Alan Cross: My Favourite Albums of All Time

Alan Cross's 5 favourite albums of all time

Alan Cross sees music as an endlessly diverse map, impossible to predict what’s coming next. You can check out what he thinks about how the internet age is changing things in another AmongMen piece. There’s nothing he sees in common between his five favourite albums except him, and the fact that they’re awesome.

Here’s a high-five from Alan Cross!

The Stone Roses

The self titled debut by the Stone Roses came out five years after their formation, with just a few singles behind it. It’s hailed as a central work of the Madchester movement, though the band itself tries to shirk that label. The core of the album’s often cited as John Squire’s guitar, lingering and psychedelic. It was a big influence on the bleary-eyed, distant rock of the nineties. The Stone Roses broke up after their second album in ’96, but reformed in 2011.

Pretty Hate Machine

Head like a hole! Nine Inch Nails’ debut album opened up a whole can of worms, industrially speaking. Reznor’s sound was new and hard, but dance-able, based on a pop-song structure. It was accesible, but yelling over sequencers and drum machines, Pretty Hate Machine brought it in clattering and metallic. The 1989 album was one of the first independent albums to hit platinum, and spawned a lot of diehard fans that still cite NIN as their all time, favorite act.

London Calling

London Calling is The Clash’s third album, the band’s best known. The double LP is considered post-punk, incorporating sounds that would become big mixing with punk in the ’80s— folk, reggae, ska. It was put out in 1979, and contains a lot of their best-known songs: “Train in Vain,” “Clampdown,” “Lost in the Supermarket,” and the title track, “London Calling.” Narrative and political, anti-war, the album’s often cited for its powerful lyrics— “The ice age is coming, the sun’s zooming in. Meltdown expected, the wheat is growing thin.” A nuclear era.

Definitely Maybe

Oasis’s debut went straight to number one on UK charts upon its release. For a while there, Oasis was bigger than the Beatles. It, with Blur’s Parklife, marked the second Brit-pop invasion in North America. The Gallagher brothers’ band’s success was as much a testament to good marketing on a small budget as it was to good music, appealing to alternative crowds in alternative magazines instead of through classic industry models. It revitalized interest in British guitar bands and spun around from grunge’s darkness in 1994, with a bright album, which the cover art reflects. Clever.

Desolation Boulevard

The Sweet is Alan Cross’s guilty pleasure. They’re a glam-rock act that wrote the original “Ballroom Blitz,” which is on the U.S. version of Desolation Boulevard. Hugely parted out to covers, the 1974 hit is one of those albums that people end up attributing to other people. Fun, raw, hook-filled, the album is glam-rock at its most: simple, yell-y, bright. Full of singles, “Ballroom Blitz” “Fox on the Run” and “The Six Teens,” it goes down intoxicating.

Alan Cross will be at The Gentlemen’s Expo on Saturday November 23 at the Metro Convention Centre, talking about music and the ongoing history of Rock n’ Roll.

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