July 26, 2017

"The 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women."

According to NPR.

#1 is an album Meade and I were just talking about this morning as we were talking about something that made it appropriate for one line in our dialogue to be Meade singing "I am on a lonely road and I am traveling, traveling, traveling...."

102 comments:

Michael K said...

#10 is the only one I am familiar with and it is great.

rhhardin said...

Tiffany Eckhardt

Girl Guitar (recorded in a laundromat for the acoustics)
Looking for Signs
Nino's Cafe

bgates said...

100 Greatest Albums Made By People Shorter Than 5'6"
25 Best Movies Directed By Dog Lovers
36 Most Successful Restaurants Owned By People Who Have Never Cashed In Their Airline Miles

Richard said...

The Joni Mitchell album would rank 700th among the men's albums.

CJinPA said...

Like the talent of Serena Williams, why must we quantify it? Why can't these be the best 150 songs of all? An NPR reporter took offense when John McEnroe said Williams was the best female player ever and chastised him for quantifying. Let us declare these songs the best ever. For the Cause.

Nonapod said...

Not a bad list. Could use more metal and punk though. Where's "New Hope for the Wretched" by the Plasmatics? Or how about "Mandylion" by The Gathering?

CJinPA said...

The Joni Mitchell album would rank 700th among the men's albums.

Beat me to it.

Danno said...

So many lists. So many opinions. I like Joni, but tend to prefer Judy Collins from that era.

rightguy2 said...

I am not familiar with some of the more recent entries, but I just listened Supa Dupa Fly and its sounds like generic rap to me. Its OK to turn up at a party, but I surely don't want to listen to an entire album of that in any other context. Its very hard for me to imagine anyone listening to SDP 50 years from now as we do the timeless Carol King Tapestry. Frankly, Joni Mitchell should have at least two, maybe three, out of the top ten. She was prolific & was head and shoulders above the non-CK others as a songwriter. Sheryl Crow's Tuesday Night Music Club was a great album and deserves consideration.

Unknown said...

k.d Lang

Ingénue

samsondale said...

Odd that they say the albums were "made by women" when, other than the lead singer, virtually every musician on the five I checked was a man. I gave up when I got to the Beyonce album because there are dozens of credits and I can't tell whether "Too Many Zooz" is a man or a woman.

rehajm said...

Offset: FREE METAL.

sunsong said...

This is wonderful!

Tim Gilliland said...

I skimmed through the list (against my better judgment) and was as disappointed as I expected to be. A lot of bands with female front(wo)men and a lot artists nobody has ever heard of before outside of Greenwich Village record shops.
Where is Natalie Merchant? for example.
Her breakout solo album "Tigerlily" has several hits that are still played on FM to this day even though the album came out in 1995.
Zero Zip Zilch nada.

sunsong said...

Joni 'River'

William said...

Ella Fitzgerald clocked in at 41. That makes the list suspect......They seem to have a fair representation of all the styles, including Bulgarian folk choruses. Bulgarian folk choruses are usually underrepresented in such lists........Who will reach total obscurity first: Laura Nyro or Aaliyah? I'm a fan of Laura Nyro, but I don't think anyone under the age of fifty has even heard of her,

CJinPA said...

This being NPR, it had to spend half of its piece (122 of 248 words) on Cyndi Lauper's fun "She's So Unusual" on its least known charted song, the one about masturbation. Because NPR.

Unknown said...

Canciones de Mi Padre

Linda Ronstadt

Kevin said...

Today's posts require a list of the best albums by transsexauls.

We need to stay on point!

stever said...

Yeah, like some one said, no Natalie Merchant. Linda Ronstadt clocks in at 41? This list is based, in large part, on something besides good music.

Patrick said...

The Wailin' Jennys damn well better be on there somewhere. I agree 100% with unknown, KD Lang, Ingenue. Live that album.

Bob Ellison said...

Clouds is, of course, the best album by a female singer-songwriter.

And anyone like ndspinelli who thinks Joni Mitchell is not a musical genius is a fool. She even painted her own album covers.

sunsong said...

Nina Simone - 'feelin good'

sunsong said...

Amy Winehouse ~ back to black

Unknown said...

Phoebe Snow

Phoebe Snow

mccullough said...

Blue is a great album

madAsHell said...

#10 is the only one I am familiar with and it is great.

I highly recommend the musical "Beautiful". It documents the music, and the lives of Ms. King, Gerry Goffin (her 1st husband), Cynthia Weil, and Barry Mann. Ms. King's music became her coping mechanism.

An enterprising individual could create a similar musical for Fleetwood Mac, and all their relationship turmoil. It's all documented in their music.

Unknown said...

Tracy Chapman

A New Beginning

bagoh20 said...

My mind immediately goes to "Tapestry". Simply a timeless and amazing work of enduring and endearing femininity.

