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Qobuz’s experts gather all the essentials of each genre. These albums have marked music history and become major landmarks.

With the Ideal Discography you (re)discover legendary recordings, all whilst building on your musical knowledge.

Albums

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Metal - Released April 17, 2010 | Rhino Atlantic

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Hard Rock - Released January 1, 2010 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Thin Lizzy found their trademark twin-guitar sound on 1975's Fighting, but it was on its 1976 successor, Jailbreak, where the band truly took flight. Unlike the leap between Night Life and Fighting, there is not a great distance between Jailbreak and its predecessor. If anything, the album was more of a culmination of everything that came before, as Phil Lynott hit a peak as a songwriter just as guitarists Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson pioneered an intertwined, dual-lead guitar interplay that was one of the most distinctive sounds of '70s rock, and one of the most influential. Lynott no longer let Gorham and Robertson contribute individual songs -- they co-wrote, but had no individual credits -- which helps tighten up the album, giving it a cohesive personality, namely Lynott's rough rebel with a heart of a poet. Lynott loves turning the commonplace into legend -- or bringing myth into the modern world, as he does on "Cowboy Song" or, to a lesser extent, "Romeo and the Lonely Girl" -- and this myth-making is married to an exceptional eye for details; when the boys are back in town, they don't just come back to a local bar, they're down at Dino's, picking up girls and driving the old men crazy. This gives his lovingly florid songs, crammed with specifics and overflowing with life, a universality that's hammered home by the vicious, primal, and precise attack of the band. Thin Lizzy is tough as rhino skin and as brutal as bandits, but it's leavened by Lynott's light touch as a singer, which is almost seductive in its croon. This gives Jailbreak a dimension of richness that sustains, but there's such kinetic energy to the band that it still sounds immediate no matter how many times it's played. Either one would make it a classic, but both qualities in one record makes it a truly exceptional album. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Hard Rock - Released January 27, 2009 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Hard Rock - Released May 19, 2003 | Rhino - Elektra

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Immediately! Now! Right now! The revolution is here! The hippie dream has been crushed! The West Coast pacifism has been exploded! With this first album (a live) from the big sound terrorists from Michigan, rock ‘n’ roll enters body and soul into life-saving and badly furious violence. During this concert recorded at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit in October 1968, Wayne Kramer and Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith beat up their guitars like genius butchers. With a handheld mike, Rob Tyner is an ivory James Brown in a trance. Obviously, the rock ‘n’ roll genius from the 5 isn’t limited to this simple electric tsunami. It draws its energy, as well as its madness, from the primitive rock of the Troggs, the libertarian jazz from Sun Ra and the raw blues from John Lee Hooker. With Iggy Pop’s Stooges, the MC5 enforces on the industrial Detroit the law of noise and fury. As they were chanting then, Motor City Is Burning: decades later, the embers are still incandescent… © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Metal - Released February 20, 1996 | Rhino Atlantic

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Hard Rock - Released January 1, 1991 | Geffen

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The "difficult second album" is one of the perennial rock & roll clichés, but few second albums ever were as difficult as Use Your Illusion. Not really conceived as a double album but impossible to separate as individual works, Use Your Illusion is a shining example of a suddenly successful band getting it all wrong and letting its ambitions run wild. Taking nearly three years to complete, the recording of the album was clearly difficult, and tensions between Slash, Izzy Stradlin, and Axl Rose are evident from the start. The two guitarists, particularly Stradlin, are trying to keep the group closer to its hard rock roots, but Rose has pretensions of being Queen and Elton John, which is particularly odd for a notoriously homophobic Midwestern boy. Conceivably, the two aspirations could have been divided between the two records, but instead they are just thrown into the blender -- it's just a coincidence that Use Your Illusion I is a harder-rocking record than II. Stradlin has a stronger presence on I, contributing three of the best songs -- "Dust n' Bones," "You Ain't the First," and "Double Talkin' Jive" -- which help keep the album in Stonesy Aerosmith territory. On the whole, the album is stronger than II, even though there's a fair amount of filler, including a dippy psychedelic collaboration with Alice Cooper and a song that takes its title from the Osmonds' biggest hit. But it also has two ambitious set pieces, "November Rain" and "Coma," which find Rose fulfilling his ambitions, as well as the ferocious, metallic "Perfect Crime" and the original version of the power ballad "Don't Cry." Still, it can be a chore to find the highlights on the record amid the overblown production and endless amounts of filler. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Metal - Released August 1, 1991 | Blackened Recordings - Universal Music

