40 Years of Noe

My top 90’s Ten Albums (90-99)

Find out more by reading my previous blogs……



Who’s The Greatest Band?

Who’s The Greatest Band?


Is there one?

So I’m walking through the office and this guy has a list by his desk of what he considers “the top ten greatest bands of all time!” He’s written down bands like Limp Bizkit, Journey and Creed. Just stuff that makes me want to puke! This other guy, who sits next to him; has his list too which is slightly better but I don’t like Lynyrd Skynyrd and I’m not really into rap like Woo Tang Clan or other things of that nature.

So there was a debate going on with the two guys standing there and my wife and this other girl. Who are the greatest bands of all time? Two of us previously had this other list going on, we called it the frisbee list which we tossed back and forth and kept adding albums to that we believe to be really good…….at least 70% of the way through it. Ones that you rarely skip through. Essentially they are excellent all the way to the end of the record. That was the criteria.

But the whole thing is subjective, honestly. The more people that get involved with the frisbee list, there is going to be so much criteria that too much conflict of interest will occur. My lists are simply a personal thing. I choose my favorite albums of a given year. Or I choose playlists of the month that indicate a mood or a feeling. There’s a difference between favorite albums and favorite bands. Because you have to look at all of their individual records and decide what percentage of them are AWESOME!!!

All of our opinions are different. Surveys, polls, interviews and contests won’t yield any true accurate result. It essentially would last forever, the process. You could just keep listing band after band after band. Led Zeppelin, The Who, Genesis, Metallica (are they the greatest heavy metal band of all time???) and you could drive yourself crazy with a list like that.

In fact, I have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a top ten list. They are invalid. I’ll tell you why. How likely are we going to agree on all of the choices? Opinions are so wild. Let’s say you bring up The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. They seem to be the undisputed champions of the British Invasion. But then you forget about bands like The Kinks. Friggin LOU REED!! Now he was a genius!! I brought some of that up during the “discussion” at the office but that seemed to get shot down, among other artists I mentioned, like Megadeth (poor man’s Metallica? Really?) .

But coming up with lists are fun and we like to debate. Its an interesting way to IDENTIFY ourselves. We are all uniquely passionate about various artists. Criteria is very important. You can’t just say “these are my favorite bands” and that’s it. Could be only how you feel in that exact moment you announce those musicians. Or only what you remember. What if from several months from now your opinion greatly changes. Then what?

I wish people would focus on the dawn of music, more so. At least recorded music. Go back to the 1920’s. How about Louis Armstrong? An amazing Jazz innovator and trumpeter. Woody Guthrie, the folk movement. Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Elvis, The Beach Boys, Jefferson Airplane.

The bands on those lists in the office are just too specific to a certain time period. You can’t say that they’re the greatest bands of all time especially if you’re too zoomed in on a short period.

Is there a point to my babble?

You can’t ignore jazz. Take a music appreciation class that discusses the history of Rock and Jazz. Its important to learn about how things began. Appreciate the birth of rock and roll. How can you fully embrace what you listen to today without that knowledge?

My my top ten lists are only valid for my world. We listen to what we feel like.

Disagreements are okay.

I think many of us have come to the conclusion that the band Creed SUCKS!!! I don’t believe that most people today in America would say THAT band is one of the greatest groups of all time. In fact, I own the book entitled “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.” Creed is never mentioned. Just saying…

You got to live for today. Make your mixtapes for your friends. They’ll either like them or they won’t.

There was talk about The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Sure I like them but I don’t worship them nor would I say that they were the defining band of my generation. That’s a bit much. But I did enjoy a couple of their records. Again…..more opinions. What about Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots. Its silly to only limit it to one band. Just personal favorite tastes. 31 flavors…like Baskin Robins. Ice cream. Tons of licks. Don’t all enjoy the same flavor but we all like ice cream.

If we took a look a several genres and chose 10 bands (artists) from each category we could use those artists as a springboard. Or even go by decades. But honestly, its an impossible mission. Music is always new. Even now as I write down these words, there are “up and coming bands” recording incredible sounds.

We debate

and in the end….we establish something….I guess

It passes the time

Oh and one last thought…….




I have reached the halfway point on my top twenty record albums of the year 2013 (according to me). Just thought I would take a moment here and list numbers 20 through 11 before I continue later with the TOP TEN. My choices are based on originality (how fresh does it sound? to my ears?), longevity (how many times do I play it?, flow (consistency is key here) and basically I ask myself if it’s a fantastic album. Perhaps I can’t form a real emotional attachment to it or maybe it has 1 or 2 flaws that I just can’t overlook. Finally, is it an album I couldn’t possibly bring myself to part with? There’s my criteria. Anyway, here’s the halfway list:


stay tuned for more later…….

