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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Pop - Released June 4, 2012 | Parlophone UK

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Pop - Released September 25, 2015 | Parlophone UK

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Pop - Released July 1, 1990 | Parlophone UK

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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13

Rock - Released March 15, 1999 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Sélection du Mercury Prize
Blur's penitence for Brit-pop continues with the aptly named 13, which deals with star-crossed situations like personal and professional breakups with Damon Albarn's longtime girlfriend, Justine Frischmann of Elastica, and the group's longtime producer, Stephen Street. Building on Blur's un-pop experiments, the group's ambitions to expand their musical and emotional horizons result in a half-baked baker's dozen of songs, featuring some of their most creative peaks and self-indulgent valleys. Albarn has been criticized for lacking depth in his songwriting, but his ballads remain some of Blur's best moments. When Albarn and crew risk some honesty, 13 shines: on "Tender," Albarn is battered and frail, urged by a lush gospel choir to "get through it." His confiding continues on "1992," which alludes to the beginning -- and ending -- of his relationship with Frischmann. On "No Distance Left to Run," one of 13's most moving moments, Albarn addresses post-breakup ambivalence, sighing, "I hope you're with someone who makes you feel safe while you sleep." While these songs reflect Albarn's romantic chaos, "Mellow Song," "Caramel," and "Trimm Trabb" express day-to-day desperation. Musically, the saddest songs on 13 are also the clearest, mixing electronic and acoustic elements in sleek but heartfelt harmony. However, "B.L.U.R.E.M.I." is a by-the-numbers rave-up, and the blustery "Swamp Song" and "Bugman" nick Blur's old punky glam pop style but sound misplaced here. "Trailerpark" veers in yet another direction, a too-trendy trip-hop rip-off that emphasizes the band's musical fog, proving that William Orbit's kitchen-sink production doesn't serve the songs' -- or the band's -- best interests. 13's strange, frustrating combination of expert musicianship and self-indulgence reveals the sound of a band trying to find itself. With some closer editing, this could have been the emotionally deep, sonically wide album Blur yearns to make. ~ Heather Phares
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Rock - Released April 25, 1994 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Sélection du Mercury Prize
Modern Life Is Rubbish established Blur as the heir to the archly British pop of the Kinks, the Small Faces, and the Jam, but its follow-up, Parklife, revealed the depth of that transformation. Relying more heavily on Ray Davies' seriocomic social commentary, as well as new wave, Parklife runs through the entire history of post-British Invasion Britpop in the course of 16 songs, touching on psychedelia, synth pop, disco, punk, and music hall along the way. Damon Albarn intended these songs to form a sketch of British life in the mid-'90s, and it's startling how close he came to his goal; not only did the bouncy, disco-fied "Girls & Boys" and singalong chant "Parklife" become anthems in the U.K., but they inaugurated a new era of Brit-pop and lad culture, where British youth celebrated their country and traditions. The legions of jangly, melodic bands that followed in the wake of Parklife revealed how much more complex Blur's vision was. Not only was their music precisely detailed -- sound effects and brilliant guitar lines pop up all over the record -- but the melodies elegantly interweaved with the chords, as in the graceful, heartbreaking "Badhead." Surprisingly, Albarn, for all of his cold, dispassionate wit, demonstrates compassion that gives these songs three dimensions, as on the pathos-laden "End of a Century," the melancholy Walker Brothers tribute "To the End," and the swirling, epic closer, "This Is a Low." For all of its celebration of tradition, Parklife is a thoroughly modern record in that it bends genres and is self-referential (the mod anthem of the title track is voiced by none other than Phil Daniels, the star of Quadrophenia). And, by tying the past and the present together, Blur articulated the mid-'90s Zeitgeist and produced an epoch-defining record. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released January 1, 1995 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
