The Ideal Qobuz Collection comprises original, uncompiled albums that have made a considerable mark on music history or which qualify as essential recordings within each musical genre. By downloading these albums, or streaming them with your subscription, you begin a journey that will shine a light on some of the finest moments in recorded music.

Albums

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 20, 2017 | Rhino

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
For their third album, The Smiths are at the top of their game: a tortured crooning voice, crystalline arpeggios seeping from a limpid guitar, romantic and cynical lyrics, everything’s gathered for some 100% British pop, like The Kinks, The Who and The Jam knew how to create in their day… The Queen Is Dead, Bigmouth Strikes Again, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out and Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others are all introspective gems that the charismatic Morrissey transforms into pure poetry. Teenage worries, social paintings, subtle caricatures, Mozzer dips his pen here in the ink of perfection. © MD/Qobuz
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Punk / New Wave - Released July 24, 2015 | Rhino

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 23, 2011 | Rhino

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Arguably Psychocandy is an album with one trick and one trick alone -- Beach Boys melodies meet Velvet Underground feedback and beats, all cranked up to ten and beyond, along with plenty of echo. However, what a trick it is. Following up on the promise of the earliest singles, the Jesus and Mary Chain with Psychocandy arguably created a movement without meaning to, one that itself caused echoes in everything from bliss-out shoegaze to snotty Britpop and back again. The best tracks were without question those singles, anti-pop yet pure pop at the same time: "Just Like Honey," starting off like the Ronettes heard in a canyon and weirdly beautiful with its bells, "You Trip Me Up" and its slinking sense of cool, and most especially "Never Understand." Storming down like a rumble of bricks wrapped in cotton candy and getting more and more frenetic at the end, when there's nothing but howls and screaming noise, it's one hell of a track. However, at least in terms of sheer sonic violence and mayhem, most of the other cuts were pretty hard to beat, as sprawling, amped-up messes like "The Living End" (which later inspired both a band and a movie title) and "In a Hole." "My Little Underground" is actually the secret gem on the album, with a great snarling guitar start, an almost easygoing melody and a great stuttering chorus -- not quite the Who but not quite anything else. What the Reids sing about -- entirely interchangeable combinations regarding girls, sex, drugs, speed, and boredom in more or less equal measure -- is nothing compared to the perfectly disaffected way those sentiments are delivered. Bobby Gillespie's "hit the drums and then hit them again" style makes Moe Tucker seem like Neil Peart, but arguably in terms of sheer economy he doesn't need to do any more. ~ Ned Raggett
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 23, 2011 | Rhino

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Feeling no doubt burdened by the various claims of being the new Sex Pistols, and likely fed up with accusations that the walls of feedback were their own trick, the Reid brothers underwent a bit of a rethink with Darklands. The end result must have fallen squarely between two camps -- hardly eligible for sunny commercial airplay, not quite as flailing as the earliest efforts -- but, from a distance, this is an appealing, enjoyable record. Songs were often longer while the album itself was shorter than Psychocandy, walls of sound were often stripped away in favor of calmer classic rock twang and groove, while William Reid took the lead vocal at points, showing he had a slightly sweeter, wistful tone in comparison to his brother. However, the changes on Darklands can be overstated -- the basic formula at the heart of the band (inspired plagiarism of melodies and lyrics alike, plenty of reverb, etc.) stayed pretty much the same, even if the mixes were cleaned up -- compare "Down on Me" to any Psychocandy cut for a good example of the difference. The use of drum machines in place of Bobby Gillespie's rumble tended to enforce the newer focus, but at the album's best, such a seeming dichotomy didn't cause too much worry. "April Skies" made for a great single, while the soaring-in-spite-of-itself "Happy When It Rains" was another winner, one that Garbage more or less made its own some years later for its own similarly titled hit. William's singing turns made for other highlights as well, notably "Nine Million Rainy Days," the overt misery of the title suiting the dark crawl of the song, and the lengthy lament "On the Wall." Darklands is no Psychocandy in the end -- nothing the band released later ever was -- but it's still a good listen. ~ Ned Raggett
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Jazz - Released April 8, 2008 | Rhino

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Singer Al Jarreau's double album, Look to the Rainbow, is easily the most jazz-oriented of all of his Warner Bros. recordings. Cut shortly before Jarreau permanently switched to a more mundane version of R&B, these performances feature him as a brilliant scat singer (able to emulate practically any instrument) and a superior ballad interpreter. Joined by vibraphonist Lynn Blessing, keyboardist Tom Canning, bassist Abe Laboriel, and drummer Joe Correro, Jarreau is in top form on such numbers as "Better Than Anything," "Look to the Rainbow" and "Take Five." Unfortunately, Al Jarreau essentially started on top, artistically speaking, and has since been intent on emphasizing potential commercial appeal over any possible innovations or chance-taking. ~ Scott Yanow
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Rock - Released December 10, 2007 | Rhino