Top Ten of Ten

Top Ten of Ten: #10 John Mellencamp “No Better Than This” (2010)

342774501It was the end of August 2010. Less than 2 months before I got married when Denielle shows me an article in a magazine. I read it and I got skeptical. I was like, “Nah…I’m just not interested.” I did more reading and decided to preview it. The night before we drove out to Michigan for Labor Day Weekend at my dad’s place, I decided to pick it up. We listened to it in the car and I honestly could not contain my enthusiasm. It’s that good! We now live in a world of computerized recordings. John Mellencamp’s approach on his new record label debut, “No Better Than This”, is refreshing. The entire album was recorded with Mellencamp and his band all playing live in one room using a 55 year-old tape recorder and just one vintage microphone. It was captured in three historically important locations: Sun Studio in Memphis, TN (where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis all first recorded); the First African Baptist Church in Savannah, GA and at the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, TX. The songs on No Better Than This reflect classic American musical traditions including blues, folk, gospel, rockabilly, and country, while addressing themes like the need for hope, the nature of relationships, and narratives that focus on amazing occurrences in everyday life. John Mellencamp says of the album, “It was absolutely the most fun I’ve ever had making a record in my life. It was about making music – organic music made by real musicians – that’s heartfelt and written from the best place it can come from.” The title of the record nails it because I feel that his popularity in the 80’s and 90’s was great BUT now he is “No Better Than This.” Now we are married and we listen to this one at least twice a month in some fashion. Go check it out! This one is a major accomplishment!

Top Ten of Ten

Top Ten of Ten: #9 Tool…..Lateralus (2001)


So I have a guy named Matt Duve to thank for getting me into the band Tool. In high school he would periodically loan me tapes to listen to. When I first heard the album Undertow, my life changed. Flash forward to the year 2001. The album Lateralus is released during a time when our country was invaded by terrorists. However, I was personally moved and deeply touched by Maynard and the gang in a very positive way. Everything about Tool’s fourth album is an experience, starting with the packaging, which consists of liner credits printed on a translucent plastic sleeve over the CD and a booklet that layers anatomical representations atop one another. The first page pictures musculature and blood vessels; the next, bones; the third, internal organs; and so on. It’s worth describing the packaging of Lateralus because it says much about the astonishing music within. While it remains in the Tool tradition of trance-inducing progressive metal, Lateralus is tighter, clearer, crisper, and all around a notch above their admirable previous releases. Aenima was flawed by muddy production and a certain predictability. Don’t get me wrong, I truly enjoyed that album. Undertow had a cleaner sound but wasn’t as confident or adventurous. It was an adventure in high school that catapulted me into the world to begin my Tool adventure but I have moved on since then. With Lateralus, Tool have raised an already lofty bar still higher by coming up with a collection that kicks major ass. Lateralus, like I said was released in 2001, it has got to be one of the more groundbreaking musical releases since the mid-80’s and early 90’s. Lateralus is a long, well thought out musical masterpiece that draws parallels to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” This whole record is just full of amazing progressive rock and it is nearly impossible to fathom that human beings actually wrote and then performed this type of music. Every song has layers and sub-layers and sub-sub-layers. You do not listen to this album…you surrender yourself to it. The experience of Lateralus penetrates deeper than the brain — it is deeply spiritual and uplifting. Nothing comes close to obsessing my world of the first decade of the 2000’s like this one. TOOL ROCKS!


Top Ten of Ten

Top Ten of Ten: #8 Smashing Pumpkins “Siamese Dream” (1993)

643721148I listened to this album more than any other when I was in high school. Even more than Nirvana or Pearl Jam. When I was in cross country we were heading to practice in this guy’s sport car and he was playing this unusual tape. I was memorized by the intense wailing guitars. Then ferocious pounding of the drums and the way the snares and bass were in perfect unison. Then there’s this soothing voice that clashes but actually blends quite well with the rhythm. I asked the guy who was playing. I was like….Smashing Pumpkins? Now that’s an interesting name for a band. I was in my bedroom watching MTV and suddenly a video comes on by the Smashing Pumpkins. The song was entitled “Today” I was hooked. I bought that album “Siamese Dream: and was in pure heaven. I couldn’t get enough of it. Billy Corgan is a great song writer. James Iha is an awesome guitar player complete with strange sound effects. The whole band is great. I will say that while their first album “Gish” was a good one and their 3rd DOUBLE ALBUM. But those two were clearly opposite approaches to their unique and brilliant magic that was perfectly placed on this perfect Sophomore effort. None of their material EVER rose to this level. Don’t believe me. Listen the the track…Geek U.S.A. This is pure adrenaline that just hooked me like a tar pit trap. I refuse to say any more about it. Check it out!