In the simplest terms, The Great Escape is the flip side of Parklife. Where Blur's breakthrough album was a celebration of the working class, drawing on British pop from the '60s and reaching through the '80s, The Great Escape concentrates on the suburbs, featuring a cast of characters all trying to cope with the numbing pressures of modern life. Consequently, it's darker than Parklife, even if the melancholia is hidden underneath the crisp production and catchy melodies. Even the bright, infectious numbers on The Great Escape have gloomy subtexts, whether it's the disillusioned millionaire of "Country House" and the sycophant of "Charmless Man" or the bleak loneliness of "Globe Alone" and "Entertain Me." Naturally, the slower numbers are even more despairing, with the acoustic "Best Days," the lush, sweeping strings of "The Universal," and the stark, moving electronic ballad "Yuko & Hiro" ranking as the most affecting work Blur has ever recorded. However, none of this makes The Great Escape a burden or a difficult album. The music bristles with invention throughout, as Blur delves deeper into experimentation with synthesizers, horns, and strings; guitarist Graham Coxon twists out unusual chords and lead lines, and Damon Albarn spits out unexpected lyrical couplets filled with wit and venomous intelligence in each song. But Blur's most remarkable accomplishment is that it can reference the past -- the Scott Walker homage of "The Universal," the Terry Hall/Fun Boy Three cop on "Top Man," the skittish, XTC-flavored pop of "It Could Be You," and Albarn's devotion to Ray Davies -- while still moving forward, creating a vibrant, invigorating record. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released July 30, 2012 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Released September 11, 1995 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Pop - Released October 24, 2011 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Pop - Released May 16, 2011 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Kate Bush's strongest album to date also marked her breakthrough into the American charts, and yielded a set of dazzling videos as well as an enviable body of hits, spearheaded by "Running Up That Hill," her biggest single since "Wuthering Heights." Strangely enough, Hounds of Love was no less complicated in its structure, imagery, and extra-musical references (even lifting a line of dialogue from Jacques Tourneur's Curse of the Demon for the intro of the title song) than The Dreaming, which had been roundly criticized for being too ambitious and complex. But Hounds of Love was more carefully crafted as a pop record, and it abounded in memorable melodies and arrangements, the latter reflecting idioms ranging from orchestrated progressive pop to high-wattage traditional folk; and at the center of it all was Bush in the best album-length vocal performance of her career, extending her range and also drawing expressiveness from deep inside of herself, so much so that one almost feels as though he's eavesdropping at moments during "Running Up That Hill." Hounds of Love is actually a two-part album (the two sides of the original LP release being the now-lost natural dividing line), consisting of the suites "Hounds of Love" and "The Ninth Wave." The former is steeped in lyrical and sonic sensuality that tends to wash over the listener, while the latter is about the experiences of birth and rebirth. If this sounds like heady stuff, it could be, but Bush never lets the material get too far from its pop trappings and purpose. In some respects, this was also Bush's first fully realized album, done completely on her own terms, made entirely at her own 48-track home studio, to her schedule and preferences, and delivered whole to EMI as a finished work; that history is important, helping to explain the sheer presence of the album's most striking element -- the spirit of experimentation at every turn, in the little details of the sound. That vastly divergent grasp, from the minutiae of each song to the broad sweeping arc of the two suites, all heavily ornamented with layered instrumentation, makes this record wonderfully overpowering as a piece of pop music. Indeed, this reviewer hadn't had so much fun and such a challenge listening to a new album from the U.K. since Abbey Road, and it's pretty plain that Bush listened to (and learned from) a lot of the Beatles' output in her youth. ~ Bruce Eder
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Rock - Released August 23, 1993 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Released July 13, 2009 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions 4 étoiles Rock and Folk - 5/6 de Magic - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Sélection Les Inrocks
