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Recommended CDs: Popular Music > A

      Good! Recommended
      Very good! Highly recommended  (This rating is on webmaster's personal taste.)

 imageartist/title (release year), memo
 ArrivalABBA/Arrival (1976)

The 1970s most commercially successful pop group from Sweden. Catchy melodies and beautiful chorus harmony. The 4th album featuring 'Dancing Queen', the No.1 hit in the charts in 13 countries, including the US and UK.
 The Lexicon of LoveABC/The Lexicon of Love (1982)

A danceable and stylish synth-pop band featuring Martin Fry (vocals). The 1st album that includes UK top ten hits 'The Look of Love' and 'Poison Arrow'. Catchy melodies. Produced by Trevor Horn.
 Back in BlackAC/DC/Back in Black (1980)

A hard rock/heavy metal band from Australia. Featuring the guitarist Angus Young. No. 1 on the US album charts.
Good!I'd Like to See You AgainA Certain Ratio/I'd Like to See You Again (1982)

A post-punk funk band formed in 1977 in Manchester, A Certain Ratio's third album. Released on Factory Records. The latin/jazz-oriented, minimal electro-funk sound is cool. Recommended as a new wave funk album with sophisticated sound. Includes "Touch", "I'd Like to See You Again", "Axis" and "Guess Who".
Good!SplazshActress/Splazsh (2010)

The second album by British electronic musician Darren J. Cunningham, under the name of Actress (Honest Jon's Records). Experimental and psychedelic ambient techno including the elements of UK garage, dubstep, beatdown house, Detroit techno, glitch, IDM (intelligent dance music), and new wave/synth pop. A masterpiece of techno/electronic music which was highly valued by numerous music magazines, such as UK's "The Wire" and "Fact", and critics' reviews.
 Kings of the Wild FrontierAdam and the Ants/Kings of the Wild Frontier (1980)

A British rock band, Adam and the Ants' first album by the new members led by Adam Ant (Vocals) and Marco Pirroni (guitar). #1 on the UK album charts. Pop-oriented new wave sound introducing Burundi (Central African) beat by two drums and rockabilly guitar riffs (like Duane Eddy), and influenced by glam rock. Includes singles, "Kings of the Wild Frontier" (#2 on the UK charts), "Dog Eat Dog" (#4 on the UK charts) and "Antmusic" (#2 on the UK charts). Produced by Chris Hughes.
 Best of the Classic YearsKing Sunny Ade/Best of the Classic Years (1969-1974)

A compilation of early recordings by King Sunny Ade, one of the pioneering musicians of Nigerian popular music "Juju". Released on Shanachie in 2003. Recorded in Nigeria, before Island Records made him a "world music" star (post-Bob Marley) in the early 1980s. Danceable and liberating Afro-pop, filled with a feeling of floating, by pedal steel guitar, bass, talking drum, percussions, vocals and chorus. Intricate rhythms and undulating grooves influenced by funk. Sometimes sounds like reggae and Latin American music. Includes the complete original version of "Synchro System".
 21Adele/21 (2011)

An English singer/songwriter from London, born in 1988, Adele's second album (#1 on the UK/US album charts). Vocal pop based on soul, folk, country and blues. Simple and catchy songs. Soulful vocals going straight to the listeners' hearts and staying in their heads at first listening. A best-selling album had sold over 30 million copies worldwide. This album won the 2012 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Includes singles, "Rolling in the Deep" (#1 US/#2 UK), "Someone like You" (#1 US/UK), "Set Fire to the Rain" (#1 US/#11 UK), "Rumour Has It", and "Turning Tables". "Lovesong" is a cover of the single track by The Cure. "One and Only" is an excellent song in the Memphis soul style. Recommended to those who like Etta James, Roberta Flack, Dusty Springfield, Carole King and Amy Winehouse.
 Crossing the Red Sea with the AdvertsThe Adverts/Crossing the Red Sea with the Adverts (1978)

