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Author Topic: Masterpieces of the 21st Century  (Read 10400 times)
KDS
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« Reply #100 on: April 08, 2016, 12:10:15 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.

Yeah, those early "joke / dialogue" tracks have kept a couple BB albums from being true classics IMO. 

I'd probably rank Today with Pet Sounds and Sunflower if not for Bull Session with Big Daddy.
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« Reply #101 on: April 08, 2016, 12:11:52 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.

Yeah, those early "joke / dialogue" tracks have kept a couple BB albums from being true classics IMO. 

I'd probably rank Today with Pet Sounds and Sunflower if not for Bull Session with Big Daddy.
A challenge for me would also be that I think one artist can only have one masterpiece - that artist's master piece. I know I'm convoluting two definitions of masterpiece here and being free and loose with the language.
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« Reply #102 on: April 08, 2016, 12:12:30 PM »

Another way to think of "masterpiece": nothing is better than it. Equal, sure, but it's basically a tie for first.

(As you can see, my thinking when using language like masterpiece is to get exclusive. Otherwise we're more or less lumping it in with great. Then good. Pretty good. Not bad. There's a song on it I like. Etc.)
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« Reply #103 on: April 08, 2016, 12:13:55 PM »

Which albums would you rate as undeniable masterpieces released this century. Three immediately spring to mind for me. BWPS, Bob Dylan's Love and Theft and Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Anyone got anymore they would put in that category?

Sailboat.
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« Reply #104 on: April 08, 2016, 12:14:10 PM »

Another way to think of "masterpiece": nothing is better than it. Equal, sure, but it's basically a tie for first.

(As you can see, my thinking when using language like masterpiece is to get exclusive. Otherwise we're more or less lumping it in with great. Then good. Pretty good. Not bad. There's a song on it I like. Etc.)
Yeah - we need to save at least one word for the very tippy top.
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« Reply #105 on: April 08, 2016, 12:15:08 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.

Yeah, those early "joke / dialogue" tracks have kept a couple BB albums from being true classics IMO. 

I'd probably rank Today with Pet Sounds and Sunflower if not for Bull Session with Big Daddy.
A challenge for me would also be that I think one artist can only have one masterpiece - that artist's master piece. I know I'm convoluting two definitions of masterpiece here and being free and loose with the language.

Actually, you're right.  By definition, each artist should have one masterpiece.

If that's the case, I'd probably shorten my list to around 50.
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KDS
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« Reply #106 on: April 08, 2016, 12:17:39 PM »

Another way to think of "masterpiece": nothing is better than it. Equal, sure, but it's basically a tie for first.

(As you can see, my thinking when using language like masterpiece is to get exclusive. Otherwise we're more or less lumping it in with great. Then good. Pretty good. Not bad. There's a song on it I like. Etc.)
Yeah - we need to save at least one word for the very tippy top.

True, if I lumped great / classic albums in with masterpieces, I'd have a huge list. 

For example, in my opinion, Pink Floyd has released at least 7-8 great / classic albums.  But, I would call Dark Side of the Moon their masterpiece (even if I prefer Wish You Were Here). 
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« Reply #107 on: April 08, 2016, 12:27:30 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. 

I would argue the majority of early Beatles songs are actually pop songs. I will also concede that they did veer into rock occasionally ("Twist and Shout," "Roll Over Beethoven," etc.).

Also, the Beach Boys could do the same, but once again, it was infrequent, and they were so much better when they didn't.

Anyway, I don't want to derail this other conversation that's happening, so I'll let this be my last reply about it here. I'll go have a think about masterpieces.
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KDS
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« Reply #108 on: April 08, 2016, 12:33:03 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. 

I would argue the majority of early Beatles songs are actually pop songs. I will also concede that they did veer into rock occasionally ("Twist and Shout," "Roll Over Beethoven," etc.).

Also, the Beach Boys could do the same, but once again, it was infrequent, and they were so much better when they didn't.

Anyway, I don't want to derail this other conversation that's happening, so I'll let this be my last reply about it here. I'll go have a think about masterpieces.

Since I also don't want to derail too much, I'll just respectfully disagree. 

Please Please Me, I Wanna Be Your Man, A Hard Day's Night, I Should've Known Better, Taxman, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, One After 909, and The End are just a few of the songs that I think separate The Beatles from being pop. 

Also, on the topic of masterpieces, I'm going to nominate Abbey Road over Sgt. Pepper's.  Pound for pound / sound for sound much better album if you ask me. 
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« Reply #109 on: April 08, 2016, 12:34:59 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. 

I would argue the majority of early Beatles songs are actually pop songs. I will also concede that they did veer into rock occasionally ("Twist and Shout," "Roll Over Beethoven," etc.).

Also, the Beach Boys could do the same, but once again, it was infrequent, and they were so much better when they didn't.

