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Author Topic: Masterpieces of the 21st Century  (Read 12637 times)
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« Reply #75 on: April 03, 2016, 11:27:11 AM »

I would agree with your assessment. I think people apply big, meaningful accolades to various things they like because... they like them. Check out this patently absurd Hoffman thread for proof: Your Ultimate 25 Music Geniuses. Yes, twenty-five. My own list of albums would be quite sparse, mainly because I don't think there's been enough time to properly judge the merits of newer musical works. However, there are many instances where I believe a newer album is just as good as an acclaimed, older album--if not better.

I think Joanna Newsom deserves to be recognized as an artist of great worth, and I believe she's earned a spot in the pantheon of "classic artists."
I believe the same is true for Kendrick Lamar, who has perhaps made the masterpiece of the 21st century.
I think Lonerism by Tame Impala at least deserves a mention, as it managed to get everyone's attention and was almost universally agreed upon.
Probably Yankee Foxtrot Hotel by Wilco.
Swans' two most recent albums (and hopefully the new one) for being fierce, creative works of art that are both challenging and invigorating.
D'Angelo's Black Messiah just for being funky goodness.


Of course, I've yet to hear every album from the 21st century, so my list is flawed anyway.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2016, 11:29:56 AM by Bubs » Logged
the captain
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« Reply #76 on: April 03, 2016, 11:40:10 AM »

Of course, I've yet to hear every album from the 21st century, so my list is flawed anyway.

What? Fucking slacker!

You raise a great point about newer works, and it's actually one I have considered seriously. My own conclusion is that there are (at least) two different, yet equally valid, ways to consider a masterpiece. One is the classic "stands the test of time." The other is "perfect for its time." The benefit of keeping the latter separate from the former is that while thinking about a newer work, one is freed from having to even begin considering whether it will hold up: it's irrelevant. Instead, capturing the zeitgeist of the times is the relevant question.

Why bother? Because sometimes an album or song that is immediately praised as a classic actually falls from grace. Maybe its style, its subject matter, its production, the artist herself ends up the problem. But for whatever reason, today's #1 becomes tomorrow's joke. (It often reverses a few more times, if it happens to retain any reputation at all.)
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« Reply #77 on: April 03, 2016, 11:48:43 AM »

Yeah, "masterpiece" certainly has a special connotation to it. You have to have the whole package of being recognized by people, really sounding good as an album as a whole, having truly brilliant songs, perhaps even the story behind the album, or the packaging, or whatever can play a role.

Maybe that means that Tame Impala is one of the few artists I listen to regularly that should make it to this thread.
I think I listen to a lot of music that's a tier below the criteria I listed above... I'd like to think that the music I listen to is brilliant, beautiful, but probably not masterpiece...ful. Tongue

I think Sufjan belongs in this thread, though. Both Stevens and Kevin Parker put an incredible amount of effort into the instrumentation and production of their albums, and they're ridiculously good at the whole concept album thing.
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« Reply #78 on: April 03, 2016, 11:52:04 AM »

You raise a great point about newer works, and it's actually one I have considered seriously. My own conclusion is that there are (at least) two different, yet equally valid, ways to consider a masterpiece. One is the classic "stands the test of time." The other is "perfect for its time." The benefit of keeping the latter separate from the former is that while thinking about a newer work, one is freed from having to even begin considering whether it will hold up: it's irrelevant. Instead, capturing the zeitgeist of the times is the relevant question.
Yeah, I was thinking about this the other day. Like if I still cherish an album or can re-appreciate it ~year after it's been released, then I feel like I can truly call it one of my favorite albums of all time.
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« Reply #79 on: April 03, 2016, 11:56:16 AM »

You raise a great point about newer works, and it's actually one I have considered seriously. My own conclusion is that there are (at least) two different, yet equally valid, ways to consider a masterpiece. One is the classic "stands the test of time." The other is "perfect for its time." The benefit of keeping the latter separate from the former is that while thinking about a newer work, one is freed from having to even begin considering whether it will hold up: it's irrelevant. Instead, capturing the zeitgeist of the times is the relevant question.
Yeah, I was thinking about this the other day. Like if I still cherish an album or can re-appreciate it ~year after it's been released, then I feel like I can truly call it one of my favorite albums of all time.