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After the muddled production and ultracomplicated song structures of ...And Justice for All, Metallica decided that they had taken the progressive elements of their music as far as they could and that a simplification and streamlining of their sound was in order. While the assessment made sense from a musical standpoint, it also presented an opportunity to commercialize their music, and Metallica accomplishes both goals. The best songs are more melodic and immediate, the crushing, stripped-down grooves of "Enter Sandman," "Sad but True," and "Wherever I May Roam" sticking to traditional structures and using the same main riffs throughout; the crisp, professional production by Bob Rock adds to their accessibility. "The Unforgiven" and "Nothing Else Matters" avoid the slash-and-burn guitar riffs that had always punctuated the band's ballads; the latter is a full-fledged love song complete with string section, which works much better than might be imagined. The song- and riff-writing slips here and there, a rare occurrence for Metallica, which some longtime fans interpreted as filler next to a batch of singles calculated for commercial success. The objections were often more to the idea that Metallica was doing anything explicitly commercial, but millions more disagreed. In fact, the band's popularity exploded so much that most of their back catalog found mainstream acceptance in its own right, while other progressively inclined speed metal bands copied the move toward simplification. In retrospect, Metallica is a good, but not quite great, album, one whose best moments deservedly captured the heavy metal crown, but whose approach also foreshadowed a creative decline. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Hard Rock - Released July 21, 1987 | Geffen

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Guns N' Roses' debut, Appetite for Destruction was a turning point for hard rock in the late '80s -- it was a dirty, dangerous, and mean record in a time when heavy metal meant nothing but a good time. On the surface, Guns N' Roses may appear to celebrate the same things as their peers -- namely, sex, liquor, drugs, and rock & roll -- but there is a nasty edge to their songs, since Axl Rose doesn't see much fun in the urban sprawl of L.A. and its parade of heavy metal thugs, cheap women, booze, and crime. The music is as nasty as the lyrics, wallowing in a bluesy, metallic hard rock borrowed from Aerosmith, AC/DC, and countless faceless hard rock bands of the early '80s. It's a primal, sleazy sound that adds grit to already grim tales. It also makes Rose's misogyny, fear, and anger hard to dismiss as merely an artistic statement; this is music that sounds lived-in. And that's exactly why Appetite for Destruction is such a powerful record -- not only does Rose have fears, but he also is vulnerable, particularly on the power ballad "Sweet Child O' Mine." He also has a talent for conveying the fears and horrors of the decaying inner city, whether it's on the charging "Welcome to the Jungle," the heroin ode "Mr. Brownstone," or "Paradise City," which simply wants out. But as good as Rose's lyrics and screeching vocals are, they wouldn't be nearly as effective without the twin-guitar interplay of Slash and Izzy Stradlin, who spit out riffs and solos better than any band since the Rolling Stones, and that's what makes Appetite for Destruction the best metal record of the late '80s. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Metal - Released January 1, 1986 | American Recordings Catalog P&D

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1986 was a landmark year for thrash metal in more ways than one. Much to everyone’s joy, Metallica released Master of Puppets in the spring, closely followed by Megadeth’s Peace Sells... but Who’s Buying? in September. Surprisingly, extreme metal was making its way into the charts. This explosion took violence and speed to new heights and cleared the way for even more ferocious groups who rushed to fill the breach. Slayer, a key group in the revolution, unleashed everything in one track: Angel of Death. The song opens the album Reign in Blood with bassist/singer Tom Araya’s scream - something that’s gone down in history. The band keep up this same level of intensity and speed throughout the album thanks to razor-sharp rhythms and powerful drumming from the often-imitated but never-equalled Dave Lombardo. Reign in Blood was more aggressive, brutal and fast-paced (it’s all over in barely 28 minutes!) than the albums released by their peers. It was the result of a collaboration between the group from Huntington Park and producer Rick Rubin, who founded the rap label Def Jam at just 23 years old. This was the first time that Rubin had worked with a metal band. He made Slayer’s music more intelligible without ever watering it down. Everything pulsed at over 200 bpm. The guitar solos flirted with an unsettling dissonance, the themes shook up the United States’ apparent prudishness (tackling subjects such as religion, death, war and the holocaust...) and the Dante-esque finale of Raining Blood ensured that it would be remembered as one of the greatest albums ever made. Raining Blood is like Slayer’s Highway to Hell or Ace of Spades. It’s one of their most popular songs and permanent addition at live concerts. Slayer would reach their creative peak with the hellish Seasons in the Abyss, which turns 30 in 2020. Though Reign in Blood will always be the record that allowed it all to happen. © Chief Brody/Qobuz
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Metal - Released January 1, 1986 | American Recordings Catalog P&D