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Latin Jazz - Released June 20, 2006 | Rhino

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Released March 21, 2006 | Rhino

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Hooking up with the Band, specifically Rick Danko and their producer John Simon, was one of the smartest moves Bobby Charles ever made. His subsequent eponymous album on Bearsville not only gave him a bigger audience, but led to the perfect production for his sly, subtle blend of New Orleans R&B, rock & roll, and country. Partially, that's because the production is fuller, richer than his sides for Chess, Jewel, and Paula, boasting not just some grit, but a sweetness on ballads like "I Must Be in a Good Place Now," a tune every bit as good as those from the singer/songwriters who dominated the charts in 1972. This gives the album an earthier quality than anything else he recorded; it also makes the album feel like a perfect companion piece to other roots rock albums from the time like, of course, the Band. Still, there's a special charm to this record, largely because while it sounds contemporary, it retains Charles' mellow vibe and his sharp songwriting. The songs come on slow -- "Street People," "He's Got All the Whiskey," and "Small Town Talk" all slowly unwind -- but the slow build is friendly, welcoming you into the song. This isn't lazy music, but it takes its time and it's better for it; it's perfect music for a hot summer afternoon. It's a true hidden gem of blue-eyed soul, Southern R&B, and early '70s roots rock (and early-'70s singer/songwriterism, for that matter). ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released February 8, 2005 | Rhino

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Dionne Warwick followed up the lukewarm reception for On Stage and in the Movies (1967) with her ninth long player for Scepter Records in less than four years. Conversely, Windows of the World (1967) would garner a favorable impression thanks in part to "Say a Little Prayer" and the hauntingly poignant and politically-tinged title song, "Windows of the World." Both are timeless illustrations of the pop perfection found in Warwick's interpretations of Burt Bacharach and Hal David classics. The same is true of "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me," "The Beginning of Loneliness" and the irresistibly groovy "Another Night," all of which were minor hits. The team also provided the secondary (read: filler) "Walk Little Dolly," sporting a gliding waltz arrangement that is custom-fit to Warwick's lilting and expressive vocal. As on earlier collections, she expands beyond the Bacharach/David songbook on a few show tunes, forecasting her impending success on André Previn's "(Theme From) Valley of the Dolls." Another Previn composition, "You're Gonna Hear from Me" -- from Inside Daisy Clover -- is included here in an impressive Peter Matz score. Warwick's deep gospel roots are drawn upon as she unleashes one of the most striking performances of her career. Matz gives West Side Story's "Somewhere" a jazzy and fully orchestrated reading that takes advantage of Warwick's innate timing and commanding pipes -- especially when holding that final "...someway..." that lasts over ten seconds. On the lighter side, O.B. Massingill and Warwick collaborated on the camped up rendition of Nat King Cole and Bert Kaempfert's "Love." ~ Lindsay Planer
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Soul - Released August 10, 2004 | Rhino

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Roots is Curtis Mayfield's visionary album, a landmark creation every bit as compelling and far-reaching in its musical and extra-musical goals as Marvin Gaye's contemporary What's Goin' On. Opening on the hit "Get Down," the album soars on some of the sweetest and most eloquent -- yet driving -- soul sounds heard up to that time. Mayfield's growing musical ambitions, first manifested on the Curtis album, and his more sophisticated political sensibilities, presented with a lot of raw power on Curtis Live!, are pulled together here in a new, richer studio language, embodied in extended song structures ("Underground"), idealistic yet lyrically dazzling anthems ("We Got to Have Peace," "Keep On Keeping On," and, best of all, the soaring "Beautiful Brother of Mine"), and impassioned blues ("Now You're Gone"). The music is even bolder than the material on the Curtis album, with Mayfield expanding his instrumental range to the level of a veritable soul orchestra; and the recording is better realized, as Mayfield, with that album and a tour behind him, shows a degree of confidence that only a handful of soul artists of this era could have mustered. ~ Bruce Eder
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Folk - Released June 1, 2003 | Rhino