I think that's the traditional way of thinking about it, but it's the opposite of my point. My point is, maybe ~years after the album was released, you listen again and no longer like it. But damn, when it came out, it was important to you. Maybe you cried over it all autumn, or it was your summer soundtrack, or it just otherwise spoke to you ... but it had little or no staying power. Is an immediate and major response less valuable than, say, a "slow burn" response that lasts a decade? I say not. I say it's maybe a different thing, but not less valuable.
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« Reply #80 on: April 03, 2016, 12:10:26 PM »

I think Sufjan belongs in this thread, though.

Now that you mention, I might actually include Illinois in my list....
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« Reply #81 on: April 03, 2016, 01:52:30 PM »

Here's my pics for best albums of the 21st Century so far in no order

David Gilmour - On an Island

Iron Maiden - A Matter of Life and Death

Avenged Sevenfold - City of Evil

Ghost - Infessisumam

The Beach Boys - That's Why God Made the Radio

Brian Wilson - That Lucky Old Sun

The Darkness - Permission to Land

Judas Priest - Angel of Retribution

Hammerfall - Crimson Thunder
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« Reply #82 on: April 08, 2016, 10:52:52 AM »

Couple quick things on this topic.

1. After seeing them here and having some time, I listened to Ys[/] (1st time in a year or so) and Illinois (first time in at least 5-6 years). The former I still strongly believe is a stone classic. The latter I still believe is an ambitious, overly long, sometimes amazing album of a talented man needing an editor.

2. Question for y'all: how many "masterpieces " do you think there are in total, all time? We were talking about the distinction between good albums and masterpieces earlier and it got me thinking. Obviously it's subjective and presumably nobody has bothered making an actual list, but if you had to toss out a guess... 25? 50? 100? 500?
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« Reply #83 on: April 08, 2016, 10:59:35 AM »

Couple quick things on this topic.

1. After seeing them here and having some time, I listened to Ys[/] (1st time in a year or so) and Illinois (first time in at least 5-6 years). The former I still strongly believe is a stone classic. The latter I still believe is an ambitious, overly long, sometimes amazing album of a talented man needing an editor.

2. Question for y'all: how many "masterpieces " do you think there are in total, all time? We were talking about the distinction between good albums and masterpieces earlier and it got me thinking. Obviously it's subjective and presumably nobody has bothered making an actual list, but if you had to toss out a guess... 25? 50? 100? 500?

Capt,

That's a good question - #2.  How many masterpieces, meaning full albums that are true masterpieces. 

Personally, I'd have to sit down and think about it, but my total would be probably around 100, but definitely less than 500. 
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« Reply #84 on: April 08, 2016, 11:01:36 AM »

It's a question with no real answer.

Some would say Tommy is a masterpiece, and I would say it belongs on the bottom of the River Thames.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2016, 11:04:43 AM by Bubs » Logged
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« Reply #85 on: April 08, 2016, 11:02:45 AM »

Are we talking popular music (the most broad interpretation of 'popular') only? Not classical, jazz, raga, etc?
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« Reply #86 on: April 08, 2016, 11:13:12 AM »

Are we talking popular music (the most broad interpretation of 'popular') only? Not classical, jazz, raga, etc?

I was strictly referring to rock music (sorry for not specifying).

But, if you're talking about all music, then it's got to be over 1,000. 
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« Reply #87 on: April 08, 2016, 11:17:58 AM »

Are we talking popular music (the most broad interpretation of 'popular') only? Not classical, jazz, raga, etc?

I was strictly referring to rock music (sorry for not specifying).

But, if you're talking about all music, then it's got to be over 1,000.  
I am very much not trying to argue about terminology (how weird is that?); just trying to understand your parameters on the question. I know you exclude rap from rock. How about stuff mainly considered pop, like Adele, or whatever one would call Amy Winehouse? I wouldn't consider them rock, but are those within the parameters of your question?
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« Reply #88 on: April 08, 2016, 11:21:49 AM »

Or would Johnny Cash count?
Or Aretha Franklin?
« Last Edit: April 08, 2016, 11:24:00 AM by Emily » Logged
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« Reply #89 on: April 08, 2016, 11:24:27 AM »

Are we talking popular music (the most broad interpretation of 'popular') only? Not classical, jazz, raga, etc?