An English punk band formed in 1976 by T.V. Smith (vocals, songwriting) and female bassist Gaye Advert, the Adverts' debut album (#38 on the UK album charts). Lots of dark, melodic songs filled with frustrations. Includes the singles, "One Chord Wonders", "Gary Gilmore's Eyes" (#18 on the UK charts), "Safety In Numbers" and "No Time To Be 21". Produced by John Leckie. Recommended to those who like the Damned and Buzzcocks. The 200 reissue CD "Ultimate Edition" includes 12 bonus tracks.
 RocksAerosmith/Rocks (1976)

One of the most popular hard rock bands of the 1970s in the US. Featuring the guitarist Joe Perry and vocalist Steven Tyler.
 Hunting High and Lowa-ha/Hunting High and Low (1985)

A Norwegian synth-pop band, a-ha's debut album. Song/melody-oriented synth-pop, like early Depeche Mode and the Lotus Eaters. Acoustic and transparent sound featuring Morten Harket's falsetto voice. Includes singles, "Take on Me" (#1 on the US/#2 on the UK charts) and "The Sun Always Shines on T.V." (#1 on the UK charts). Produced by Tony Mansfield and others. The single "Take on Me" became an international hit with the innovative music video (combination of pencil sketch-style rotoscoping animation and live-action) directed by Steve Barron.
 Moon SafariAir/Moon Safari (1998)

A French electronic pop duo formed by Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoît Dunckel in Paris in 1995, Air's first album (#6 on the UK album charts. #21 on the French album charts). Easy listening/lounge music-oriented downtempo/ambient pop influenced by electronic music, Burt Bacharach and Saint Etienne. Retro and old-fashioned sound including moog synths, Rhodes piano, guitar and vocoder. Accessible and comfortable music. One of the masterpieces of the 1990s electronica. Includes singles, "Sexy Boy" (#13 on the UK charts. Used in the US film "10 Things I Hate About You"), "Kelly Watch the Stars" and "All I Need". American female singer-songwriter Beth Hirsch sings a lead vocal on two tracks.
 DirtAlice in Chains/Dirt (1992)

An American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington in 1987 by guitarist and songwriter Jerry Cantrell and lead vocalist Layne Staley, Alice in Chains' second album (#6 on the US album charts). An alternative rock masterpiece that sold five million copies worldwide. Although recognized as one of the grunge bands of the early 1990s along with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden, the sound is dark and based on heavy metal in the direct line of Black Sabbath, and it features melodic songs at slow tempo, beautiful vocal harmony of Staley and Cantrell, acoustic elements, and melancholy lyrics on depression, drug use and death. Includes five singles, "Would?" (#19 on the UK charts), "Them Bones", "Angry Chair", "Rooster", and "Down in a Hole".
 At Fillmore EastThe Allman Brothers Band/At Fillmore East (1971)

An American rock band led by brothers Duane Allman (guitar) and Gregg Allman (vocals, organ) and formed in 1969, the Allman Brothers Band's live album (#13 on the US album charts). Performed at Fillmore East, Manhattan, New York City. Blue rock/Southern rock influenced by blues, jazz and country. Features bluesy and jazzy music with two guitar (including Duane Allman's slide guitar), two drums, and Gregg Allman's organ, and jam band-style long improvisation. "Statesboro Blues" is a cover of Blind Willie McTell's blues song. "Stormy Monday" is a cover of T-Bone Walker's blues song. "You Don't Love Me" is a cover of Willie Cobbs' blues song. The original includes 7 tracks. "The Fillmore Concerts" (1992, 12 tracks) is a remixed edition including unedited versions and unlerelased tracks. "At Fillmore East Deluxe Edition" (2003, 13 tracks) is a remixed edition compiled all the release materials of the live at Fillmore East.
 EnvyArto Lindsay/Ambitious Lovers/Envy (1984)

Avant-garde works by using synth, by Arto Lindsay (guitar and vocals), who was an ex-member of DNA and the Lounge Lizards. Brazilian-music-style. Anton Fier, M.E. Miller and Peter Scherer joined. Includes the masterpiece 'Let's Be Adult'.
Good!GreedAmbitious Lovers/Greed (1988)