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1986 was a landmark year for thrash metal in more ways than one. Much to everyone’s joy, Metallica released Master of Puppets in the spring, closely followed by Megadeth’s Peace Sells... but Who’s Buying? in September. Surprisingly, extreme metal was making its way into the charts. This explosion took violence and speed to new heights and cleared the way for even more ferocious groups who rushed to fill the breach. Slayer, a key group in the revolution, unleashed everything in one track: Angel of Death. The song opens the album Reign in Blood with bassist/singer Tom Araya’s scream - something that’s gone down in history. The band keep up this same level of intensity and speed throughout the album thanks to razor-sharp rhythms and powerful drumming from the often-imitated but never-equalled Dave Lombardo. Reign in Blood was more aggressive, brutal and fast-paced (it’s all over in barely 28 minutes!) than the albums released by their peers. It was the result of a collaboration between the group from Huntington Park and producer Rick Rubin, who founded the rap label Def Jam at just 23 years old. This was the first time that Rubin had worked with a metal band. He made Slayer’s music more intelligible without ever watering it down. Everything pulsed at over 200 bpm. The guitar solos flirted with an unsettling dissonance, the themes shook up the United States’ apparent prudishness (tackling subjects such as religion, death, war and the holocaust...) and the Dante-esque finale of Raining Blood ensured that it would be remembered as one of the greatest albums ever made. Raining Blood is like Slayer’s Highway to Hell or Ace of Spades. It’s one of their most popular songs and permanent addition at live concerts. Slayer would reach their creative peak with the hellish Seasons in the Abyss, which turns 30 in 2020. Though Reign in Blood will always be the record that allowed it all to happen. © Chief Brody/Qobuz
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Metal - Released January 1, 1986 | Mercury (Universal France)

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Metallica, a band stronger than The Beatles? Without a doubt if you consider sound power, but in terms of remastered editions featuring “a few” bonuses, the award might also go to the Four Horsemen if you compare the “Deluxe” edition of their third album to the Fab Four’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary (Super Deluxe Edition). In it, you’ll find the equivalent of no less than ten fully-packed CDs for this Master Of Puppets that many consider, rightly or wrongly, as Metallica’s own Sgt. Pepper's. Well, it’s true that you’ll struggle finding any defect in the armour of such a monument. And its lengthy gestation period, highlighted through archives at various stages of development, will no doubt reinforce the belief that the band was touched by grace at this very moment in their history.A few rare critics begrudge this album for not having been as surprising as its two predecessors. Indeed the general structure of Master… , as well as the majority of its titles, can be compared with Ride The Lightning from the first frantic title Battery, in the same vein as Fight Fire With Fire, to the epic final of Damage Inc., wildly evoking a sped-up version of Creeping Death. There is also a false ballad halfway through, Welcome Home (Sanitarium), reusing in essence the same ingredients as Fade To Black and the finely chopped instrumental of Orion, with a very vague similarity with The Call Of Ktulu… However while this third attempt can be seen as a synthesis of the previous two, Master… is by far the most accomplished in the sense that, for the first time, Metallica had the time and means to refine and polish their compositions to the point of almost perfection. Even when compared with recent productions, the album is technically inevitable and unrivalled.Master Of Puppets only brings division among fans when discussing its ranking among Metallica’s best albums − although it would always make the podium. The new approach offered here might sway a few more votes for the first position. But beyond a well deserved and convincing highlight of the quality of Master…, this album is also the undeniable accomplishment of the Cliff Burton era. An easily discernable period in the sense that the bass was beautifully put forward. And for good reason! Far from being a simple bass player, Cliff was both a driving force in terms of creativity and inspiration as and a generous and calm character, balancing and “harmonising” the relations within Metallica. As we’ll see later, his mediating role would have more than once been useful between Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield. Some even wonder if Kirk Hammett didn’t just stop getting better after this album, without Cliff’s mental and instrumental boosts.
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Metal - Released July 25, 1980 | Columbia

