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Here are some I think would have been good candidates:


The Ramones-Road to Ruin

Judas Priest-Stained Class

The Kinks-Misfits

Excellent list, though. I made a lot of new discoveries!

I agree with the pick, but not the reasoning. Deborah Harry is one of the sexiest women ever to live, but not because of her aggressiveness. It's because she has that carefree attitude where she's just going to be herself and have fun. It's not like a middle finger to you if you don't agree carefree spirit, it's more like a "what? there are other people in the room? I didn't notice!" kind of carefree spirit.

Also, and I don't mean this to sound harsh, but I feel like sometimes you try to find the most obscure music out there, Tucker. Just because something sold millions doesn't mean it's not awesome. You certainly don't have to justify the pick of Parallel Lines just because it was popular.

I mean, that Cut Copy pick as #1 of 2008 was garbage. It wasn't as bad as Pitchfork's #1, Hercules and Love Affair, but Cut Copy? In the same year as - I'm sure there's all kinds of obscure stuff people could pull out - but that shouldn't be the point when picking the number 1 album of the year. If Justin Timberlake releases the best album, I don't care how many teenage girls are masturbating thinking of him, I just want to hear the best, you know?

All this is my rage at not seeing Bootsy? Player of the Year included. I mean, it's like the lyrics say, "Tell 'em who you came to see! We want Bootsy!"

Not to poke my ass into this(well, no, I guess that's exactly what I'm doing), but Tucker has in the past written a lot of articles on being disingenuous or saying something is the best just because it's not well known or enjoyed by a lot of people. He recently wrote a Comixology article about it, as a matter of fact. And I think that if what you claim was the case you wouldn't have seen artists like Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC and Van Halen on this list at all.

Yeah, but how much of the inclusion of Van Halen and Bruce Springsteen was Tucker and how much was Marty?

Don't get me wrong, I still like Tucker, I'm just calling him out on this. I mean, good is good, you don't need to qualify it with - trust me even though this sold 50 bazillion copies....

You seem REALLY adamant that Tucker put Goblin and Steve Reich on his list just to impress internet people, and once again, I'm not sure where you're getting that notion from.

Whatevs, though, it ain't my business.

I found some new things form this list too; After the Heat was a great recommendation. Thanks folks.

Oh, and Cut Copy was marvelous too. Kudos.

Oh, all right. If you cared about country at all, you should definitely have:

Willie Nelson: Stardust
I think this would probably be number 1 on my overall list, actually.

Country Gentlemen: Calling My Children Home
...which would be in the top ten.

Emmylou Harris: Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town

But, you know, I would probably put no reggae on a list of mine; tastes differ, as they say.

Also, Prince's first album, "For You" should be on this list, ideally in place of "One Nation Under a Groove," which I've been listening to again thanks to y'all and remembering that it's kind of boring...that endless song where he burbles on and on about mental feces is funny the first couple of times, but it does not wear well.

Chris, I'm sorry you're offended? I mean, what am I supposed to say here?

Tucker & Marty put a *lot* of time into these lists and they take them seriously. I enjoy them, so I'm going to give them honest feedback. Would you be less offended if I didn't?

Cheers for such an interesting & entertaining list!
I was curious to see that you gave no love to Kate Bush, though, and no spot for Tom Waits' Blue Valentine either... is there going to be a post on the albums that you liked, but that couldn't quite fit into the Top 30? Or a post on the "Worst Of '78"?

And it might not even make my own Top 30 list, but somehow I imagined that you guys would be closet fans of Todd Rundgren's "Hermit Of Mink Hollow"? Apparently not, huh.

(Also: what does it say about me that though I was born in 1981, I'm at least twice as familiar with your best-of-1978 list than I was with your best-of-1992? Criminy...)

I'm not offended, I'm puzzled. You say here that you think they put a lot of time into their lists but then earlier you say that a lot of their choices seem to be centered only around getting some kind of net-cred. I can't speak for them and I'm not going to try, your logic is just really confusing.