The masterpiece by the duo of Arto Lindsay (guitar and vocals) and Peter Scherer (keyboards and synths). Muscular funk rhythms and Brazilian percussion.
 Absolute Animals 1964-1968The Animals/Absolute Animals 1964-1968 (2003/1964-1968)

An English rock band in the 1960s, the Animals' compilation album which includes their hit singles. Known for thewir blues/R&B-oriented sound in the early 1960s. After moving to San Francisco, California in 1966, they had commercial success as a psychedelic rock band under the name of "Eric Burdon and the Animals". This disc has 20 tracks, and No.20 is an interview with Eric Burdon (vocals) and Alan Price (organ and keyboards). Released on Raven Records, Australia in 2003. Includes "The House of the Rising Sun" (#1 on the UK/US charts. A bluesy cover of an American traditional folk song), "Boom Boom" (a cover of John Lee Hooker's blues song), "I'm Crying" (#8 on the UK), "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (#3 on the UK. A R&B-style cover of Nina Simone's song written by Bennie Benjamin, Gloria Caldwell and Sol Marcus), "Bring It On Home to Me" (#7 on the UK. A cover of Sam Cooke), "We Gotta Get out of This Place" (#2 on the UK), "It's My Life" (#7 on the UK), "Inside-Looking Out" (#12 on the UK), "Don't Bring Me Down" (#6 on the UK), "See See Rider" (#10 on the US. A cover of American blues song), "Help Me Girl" (#14 on the UK), "When I Was Young" (#15 on the US), "San Franciscan Nights" (#7 on the UK), "Monterey" (#15 on the US), "Sky Pilot" (#14 on the US), "Good Times" (#20 on the UK), "Coloured Rain" (A cover of Traffic. Features Andy Summers' guitar solo) and others.
 Among the LivingAnthrax/Among the Living (1987)

A heavy metal band from New York. Features Scott Ian (rhythm guitar), Dan Spitz (lead guitar) and Joey Belladonna (vocals). Powerful and aggressive thrash/speed metal influenced by NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) and hardcore punk.
Good!Selected Ambient Works 85-92Aphex Twin/Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (1992)

A techno music pioneer from England, Richard D. James' early recordings. Products by home recordings. Inventive ambient techo/electronica sounds.
 Richard D. James AlbumAphex Twin/Richard D. James Album (1996)

An experimental techno album with a strange fusion between the ferocious beat by high-speed drum'n'bass (drill'n'bass) and beautiful, tranquil melodies like children's songs.
Good!FuneralArcade Fire/Funeral (2004)

An indie rock band based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Arcade Fire's first full album. Indie rock featuring wailing, emotional vocal melodies and baroque/orchestra pop-tinged instrumentation including piano, acoustic guitar, strings, and accordion. The sound is influenced by post-punk/new wave bands such as Talking Heads and Joy Division, and alternative rock bands such as The Flaming Lips and Radiohead. Includes five singles, "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)", "Neighborhood #2 (Laika)", "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)", "Rebellion (Lies)" (#19 on the UK charts), and "Wake Up". Nominated for a Grammy Award in 2005 for Best Alternative Music Album. Ranked at #151 in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time".
 So Red the RoseArcadia/So Red the Rose (1985)

The side project of three Duran Duran members, Simon LeBon (vocals), Nick Rhodes (keyboards) and Roger Taylor (drums). Their only album. Arty and aesthetic synth pop. The guest musicians are Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour, Sting, Grace Jones, Herbie Hancock, Carlos Alomar, Andy Mackay (ex-Roxy Music), David Van Tieghem, Masami Tsuchiya (ex-Ippu-Do) and others. Co-produced by Alex Sadkin. Includes 'Election Day' (#7 on the UK/#6 on the US charts) and 'Goodbye Is Forever'.
 Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm NotArctic Monkeys/Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (2006)