Unknown said...

Jane Siberry

The Speckless Sky

eddie willers said...

Frankly, Joni Mitchell should have at least two, maybe three, out of the top ten.

I rank Blue at her third best. I flop between Hejira (Jaco Pastorius!) and The Hissing Of Summer Lawns as the best.

I only looked at the top 10. Please tell me Emmylou landed high.

Unknown said...

Emmylou Harris

Cimarron

Patrick said...

150 is too many for a greatest list. You can argue about placement, but asst some point it's difficult to think of Names not on the list.

Patrick said...

Wrecking Ball is on the list, Eddie

Kevin said...

The list is crap. Hounds of Love is in the 30s and Dig Me Out is in the 80s.

whswhs said...

Ah, they like St. Joni. Good for them! Blue is still my favorite of hers, though every LP up through Don Juan's Reckless Daughter has songs I like; I'm particularly fond of "You Turn Me On, I'm a Radio," "Judgment of the Moon and Stars," and "Don't Interrupt the Sorrow."

Unknown said...

Sarah McLachlan

Angel

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Kevin said...
The list is crap. Hounds of Love is in the 30s and Dig Me Out is in the 80s.

Agreed. Court and Spark isn't listed either. I'm not a Joni Mitchell fan, but I love that album.

Jack Wayne said...

I read the list and I can only think that NPR thinks "Banality, thy name is woman".

Yancey Ward said...

I only looked at the top 30, and I wouldn't argue too much with that part of the list, almost all of which I have listened to in their entirety at least once in my life (I actually own on CD 14 of them). My only real change would have been to put Jagged Little Pill into the top 5 from 29.

SukieTawdry said...

If you didn't have Blue in your collection, you weren't considered a serious connoisseur of contemporary music (in fact, I have it in vinyl, cassette and cd). I tried to like Lauren Hill. I really did (I still have her Education cassette), but meh. Everybody covered Carole King back in the day. She was a great songwriter.

Yancey Ward said...

Of the top 10, the only two I don't have in my own collection is the Missy Elliot and Beyonce, and the only reason I don't own Lemonade is that it is so recent and I don't buy music any longer.

I just now looked at the rest of the list quickly- Sheryl Crow at 94 is a crime- should have been top 10.

Yancey Ward said...

Also, Tidal by Fiona Apple should have been top 20 at the very least.

Etienne said...

Yoko Ono, but no Disco.

I smell payola...

IgnatzEsq said...

A few comments.

1) One can tell how group-thinky someone on the left is based on what they think of Beyonce. If you think Beyonce is a socially aware important voice on race relations, well, you are incapable of independent thinking in this area. I think it's strikingly obvious she cares about Beyonce considerably more than anything else, and if being socially aware will make Beyonce money and give her fame, she's totally woke!

2) I'm fine with these kinds of lists - but understand they are designed to be bad so that people will talk about them, like is happening here

3) As best I can tell the inclusion criteria here is that the album must have included a women as a lead singer on some of the songs? But then the B-52's? I couldn't tell you what "made by women" means but I doubt you could come up with a meaningful definition that doesn't include Prince, who is absent from this list.

4) The top ten for transgender albums must include something by Wendy Carlos.

Yancey Ward said...

Bad Girls by Donna Summer is in the list somewhere, I forget exactly where, though- only "Disco" I remember seeing in the list, though parts of it are more non-Disco than Summer had done to that point.

Nonapod said...

Yeah, how they can put Tori Amos ahead of Kate Bush is beyond me.

Yancey Ward said...

IgnatzEsq,

I also didn't think albums like Rumours belonged on the list. It has been a long time since I listened to it, but my memory is that Deborah Harry sang the lead on all the songs on Parallel Lines at least.

Sebastian said...

As far as I can tell, no Birgit Nilsson, no Tatiana Nikolayeva, no Anne-Sophie Mutter. Sad!

mikeski said...

Too bad they couldn't find anybody who's ever listened to a Mary Chapin Carpenter album.

Rob said...

A list like this seems awfully binary and possibly even cisnormative. What's next, NPR? You want to send trans people to the ovens? Like Hitler??!!

Francisco D said...

I don't take this stuff seriously. It's completely subjective, but fun. It starts conversations and gets people to look into new music.

That's a pretty thoughtful list. Lucinda Williams, Patty Smith and Ricky Lee Jones are underrated musicians. I did not see Nora Jones, but I did not read the whole list.

I have tried to listen to Nina Simone many times. I don't get her popularity.

Feste said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob said...

Next up from NPR: The 150 Greatest Albums Made By Men. Followed by The 150 Greatest Albums Made By White People. Stay by your radios.

Joe said...

WTF? Rumours is greater than any of the other albums, but at its core is Lindsey Buckingham at HIS best.