I was strictly referring to rock music (sorry for not specifying).

But, if you're talking about all music, then it's got to be over 1,000.  
I am very much not trying to argue about terminology (how weird is that?); just trying to understand your parameters on the question. I know you exclude rap from rock. How about stuff mainly considered pop, like Adele, or whatever one would call Amy Winehouse? I wouldn't consider them rock, but are those within the parameters of your question?

I don't know what Amy Winehouse is, but it's not rock.

Rock is, to me anyway, music comprised of guitar, bass, drums, piano, vox (mixing and matching some or the other), that evolved from blues.

Honestly, I'm probably not the best person to define what is / isn't rock.  I can listen to a band/artist and say whether they are/aren't rock.  

Of course, masterpiece is an even tougher one with music because it's so subjective.  

Many rock fans my age (35) would say that Nirvana's Nevermind is the rock masterpiece of the 20th century.  Personally, I think Nirvana are total crap, and would probably vote Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.  

I've heard people say the Taylor Swift's 1989 is a masterpiece.  As I can't stand modern pop, I really couldn't judge.  
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« Reply #90 on: April 08, 2016, 11:25:28 AM »

Or would Johnny Cash count?
Or Aretha Franklin?

Johnny Cash is a tough one.  While I do consider him a rock pioneer, he's really more country. 

Aretha Franklin would soul or R&B. 
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« Reply #91 on: April 08, 2016, 11:28:18 AM »

Are we talking popular music (the most broad interpretation of 'popular') only? Not classical, jazz, raga, etc?

I was strictly referring to rock music (sorry for not specifying).

But, if you're talking about all music, then it's got to be over 1,000.  
I am very much not trying to argue about terminology (how weird is that?); just trying to understand your parameters on the question. I know you exclude rap from rock. How about stuff mainly considered pop, like Adele, or whatever one would call Amy Winehouse? I wouldn't consider them rock, but are those within the parameters of your question?

I don't know what Amy Winehouse is, but it's not rock.

Rock is, to me anyway, music comprised of guitar, bass, drums, piano, vox (mixing and matching some or the other), that evolved from blues.

Honestly, I'm probably not the best person to define what is / isn't rock.  I can listen to a band/artist and say whether they are/aren't rock.  

Of course, masterpiece is an even tougher one with music because it's so subjective.  

Many rock fans my age (35) would say that Nirvana's Nevermind is the rock masterpiece of the 20th century.  Personally, I think Nirvana are total crap, and would probably vote Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.  

I've heard people say the Taylor Swift's 1989 is a masterpiece.  As I can't stand modern pop, I really couldn't judge.  
OK. Again, I wasn't trying to challenge your definition, just trying to adjust my answer to the parameters.
So I'd say about 5. Though of course Bubs is mainly correct in that it's mostly subjective, though I'd think long-term critical success should probably have some influence on one's judgment for this question.
For your definition, Pet Sounds isn't Rock, right?
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« Reply #92 on: April 08, 2016, 11:35:44 AM »

Are we talking popular music (the most broad interpretation of 'popular') only? Not classical, jazz, raga, etc?

I was strictly referring to rock music (sorry for not specifying).

But, if you're talking about all music, then it's got to be over 1,000.  
I am very much not trying to argue about terminology (how weird is that?); just trying to understand your parameters on the question. I know you exclude rap from rock. How about stuff mainly considered pop, like Adele, or whatever one would call Amy Winehouse? I wouldn't consider them rock, but are those within the parameters of your question?

I don't know what Amy Winehouse is, but it's not rock.

Rock is, to me anyway, music comprised of guitar, bass, drums, piano, vox (mixing and matching some or the other), that evolved from blues.

Honestly, I'm probably not the best person to define what is / isn't rock.  I can listen to a band/artist and say whether they are/aren't rock.  

Of course, masterpiece is an even tougher one with music because it's so subjective.  