Anyway, I don't want to derail this other conversation that's happening, so I'll let this be my last reply about it here. I'll go have a think about masterpieces.
I agree with your genrefication. But I also know that the word 'rock' is particularly prone to individualized definitions. Rock is very narrow to me. Pop very broad. Some people go the other way.
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« Reply #110 on: April 08, 2016, 12:38:12 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.  

I would argue the majority of early Beatles songs are actually pop songs. I will also concede that they did veer into rock occasionally ("Twist and Shout," "Roll Over Beethoven," etc.).

Also, the Beach Boys could do the same, but once again, it was infrequent, and they were so much better when they didn't.

Anyway, I don't want to derail this other conversation that's happening, so I'll let this be my last reply about it here. I'll go have a think about masterpieces.

Since I also don't want to derail too much, I'll just respectfully disagree.  

Please Please Me, I Wanna Be Your Man, A Hard Day's Night, I Should've Known Better, Taxman, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, One After 909, and The End are just a few of the songs that I think separate The Beatles from being pop.  

Also, on the topic of masterpieces, I'm going to nominate Abbey Road over Sgt. Pepper's.  Pound for pound / sound for sound much better album if you ask me.  
I think I'd go for Revolver* - not just to be difficult  Smiley But I do prefer Abbey Road to Sgt. Pepper's.
Also, I think The Beatles straddled the pop/rock line very closely through their career, sometimes going one way, sometimes the other. And sometimes having songs that were neither rock nor pop.
edit - *oops - failed my own definition - Yellow Submarine disqualifies it. I put it up there as my favorite Beatles album without considering my own masterpiece definition. So I rescind my nomination.
But Beatles are off topic, so I won't enter in a new nominee.
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« Reply #111 on: April 08, 2016, 12:41:05 PM »

I think one of the issues with rock is that when many think of the word "rock," particularly people under 40, they think of harder edged music like Zeppelin, Cream, Deep Purple, AC/DC, etc while not thinking of your early rockers such as Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Beatles, The Animals, Gerry and the Pacemakers, etc.  

Peoples' perceptions of what rock is can be very different.  I once got into an argument with somebody who sore Van Halen was a pop group instead of a rock band because of the song Jump.  
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« Reply #112 on: April 08, 2016, 12:42:32 PM »

Emily,

It's funny you say that.  I like Yellow Submarine, but that also keeps Revolver from being my favorite Beatles record. 
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« Reply #113 on: April 08, 2016, 01:26:49 PM »

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.

I think some prog fans started salivating.


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

Going from the definition we've set, I think the amount of masterpieces you can reasonably expect within a year is 0. However, music is incredibly spontaneous, and sometimes a year can give you a new masterpiece every single month. I think it's tempting but wrong to correspond music with years, as there is simply no relationship between the two. For me, it's impossible to make a judgement of how many masterpieces are released every year because it's so variable.

I have some other questions. Is it possible to have a masterpiece of 1966? Let's say it's Revolver. Is it possible to have a single masterpiece of the 60's? Like, say, Revolver vs. The Beatles vs. Sgt. Pepper's vs. Abbey Road vs. Rubber Soul vs. A Hard Day's Night vs. Please Please Please Me? What? There are years left out of that list? I don't think so. Let's say Sgt. Pepper's wins. Now, are those other albums actually masterpieces if we're saying Sgt. Pepper's is better than all of them? Can the others be masterpieces if something is better than them? Then you can do Elvis Presley vs. Sgt. Pepper's vs. Dark Side of the Moon vs. Thriller vs. Nevermind to figure out the masterpiece of the 20th century. Then you can compare the masterpiece of the 20th century to the 21st century...

Is it really possible there's multiple albums all at the same level of excellence? That some albums aren't slightly better or slightly worse?

I pick Trout Mask Replica.


Maybe I'm just being difficult.
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« Reply #114 on: April 08, 2016, 02:09:24 PM »

#GoTime By Fear2Stop is another 21st Century "masterpiece".  Cool
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« Reply #115 on: April 08, 2016, 04:03:18 PM »

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.

I think some prog fans started salivating.


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

Going from the definition we've set, I think the amount of masterpieces you can reasonably expect within a year is 0. However, music is incredibly spontaneous, and sometimes a year can give you a new masterpiece every single month. I think it's tempting but wrong to correspond music with years, as there is simply no relationship between the two. For me, it's impossible to make a judgement of how many masterpieces are released every year because it's so variable.

I have some other questions. Is it possible to have a masterpiece of 1966? Let's say it's Revolver. Is it possible to have a single masterpiece of the 60's? Like, say, Revolver vs. The Beatles vs. Sgt. Pepper's vs. Abbey Road vs. Rubber Soul vs. A Hard Day's Night vs. Please Please Please Me? What? There are years left out of that list? I don't think so. Let's say Sgt. Pepper's wins. Now, are those other albums actually masterpieces if we're saying Sgt. Pepper's is better than all of them? Can the others be masterpieces if something is better than them? Then you can do Elvis Presley vs. Sgt. Pepper's vs. Dark Side of the Moon vs. Thriller vs. Nevermind to figure out the masterpiece of the 20th century. Then you can compare the masterpiece of the 20th century to the 21st century...

