatles where just the first big "boy"band that took music in the worldwide commercial money making industrie what it is now today.
Ever heard Pink Floyd, Fleetwood mac, Bob Dylan, Elvis, Jimi, Quincy Jones to name a few?
How old are you? Is that all they did? "took music in the worldwide commercial money making industrie what it is now today"

That's all they did? Why, anyone can do that!
Old 11th September 2011
  #27
Gear Head
 

Heart Of The Congos
Old 11th September 2011
  #28
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Ernest Buckley's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yfoiler View Post
Your attempts at cynicism aside, I would have to agree with you. Metallica, Pantera, Sabbath really cannot say they owe much to the Beatles musically. If you analyze there compositions from a harmonic standpoint, they are nothing but quite primitive and musically lacking in sophisticated harmonic content. How many power chords and pentatonic scales can one really put up with before the tears of boredom stream... It is what it is. But more to the point of this thread, where is their uniqueness? I mean seriously, rushing pentatonic scales for days backed up by bar chords with no third bores one to tears. Some of this nonsense is admittedly assembled with flair and contrived towards excitement, and It appears that to the young and musically uneducated it might indeed be exciting. Perhaps this is why their crowds are full of middle school pubescent males, I don't know, but... if you had mentioned Hendrix I might have agreed with you for that particular genre...for HE was completely unique, groundbreaking, and to this day still is. So while the groups you mention surely have their followers that would disagree with me, I fail to see anything they did as worldly ground breaking, or even unique musically for that mater. I'll give you Elvis as being unique, but he never grew beyond his "fluff". In fact when his career died, my ex-boss of 13 years had to write songs for him to get another hit. And luckily Elvis made a comeback with them. (Thanks Mac! In the Ghetto, Don't Cry Daddy, Memories...fluff? your call)

As far as the Mamas & Papas being world class unique? Surely you jest. I have some personal observations on this one. I was there. Google "The Lamp of Childhood". Yeah, we hung out with them. Our lead singer, James Hendricks was married to Mama Cass, and he, Denny and John were totally in awe of the Beatles, and I mean totally, but admittedly couldn't come close. The M&P's were really just a very good studio vocal group doing vanilla Laurel Canyon hippie folk music. Though I am glad you call it meaningful stuff. Perhaps to you it was, and there's nothing wrong with that. We were doing that too, but we never happened---meaningfully that is. Heck, the M&P's didn't even play any instruments except for John. They had to rely on Larry Knectal, Joe Osborne and Hal Blaine (and others in the Wrecking Crew) to back them up and how the heck are you going to be ground breaking and worldly unique with friggin' Jay Lasker (VP at ABC Dunhill) screaming "you HAVE to cut three backing tracks in three hours!!!" Budget!! Budget!! Budget!! Sorry...but that was the way they had to work. And not to take anything away from the studio cats, I think the tracks they cut for Dunhill show it. So there was no unique recording technique going on with the Mama & Papas and Bones Howe's engineering was as stock as it comes in those times. At least the Beatles (for the most part) played their own axes and anyone with a musical education can certainly see the very high level of their totally unique harmonic compositions and that couple with unique production was indeed world class and ground breaking for it's time. I am reasonably certain a guy named George Martin had a hand in their education too!

As slight digression on my part here but perhaps of interest to M&P fans; I worked at Gold Star Recording Studios during that period and was also with the group The Lamp of Childhood. We spent a lot of time in Studio 3 at United Western with Bones Howe (M&Ps engineer) more times than I can remember, and seriously, during the time of that fluffy Beatles HELP album the M&P's just wanted to go hide, and it wasn't long after that that Sgt Pepper laid waste to all of use trying to be "unique". I got the feeling it was a mini-version of Brian Wilson's reaction to hearing Sgt. Pepper's, but I may have been reading more in to it at the time.

Anyway, perhaps subjective and to each his/her own, but the M&P's were the ones in awe of the Beatles and the direction they were taking it. Funny, they wanted to know how the Beatles always sang so "in tune" all the time! That used to crack me up, because like it or not the M&P's had some serious pitch problems, and more than once in a while too. In fact, California Dreamin' comes to mind, but they kept it in. Jay Lasker was screaming $$$$! tutt
If you don`t get Metallica, I don`t know what to tell you. Most likely you are 50+ years of age and still listen to the Beatles religiously, thinking that nothing else will ever compare to them.

I am 38 and do not have the same associations with the Beatles. I appreciate what they did for popular music and the "artsiness" they brought to music but I also see the silliness in their music at times. I often get into debates about this with Beatles lovers but the truth is, many bands have come along since and revolutionized music in ways that the beatles did not. Metallica is one of those bands.
Old 11th September 2011
  #29
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LeMauce's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by hasbeen View Post
How old are you? Is that all they did? "took music in the worldwide commercial money making industrie what it is now today"

That's all they did? Why, anyone can do that!
Nooo ofcourse not is not only what they did. Yes they were great musicians and yes they where "groundbreaking" for alot of moments. But you know well that there m usic don't have a "unique" sound. YES they created the mainstream pop sound. But it ain't psychodelico lunatique sounding stuff.
Old 11th September 2011
  #30
Gear Guru
At the time it was released, "Sultans Of Swing" by Dire Straits was a breath of fresh air.
In the middle of the decade of overproduced, drowning in reverb, 1/4 note long snare it was simple, dry, straight ahead playing.
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