Well, considering that the only people I know who really read these things are either in the small cross-section of TFO regulars who are also into music and my girlfriend, if we're trying to impress anybody with them, we're not doing a great job. One of the things that Tucker and I have in common is that we're obsessively geeky about archival shit. But when Tucker publishes his lengthy pieces on Azzarello or Garth Ennis, there's an audience out there for them.

With music, we're spitting in a much larger well, and there are plenty more established writers out there doing these kinds of things that people are actually reading. When we do these music countdowns, it actually is more for you guys and ourselves (and my girlfriend) than for any sort of imagined internet audience. And we love you guys, but we don't really feel any need to impress you. Believe me when I say that--though there are things that Tucker and I may disagree on individually (and that's part of the fun)--these are very much what we actually believe to be the albums of these particular years, and that's after a lot of painstaking research.

There's plenty that we left out. I might add Pere Ubu's The Modern Dance, C'est Chic, Dire Straits, The Bar-Kays' Money Talks, Nick Lowe's Jesus of Cool, Sun Ra's Lanquidity, Parliament's Motor Booty Affair, Parlet's Pleasure Principle, Tom Waits' Blue Valentine, Can't Stand the Rezillos, Magazine's Real Life, The Upsetters' Return of the Super Ape, two Buzzcocks albums, The Clash's Give 'Em Enough Rope, and Black Sabbath's Never Say Die to the list you guys have already started. Ultimately, though, we felt like each of the thirty albums we chose had something truly special and irreplacable about it--whether it's part of the 'canon' or not.

And in the end, it's less about ranking anyway, and hopefully more about the conversation that comes along with it. We genuinely have a good time doing the research and busting our ass to get all this up in two weeks, and we hope that those of you who are following along are getting something out of it, too.

And, with all do respect, Kenny, Cut Copy's album is far from garbage, and it's not very obscure. I can sort of see you not feeling it, but we had some readers have the opposite reaction, too. So, there you go. Tucker and I are both extremely eclectic in our tastes, and we know that some of the stuff's going to stick and some isn't (if Tucker really wanted to be obscure, half the countdowns would be filled with Hair Police and Current 93 albums, but none of us want that) but we stand by our shit 100%. Otherwise, we wouldn't bother.

Kenny, there's a lot i'm not in agreement with you on here--but yeah, I think you're right to say that honest feedback is far preferable than simmering. Be kind of fucked up for us to go another way with it.

That being said: no. I think your description of Deborah Harry ignores the ny hovels, it dismisses the origins of blondie, and i think "carefree, i didn't see you there" is a more apt description of talented flakes like Cat Power. For me--and Nina, who remembers Debbie and thought she was "scary as hell"--Harry was a fucking aggressive, boiler pot of raw. She could play vacant, and she did, and she could act all distant, that as well, but that woman rode the fucking bull, and One Way Or Another is a hard-driving song out of hell.

You're right to think I crave the obscure, but in the case of 1978, that's kind of the point, isn't it? We know about Talking Heads, Blondie, Bruce, AC/DC, Van Halen--and yes, Steve Reich--already. It's about finding the stuff that didn't survive the radio/MTV trickle down, stuff like Japan or After The Heat, neither of which I'd ever heard. But the argument that it's on here "because of Marty"...bro, that's just not true. My copy of Darkness At The Edge of Town is the original vinyl, it's from my dad, just like my Born to Run and Nebraska. Van Halen, Elvis Costello--this is my fucking music man, it's what I grew up on. If it's on here, it's because Marty and I came to terms on it. I'm not trying to ride you, but I just 100% disagree with the thought process you're laying at my feet. I'm not pulling for shit just cuz it's off the beaten path. In point of fact, the only thing that's on this list that's out and out "the fuck?" is Junior Delgado, and that's just because only 500 copies were made. No New York, Steve Reich--these are the biggest avant garde albums of the last hundred years, they serve as lodestones for the entire musical culture that we're living in right now. If it was 2009, and we were making proclamations about the importance of Hair Police, or the Yellow Swans--obviously, that would be bullshit, because we haven't had time to measure impact. But the albums on this list--with the possible exceptions for Goblin and Delgado--are massive albums. Anyways. I can't control the impact or interpretation of what you're seeing, and I'm not going to tell you that your feelings are inaccurate. They're your feelings, and that makes them 100% spot on--But you're laying a motive down on the intent here that isn't applicable. I like Van Halen, AC/DC, Bruce, and yes, Blondie a whole fucking lot, and my feelings don't have an asterisk that says "I wish nobody else did." My love: as pure as yours. I'm glad some fuckers got rich.