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The second album Judee Sill made proved to be her last. This brief though enjoyable outing took its toll on Sill -- a notoriously slow songwriter -- during its making, turning her back to her recently kicked heroin addiction and away from the desire to create more music. Instead of using an outside arranger for the strings (as she did on her previous album), Sill did all of the work herself. Her lack of formal training and the immense amount of orchestral overdubs certainly would have made such an outing a hardship for anyone. The album doesn't suffer much from its sometimes syrupy exterior, though -- the songs are almost as strong as any of those from her debut. To wit, Heart Food suffers only in comparison to its predecessor; otherwise, it's a stellar example of the kind of singer/songwriter fare the music industry was mining in the early '70s. The supporting cast of top L.A. studio musicians solidifies Sill's unique brand of country-flavored pop, which moves from introspective meanderings to loping rock, often within a single song. [This edition of the album contains bonus tracks.] ~ Alex Stimmel
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Soul - Released August 4, 2000 | Rhino

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Qobuzissime
The first solo album by the former leader of the Impressions, Curtis represented a musical apotheosis for Curtis Mayfield -- indeed, it was practically the "Sgt. Pepper's" album of '70s soul, helping with its content and its success to open the whole genre to much bigger, richer musical canvases than artists had previously worked with. All of Mayfield's years of experience of life, music, and people were pulled together into a rich, powerful, topical musical statement that reflected not only the most up-to-date soul sounds of its period, finely produced by Mayfield himself, and the immediacy of the times and their political and social concerns, but also embraced the most elegant R&B sounds of the past. As a producer, Mayfield embraced the most progressive soul sounds of the era, stretching them out compellingly on numbers like "Move on Up," but he also drew on orchestral sounds (especially harps), to achieve some striking musical timbres (check out "Wild and Free"), and wove all of these influences, plus the topical nature of the songs, into a neat, amazingly lean whole. There was only one hit single off of this record, "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Down Below We're All Going to Go," which made number three, but the album as a whole was a single entity and really had to be heard that way. ~ Bruce Eder
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Rock - Released May 3, 1994 | Rhino

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rap - Released May 26, 1992 | Rhino

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
It would have been hard to match the artistic success of their debut EP on a full-length recording, but Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth did just that on Mecca and the Soul Brother, and they did so in the most unlikely way of all after the succinctness of All Souled Out -- by coming up with a sprawling, nearly 80-minute-long album on which not a single song or interlude is a throwaway or a superfluous piece. Granted, 80 minutes is a long stretch of time for sustained listening, but the music is completely worthy of that time, allowing the duo to stretch out in ways that their EP rendered impossible. Again, the primary star is Pete Rock's production acumen, and he ups the ante of rock-solid drums, steady cymbal beats, smooth-rolling bass, and fatback organ, not to mention his signature horn loops. C.L. Smooth is the perfect vocal match for the music. He is maybe one of the few MCs capable of rapping a fairly credible love song, as he does on "Lots of Lovin'." "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)," a tribute to friend and Heavy D. dancer Trouble T-Roy, who was accidentally killed, packs a poignant emotional weight, but it is Smooth's more direct and conscientious -- and frequently autobiographical -- side which ultimately carries the album lyrically. The songs are connected and the album is propelled forward by Rock's quick, soul-tight interludes; these are usually bits of old R&B and soul tunes but sometimes they're spoken pieces or spontaneous, freestyle sessions. These interludes provide a sort of dense spiritual tone and resonance in the album that is not religiously based at all, but fully hip-hop based, emerging from the urban altars that are the basements and rooftops of the city. ~ Stanton Swihart
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 12, 1991 | Rhino

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Rather than try to capture their legendary on-stage energy in a studio, MC5 opted to record their first album during a live concert at their home base, Detroit's Grande Ballroom, and while some folks who were there have quibbled that Kick Out the Jams isn't the most accurate representation of the band's sound, it's certainly the best of the band's three original albums, and easily beats the many semiauthorized live recordings of MC5 that have emerged in recent years, if only for the clarity of Bruce Botnick's recording. From Brother J.C. Crawford's rabble-rousing introduction to the final wash on feedback on "Starship," Kick Out the Jams is one of the most powerfully energetic live albums ever made; Wayne Kramer and Fred "Sonic" Smith were a lethal combination on tightly interlocked guitars, bassist Michael Davis and drummer Dennis Thompson were as strong a rhythm section as Detroit ever produced, and Rob Tyner's vocals could actually match the soulful firepower of the musicians, no small accomplishment. Even on the relatively subdued numbers (such as the blues workout "Motor City Is Burning"), the band sound like they're locked in tight and cooking with gas, while the full-blown rockers (pretty much all of side one) are as gloriously thunderous as anything ever committed to tape; this is an album that refuses to be played quietly. For many years, Detroit was considered the High Energy Rock & Roll Capital of the World, and Kick Out the Jams provided all the evidence anyone might need for the city to hold onto the title. ~ Mark Deming