Is it really possible there's multiple albums all at the same level of excellence? That some albums aren't slightly better or slightly worse?

I pick Trout Mask Replica.


Maybe I'm just being difficult.
You are being difficult, but also asking really good and interesting questions.  Smiley
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« Reply #116 on: April 08, 2016, 04:24:36 PM »

Anyone not willing to be difficult from time to time probably just isn't trying hard enough.

You're entirely right, Bubs, that there is no way to say now many masterpieces there may be per year. Of course it varies! Or to say that there is really no differentiation between one album and the next. Of course each of us picks this over that! These are all just things I was throwing out there to get people thinking, mostly because I wasn't particularly thrilled with what seemed to me to be the watering down of a majestic-sounding term: masterpiece. If it becomes "hey, I liked this album, and since you said Album X I want to throw this one in there, too," well, that's just a sad watering-down of the term. In my arrogant opinion. But what the term really SHOULD mean? Meh, who am I to say? Maybe I'm just being difficult.
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« Reply #117 on: April 08, 2016, 04:37:03 PM »


I have some other questions. Is it possible to have a masterpiece of 1966? Let's say it's Revolver. Is it possible to have a single masterpiece of the 60's? Like, say, Revolver vs. The Beatles vs. Sgt. Pepper's vs. Abbey Road vs. Rubber Soul vs. A Hard Day's Night vs. Please Please Please Me? What? There are years left out of that list? I don't think so. Let's say Sgt. Pepper's wins. Now, are those other albums actually masterpieces if we're saying Sgt. Pepper's is better than all of them? Can the others be masterpieces if something is better than them? Then you can do Elvis Presley vs. Sgt. Pepper's vs. Dark Side of the Moon vs. Thriller vs. Nevermind to figure out the masterpiece of the 20th century. Then you can compare the masterpiece of the 20th century to the 21st century...

Is it really possible there's multiple albums all at the same level of excellence? That some albums aren't slightly better or slightly worse?


I'd say that if we are being really rigorous, then within tightly defined, narrow genres you'd be correct: there's one ultimate THE masterpiece. But so much is apples and oranges and in this case that analogy is perfect: if you have the perfect apple and the perfect orange, you can't say 'this apple is a better apple than that orange is an orange.' You can have two, different, perfects. Then, one can be really rigorous and make those genres so narrowly and precisely defined that every album is the perfect example of its own genre!
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« Reply #118 on: April 08, 2016, 05:04:22 PM »

Today through my posts I've had in mind a basketball analogy. Those uninterested, pardon the analogy. But ESPN's Chad Ford, a writer who focuses on the NBA draft, annually talks about a "tier system." What he means is, while teams may have individual needs--point guard, center, or whatever--there are also general talent "tiers": these four guys, regardless of position, are the generally acknowledged Tier One; then five guys are Tier Two; and so on. If you are a team that needs a point guard and there is one in Tier One, you take him. But if there isn't a point guard in Tier One, you take the best guy in Tier One regardless of need.

That's kind of what I've had in mind. So anyway, I've had "masterpiece" in mind as "Tier One."
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« Reply #119 on: April 08, 2016, 05:35:13 PM »

Kanye West - College Dropout
Arctic Monkeys - Whatever they say...
The King Blues - Punk and Poetry
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« Reply #120 on: April 08, 2016, 06:47:43 PM »

Today through my posts I've had in mind a basketball analogy. Those uninterested, pardon the analogy. But ESPN's Chad Ford, a writer who focuses on the NBA draft, annually talks about a "tier system." What he means is, while teams may have individual needs--point guard, center, or whatever--there are also general talent "tiers": these four guys, regardless of position, are the generally acknowledged Tier One; then five guys are Tier Two; and so on. If you are a team that needs a point guard and there is one in Tier One, you take him. But if there isn't a point guard in Tier One, you take the best guy in Tier One regardless of need.

That's kind of what I've had in mind. So anyway, I've had "masterpiece" in mind as "Tier One."
That's actually a really helpful analogy. Thanks.
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« Reply #121 on: April 09, 2016, 09:17:20 AM »

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.

Yeah, those early "joke / dialogue" tracks have kept a couple BB albums from being true classics IMO. 

I'd probably rank Today with Pet Sounds and Sunflower if not for Bull Session with Big Daddy.

I would agree that "Cassius...Love" serves no purpose whatsoever but to my mind the "talk tracks" on Today! and ASL do serve a purpose (well, two different ones) and are justified for that reason.
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« Reply #122 on: September 05, 2016, 02:35:56 PM »

I still think Age of Adz is a masterpiece in the way that Sufjan takes his emotional and physical turmoil and puts out this almost cacophonous symphony in which you can understand his pain.

I don't see why Helplessness Blues doesn't belong on this list, either.

These are sort of masterpieces in the indie cannon, y'know. And neither are the Pet Sounds of the 2000s, but you've got some wonderful instrumentation & harmonies in these albums.
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