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When an intoxicated Bon Scott died by choking on his own vomit in February, 1980, no one envisaged a future for AC/DC. However, the Anglo-Australian band succeeded in finding a replacement for their legendary lead singer. Brian Johnson from the band Geordie rose to the challenge against all odds and imposed a powerful, primarily high-pitched singing style which differed greatly from that of his predecessor. With its legendary black cover, Back in Black marked the birth of a new AC/DC and contains a series of incredible tracks. On guitar were the Young brothers (Malcolm with his Gretsch and Angus with his unstoppable Gibson SG), constantly trying to outdo each other’s genius both through the effectiveness of their riffs and the precision of their solos (notably on Back in Black and You Shook Me All Night Long). As well as pure AC/DC (What Do You Do for Money Honey), they give us some thick boogie with a ZZ Top twang (Have a Drink on Me), theatrical hard rock à la Led Zep (Shake a Leg), and let us not forget the ode to the God of Blues (Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution). Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd finish the job by providing the record with a concrete bassline and strong rhythm, doing so with great finesse. Upon the release of Back in Black on July 15th, 1980, fans were, without surprise, torn on the question of Brian Johnson. Could the band go on without Bon Scott? The record’s success and the world tour that followed quelled any debate and, forty years later, no one questions the decision for a second. With 50 million units sold, Back in Black is the second best-selling album of all time, just behind a certain Thriller by Michael Jackson… © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Metal - Released July 27, 1979 | Columbia

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Metal - Released June 1, 1970 | Rhino

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Hard Rock - Released January 1, 1970 | Rhino Atlantic

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While lacking the monumental impact of Kick Out the Jams, the MC5's second album is in many regards their best and most influential, its lean, edgy sound anticipating the emergence of both the punk and power pop movements to follow later in the decade. Bookended by a pair of telling covers -- Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" and Chuck Berry's "Back in the U.S.A." -- the disc is as much a look back at rock & roll's origins as it is a push forward into the music's future; given the Five's vaunted revolutionary leanings, for instance, it's both surprising and refreshing to discover the record's emotional centerpiece is a doo wop-inspired ballad, "Let Me Try," that's the most lovely and gentle song in their catalog. The recurring theme which drives Back in the USA is adolescence, its reminiscences alternately fond and embittered -- while cuts like "Tonight," "Teenage Lust," "High School," and "Shakin' Street" celebrate youth in all its rebellious glory, others like "The American Ruse" and "The Human Being Lawnmower" condemn a system which eats its young, filling their heads with lies before sending them off to war. Equally gripping is the record's singular sound -- produced by Jon Landau with an almost complete disregard for the bottom end, Back in the USA captures a live-wire intensity 180 degrees removed from the group's live sound yet perfectly suited to the material at hand, resulting in music which not only salutes the power of rock & roll but also reaffirms it. © Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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Hard Rock - Released June 14, 1968 | Rhino Atlantic

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With its endless, droning minor-key riff and mumbled vocals, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is arguably the most notorious song of the acid rock era. According to legend, the group was so stoned when they recorded the track that they could neither pronounce the title "In the Garden of Eden" or end the track, so it rambles on for a full 17 minutes, which to some listeners sounds like eternity. But that's the essence of its appeal -- it's the epitome of heavy psychedelic excess, encapsulating the most indulgent tendencies of the era. Iron Butterfly never matched the warped excesses of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida," either on their debut album of the same name or the rest of their catalog, yet they occasionally made some enjoyable fuzz guitar-driven psychedelia that works as a period piece. The five tracks that share space with their magnum opus on In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida qualify as good artifacts, and the entire record still stands as the group's definitive album, especially since this is the only place the full-length title track is available. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo