Editor’s Note: This list was originally released in 2012. With the release of new David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Keith Richards (Rolling Stones), and Chris Baio (Vampire Weekend) records, we thought we would revisit one of our favorite lists: our 10 favorite albums by artists that go solo.
In honor of one of our absolute favorites, Jack White, announcing the release of his first solo album Blunderbuss, we thought it might be fun to do a list of the finest solo records from people who reigned from well-known groups/bands. We decided on a couple guidelines for this category: the artist could not have had a solo career before the band (i.e. Panda Bear of Animal Collective), and it had to be a recognizable band (and not just some college garage band). We also decided it had to be a true solo project and not just a side project (i.e. McCartney in Wings, Jack White in fifty other bands not named the White Stripes).
Jazz rap trio A Tribe Called Quest was unmistakably one-of-a-kind in the early 90s, and Q-Tip no doubt led that charge. His debut solo album, Amplified is fast, calm, and nearly flawless, if it wasn’t for that horrendous Korn guestspot on “End of Times” (it was the late 90s after all).
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26-year-old Aussie Courtney Barnett brings a sound we haven’t heard for a while: street smart, radio-friendly rock music. Barnett’s first album, The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, is actually two EPs smashed together, which is really just a collection of everything she has done up to this point. Something about this collection of EPs seems more honest and down-to-earth than the repackaged debut studio album. While I thought about covering the whole shebang, I thought I would focus on “Avant Gardener”, the best song on The Double EP, which sports a sound that’s both refreshing and reminiscent of growing up in the 90’s when the Lillith Fair music of Sheryl Crow, Liz Phair, and Shawn Colvin ruled the airwaves.
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The rock legend Lou Reed has died, and so we figured we would do what we do best to honor our favorites: give them the Top Ten Thursday treatment. If you missed our mini tribute, you can read that here, but if you prefer good writing, here are three of my favorite pieces from around the interwebs on Reed: Chuck Klosterman’s Grantland piece, Greg Kot’s obituary for the Chicago Tribune, and Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff’s piece for Gawker. For this list, we ended up with a pretty 50/50 split of Lou Reed solo toVelvet Underground songs, which makes sense since his best solo material lives up to Velvet Underground’s level of greatness. So without further ado, onto the list.
Continue reading “Top Ten Thursday: Lou Reed’s Finest”
As you have probably heard by now, the Godfather of underground music, Lou Reed, passed on Sunday from delayed complications from a liver transplant. All three of us at LxL have always been fond of Reed and his independent spirit, having included him and his pioneering band the Velvet Underground on numerous lists including our recent best space songs list with the great “Satellite of Love.” We will be giving our entire list over to Lou Reed this Thursday, but for now, as a tribute, I thought I would grace you with “Perfect Day”, a song beside being known well for being used during Ewan McGregor’s drug trip in Trainspotting, well captures the equal parts grace and cynicism that was much of Reed’s music.
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After dropping our Review Royale of the new Justin Timberlake album this week, we thought it would be a good idea to tackle artists that have gone solo for our list this week. We already broke down the best albums released by an artist after going solo in honor of Jack White releasing his first solo record. So we thought, “Why not just look at solo artists career as a whole, after leaving their band/group.” Easy enough to find plenty to pick from, but exceedingly difficult to pick just ten for this particular list. We had to axe a couple that simply didn’t have enough solo material to justify putting them above more established solo musicians (Dan Auerbach and Jack White). We just can’t be sure which direction people with just one solo album will go. Back to the band or keep going on their own. Either way, there were some very tough cuts, but we think we came away with a list worthy of your attention. Enjoy, and let us know who we missed, left off, or shouldn’t have included at all.
10. Justin Timberlake
Following the “hiatus” of ‘N Sync in 2002, JT quickly released his solo debut Justified. I know of at least a few sophomores and juniors in high school who couldn’t resist the former boy-bander’s cool pop sound. Little did we all know, Justified would serve as merely a bridge to even more progressive and layered pop sounds. FutureSex/LoveSounds and The 20/20 Experience have done more than show off JT’s love of the backslash, affirming Timberlake as pop icon.
Continue reading “Top Ten Thursday: Best Solo Careers”