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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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Rock - Released January 1, 2014 | Geffen

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Rock - Released January 1, 2014 | Geffen

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Soundgarden's finest hour, Superunknown is a sprawling, 70-minute magnum opus that pushes beyond any previous boundaries. Soundgarden had always loved replicating Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath riffs, but Superunknown's debt is more to mid-period Zep's layered arrangements and sweeping epics. Their earlier punk influences are rarely detectable, replaced by surprisingly effective appropriations of pop and psychedelia. Badmotorfinger boasted more than its fair share of indelible riffs, but here the main hooks reside mostly in Chris Cornell's vocals; accordingly, he's mixed right up front, floating over the band instead of cutting through it. The rest of the production is just as crisp, with the band achieving a huge, robust sound that makes even the heaviest songs sound deceptively bright. But the most important reason Superunknown is such a rich listen is twofold: the band's embrace of psychedelia, and their rapidly progressing mastery of songcraft. Soundgarden had always been a little mind-bending, but the full-on experiments with psychedelia give them a much wider sonic palette, paving the way for less metallic sounds and instruments, more detailed arrangements, and a bridge into pop (which made the eerie ballad "Black Hole Sun" an inescapable hit). That blossoming melodic skill is apparent on most of the record, not just the poppier songs and Cornell-penned hits; though a couple of drummer Matt Cameron's contributions are pretty undistinguished, they're easy to overlook, given the overall consistency. The focused songwriting allows the band to stretch material out for grander effect, without sinking into the pointlessly drawn-out muck that cluttered their early records. The dissonance and odd time signatures are still in force, though not as jarring or immediately obvious, which means that the album reveals more subtleties with each listen. It's obvious that Superunknown was consciously styled as a masterwork, and it fulfills every ambition. © Steve Huey /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2013 | Geffen

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio - Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2011 | Geffen

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Geffen

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Nevermind was never meant to change the world, but you can never predict when the Zeitgeist will hit, and Nirvana's second album turned out to be the place where alternative rock crashed into the mainstream. This wasn't entirely an accident, either, since Nirvana did sign with a major label, and they did release a record with a shiny surface, no matter how humongous the guitars sounded. And, yes, Nevermind is probably a little shinier than it should be, positively glistening with echo and fuzzbox distortion, especially when compared with the black-and-white murk of Bleach. This doesn't discount the record, since it's not only much harder than any mainstream rock of 1991, its character isn't on the surface, it's in the exhilaratingly raw music and haunting songs. Kurt Cobain's personal problems and subsequent suicide naturally deepen the dark undercurrents, but no matter how much anguish there is on Nevermind, it's bracing because he exorcizes those demons through his evocative wordplay and mangled screams -- and because the band has a tremendous, unbridled power that transcends the pain, turning into pure catharsis. And that's as key to the record's success as Cobain's songwriting, since Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl help turn this into music that is gripping, powerful, and even fun (and, really, there's no other way to characterize "Territorial Pissings" or the surging "Breed"). In retrospect, Nevermind may seem a little too unassuming for its mythic status -- it's simply a great modern punk record -- but even though it may no longer seem life-changing, it is certainly life-affirming, which may just be better. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Geffen

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Nevermind was never meant to change the world, but you can never predict when the Zeitgeist will hit, and Nirvana's second album turned out to be the place where alternative rock crashed into the mainstream. This wasn't entirely an accident, either, since Nirvana did sign with a major label, and they did release a record with a shiny surface, no matter how humongous the guitars sounded. And, yes, Nevermind is probably a little shinier than it should be, positively glistening with echo and fuzzbox distortion, especially when compared with the black-and-white murk of Bleach. This doesn't discount the record, since it's not only much harder than any mainstream rock of 1991, its character isn't on the surface, it's in the exhilaratingly raw music and haunting songs. Kurt Cobain's personal problems and subsequent suicide naturally deepen the dark undercurrents, but no matter how much anguish there is on Nevermind, it's bracing because he exorcizes those demons through his evocative wordplay and mangled screams -- and because the band has a tremendous, unbridled power that transcends the pain, turning into pure catharsis. And that's as key to the record's success as Cobain's songwriting, since Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl help turn this into music that is gripping, powerful, and even fun (and, really, there's no other way to characterize "Territorial Pissings" or the surging "Breed"). In retrospect, Nevermind may seem a little too unassuming for its mythic status -- it's simply a great modern punk record -- but even though it may no longer seem life-changing, it is certainly life-affirming, which may just be better. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2011 | Geffen