And did I miss "Walk Under Ladders" by Joan Armatrading?

antiphone said...

As best I can tell the inclusion criteria here is that the album must have included a women as a lead singer on some of the songs? But then the B-52's?

Totaly, Ignatz. my thoughts exactly

Virgil Hilts said...

No Neko Case? Worthless list.

ganderson said...

Karla Bonoff?

Virgil Hilts said...

Hole? Why does Hole make the list and not say Suzanne Vega? When was the last time any person on this thread actually listened to a song by Hole? Anyone here have a bunch of Hole songs on their ipod playlists? I think not.
The only reason Hole got any attention was because Courtney Love would expose her breasts while performing.

Carter Wood said...

Bikini Kill, #98. Saw them in Minot, N.D., in a bar with maybe 50 people in the audience. Very fun. Unlistenable album.

The Pandoras and The Muffs. Always listenable.

antiphone said...

Melanie

D said...

I concur with the above on K Bush being passed over, way too low for Hounds of Love. Any disagreement on that point makes you a very bad person.

J2 said...

Virgil - You are walking on the fighting side of me

I listen to "Hey You" by Hole at my gym on the treadmill every day. She is on my playlist marked GYM. She kicks in right after Sia's "The Girl You Lost to Cocaine" which is followed by Mavis Staples "99 & 1/2".

Infinite Monkeys said...

So, is Yoko Ono the only Asian woman in the list? Anyone from India? China? Or does this intervention, remedy, and correction of the historical record still lack something?

fivewheels said...

Lotta women here not playing instruments, not writing songs, not doing a lot to "make" the album. It's a fine NPR-ish list of "albums made with women somewhere in the building at some point". But compared to bands that did write the music, perform the music and co-produce the albums in addition to dubbing the vocals later -- and plenty of great bands like that do exist, but not on an NPR playlist -- it seems pretty hollow.

Currently listening to a Japanese band called Mary's Blood.

J2 said...

Whoa whoa whoa

I must have missed these: Laura Nyro and Joan Armitrading. They are top 10.

And Lita Ford should be in there at least in the top 100. I'm pissed.

Rick Turley said...

The newish Alison Krauss Windy City album might be on that list one day. The voice of an angel.

J2 said...


Natalie Merchant - The only singer I would get off my wheelchair and walk across the room to the radio to silence, no matter how much physical pain was involved.

If get in one of those "coma situations", see what happens if you play a song by Natalie Merchant. If I don't stir, pull the plug. Please.

Liesl said...

I loved "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" when it first came out. It spoke to my 18 year old self on many levels. A boy at my college asked me what I was listening to one day, and when I told him that album, he told me that Lauryn Hill had said she'd rather watch her children be raped than for white people to listen to her music. I never verified whether she did or did not actually say any such thing, but the possibility that this woman might so violently hate the fact that I bought and enjoyed her album persuaded me to stop listening and get rid of it. It was my first inkling that there existed a racial divide.

mikeski said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mikeski said...

Or how about "Mandylion" by The Gathering?

[fistbump] Was Anneke very involved, there, though? That was their first album with her.

Yeah, how they can put Tori Amos ahead of Kate Bush is beyond me.

[fistbump again] Kate was an overproduced sex object, so obviously inferior to Tori the date-rape victim, among the Woke?

So, is Yoko Ono the only Asian woman in the list?

I didn't click thru their 15-page list... was she on it? Ew.

Use Yoko Kanno, if you need a Yoko. Huge chops. Want techno-metal? She'll write you the Stand Alone Complex soundtrack. Want big-band jazz? She'll write you the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack. Want baroque-style classical? She'll write you the Wolf's Rain soundtrack. She's the frontwoman for the jazz band "Seatbelts". She's directed orchestras. She's composed music for dozens of other pop acts.

What did Yoko Ono do, besides #$%# a Beatle?

Heck, Babymetal would be a better choice. (Metal Resistance was the first Japanese album to break the Billboard top 40 since that Sukiyaki song back in the dark ages.)

antiphone said...

I never verified whether she did or did not actually say any such thing..

Yet here you are, spreading it around.

Liesl said...

I'm surprised Sarah McLachlan's "Fumbling Towards Ecstacy" isn't on the list.

Liesl said...

@antiphone, I loved the album so I tried to find a source, because it was upsetting to me. I didn't find anything conclusive but I let the possibility of it color my perception.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Use Yoko Kanno, if you need a Yoko.

I don't like fist bumping but Right on!!!

Howard said...

Disappointing Dave Matthews didn't make the cut.

Real American said...

This list should be called albums by women for women. Still, No Doubt was too low, and no Cardigans, no 4Non blondes, no concrete blonde, no Abba and not even Wilson Phillips.

Now Is the Time! said...

