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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Punk / New Wave - Released November 24, 2017 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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The rules of the game were certainly perfectly clear after their first album: in the third instalment of the Ramones' story, they surpassed themselves. And even refined their art! Once again, with this Rocket to Russia, released on 4 November 1977, at the height of the Cold War, it was all about three-chord symphonies, enthusiastically cretinous and 100% adolescent hi-jinks and above all, taking rock'n'roll back to its birthplace: the garage! But the refrains of Sheena Is A Punk Rocker or Teenage Lobotomy are peerless in their re–imagining of their rock’n’roll, bubblegum pop and surf heritage. And even when they cover the cult tracks Surfin’ Bird by the Trashmen or Do You Wanna Dance? (made famous by Cliff Richard, the Beach Boys and even Bette Midler) our delinquent punks from Queens produced savage and raw rock like nobody else! This edition to mark the 40th birthday of this sublime sonic attack offers two mixes of the album: the original, and a new mix, entitled Tracking Mix by Ed Stasium, the sound engineer on the original release. It also includes 24 rare or unreleased tracks, demos, alternative versions and B–sides. And the cherry on the cake is a dazzling, unreleased live version by the four Ramones brothers (all from other mothers) recorded on 19 December 1977 the Apollo Centre in Glasgow, Scotland. © MZ/Qobuz
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Punk / New Wave - Released September 9, 2016 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Punk / New Wave - Released September 9, 2016 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Punk / New Wave - Released July 24, 2015 | Rhino

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Punk / New Wave - Released April 7, 2015 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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New York City figured so prominently in Lou Reed's music for so long that it's surprising it took him until 1989 to make an album simply called New York, a set of 14 scenes and sketches that represents the strongest, best-realized set of songs of Reed's solo career. While Reed's 1982 comeback, The Blue Mask, sometimes found him reaching for effects, New York's accumulated details and deft caricatures hit bull's-eye after bull's-eye for 57 minutes, and do so with an easy stride and striking lyrical facility. New York also found Reed writing about the larger world rather than personal concerns for a change, and in the beautiful, decaying heart of New York City, he found plenty to talk about -- the devastating impact of AIDS in "Halloween Parade," the vicious circle of child abuse "Endless Cycle," the plight of the homeless in "Xmas in February" -- and even on the songs where he pointedly mounts a soapbox, Reed does so with an intelligence and smart-assed wit that makes him sound opinionated rather than preachy -- like a New Yorker. And when Reed does look into his own life, it's with humor and perception; "Beginning of a Great Adventure" is a hilarious meditation on the possibilities of parenthood, and "Dime Store Mystery" is a moving elegy to his former patron Andy Warhol. Reed also unveiled a new band on this set, and while guitarist Mike Rathke didn't challenge Reed the way Robert Quine did, Reed wasn't needing much prodding to play at the peak of his form, and Ron Wasserman proved Reed's superb taste in bass players had not failed him. Produced with subtle intelligence and a minimum of flash, New York is a masterpiece of literate, adult rock & roll, and the finest album of Reed's solo career. ~ Mark Deming

Punk / New Wave - Released June 1, 1984 | Dischord Records

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Punk / New Wave - Released September 6, 2013 | Sony Music UK

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The Clash sounded like they could do anything on London Calling. For its triple-album follow-up, Sandinista!, they tried to do everything, adding dub, rap, gospel, and even children's choruses to the punk, reggae, R&B, and roots rock they already were playing. Instead of presenting a band with a far-reaching vision, like London Calling did, Sandinista! plays as a messy, confused jumble, which means that its numerous virtues are easy to ignore. Amid all the dub experiments, backward tracks, unfinished songs, and instrumentals, there are a number of classic Clash songs that rank among the band's best, including "Police on My Back," "The Call Up," "Somebody Got Murdered," "Charlie Don't Surf," "Hitsville U.K.," and "Lightning Strikes (Not Once but Twice)," yet it's difficult for anyone but the most dedicated listeners to find them. A few of the failed ideas were worth exploring, but even more -- like the children's choir version of "Career Opportunities" or the Tymon Dogg song "Lose This Skin" -- weren't even worth pursuing. As the cliché says, there's a great single album within these three records, and those songs make Sandinista! worthwhile. Nevertheless, its sloppy attack is disheartening after the tour de force of London Calling and the focused aggression of The Clash. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Punk / New Wave - Released September 6, 2013 | Sony Music UK