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Nevermind was never meant to change the world, but you can never predict when the Zeitgeist will hit, and Nirvana's second album turned out to be the place where alternative rock crashed into the mainstream. This wasn't entirely an accident, either, since Nirvana did sign with a major label, and they did release a record with a shiny surface, no matter how humongous the guitars sounded. And, yes, Nevermind is probably a little shinier than it should be, positively glistening with echo and fuzzbox distortion, especially when compared with the black-and-white murk of Bleach. This doesn't discount the record, since it's not only much harder than any mainstream rock of 1991, its character isn't on the surface, it's in the exhilaratingly raw music and haunting songs. Kurt Cobain's personal problems and subsequent suicide naturally deepen the dark undercurrents, but no matter how much anguish there is on Nevermind, it's bracing because he exorcizes those demons through his evocative wordplay and mangled screams -- and because the band has a tremendous, unbridled power that transcends the pain, turning into pure catharsis. And that's as key to the record's success as Cobain's songwriting, since Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl help turn this into music that is gripping, powerful, and even fun (and, really, there's no other way to characterize "Territorial Pissings" or the surging "Breed"). In retrospect, Nevermind may seem a little too unassuming for its mythic status -- it's simply a great modern punk record -- but even though it may no longer seem life-changing, it is certainly life-affirming, which may just be better. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2010 | Geffen

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
Not long after You're Gonna Get It, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' label, Shelter, was sold to MCA Records. Petty struggled to free himself from the major label, eventually sending himself into bankruptcy. He settled with MCA and set to work on his third album, digging out some old Mudcrutch numbers and quickly writing new songs. Amazingly, through all the frustration and anguish, Petty & the Heartbreakers delivered their breakthrough and arguably their masterpiece with Damn the Torpedoes. Musically, it follows through on the promise of their first two albums, offering a tough, streamlined fusion of the Stones and Byrds that, thanks to Jimmy Iovine's clean production, sounded utterly modern yet timeless. It helped that the Heartbreakers had turned into a tighter, muscular outfit, reminiscent of, well, the Stones in their prime -- all of the parts combine into a powerful, distinctive sound capable of all sorts of subtle variations. Their musical suppleness helps bring out the soul in Petty's impressive set of songs. He had written a few classics before -- "American Girl," "Listen to Her Heart" -- but here his songwriting truly blossoms. Most of the songs have a deep melancholy undercurrent -- the tough "Here Comes My Girl" and "Even the Losers" have tender hearts; the infectious "Don't Do Me Like That" masks a painful relationship; "Refugee" is a scornful, blistering rocker; "Louisiana Rain" is a tear-jerking ballad. Yet there are purpose and passion behind the performances that makes Damn the Torpedoes an invigorating listen all the same. Few mainstream rock albums of the late '70s and early '80s were quite as strong as this, and it still stands as one of the great records of the album rock era. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Goo

Rock - Released January 1, 2005 | Geffen

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Any doubts as to the continuing relevance of Sonic Youth upon their jump to major-label status were quickly laid to rest by Goo, their follow-up to the monumental Daydream Nation. While paling in the shadow of its predecessor, the record is nevertheless a defiant call to arms against mainstream musical values; the Geffen logo adorning the disc is a moot point -- Goo is, if anything, a portrait of Sonic Youth at their most self-indulgently noisy and contentious, covering topics ranging from Karen Carpenter ("Tunic") to UFOs ("Disappearer") to dating Jesus' mom ("Mary-Christ"). Even Public Enemy's Chuck D joins the fracas on the single "Kool Thing," which teeters on the brink of a cultural breakthrough but falls just shy of the mark; the same could be said of Goo itself -- by no means a sellout, it nevertheless lacks the coherence and force of the group's finest work, and the opportunity to violently rattle the mainstream cage slips by. © Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2003 | Geffen

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
When DGC Records signed Nirvana in 1991, one of DGC's A&R reps expressed the opinion that, with plenty of touring and the right promotion, the new act might sell as well as its labelmate and touring partner Sonic Youth. The surprise success of Nevermind upended previous commercial expectations for Sonic Youth (among other established alternative rock bands), and when Dirty was released in 1992, it was seen by many as the band's big move toward the grunge market. Which doesn't make a lot of sense if you actually listen to the album; while Butch Vig's clean but full-bodied production certainly gave Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo's guitars greater punch and presence than they had in the past, and many of the songs move in the increasingly tuneful direction the band had been traveling with Daydream Nation and Goo, most of Dirty is good bit more jagged and purposefully discordant than its immediate precursors, lacking the same hallucinatory grace as Daydream Nation or the hard rock sheen of Goo. If anything, Dirty finds Sonic Youth revisiting the territory the band mapped out on Sister -- merging the propulsive structures of rock (both punk and otherwise) with the gorgeous chaos of their approach to the electric guitar -- and it shows how much better they'd gotten at it in the past five years, from the curiously beautiful "Wish Fulfillment" and "Theresa's Sound World" to the brutal "Drunken Butterfly" and "Purr." Dirty was also Sonic Youth's most overtly political album, railing against the abuses of the Reagan/Bush era on "Youth Against Fascism," "Swimsuit Issue," and "Chapel Hill," a surprising move from a band so often in love with cryptic irony. Heard today, Dirty doesn't sound like a masterpiece (like Daydream Nation) or a gesture toward the mainstream audience (like Goo) -- it just sounds like a damn good rock album, and on those terms it ranks with Sonic Youth's best work. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1998 | Geffen