An English four-piece rock band formed in 2002 in Sheffield by Alex Turner (vocals, guitar) and Jamie Cook (guitar), Arctic Monkeys' debut album (#1 on the UK album charts). A smash hit album that sold over two million copies worldwide. Orthodox British guitar rock influenced by the 1960s garage rock, post-punk/new wave of the late 1970s and early 1980s, such as The Clash, The Jam and The Smiths, and Oasis. Includes the singles, "I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor" (#1 on the UK) and "When the Sun Goes Down" (#1 on the UK).
 DaftArt of Noise/"Daft" (1983-1984)

Innovative sounds by full use of sampling. A compilation from the recordings (produced by Trevor Horn) on ZTT label. Includes No. 1 hit on the US dance charts "Beat Box".
 1977Ash/1977 (1996)

A Northern Irish alternative rock band formed in 1992 and debuted in 1994 during the heyday of Britpop, Ash's first album (#1 on the UK album charts). Alternative guitar pop/punk-pop featuring loud, noisy guitar and catchy, sweet melodies, influenced by UK punk and US grunge. Includes singles, "Kung Fu", "Girl from Mars" (#11 on the UK charts), "Angel Interceptor" (#14 UK), "Goldfinger" (#5 UK) and "Oh Yeah" (#6 UK). It is forewarned that there is a non-musical secret track named "Sick Party" including the sounds of the band members' vomiting after the blank after the last 12th track. Produced by Ash and Owen Morris, who had worked with Oasis and others. Recommended to those who like Buzzcocks, Green Day, Teenage Fanclub and Weezer.
 New Age of EarthAshra/New Age of Earth (1976)

Ashra (the name for the second phase of Ash Ra Tempel) is an German progressive rock (Krautrock) group. Although released under the name of Ashra, this album is actually a solo album by the member Manuel Göttsching. Spacy and minimalistic synth-based electronica sound featuring Manuel Göttsching's guitar solo, like easy-listening music. One of the origins of so-called 'New Age Music'.
 Community MusicAsian Dub Foundation/Community Music (2000)

An electronica band by British Asians (Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi), Asian Dub Foundation's third album. Electronica/dance sound with mixing of dub, reggae, jungle/drum'n bass, rap, punk and raga. Political lyrics against capitalism and racism. Includes 'Real Great Britain' and 'New Way, New Life'.
 SulkAssociates/Sulk (1982)

The duo of Billy Mackenzie (vocals) and Alan Rankine (bass, guitar and keyboards). Dance/electronic pop in the New Romantics style. Billy Mackenzie's high tone vocals are cool. This 3rd album is a masterpiece of UK pop in the early 1980s. The US edition released from Sire differs from the original UK edition in track. The CD released in 2000 is the remastered version of the UK edition and bonus tracks added.
 From the Original Master TapesThe Association/From the Original Master Tapes (?)

A soft rock group from the US. The chorus and harmony are beautiful. Contains 20 tracks. Includes "Cherish".
 Delete YourselfAtari Teenage Riot/Delete Yourself (1996)

Formed in 1992 in Berlin with the leader Alec Empire. Hardcore techno sound by mixing of hardcore punk, speed metal, high-speed breakbeats, jungle and so on. The lyrics clearly show the political radicalism (anti-capitalism, anti-Nazi). The album 'Delete Yourself', released on Alec's own label 'Digital Hardcore Recordings', is a reissue of the first full-length album '1995' with another title. 'Kids Are United!' is a cover of Sham 69's 'If the Kids are United'.
Good!Tri RepetaeAutechre/Tri Repetae (1995)

An English electronica duo formed by Rob Brown and Sean Booth in Rochdale in 1987, Autechre's third album (Warp Records). Industrial ambient techno with combination of mechanical beats and soft, lyrical melodies. Non-danceable and intelligent. Exquisite and beautiful sound with subtle use of synths. Recommended to those who like Brian Eno, Aphex Twin, and Oval. The U.S. edition "Tri Repetae++" is a two-CD set including eight tracks from two EPs. The Japanese edition includes the bonus track "Medrey".
Good!High Land, Hard RainAztec Camera/High Land, Hard Rain (1983)

An acoustic-oriented guitar pop band from Glasgow, Scotland. Featuring Roddy Frame (guitar and vocals). The 1st album.

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