I’m pretty sure I can easily define the best album of this particular segment of the first hundred: Missy Elliot’s debut Supa Dupa Fly. It’s the third rap album that happened to feature Busta Rhymes in this experiment (this is pretty unintentional… who knew Busta was so prolific at the time?) but where as Busta’s solo album felt over-long and underwhelming, everything Missy touched felt like gold. Sure, her brags tended to be repeated instead of curated anew for each new moment of boasting, but every track could stand on its own (and really, who can deny the power of “The Rain” or “Sock it 2 Me”?)
I can also easily select the worst of the bunch: Glenn Danzig’s self titled solo debut with his band Danzig. To be sure, I enjoyed Dilly Dally’s Sore less, but Danzig was not only unfortunately dull, but after his work with the Misfits, it was also disappointing. Instead of more bombastic punk, the tracks tend to plod and his voice tends to sound bored. I’m not quite sure what Dilly Dally are doing musically, but Danzig felt like when you buy a frozen dinner: the promise on the front is always a letdown when you finally get around to the product itself.
Part of what makes these the easy standouts, of course, is due to a lot of harder to pin down albums. There are the “shoulda been great” albums that left me colder than I’d hoped, from no less musicians than Miles Davis and Gordon Gano, no less. Jethro Tull’s Crest of a Knave, the album which famously won the “Best Hard Rock or Metal” Grammy over Metallica’s …And Justice For All, left me overall pleased but not excited, and the new album by Chvrches did the same. An album by Brazilian Jazzman Vinicius de Moraes ended up being more of an EP of work performed by Antonio Carlos Jobim (who is becoming the Busta Rhymes of the Jazz portion of the project), and so, while enjoyable, felt somewhat outside the scope of things. Only Cait Brennan’s long delayed debut Debutante left a definite impact. It’s a smart album from a singer-songwriter who simply never recorded her wide catalog until now. As a result, we get tracks that often approach Jellyfish-era power-pop, and in 2016, that is a special gem. I was introduced to “Madame Pompadour” on a date, and have been obsessed with the track ever since. Who says a failed date can’t be worth it?
The full ten is as follows:
61: Danzig – Danzig
62: Miles Davis – Sketches of Spain
63: Jethro Tull – Crest of a Knave
64: Cait Brennan – Debutante
65: Dilly Dally – Sore
66: Violent Femmes – Why Do Birds Sing?
67: Vinicius de Moraes – Orfeu de Conceicao
68: Chvrches – Every Open Eye
69: Missy Elliot – Supa Dupa Fly
70: Catherine Wheel – Happy Days