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Just as White Zombie was on the verge of becoming the most popular metal band in the land, Rob Zombie decided he was an auteur. Stopping short of breaking up the band, Zombie set out to make sure everyone know that he was the main force in the band, as if there were any doubt in the first place. He did extracurricular animation, managed a band, started a record label, drew a sequence in Beavis & Butt-Head Do America, appeared in films, wrote the script for The Crow 3 (which he planned to direct), and most tellingly of all, he recorded a solo album, Hellbilly Deluxe. Since White Zombie was always his baby, it seems a little strange that he had the need to break away from the group, especially since the album sounds exactly like a White Zombie record, complete with thunderous industrial rhythms, drilling metal guitars, and B-movie obsessions. For most listeners, it doesn't matter if Hellbilly Deluxe is technically a White Zombie or Rob Zombie album, since it delivers the goods, arguably even better than Astro-Creep: 2000. To outsiders, the entire schlock enterprise may seem ridiculous or sound monotonous, but even the weak cuts here hit hard and give fans exactly what they want. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released July 21, 1992 | Geffen

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Rock - Released January 1, 1991 | Geffen

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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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Goo

Rock - Released January 1, 1990 | Geffen

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Any doubts as to the continuing relevance of Sonic Youth upon their jump to major-label status were quickly laid to rest by Goo, their follow-up to the monumental Daydream Nation. While paling in the shadow of its predecessor, the record is nevertheless a defiant call to arms against mainstream musical values; the Geffen logo adorning the disc is a moot point -- Goo is, if anything, a portrait of Sonic Youth at their most self-indulgently noisy and contentious, covering topics ranging from Karen Carpenter ("Tunic") to UFOs ("Disappearer") to dating Jesus' mom ("Mary-Christ"). Even Public Enemy's Chuck D joins the fracas on the single "Kool Thing," which teeters on the brink of a cultural breakthrough but falls just shy of the mark; the same could be said of Goo itself -- by no means a sellout, it nevertheless lacks the coherence and force of the group's finest work, and the opportunity to violently rattle the mainstream cage slips by. © Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 1987 | Geffen

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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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Pop - Released January 1, 1986 | Geffen

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
If there was a should-have-been year in the Chameleons' history, 1986 would clearly be it, and Strange Times demonstrates that on every track, practically in every note. Signed to a huge label, with production help from the Dave Allen/Mark Saunders team who worked on the Cure's brilliant series of late-'80s records (here providing a more balanced sound between guitar effects and direct punch than appeared on What), the Chameleons delivered an album that should have been the step to a more above-board existence on radio and beyond. Right from the start, a stunning upward spiral of a guitar riff begins the unnerving character study "Mad Jack," the bandmembers mix their skills, experience, and songwriting ability perfectly and take everything to an even higher level. The first half continues with three more stunners: "Caution," a semi-waltz that moves well, pulls back, and then slams home, "Tears," a crushingly sad, acoustic ode to personal loss, and "Soul in Isolation," combining a huge majestic wallop with Mark Burgess' anguished study of alienation. And just when you think it couldn't get any better -- "Swamp Thing," the definitive Chameleons song, complex, building, tense, epic, perfectly played (John Lever's drumming is simply jaw-dropping, the Reg Smithies/Dave Fielding guitar pairing totally spot on), and with one of Burgess' most poetic, personal lyrics. It just keeps going from there, the second half covering everything from more sweeping tunes ("Time," "In Answer") to bare-bones melancholy ("In Answer," "I'll Remember"). Bonus tracks: an alternate and equally striking "Tears," the driving "Paradiso" and "Inside Out," and two covers. The take on Bowie's "John, I'm Only Dancing" is a quick fun goof, but the version of "Tomorrow Never Knows" (Burgess especially has been and remains a massive John Lennon fanatic, quoting songs by him liberally throughout his career) surges and soars, beating out by a mile all the times others have covered it. From back to front, Strange Times could never have enough praise. [British versions of Strange Times on CD and LP came with a second disc of bonus tracks; when the album was reissued on CD in the U.S. in 1995, the bonus tracks were simply added to the album proper, without adding an extra disc.] © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1979 | Geffen

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Released January 1, 1971 | Geffen

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Released January 1, 1971 | Geffen

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Released January 1, 1970 | Geffen

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography