There are a lot of lists of must-see movies floating around. Coincidentally, I’ve been thinking a bit about must-hear music. Now that we have a generation growing up in an era of unlimited choice, it’s a good time to find a few albums and songs that make people understand what’s out there in rock and pop and why some of it is just plain better, or at least groundbreaking.
The requirements, as far as I can tell:
1. Must be part of pop culture — a popular release at the time and something that people remember as something other than camp today. (In other words — Sgt. Pepper’s, yes. Michael Bolton, no.)
2. If it’s obscure, it must be influential. That’s the way critics always squeeze the Sex Pistols onto this list — the songs are as popular now as they ever were, and they helped start a whole subgenre of music. (I will disagree that the Velvet Underground deserve the same treatment. I don’t care how many New Yorkers cite them as influences. No one in the rest of the country not named Michael Stipe cares.)
3. Must not suck.
So think about it, and feel free to pass along suggestions.