The Cure - Disintegration
1989

While I could have easily chosen "Pornography" as my favorite Cure record, I still feel that "Disintegration" is the greatest achievement that The Cure ever wrote. The album is majestic, atmospheric, full of love, suffering, pain, and violence. Songs are epic and mesmerizing. On past records, Robert Smith & Co. have hinted at what they can create in a slow morose track like "Sinking" from their 85' album, "Head on the Door", or the giddy "Just Like Heaven" from 87' "Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me", but it's "Disintegration" where all the parts melded perfectly. Cartman put it best, "Disintegration is the greatest album ever."

Depeche Mode - Violator
1990

Every time Depeche Mode releases a new album, we hope for the next "Violator". Fanatically, lyrically, sonically, Violator is their best record. Martin Gore wrote nine perfect songs, Alan Wilder tweeked everything to make it even better. The album produced 4 hit singles, which made Depeche Mode a world-wide phenomenon. Myself, I burned through two cassette versions when the album first came out. I love this album; it will always remind me of the beginning of my entry into the musical underground.
 

Skinny Puppy - Remission
1984

From the first drum beat of "Smothered Hope" to the last guttural scream on "Brap", this album is one of the greatest debuts ever. To me this record is the equivalent of a favorite black and white horror film.  cEvin Key and Nivek Ogre truly created something special right from the start.  It's that robotic monstrous voice that was still melodic enough to catch every phrase from the demented subconscious of Ogre. Plus this band had a genuine love of horror films.  That's why I love them.

Cabaret Voltaire -
The Crackdown
1983

Chris Watson from Cabaret Voltaire left the band in 82'.  The remaining two had been perfecting the most insane dance music possible.  With this one, they achieved their goal.  "The Crackdown" is the perfect blend of electronic punk, funk and noise.  The specter of "The Crackdown" haunts Skinny Puppy's "Bites and Remission". There are so many great songs on this album: the title track, "Just Fascination" "Diskono" and "In the Shadows" just to name a few.
 

The Doors -
The Doors
1967

I was obsessed with The Doors in High School. I read all of Morrison's poetry. People have their favorite classic rock band. For some, it's Zeppelin, others, it's The Stones. For me, it will always be The Doors. It's that genius mix of Morrison's haunting voice, Ray Manzarek's eerie psychedelic bass organ, along with Robby Krieger taunting guitar and John Densmore's drumming that made The Doors magical. While other bands in the 60's sang about good times and feeling good, The Doors were about darkness, daring each one of us to break on through the other side.

 

David Bowie -
Aladdin Sane
1975

While critics will argue til' their faces turn blue, that "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars" is Bowie's greatest record. It is my opinion that "Aladdin Sane" is the coolest. Not only is Bowie 'The Rockstar from Outer Space', he is also the suave, cool, sophisticated cat that we all know and love today. This is Bowie at the height of his glam phase and even throws in a cover of The Rolling Stones' "Let's Spend the Night Together". The album closes with "Lady Grinning Soul", one of the coolest Bowie songs ever.

Portion Control -
I Staggered Mentally
1982

One thing that I love best about this album is the insane drum programming especially songs like "Sex Crimes," "All Present and Correct," and "Fiends." On the early cassettes Portion Control borrowed a bit from the school of Cabaret Voltaire with lots of samples and tape loops.  With this debut LP, Portion Control created a beautiful blend of chaotic hard rhythmic electro punk. Dean's voice was the perfect foil to meld with the harsh analogue synths.  The bands that Portion Control influenced is numerous.  Here are few of the confessors to their legacy: Skinny Puppy, FLA, Front 242, VNV Nation, NIN, and Orbital.

Iron Maiden -
The Number of the Beast
1982

Where I grew up in a small Midwestern town, Heavy Metal was king. The kids played Judas Priest, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, and Iron Maiden. Maiden was my favorite because they had the coolest posters, and they had the best singer, Bruce Dickinson. As a young boy, how could you not love Iron Maiden? They have Demons, Skeletons, Satan. The songs were powerful, and they were also intelligent. That was something I learned later in life. Iron Maiden was my 1st concert in 1988, and it kicked ass.

Wire -
Pink Flag
1977

When it comes to British Punks, everybody screams Sex Pistols and The Clash. But my favorite is Wire. Their debut, "Pink Flag" sounds nothing like anybody else in 1977. Imagine 21 songs performed in less than 25 minutes. Each song is relentless, provoking to the final song on the album, "1, 2, X U", which is in my opinion one of the greatest Punk singles, along with "Anarchy in the UK" and "London Calling". For some reason, this critically acclaimed album still does not have a huge fan-base, and that's a damn shame.

My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
1991

The 2nd official My Bloody Valentine record creates and destroys the Shoegazer movement with one album, "Loveless". Belinda Butcher's voice is dreamy, and other-worldly, constantly at a sonic war with polverizing, swirling guitars and feedback. This album is best experienced at an ear-shattering volume to truly get what Kevin Shields and Co. were trying to convey when they recorded this album. Spin Magazine in their best Rock Albums of the 90s put this record at #1 and compared it to the Nagasaski of Rock.

© 2014 by Jennifer Kachikian @ designerinchicago.com