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

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

1978

The Police - Outlandos D'Amour10. The Police — Outlandos D’Amour (A&M)

The yellow and black striped sweater story does not need to be told again here. All you really need to know is that the Police were one of the most musically proficient bands of any era and this is where it all started. Punk, reggae, Motown and ’60s pop from the “bandits of love.” — Terrance Terich

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Big Star - Third/Sister Lovers 9. Big Star – Third/Sister Lovers (PVC)

They no longer were on the label that released their first two albums. They no longer were aided by songwriter Chris Bell. And at this point, they no longer had much left of their sanity. Big Star burned out so brightly and quickly, it’s hard to believe they actually have a new album due this year. But once upon a time, they were on the verge of collapse, Alex Chilton unleashing his innermost emotional pain on their third and “final” album, one that was both their ugliest and their most beautiful. — Jeff Terich

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Wire - Chairs Missing8. Wire – Chairs Missing (Harvest)

They were called the “Pink Floyd of the New Wave,” a title meant as a compliment, but still one that no self-respecting art-punk would take lightly. Wire may have stretched punk to its limits, no longer resembling the three-chord romp that The Ramones made famous. Instead, Wire’s second album, Chairs Missing, finds the energy and abrasiveness of punk rock molded into curiously progressive shapes, resulting in one of the most exciting albums in punk’s history. — Jeff Terich

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Pere Ubu - The Modern Dance7. Pere Ubu – The Modern Dance (Blank)

When Mercury Records started “punk” offshoot Blank Records, their first signing was Pere Ubu, a Cleveland outfit that made punk rock into an artsy and bizarre form of rock music. They certainly couldn’t have foreseen the first album that resulted, The Modern Dance, a disturbing, funny and altogether strange collection of songs that still sounds original to this day. There were more “difficult” songs mixed in with the catchier tunes like “Non-Alignment Pact” and the title track, but it was art, kids, which is probably why they didn’t stay with Mercury too long. — Jeff Terich

The Cars - The Cars6. The Cars – The Cars (Elektra)

No matter how many times you listen to the self-titled debut album from the Cars, you will be surprised and bewildered every time you give it a spin on the ol’ turntable. With nine songs that revolved around Ric Ocasek’s genuine knack for being a pop architect (duh), Eliot Easton’s splintery guitar solos, Greg Hawkes’ bumpy synthesizer chops and some all around big-ass harmonies, The Cars spawned three top 40 singles as well as countless weeks on the Billboard Top 200 chart. — Chris Pacifico

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Devo - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo5. Devo – Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (Warner Bros.)

Jello-Mold hats, herky-jerky rhythms, 10 minute science fiction film satire, production by Eno, Moog synthesizers, “mongoloids,” Rolling Stones covers, accusations of “fascism,” de-evolutionary theory, uncontrollable urges, gut feelings and a bewildered and confused public? Brilliant! — Jeff Terich

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Blondie - Parallel Lines4. Blondie – Parallel Lines (Chrysalis)

Once I had a love and it was a gas” coos the breathtaking Debbie Harry. Although, she doesn’t start the album off that way. Instead, Harry belts out the punk Noo Yawk-ish opening lines of “Hanging on the Telephone,” saving the disco breakthrough for later in the album. Technically their third album, Parallel Lines was for all intents and purposes their world debut, and although it had “mainstream” written all over it, no one could not like Blondie. — Terrance Terich

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Talking Heads - More Songs About Buildings and Food3. Talking Heads – More Songs About Buildings and Food (Sire)

More Songs About Buildings and Food had a title to match David Byrne’s equally smart and cheeky lyrics, and picked up musically where the Heads left off on their debut the year before. 77‘s paranoid confessions and neurotic love songs had caught on with a minority audience, but one fan in particular would actually change the band’s sound on their return to the studio — Brian Eno. — Andrew Good

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The Jam - All Mod Cons2. The Jam – All Mod Cons (Polydor)

I am more than tempted to include a joke about how Paul (Weller) was “revered” in Britain. (Get it? …Paul…revered…huh? huh?) But instead, now that it is too late, I will let you know that the Jam, and specifically the songwriting of Weller, were top shelf. All Mod Cons was the example of Weller firing on all cylinders, a sharp wit and a sweet jangly Rickenbacker by his side. — Terrance Terich

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Elvis Costello - This Years Model1. Elvis Costello – This Year’s Model (Columbia)

As part of the UK new wave scene, My Aim Is True, Elvis Costello’s debut, was something of an anomaly. Rather than playing in true punk fashion, Costello was backed by bar band Clover, later to become Huey Lewis’s News. But the follow-up, the rough and tumble This Year’s Model, introduced The Attractions to the world, thereby lending a new sound to Costello’s bitter songs. Every song has an immediacy and intensity that just kicks more ass with each repeated listen. I say it’s his best album, merely because he didn’t hold anything back on this one, and The Attractions certainly didn’t hurt, either. — Jeff Terich

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Personal Best

Prince - For YouPrince – For You (Warner Bros.)

The career of one of my favorite musicians, a long and storied one to be sure, began with this album. His Purple Badness’ second album was the one named after him, but this was the debut, bad afro, wispy mustache and all. While this would not be a high watermark in his career artistically or monetarily, it did herald the greatness of what was to come. Standout track “Soft and Wet” laid the groundwork for a bevy of great sexually charged funk, soul and R&B songs to come (no pun intended). Before there was the Revolution, and long before the New Power Generation, before it became 1999, and before he took on the purple coat, his name was Prince…and he was funky.

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