Many rock fans my age (35) would say that Nirvana's Nevermind is the rock masterpiece of the 20th century.  Personally, I think Nirvana are total crap, and would probably vote Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.  

I've heard people say the Taylor Swift's 1989 is a masterpiece.  As I can't stand modern pop, I really couldn't judge.  
OK. Again, I wasn't trying to challenge your definition, just trying to adjust my answer to the parameters.
So I'd say about 5. Though of course Bubs is mainly correct in that it's mostly subjective, though I'd think long-term critical success should probably have some influence on one's judgment for this question.
For your definition, Pet Sounds isn't Rock, right?

I would consider Pet Sounds to be a rock record.  The Wrecking Crew is great rocking band.  It definitely strays towards pop. 

This can be debated, but I always consider both The Beatles and The Beach Boys to be rock bands, even if their two most revered albums (Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper's) are considered "pop" albums. 
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« Reply #93 on: April 08, 2016, 11:40:27 AM »

Are we talking popular music (the most broad interpretation of 'popular') only? Not classical, jazz, raga, etc?

I was strictly referring to rock music (sorry for not specifying).

But, if you're talking about all music, then it's got to be over 1,000.  
I am very much not trying to argue about terminology (how weird is that?); just trying to understand your parameters on the question. I know you exclude rap from rock. How about stuff mainly considered pop, like Adele, or whatever one would call Amy Winehouse? I wouldn't consider them rock, but are those within the parameters of your question?

I don't know what Amy Winehouse is, but it's not rock.

Rock is, to me anyway, music comprised of guitar, bass, drums, piano, vox (mixing and matching some or the other), that evolved from blues.

Honestly, I'm probably not the best person to define what is / isn't rock.  I can listen to a band/artist and say whether they are/aren't rock.  

Of course, masterpiece is an even tougher one with music because it's so subjective.  

Many rock fans my age (35) would say that Nirvana's Nevermind is the rock masterpiece of the 20th century.  Personally, I think Nirvana are total crap, and would probably vote Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.  

I've heard people say the Taylor Swift's 1989 is a masterpiece.  As I can't stand modern pop, I really couldn't judge.  
OK. Again, I wasn't trying to challenge your definition, just trying to adjust my answer to the parameters.
So I'd say about 5. Though of course Bubs is mainly correct in that it's mostly subjective, though I'd think long-term critical success should probably have some influence on one's judgment for this question.
For your definition, Pet Sounds isn't Rock, right?

I would consider Pet Sounds to be a rock record.  The Wrecking Crew is great rocking band.  It definitely strays towards pop.  

This can be debated, but I always consider both The Beatles and The Beach Boys to be rock bands, even if their two most revered albums (Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper's) are considered "pop" albums.  
Music genres are complicated. I would say then, for your parameters, 5-10. If one broadens the definition to post 1955 English-language 'popular' music including r&b, rap, country, soul, pop, etc. maybe 20.

edit - maybe 30
« Last Edit: April 08, 2016, 11:44:09 AM by Emily » Logged
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« Reply #94 on: April 08, 2016, 11:43:37 AM »

I was thinking of broad pop, my typical big-tent that includes rock, country, rap, pop, etc.

But to address Bubs's note, it's obviously not something with a real answer, more food for thought while people are naming 21st century masterpieces in this thread. I mean, if we've had, say, 50-75 albums named, and many-to-most posters here think there were far more classics in earlier decades...big numbers.

How many "masterpieces " do you think there are in an average year? Decade? I mean in your own opinions.

Personally I can't imagine there are more than 2-3 in a typical year. There's no guarantee every year has one. But if someone lists 30-40 from the 21st century already, they'd have to believe there are 2000 masterpieces if they played that out.
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« Reply #95 on: April 08, 2016, 11:45:50 AM »

Are we talking popular music (the most broad interpretation of 'popular') only? Not classical, jazz, raga, etc?

I was strictly referring to rock music (sorry for not specifying).

But, if you're talking about all music, then it's got to be over 1,000.  
I am very much not trying to argue about terminology (how weird is that?); just trying to understand your parameters on the question. I know you exclude rap from rock. How about stuff mainly considered pop, like Adele, or whatever one would call Amy Winehouse? I wouldn't consider them rock, but are those within the parameters of your question?