Top Ten of Ten

Top Ten of Ten #7 Beastie Boys Paul’s Boutique (1989)

501186805This was a kaleidoscope of hip hop! They were all over the place with this offering. This is a hot record! Tons of sampling that you don’t hear in this day and age was used everywhere on this one. Many hints that their punk roots were emerging as well. Now a lot of records came out in the 80’s. LOTS! But I find this one to be the most creative and controversial too. Nowadays their are so many copyrights and such when it comes to “borrowing and/or sampling other artists music. Beck does it now especially on his Odelay album. BUT….Mike D and the gang really were the masters of this turf. They matured since “Fight For Your Right To Party!” As they themselves put it in a track from Paul’s Boutique……”The Sounds of Science”: “expanding the horizons, expanding our parameters.”  CHECK IT OUT….It’s a masterpiece!!!!

Top Ten of Ten Uncategorized

Top Ten of Ten: #6 Pink Floyd-Wish You Were Here (1975)

530928581The 1970’s were filled with great albums and musicians that rocked the airwaves. Among all of these great offerings by bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath and The Who; I found myself drawn to Pink Floyd and their brilliant album Wish You Were Here. This one from 1975 is easily Pink Floyd’s best album. When I say best I don’t mean it in terms of popularity or critical acclaim, that one belongs  to Dark side of the Moon. But musically and lyrically it is the bands most accomplished piece of work.  This album is a great follow-up to Dark Side of the Moon. This is an often overlooked treasure within Pink Floyd’s music catalog. It has survived the test of time well and is finally receiving more attention it deserved when it was first released. It is  an essential Pink Floyd album and I mean no disrespect  to “The Wall” which is when Roger Waters started to take over, but its the last great album the band produced. Wish You Were Here is very much dedicated to the founder Syd Barrett, who freaked out years before: and there’s funny songs about the evils of the music business (“By the way, which one’s Pink?”), and the touching ones about the band’s mysterious friend. The real star of the show, although, is the amazing production–with David Gilmour getting lots of room for his most creative guitar playing ever. That’s my story and I am sticking to it!

Top Ten of Ten

Top Ten of Ten: #5 The Beach Boys-Pet Sounds (1966)

195298289Ok so let’s get this out of the way. I am a true Beatles fan! I didn’t grow up with them because they broke up before I was even born. I did listen to them a lot as a child growing up in the late 70’s and 80’s. My dad played them many times. I began collecting their music in the early 90’s and I appreciate so much that they have done. But it’s so hard to narrow it down to one album. Sure I could say Sgt Pepper’s however, a thing changed for me in 1997. So for that last 14 years I can honestly say something profound that I am sure has been talked about forever. I noticed that the Beach Boys’ 1966 album Pet Sounds was continually mentioned. So in 1997 I officially became aware of this masterpiece. I always dismissed the Beach Boys as surfin’ and California sunshine. So, why the fuss surrounding Pet Sounds? “No one is educated musically until they’ve heard Pet Sounds…It is a total classic record that is unbeatable in many ways”, Paul McCartney once proclaimed. Wow was he right! Without Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper probably wouldn’t have happened… Pepper was actually an attempt to equal Pet Sounds. What the hell made countless other music stars bow to 1966’s Pet Sounds? I was about to find out. Listening to it numerous times I constantly kept saying that Brian Wilson  was so far ahead of his time that we still have not caught up to it yet. Brain Wilson intended for the album as a whole to have been one big hit, rather than just a song or two. It was the whole rather than the individual songs that was important. Part of his brilliance was the ability to take simple lyrics that spoke of basic human feelings and create an emotional impact through his music and harmonies. I remember reading somewhere that the more you live, the better it gets. Pet Sounds’ legacy is that it changed the way albums were recorded and created. What I found out was that this album not only is the best album from the 1960’s but actually paved the way for…..well more than one can possibly imagine.

Top Ten of Ten

Top Ten of Ten: #4 Chuck Berry Is On Top (1959)

596924294Honestly out of all the early breakthrough rock & roll artists, none is more crucial to the development of rock and roll music than Chuck Berry. He is this style’s greatest songwriter, the main creator of its instrumental voice, one of its greatest guitarists for sure , and one of its best performers. Quite simply, without him there wouldn’t have been the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, and others. If you had to pour out all of Chuck Berry’s early albums on Chess Records (and some of his greatest-hits packages), this would be the one disc to own. The song lineup is perfect, putting together so many classics. This serves as almost a mini-greatest-hits package in and of itself. While this may be simply  a collection of singles and what not,  it ends up being the most amazing of Chuck Berry’s prime stage of his career.