On the "what's not here" list, I'll second Tom Waits-Blue Valentine, which is my honorary # 31 (#32 probably would be Rachel Sweet's Fool Around.) On the ether tip-- Willie Nelson's Stardust, Pere Ubu's The Modern Dance, The Bar-Kays' Money Talks, Nick Lowe's Jesus of Cool Parliament's Motor Booty Affair, The Clash's Give 'Em Enough Rope, Anthony Braxton's Birth & Rebirth, Queen's Jazz, Art Blakey's In This Korner, The Cecil Taylor Unit's Cecil Taylor, Generation X (I would've loved to talk about my pet crazy theory that Billy Idol spawned the Replacements), Neil Young's Comes A Time, Patti Smith's Easter (specifically, Rock n roll Nigger), The Stranglers, Kate Bush, and yes, Todd mofo Rundgren.

On the give me a fucking break tip, I just hated that Dire Straits album, the Kinks one was a huge disappointment, Throbbing Gristle's 78 output was a fucking joke that belies the greatness to come (as well as what dropped before), Sun Ra's Lanquidity (sorry Marty, but you already know this) is Sun Ra for people who don't really want to listen to Sun Ra, and the worst possible omigod I hate you so much albums: Public Image Limited and the motherfucking delete this shit and get it out of my house Grease soundtrack. If I never hear either of those again, for the rest of my life, I'll be able to say I lived my life correctly.

I can't believe you brought up the Grease soundtrack. I just can't believe you went there.

Congrats on another big and bounteous list! I wholeheartedly agree with the spirit of contention and conversation that these assertions of arbitrarily assigned numbers to unquantifiable art encourage. Sorry about that last sentence there. I'll leave it just to spite myself.

Things I agree with:
Elvis Costello! Lists! Debbie Harry's angry bra straps!

Things I disagree with:
Passing over Stardust - how do you sleep at night?

Things I feel indifferent about:
This whole era for the Kinks, obscurism vs. elitism in tastemaking, Spock Fever.

Things I'd like to say but I'm not gonna:

Tucker & Marty - Thank you for your thoughtful responses. I was talking to you about your lists in the same manner I'd talk to any other friend I have. Like, I have friends who heap praises on stuff no one's ever heard and if they like something popular, that praise is always offered with a defense. Is there a way of bringing that sort of observation forward without sounding harsh? Maybe, but it's beyond my meager communication skills.

Anyway, as for Deborah Harry - true, I've never met her. She could be a ferocious lion in person. I guess what I should say is her appeal to me always seemed more carefree than aggressive, but I've never met the lady, so I could be all wet.

And Tucker, I'm sorry for thinking Van Halen & Bruce Springsteen were Marty's picks. Marty, I'm sorry to you, too. If it's any consolation - I still think Marty is less self-conscious about admitting what music he likes! *nyah*

Marty, the audience will come for the music stuff. This is by far the best music criticism on the web. I always just bristle whenever I see what I interpret to be Pitchfork tendencies creeping in. I feel apologizing for picking an album because of it's high sales figures is "Pitchforky." I mean, if it's good and it gets you dancing, then I'm sold, you know?