Richard Hawley has always shown a penchant for writing deeply evocative and emotional songs about people and situations in his hometown of Sheffield. His early recordings, especially Lowedges, reflected his obsession with lushly orchestrated pop songs and a production style that extended a song far beyond its margins and into the listener's world with a near visual sensibility. This was even more true on the brilliant, near cinematic recordings Cole's Corner (2005) and Lady's Bridge (2007), where he took production skills and hometown images to a level that almost -- but not quite -- overtook the glorious melodies in his songs. Hawley created emotional atmospheres as well as sonic ones; nostalgia was a poetic device that evoked the ghosts of history, but were clearly present for the listener. On Truelove's Gutter (another Sheffield-inspired title), Hawley has dug the well much deeper and brought forth a spring of new ideas in his singing, writing, and production, but paradoxically, has done so with less. The album is more sparse than anything he's released. Its eight songs have a decidedly late-night feel. The grand sweeping orchestral strings of his last two albums have been replaced by a chamber section and odd instrumentation -- like megabass waterphones and crystal baschets -- that add real intimacy to the proceedings. These songs reflect his own experiences, or the trials and tribulations of friends. His gorgeous melodies shine through brighter in songs that are naked and unflinching, yet musically more sophisticated, adding depth of field. "Open Up Your Door" would be just a pop song were it not for lyrical concerns underscored by the only chamber arrangement: it's a plea for reconciliation by a husband who confesses and owns his shortcomings, while professing an all-consuming love for his spouse as strings swell and punctuate the bridge. The melody is infectious, and Hawley's soaring baritone evokes the power of Roy Orbison's tenor. It is followed by the country-ish "Ashes on the Fire," whose melody is as revealing as its lyric; it's a devastating tale of someone who wrote -- and delivered -- a letter confessing an passionate love, only to discover its burnt remains in the dustbin. Hawley conveys his protagonist's complex emotions without judgment. His beautiful guitars support the storyteller line by line. "Remorse Code," at nearly ten minutes, melds acoustic and electric guitars with a drum kit played with Dean Beresford's bare hands. It's an observation tale of a friend who likens his life to a shipwreck. The lyric and melody are elementary; there isn't an extra note. Hawley's extended guitar solo underscores its powerful subject matter as a device and illustrates what a terrific storyteller he is. "For Your Lover Give Some Time," perhaps the album's most beautiful -- and wryly humorous -- track, confessionally reflects on his relationship with his wife; Hawley promises to deal with his failings but also points out hers. It's a complex meditation of committment detailing the worthy effort involved in maintaining its bond. "Don't You Cry," at nearly 11 minutes, utilizes Tibetan bowls, glass harmonicas, and a fisherman's lyre in an empathic reflection on getting stuck in the expectation of a moment that never arrives. Truelove's Gutter is a singular moment in Hawley's catalog that displays the maturity of all his gifts. It is quietly passionate yet graceful and elegant. He's realized an ambition here that is artful and singular. ~ Thom Jurek
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Rock - Released May 15, 1995 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Released January 19, 1998 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
After summing up his maverick tendencies on Scary Monsters, David Bowie aimed for the mainstream with Let's Dance. Hiring Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers as a co-producer, Bowie created a stylish, synthesized post-disco dance music that was equally informed by classic soul and the emerging new romantic subgenre of new wave, which was ironically heavily inspired by Bowie himself. Let's Dance comes tearing out of the gate, propulsed by the skittering "Modern Love," the seductively menacing "China Girl," and the brittle funk of the title track. All three songs became international hits, and for good reason -- they're catchy, accessible pop songs that have just enough of an alien edge to make them distinctive. However, that careful balance is quickly thrown off by a succession of pleasant but unremarkable plastic soul workouts. "Cat People" and a cover of Metro's "Criminal World" are relatively strong songs, but the remainder of the album indicates that Bowie was entering a songwriting slump. However, the three hits were enough to make the album a massive hit, and their power hasn't diminished over the years, even if the rest of the record sounds like an artifact. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released September 12, 1994 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Kate Bush's first album, The Kick Inside, released when the singer/songwriter was only 19 years old (but featuring some songs written at 15 and recorded at 16), is her most unabashedly romantic, the sound of an impressionable and highly precocious teenager spreading her wings for the first time. The centerpiece is "Wuthering Heights," which was a hit everywhere except the United States (and propelled the Emily Brontë novel back onto the best-seller lists in England), but there is a lot else here to enjoy: The disturbing "Man with the Child in His Eyes," the catchy rocker "James and the Cold Gun," and "Feel It," an early manifestation of Bush's explorations of sexual experience in song, which would culminate with "Hounds of Love." As those familiar with the latter well know, she would do better work in the future, but this is still a mightily impressive debut. ~ Bruce Eder