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Punk / New Wave - Released September 6, 2013 | Sony Music UK

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Never Mind the Bollocks may have appeared revolutionary, but the Clash's eponymous debut album was pure, unadulterated rage and fury, fueled by passion for both rock & roll and revolution. Though the cliché about punk rock was that the bands couldn't play, the key to the Clash is that although they gave that illusion, they really could play -- hard. The charging, relentless rhythms, primitive three-chord rockers, and the poor sound quality give the album a nervy, vital energy. Joe Strummer's slurred wails perfectly compliment the edgy rock, while Mick Jones' clearer singing and charged guitar breaks make his numbers righteously anthemic. Even at this early stage, the Clash were experimenting with reggae, most notably on the Junior Murvin cover "Police & Thieves" and the extraordinary "(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais," which was one of five tracks added to the American edition of The Clash. "Deny," "Protex Blue," "Cheat," and "48 Hours" were removed from the British edition and replaced for the U.S. release with the British-only singles "Complete Control," "(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais," "Clash City Rockers," "I Fought the Law," and "Jail Guitar Doors," all of which were stronger than the items they replaced. Though the sequencing and selection were slightly different, the core of the album remained the same, and each song retained its power individually. Few punk songs expressed anger quite as bracingly as "White Riot," "I'm So Bored with the U.S.A.," "Career Opportunities," and "London's Burning," and their power is all the more incredible today. Rock & roll is rarely as edgy, invigorating, and sonically revolutionary as The Clash. [In 2000, Columbia/Legacy reissued and remastered the album to include the U.K. songs.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Punk / New Wave - Released May 22, 2013 | Dischord Records

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The fans are like a cult. And the cult that surrounds Fugazi must be one of the maddest in the history of rock. The hardcore scene's grand masters of Straight Edge (no booze, no drugs!), the Washington quartet has taken the genre to strange new places. On this fourth album from June 1995, released on Dischord, Ian Mac Kaye and friends took on dub (Version), angular rock (Combination Lock) and even ballads (Forensic Scene). And to reassure the most concerned long-time fans, we have classic Fugazi at their most biting and bloody (Downed City, Back To Base). Combining the worldviews of Public Image Ltd., The Fall et Black Flag, Red Medicine is the most beautiful, most menacing door onto the rock’n’roll of the 1990s. Hardcore was reaching the age of reason, and consolidating its neurons like never before. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Punk / New Wave - Released March 10, 1989 | WM UK

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It even looks like something classic, beyond its time or place of origin even as it was a clear product of both -- one of Peter Saville's earliest and best designs, a transcription of a signal showing a star going nova, on a black embossed sleeve. If that were all Unknown Pleasures was, it wouldn't be discussed so much, but the ten songs inside, quite simply, are stone-cold landmarks, the whole album a monument to passion, energy, and cathartic despair. The quantum leap from the earliest thrashy singles to Unknown Pleasures can be heard through every note, with Martin Hannett's deservedly famous production -- emphasizing space in the most revelatory way since the dawn of dub -- as much a hallmark as the music itself. Songs fade in behind furtive noises of motion and activity, glass breaks with the force and clarity of doom, minimal keyboard lines add to an air of looming disaster -- something, somehow, seems to wait or lurk beyond the edge of hearing. But even though this is Hannett's album as much as anyone's, the songs and performances are the true key. Bernard Sumner redefined heavy metal sludge as chilling feedback fear and explosive energy, Peter Hook's instantly recognizable bass work at once warm and forbidding, Stephen Morris' drumming smacking through the speakers above all else. Ian Curtis synthesizes and purifies every last impulse, his voice shot through with the desire first and foremost to connect, only connect -- as "Candidate" plaintively states, "I tried to get to you/You treat me like this." Pick any song: the nervous death dance of "She's Lost Control"; the harrowing call for release "New Dawn Fades," all four members in perfect sync; the romance in hell of "Shadowplay"; "Insight" and its nervous drive toward some sort of apocalypse. All visceral, all emotional, all theatrical, all perfect -- one of the best albums ever. ~ Ned Raggett
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Punk / New Wave - Released July 20, 2012 | WM UK