I don't know what Amy Winehouse is, but it's not rock.

Rock is, to me anyway, music comprised of guitar, bass, drums, piano, vox (mixing and matching some or the other), that evolved from blues.

Honestly, I'm probably not the best person to define what is / isn't rock.  I can listen to a band/artist and say whether they are/aren't rock.  

Of course, masterpiece is an even tougher one with music because it's so subjective.  

Many rock fans my age (35) would say that Nirvana's Nevermind is the rock masterpiece of the 20th century.  Personally, I think Nirvana are total crap, and would probably vote Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.  

I've heard people say the Taylor Swift's 1989 is a masterpiece.  As I can't stand modern pop, I really couldn't judge.  
OK. Again, I wasn't trying to challenge your definition, just trying to adjust my answer to the parameters.
So I'd say about 5. Though of course Bubs is mainly correct in that it's mostly subjective, though I'd think long-term critical success should probably have some influence on one's judgment for this question.
For your definition, Pet Sounds isn't Rock, right?

I would consider Pet Sounds to be a rock record.  The Wrecking Crew is great rocking band.  It definitely strays towards pop. 

This can be debated, but I always consider both The Beatles and The Beach Boys to be rock bands, even if their two most revered albums (Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper's) are considered "pop" albums. 
Music genres are complicated. I would say then, for your parameters, 5-10. If one broadens the definition to post 1955 English-language 'popular' music including r&b, rap, country, soul, pop, etc. maybe 20.

Yes they are.  You're so right, Emily.  

Then, once you figure out which genres to use, what constitutes a masterpiece?  

From the classic rock era, I could probably come up with 50-100 albums, I'd personally consider masterpieces.  



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« Reply #96 on: April 08, 2016, 11:49:03 AM »

I was thinking of broad pop, my typical big-tent that includes rock, country, rap, pop, etc.

But to address Bubs's note, it's obviously not something with a real answer, more food for thought while people are naming 21st century masterpieces in this thread. I mean, if we've had, say, 50-75 albums named, and many-to-most posters here think there were far more classics in earlier decades...big numbers.

How many "masterpieces " do you think there are in an average year? Decade? I mean in your own opinions.

Personally I can't imagine there are more than 2-3 in a typical year. There's no guarantee every year has one. But if someone lists 30-40 from the 21st century already, they'd have to believe there are 2000 masterpieces if they played that out.

As strictly a rock fan, I'd probably say there were about 100 or so true masterpieces of rock in my opinion. 

I'd say during rock's glory years for albums (let's say 66-81), there were several a year.  Those numbers have declined considerably.  Some of the albums I listed as 21st Century Masterpieces, I might not cite as All-Time Masterpieces. 
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« Reply #97 on: April 08, 2016, 11:51:29 AM »

This can be debated, but I always consider both The Beatles and The Beach Boys to be rock bands, even if their two most revered albums (Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper's) are considered "pop" albums. 

I think The Beatles and The Beach Boys were too concerned with finesse to be considered a rock band.
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« Reply #98 on: April 08, 2016, 12:02:07 PM »

While I tend to consider genres to be very broad, I tend to consider 'masterpiece' to be very narrow: much more than say 'classic'.
For me, and again, I don't consider this definitive in the least, but I would have to consider the album to set a new level of standard; to have effected the majority of art that follows in terms of quality, care, or methodology. The album would have to have consistent high quality in its entirety (thus, as an example, ""Cassius" Love vs. "Sonny" Wilson"  would disqualify it), and would have to be cohesive as a single work of art.
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« Reply #99 on: April 08, 2016, 12:08:33 PM »

This can be debated, but I always consider both The Beatles and The Beach Boys to be rock bands, even if their two most revered albums (Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper's) are considered "pop" albums. 

I think The Beatles and The Beach Boys were too concerned with finesse to be considered a rock band.

Not if you listen to their earlier work.  And, in the case of The Beatles, some of their later work right before the break up.

Even the Boys could rock out when they really wanted to.  It's About Time comes to mind. 
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