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Rock - Released June 26, 2006 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
The CD reissue of this album is a must-own release, even for those who already have one of the Dr. Feelgood anthologies currently available, neither of which has more than three of the 13 tracks here. The 1975 album, a magnificent first album, recorded in pure mono, has been transferred to CD in exemplary form, a clean, sharp, crunchy, close sound that recalls the sonic textures of the Rolling Stones' first album, even as they cross swords with the Stones' arch-rivals of the era, the Animals, with a superb version of "Boom Boom." Released amid the burgeoning radio presence of acts like Thin Lizzy, Blue Öyster Cult, and Kansas, and the growing self-conscious profundity of Bruce Springsteen, Down by the Jetty was as refreshingly lean as anything the headline-grabbing '70s punks would later loose on the world, and as stripped down as the most basic roots rock. Lee Brilleaux's singing could go up against Eric Burdon's or Cyril Davies, and even take on elements of a thick rasp vaguely reminiscent of Howlin' Wolf (listen closely to "Roxette"), certainly better than Mick Jagger ever did; and guitarist Wilko Johnson could play Jimmy Reed, Chuck Berry, or Bo Diddley licks with equally imposing (and seemingly effortless) virtuosity. This record was one of the great '70s rock & roll albums, right up there with the Groovies' Shake Some Action and anything CCR left listeners, and ran circles around the Rolling Stones' post-Exile on Main Street output. The final cut, a killer live medley of "Bonie Maronie"/"Tequila" with guests Brinsley Schwarz and Bob Andrews blowing saxes, was a taste of what they did on stage with astonishing regularity, and could have sent the Ramones back to the drawing board if the Queens-based quartet had heard it. ~ Bruce Eder
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Rock - Released September 5, 2005 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Sélection du Mercury Prize
Coles Corner is Richard Hawley's fourth solo offering. He still tours as a guitarist with Pulp and does session work for a number of artists, but it is clear from his catalog that his true passion lies with making his own records. His production style is simple yet elegant, warm and graceful, with lots of space for the listener to enter into. Hawley's love of Roy Orbison, Elvis, and Scott Walker has left the best possible mark on him as a singer and songwriter: He understands that in writing a song, the most important thing is to make it immediately available to the listener as either a lived or desired experience. He paints his lyrics with melodies to get that across, then records with the intention of creating a world at once familiar and somehow utterly dreamy, timeless. Coles Corner is an intimate collection of love songs (most of them broken), where sadness and melancholy are carefully housed in forms and frames that understand the weight of the emotion communicated without letting the emotion overwhelm the song itself. They are saturated in tenderness and the heart of true romantic, not self pity or bitterness.. Coles Corner is an actual place, a corner in Sheffield, Hawley's hometown, where people have met and encountered one another by chance, to hang out, rendezvous, and commiserate since 1905. This song cycle reflects the hope experienced in some of those chance encounters as it flowers and then withers and dies. Sounds like a downer, but Hawley's melancholy is so rich and empathetic, so devoid of self pity and self assessment, it is anything but. The opening title track is like the beginning of as a suite or a film score. The Colin Elliot arranged strings ease in John Trier's piano and Hawley's voice, offering a snapshot from a man who stands alone on that corner, looking, waiting, deciding. His willingness to step out into a world of chance, into the world of people who all know what he feels is stirring. The ballad portays a world seen from outside; the protagonist's desire to enter becomes his movement toward something unknown and unexpected. "Just Like the Rain" is its mirror image, a song fueled by thin, shimmering guitars, articulated against restlessness and a desire for return, to find the ghost that has haunted the narrator. Here, echoes of Mickey Newbury's and Johnny Cash's stylized country story songs ("Sleep Alone") Charlie Rich's and Roy Orbison's balladry ("Darlin Wait for Me") permeate Hawley's delivery; they alternate with traces of Walker, Jacques Brel, and even the Frank Sinatra of "In the Wee Small Hours" ("The Ocean") to incarnate something completely and utterly his own. "Hotel Room," is an old-school rock & roll crooned ballad that iterates the magical nature of a tryst that feels like it exists outside of time and space and