Anyway, I have a *ton* of fun reading these things and giving my opinions and feedback. On the other hand, I can say to my buddies I think they're acting Pitchforky because they're my buddies - we'll all go out for wings afterwards or whatever. I'm never sure how to deliver disparaging opinions. Anyway, it's bad on me. Although, I still think a 1978 list without any disco is...it's not the way I would go, but it's not my list!

Thanks guys and I'm looking forward to whatever the next year you're going to do so I can disagree with that number 1 as well!

I was thinking about this more on my way to work and honestly, I never meant to come off in any sort of bad way. These are the kinds of discussions I have with my friends all the time - "You're just slamming that because it's popular!" "Well, you don't take the time to dig!"

I mean, my buddy Jason and I go back and forth over Neil Gaiman every time we hang out, which is most days. I think he hates Gaiman for escaping comics, he thinks I'm blinded by the hype.

Sharing insights into other's opinions is how I've learned to communicate. I'm sorry it offended everyone, because it wasn't supposed to. I know you guys put tons of hard work into these lists and I just wanted to come back with actual thoughts and not just a list of music that could have been on the list.

I listened to Cut Copy again this morning, and I'm still not feeling it. But, if you would have told me last year I'd find a way to love Mack the Knife, I would have said you were crazy. Cut Copy is still on my iPod because maybe someday someone will say something and I'll suddenly get it. Hercules & Love Affair was straight doody, though. I'll *never* understand Pitchfork's thinking there....


First I'd like to say, I am not Marty's girlfriend.

I have always had a strange dislocation from bands like Costello, Talking Heads, Blondie (Top 40 aside). Blame it on my semi-rural upbringing, but most music that belongs to the city that came out during my formative years is still alien to me. I really enjoyed seeing some dissection of the these bands and trends, and I feel like I could maybe get in on them a little now. Not a like an insider, but someone who could appreciate what that sound might be trying to communicate. I have a hard time going back and getting into "old" music, since I feel any time I might spend listening to things that are not Dan Zanes is only properly spent on what's going on now (ok, really last year thanks to MC Stank Booty). So thinking about picking some of this stuff up, spawned in the year of my birth, over the new Neko Case album is silly.

I guess, like most pop culture these days, I don't always have the time to listen/read/watch. But I LOVE the knowledge, and you guys are one of the dispensaries for me. And if it'll keep you writing...


I think I speak for both Marty's Girlfriend, as well as myself, in saying:


Is the WORD. Is the WORD. That you've HEARD.
It's got groove it's got meaning (I'ts got mean-ing!!)
Grease is the time, is the place is the motion
Grease is the way we are feeling.....

Bling Blong!

Suck it.

I don't know...I can see you leaving out Boston's second album, Joe Walsh's But Seriously, Folks...Queen's Jazz..and whatever The Runaways' official 1978 release was (Waitin' On The Night? And Now...The Runaways?; sigh...it's lost to me), but omitting Cheap Trick's Heaven Tonight, an awesome album from beginning to end and quite possibly the second best album of 1978, just doesn't seem right.

I don't know, Jim. I definitely think, of all the suggested omissions, Heaven Tonight would probably fit best into this countdown. However, have you heard Adolescent Sex? I'd say that Japan beats Cheap Trick at their own game.

Plus, the more I hear of The Raspberries, The Move and Argent, the less impressed I am with Cheap Trick ("Surrender" excepted).

I like Cheap Trick probably a little more than Blondie. Good bands, I respect them, but neither of them really send me the way, say, Van Halen or Stardust does.

The Cheap Trick-like thing I actually love is Urge Overkill's Saturation. Which everyone else hates. Except all the people who love it.

I'll have to check out Japan though.

And did you guys listen to the Carpenters Christmas album that came out that year? It's pretty good, though it's no Horizon (which would probably be on my best of list for 1975.)

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