Treble’s Best Albums of the 70s: Part Two

Treble's Best Albums of the 70s: Part Two

1977

Fleetwood Mac - Rumours 10. Fleetwood Mac — Rumours (Reprise)

I have a great idea for a soap opera. You have a band in the ’70s, so it’s kind of like That ’70s Show, but with musicians. There’s five of them, two of them are married, two are seeing each other, and the other one is getting divorced and I think he really wants to be with one of the other ladies. Anyway, they all split up and they make the best music of their lives! Nah, no one would ever buy that story. — Terrance Terich

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Suicide - Suicide 9. Suicide – Suicide (Red Star)

While their peers were defining punk music with a sound, Martin Rev and Alan Vega were doing it with an attitude instead. Doing away with guitars entirely, the New York duo played old-fashioned rock `n’ roll music, albeit one filtered through paranoid schizophrenia and massive bleeding. Their debut album is a frightening listen, but one with some truly amazing songs. “Cheree” and “Girl” show the duo’s more lovelorn side, while “Johnny” and “Ghost Rider” are rocking raveups for the kids who prefer to pogo to something a little faster and more intense. But nothing on earth can prepare you for “Frankie Teardrop,” a harrowing narrative of a doomed factory worker, complete with blood-curdling screams that can likely result in nightmares for days to come. Don’t listen to this alone. — Jeff Terich

Talking Heads - 77 8. Talking Heads – Talking Heads: 77 (Sire)

The Talking Heads’ first album immediately demonstrated that they were a little tenser, a little smarter, and a little different, from not only mainstream fare but bands in their own scene as well. Talking Heads: 77 is a stark debut that proved that even kids in collared shirts and washed hair could be punk rock. — Molly B. Eichel

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Never Mind the Bollocks it's the Sex Pistols 7. Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (Warner Bros.)

The Sex Pistols didn’t last long, but they made a hell of a statement while they were around. Their one and only studio album, Never Mind the Bollocks was the UK punk movement captured on tape. Steve Jones, playing a bastardized version of Mick Ronson’s riffage, coupled with Johnny Rotten’s vitriolic social critique and Sid Vicious’s mercilessly sloppy bass (he was the only member of the band who couldn’t play his instrument) made them the most dangerous band in Britain. They were even banned by the BBC. Only four months after this, two weeks into a US tour, they disbanded, living out their nihilist aesthetic and bringing it full circle. — Jeff Terich

Wire - Pink Flag 6. Wire – Pink Flag (Harvest)

If punk was meant to be simple, primitive and raw, nobody told Wire. The raw part they had down, but the other two? Well, let’s just say that Wire were less of a punk band than a really hyperactive and aggressive art rock band. When one idea got old, they would abandon it completely. Needless to say, Pink Flag is 100% good ideas, and the paradoxically best punk album ever released by a band that was both the epitome and the antithesis of punk. — Jeff Terich

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David Bowie - Heroes 5. David Bowie – “Heroes” (RCA)

Midway through his Berlin trilogy, Bowie wrote what some (myself included) consider his best song, the title track for “Heroes”. Inspired by lovers meeting at the Wall, which was positioned mere yards from the studio’s window, Bowie crafted a timeless story of love and rebellion. Throw in some Kraftwerk, some Eno, and some Iggy and you’ve got one hell of an inspired album. — Terrance Terich

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Elvis Costello - My Aim is True 4. Elvis Costello – My Aim Is True (Columbia)

What do you get when you cross the ghost of Buddy Holly, the spirit of punk, a little bit of country, a lot of soul and the wittiest lyrical mind in the biz? You get the answer to why I suppose it’s true that one million fans can’t be wrong. It just turns out that they were talking about a different Elvis. — Terrance Terich

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Television - Marquee Moon 3. Television – Marquee Moon (Elektra)

New York music of the late ’70s was vibrant, to say the least. While the Ramones were playing as loud and fast as possible, Television was making entire symphonies out of guitar rock. Not necessarily in the same way that Glenn Branca would, though that came shortly later. Television made guitar rock into something more beautiful and fascinating than that of their dinosaur rock forebears. Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd not only made guitar cool again, they practically re-invented the instrument as an instrument more complex and sophisticated. And they wrote some damn good pop songs while they were at it. — Jeff Terich

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David Bowie - Low 2. David Bowie – Low (RCA)

Low is an awe-inspiring album. It’s new wave before there was such a thing as new wave, it’s Krautrock before the general public even knew there was such a thing, it’s ambient without ever slipping into banality. Low is Bowie at his peak and it gives a glimpse inside the mind of an artist at a pivotal point in his career, only to see him come out as a success. Foregoing the traditional pop song structure in favor of uncharted waters, Low could have been awful — a huge failure — but it’s anything but. Low is strange and gorgeous and breaks the mold. And that’s exactly why we need Bowie in the first place. — Molly B. Eichel

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The Clash - The Clash 1. The Clash – The Clash (Epic)

The Clash had everything right from the start. Use punk as a platform for political rebellion, mix it up with a little reggae, douse it with pop harmonies rather than flat out screams, get the coolest name in rock, throw in some of the best album covers ever made, and become punk legends. What could be easier? — Terrance Terich

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Personal Best

Iggy Pop - The Idiot Iggy Pop – The Idiot (RCA)

Iggy Pop was the stereotypical burnout, fading fast after a short, five year career in rock `n’ roll. But come 1977, he was ready to grow up and show the world he was a new man, one ready to take on the world with a new sound and sense of determination and drive. The Idiot was his first recording after four years away from the limelight and is, arguably, his finest album. Both cold and intense, The Idiot sounds like a man coming back from the grave and, in a sense, it truly was. — Jeff Terich

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Ramones - Rocket to Russia Ramones – Rocket to Russia (Sire)

While the Ramones’ debut is rightly considered to be their best, not to mention one of the most influential punk records ever recorded, people can tend to forget that they put out two more albums in just over a year’s time. The sophomore effort Leave Home lacked the brutal strength, energy and crafty songwriting that the debut displayed, but Rocket to Russia in both image and substance brought them hurtling back to excellence. (The band purposefully nearly duplicated the cover of the debut to bring back the punk magic). “Cretin Hop” and “Rockaway Beach” still carried echoes of “Blitzkrieg Bop” while “Do You Wanna Dance?” and “Surfin’ Bird” became Ramones songs despite the fact they were covers. Best of all though are the new songs “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” and “Teenage Lobotomy.” There’s almost no better lyric than “Guess I’ll just have to tell `em that I’ve got no cerebellum.” Not to mention the fact that this is the last of the three albums that featured the ORIGINAL Ramones. Tommy then stepped behind the scenes to become producer to make way for new drummer Marky for the nearly as good Road to Ruin. — Terrance Terich

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