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NewCityNet Getting It Over With

By Dave Chamberlain

NOVEMBER 15, 1999:  Every media outlet from CNN to Spin is pushing lists of top records, entertainers, performers, authors, dogs, cats, cars and coffees. Well, at least Raw Material isn't going to make any bones about it: These are not the "best" records of the century, nineties, etc, these are the author's favorites. The records that Raw Material would recommend to anyone, anywhere.

While Newcity's year-end top five lists don't allow for explanation, Raw Material offers a brief one: Screw the century. The author of Raw Material is only 29, so to name the best record (single, most likely) of the forties is ridiculous. So RM starts in 1980, since the eighties were the time when the author discovered music, but includes the sixties and seventies, though no critical excellence is inferred.

Top Ten Records since 1980 (in no order):

"Twitch" Ministry (1986)
A loud, clanging record that pre-dates Ministry's real metal shop.

"In God We Trust, Inc." Dead Kennedys (1981)
An EP, but with all the classics: "Nazi Punks," "Religious Vomit," "Moral Majority."

"Bleach" Nirvana (1989)
Re-issues had two extra songs; cool people don't have the extras.

"The Covenant, The Sword and the Arm of the Lord" Cabaret Voltaire (1985)
Listen closely: drum 'n' bass before drum 'n' bass.

"Earth A.D." Misfits (1983)
The arrival of devil-locked speedcore.

"VIVIsectVI" Skinny Puppy (1988)
Evil shit with enough static to piss off the parents.

"Reign in Blood" Slayer (1987)
Death metal should have stopped here.

"Gluey Porch Treatments/Ozma" Melvins (1987)
Alternately punk rock and slow sludge; still unmatched by the band.

"Group Sex" Circle Jerks (1980)
American hardcore prototype; fast and angry.

"Sister" Sonic Youth (1987)
Some of the most violent assaults on guitars, ever.

Top Ten pre-1980 records

"Are You Experienced?" Jimi Hendrix (1967)
The master's breakout record.

"The Stooges" The Stooges (1969)
Punk rock before there was punk rock.

"Go Bo Diddley" Bo Diddley (1959)
See above, double.

"Disraeli Gears" Cream (1967)
Heavy drug rock at the psychedelic peak.

"Masters of Reality" Black Sabbath (1971)
Contains THE stoner anthem, "Sweet Leaf."

"Electric Ladyland" Jimi Hendrix (1968)
Again the master, at his LSD finest.

"Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" David Bowie (1972)
Glam rock with an edge; Raw Material author's first favorite record, age 6.

"12 X 5" Rolling Stones (1964)
Pick any of the Stones' first four; raw, sexy, garage rock.

"Beware" Misfits (1979)
Punk-rock demon style; at the time, there was nothing close to this.

"Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo" Devo (1978)
Screw "Whip It," this is Devo at its oddest.

Top Ten non-Rock records

"Rastaman Vibration" Bob Marley (1976)
Doesn't contains his "hits," but his best song-for-song.

"Straight Outta Compton" NWA (1988)
The dawn of "gangsta rap."

"Fear of a Black Planet" Public Enemy (1990)
As much a success in its message as in the Bomb Squad's production.

"On the Corner" Miles Davis (1972)
Fucked-up fusion-era Miles.

"Marcus Garvey" Burning Spear (1975)
Protest reggae at its most powerful.

"4 Feet High and Rising" De La Soul (1989)
Far from deep, but a resonating good time.

"OG" Ice-T (1991)
Ice-T should have stopped here.

"Handsworth Revolution" Steel Pulse (1978)
Message reggae drenched in African melody.

"Hank Williams 40 Greatest Hits" (compilation)
You can get bigger comps, but this one is just about as much Hank as you could need.

"Low End Theory" A Tribe Called Quest (1991)
Refined jazz-hop with credible street value.

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