Fellow Canadians Kate & Anna McGarrigle self-titled first album should be in the top twenty but it is not even on the list.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_&_Anna_McGarrigle_(album)?wprov=sfsi1

LilyBart said...

If they put Lemonade before Rumours, they're not really serious!

LilyBart said...

"Sheryl Crow at 94 is a crime- should have been top 10."

Agreed

antiphone said...

A boy at my college asked me what I was listening to one day, and when I told him that album, he told me...

Classic

Robert Cook said...

"...I can't tell whether 'Too Many Zooz' is a man or a woman."

Too Many Zooz is a sometimes duo/sometimes trio of male musicians: drum, baritone sax, (and trumpet, when the third member is present).

Robert Cook said...

I didn't read through the list. Is Alice Cooper's KILLER included?

Robert Cook said...

I've never followed Beyonce, but I saw part of her LEMONADE video film on tv last year and thought it was visually brilliant. I heard all of the LEMONDADE album on a car trip recently and was blown away by it! It's like a concept album from the 60s/70s. It's audacious and ambitious and utterly compelling.

Darrell said...

Bangles, Carly Simon, Anne Murray, Patsy Cline . . .

Darrell said...

Wait a second! I don't give a shit what NPR thinks.

Darrell said...

If she knew what she wants
(He'd be giving it to her)
If she knew what she needs
(He could give her that too)
If she knew what she wants
(But he can't see through her)
If she knew what she wants
He'd be giving it to her
Giving it to her

FWBuff said...

Karen Carpenter (A Song for You) too low at 126.

southcentralpa said...

Mary Chapin-Carpenter was robbed.

You know why "Stones in the Road" got a Grammy? Because they couldn't give two to "Come On Come On". "Come On Come On" should've been at least top 100...

Bob said...

I was reading the review of #79, Portishead's Dummy, and, as if summoned, a song from the album played on my Pandora station.

Dave in Tucson said...

Calling Plastic Ono Band an "album made by a woman" is stretching the meaning of the phrase beyond any semantic significance.

Meade said...

Shut it up shut! NPR blew it. They left out Tonight's the Night, the debut album by The Shirelles, with the first #1 hit for a girls' (women's) group, Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.

Ann Althouse said...

I love The Shirelles (and loved them back when their songs were new), but listen to this version of WYSLMT: Laura Nyro.

Lucien said...

No Amalia Rodrigues, no Diana Krall, no Florence Welch. Fleetwood Mac??? If that's an album made by a woman then why not 10,000 Maniacs to represent Natalie Merchant's work?

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Lots of great albums among the 150. As for the top 10, who knows.

"Made by Women": sometimes a woman is the front singer, with lots of male "help" in producing, arranging, performing? Is there a special place for singer-songwriters? But then: Elvis never wrote a song, nor I believe did Sinatra. They "made" albums with their choice of tunes, arrangements, personal style and interpretation.
Nice to see Dusty in Memphis at 45: she had big-time producers working with her, but this made her realize she had been doing "producing" before, and she probably had a veto over the final versions of songs. "I Am Shelby Lynne" at 132: the first album of hers on which she wrote a lot of the material. She had been a kind of Nashville princess, and she has gone through a lot of genres over the years, with an interesting originality. I like Aretha's Hey Now Hey/The Other Side of the Sky, not listed here, even though I think she ended up not liking it much herself. A few tunes she wrote or co-wrote, fantastic covers of songs she didn't write, Quincy Jones as co-producer, the whole thing kind of funky and fun.

Bricap said...

WYSLMT was written by Carole King. There are a ton of songs she wrote that have well known performances by others. She was very prolific, to say the least. If you google 'Carole King songs covered by others,' just amazing. I just learned Chains by the Beatles was hers. Who knew? When I was little, my mom would play Tapestry all the time. The Carly Simon entry was also played a lot back then. So those two albums take me back, anyway.

Did I miss it, or did the Pretenders really not have any entries on that list?

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

No Salem 66? Sad!

Robert said...

An old Rolling Stones Top 500 album list had Joni Mitchell at 30.

A wikipedia entry for Top Canadian albums of all time had it at number 2 behind Neil Young.

Yancey Ward said...

Bricap,

The Pretenders were on there, don't remember where exactly, but I did notice it.

Bricap said...

Thanks, Yancey.

Jeff Albertson said...

Laura Nyro comes in 82nd? That's how you know this list is nonsense.

Eighty. Second.

Who are these children, these summer interns, who apparently ranked these randomly?

Jeff Albertson said...

And another thing... no Suzanne Vega.

Now, there's a lot to like about what's on the list, but this is damning. I mean, they've got Yoko Ono on there, for Pete's sake.

I think this list is merely "the last 150 reviews we did the could possibly fit into the Album + Woman combination"