the margins of the universe are demarcated by four walls and the bed that is the lovers' sanctuary. And so it goes. Reveries, nostalgia, longed-for wishes, regret, sadness, and the bittersweet mark of the beloved left on the heart of the left and lost. Early rock & roll and rockabilly, country, traces of the vintage-'40s pop, jazz, and blues, fall together on a dimly lit, intimate streetcorner that has witnessed it all. Hawley's guitar sound rings like a voice from another era; it underscores both emotion and story in his voice. There isn't a moment on Coles Corner that doesn't stand up, doesn't fall into the next, giving them all uncommon, even singular depth and dimension. And the singer's voice conjures shadows, glimmers of soft light, street lamps, tears, and the sound of lonely steps on a rainy midnight street. Coles Corner is expertly assembled and executed. It is magical and utterly lovely. ~ Thom Jurek
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Rock - Released September 21, 1992 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
After an unremarkable debut, Talk Talk regrouped and refashioned themselves more in the style of sophisto-era Roxy Music while developing their own voice. It's My Life shows a great leap in songwriting, the band making highly personal statements with a sexy, seductive groove and a diversity that transcends the synth pop tag. Synthesizers still play a dominant role, but the music is made far more interesting by mixing "real" instruments and challenging world music rhythms seamlessly with the technology. Still pulling off the catchy single (like "Dum Dum Girl" and the title track, as well as the simply sublime "Does Caroline Know?") on It's My Life, Talk Talk also proved themselves capable of achieving a cohesive album -- a rare feat for the time and an unexpected surprise from a band that seemed to be simply a bandwagon-jumper. ~ Chris Woodstra
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Rock - Released October 1, 2001 | Parlophone UK

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Fame can be a fleeting mistress, and nowhere more so than in the land of dance-pop divas. Many are lucky enough to have a hit album, much less two or three. What usually takes a one-hit wonder from the singles charts to career diva lies less in catchy hooks than in a combination of talent and the choice of collaborators. Obviously, the master of this technique is Madonna, whose talent and eye for talent in others has made her not only a worldwide pop sensation, but a worldwide icon. Arguably, running a close second is Kylie Minogue. Starting off as not much more than a female voice for the massively successful Stock, Aitken & Waterman hit factory, she moved on to work with some of the most prominent dance producers of the early '90s, making her one of the most visible pop stars outside of the United States. By 1997, she moved on to working with writers outside the genre. While this may have translated into poor record sales, her motives were in the right place. With 2001's Fever, Minogue combines the disco-diva comeback of the previous year's Light Years with the trend of simple dance rhythms which was prevalent in the teen dance-pop craze of the years surrounding the album's release. While on the surface that might seem like an old dog trying to learn new tricks, Minogue pulls it off with surprising ease. The first single, "Cant Get You Out of My Head," is a sparse, mid-tempo dance number that pulses and grooves like no other she's recorded, and nothing on Light Years was as funky as the pure disco closer of "Burning Up." And while it's hard not to notice her tipping her hat to the teen pop sound (in fact, on this record she works with Cathy Dennis, former dance-pop star and writer/producer for Brit-teen pop group S Club 7) on songs like "Give It to Me" and "Love at First Sight," her maturity helps transcend this limiting tag, making this a very stylish Euro-flavored dance-pop record that will appeal to all ages. Not one weak track, not one misplaced syrupy ballad to ruin the groove. The winning streak continues. [The U.S. version, released in early March of 2002, included the hidden tracks "Boy" and "Butterfly" -- a B-side and Light Years album track, respectively.] ~ Chris True
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Rock - Released November 7, 1988 | Parlophone UK

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Rattus Norvegicus, the Stranglers' first album (and first of two in 1977), was hardly a punk rock classic, but it outsold every other punk album and remains a pretty good chunk of art-punk. On the other hand, No More Heroes, recorded three months later and released in September 1977, is faster, nastier, and better. At this point the Stranglers were on top of their game, and the ferocity and anger that suffuses this record would never be repeated. Hugh Cornwell's testosterone level is very high, but it's still an enjoyable bit of noise that holds up better than anyone would have guessed at the time. ~ John Dougan