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When Closer was released on July 18th, 1980 Ian Curtis had already been six feet under for two months. At just 23 years old, the singer of Joy Division – who committed suicide – would never get a share of the laurels that this second and last studio album was about to receive for the years and decades to come… In such grim circumstances, this opus was of course bound to become a sort of testament. With Closer, rock music (that in this case doesn’t roll so much) got the most beautiful soundtrack to its angst. As always with Joy Division, the groove is viscerally martial, guitars are excessively shrill, the vocals are wrapped up in a straightjacket, rhythmic patterns smell sweetly of cataclysm, while the lyrics evoke claustrophobia: no doubt about it, post punk now has its Tables of Law. A rulebook and lifestyle directly inherited from early Velvet Underground, Bowie in his Berlin days, the Doors and German Krautrock. With Closer, Ian Curtis still remains here among us. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Punk / New Wave - Released June 20, 2008 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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It's cleaner and more produced than any of their records, which is one reason why many Hüsker Dü fans have never fully embraced their second double album, Warehouse: Songs and Stories. Granted, Warehouse boasts a fuller production -- complete with multi-tracked guitars and vocal, various percussion techniques, and endless studio effects -- that would have seemed out of place a mere two years before its release. However, Flip Your Wig and Candy Apple Grey both suggested this full-fledged pop production, and it's to Hüsker Dü's credit that they never sound like they are selling out with Warehouse. What they do sound like is breaking up. Although there was a schism apparent between Bob Mould and Grant Hart on Candy Apple Grey, they don't even sound like they are writing for the same band on Warehouse. But the individual songs on the album are powerhouses in their own right, as both songwriters exhibit a continuing sense of experimentation -- Hart writes a sea shanty with "She Floated Away" and uses bubbling percussion on "Charity, Chastity, Prudence, and Hope," while Mould nearly arrives at power pop with "Could You Be the One?" and touches on singer/songwriter-styled folk-rock with "No Reservations." Warehouse doesn't have the single-minded sense of purpose or eccentric sprawl of Zen Arcade, but as a collection of songs, it's of the first order. Furthermore, its stylish production -- which makes pop concessions without abandoning a punk ethos -- pointed the way to the kind of "alternative" rock that dominated the mainstream in the early '90s. In all, it was a fine way for one of the most important bands of the '80s to call it a day. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Punk / New Wave - Released September 10, 2007 | London Records

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Punk / New Wave - Released October 16, 2007 | London Records

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When Closer was released on July 18th, 1980 Ian Curtis had already been six feet under for two months. At just 23 years old, the singer of Joy Division – who committed suicide – would never get a share of the laurels that this second and last studio album was about to receive for the years and decades to come… In such grim circumstances, this opus was of course bound to become a sort of testament. With Closer, rock music (that in this case doesn’t roll so much) got the most beautiful soundtrack to its angst. As always with Joy Division, the groove is viscerally martial, guitars are excessively shrill, the vocals are wrapped up in a straightjacket, rhythmic patterns smell sweetly of cataclysm, while the lyrics evoke claustrophobia: no doubt about it, post punk now has its Tables of Law. A rulebook and lifestyle directly inherited from early Velvet Underground, Bowie in his Berlin days, the Doors and German Krautrock. With Closer, Ian Curtis still remains here among us. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Punk / New Wave - Released October 9, 2007 | Epic

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Punk / New Wave - Released August 20, 2002 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Punk / New Wave - Released November 4, 1977 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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The Ramones provided the blueprint and Leave Home duplicated it with lesser results, but the Ramones' third album, Rocket to Russia, perfected it. Rocket to Russia boasts a cleaner production than its predecessors, which only gives the Ramones' music more force. It helps that the group wrote its finest set of songs for the album. From the mindless, bopping opening of "Cretin Hop" and "Rockaway Beach" to the urban surf rock of "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker" and the ridiculous anthem "Teenage Lobotomy," the songs are teeming with irresistibly catchy hooks; even their choice of covers, "Do You Want to Dance?" and "Surfin' Bird," provide more hooks than usual. The Ramones also branch out slightly, adding ballads to the mix. Even with these (relatively) slower songs, the speed of the album never decreases. However, the abundance of hooks and slight variety in tempos makes Rocket to Russia the Ramones' most listenable and enjoyable album -- it doesn't have the revolutionary impact of The Ramones, but it's a better album and one of the finest records of the late '70s. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Punk / New Wave - Released March 15, 2004 | Castle Communications

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Punk / New Wave - Released August 20, 2002 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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