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 September 25, 2015 | Rhino Atlantic

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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
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Progressive Rock - Released September 13, 1972 | Rhino Atlantic

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Yes had fallen out of critical favor with Tales from Topographic Oceans, a two-record set of four songs that reviewers found indulgent. But they had not fallen out of the Top Ten, and so they had little incentive to curb their musical ambitiousness. Relayer, released 11 months after Tales, was a single-disc, three-song album, its music organized into suites that alternated abrasive, rhythmically dense instrumental sections featuring solos for the various instruments with delicate vocal and choral sections featuring poetic lyrics devoted to spiritual imagery. Such compositions seemed intended to provide an interesting musical landscape over which the listener might travel, and enough Yes fans did that to make Relayer a Top Ten, gold-selling hit, though critics continued to complain about the lack of concise, coherent song structures. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Pop - Released February 8, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

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Metal - Released April 17, 2010 | Rhino Atlantic

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Although Vulgar Display of Power remains Pantera's best and definitive album, Cowboys from Hell was the creative breakthrough that set the stage for its conception. Not only were its demos responsible for getting Pantera signed to a major label in the first place, but its fresh musical perspective also gave them a much-needed blank slate with which to conquer the 1990s and, first and foremost, erase their 1980s failures. These failures were cataloged on no less than four independently released LPs packed with largely derivative and thoroughly unimpressive hair metal, and only the fourth of them even counted with recently installed lead vocalist Phil Anselmo, whose broader influences and irrepressible energy cannot be underestimated in altering Pantera's fate. As the "new guy" entering the Texans' insular world, Anselmo made only tentative contributions to that fourth Pantera album, 1988's Power Metal, but its incremental heaviness and titular statement of intent nevertheless presaged the wholesale reinvention that would be effectively crystallized by Cowboys from Hell. Here, at last, virtuoso guitarist Diamond (soon to be rechristened Dimebag) Darrell Abbott was finally inspired to snap out of the rampant Van Halen-isms that had creatively shackled his formidable talents thus far, and established his own unmistakable imprint for the instrument, and, by extension, Pantera's signature sound. This was characterized by a subtlety-free sledgehammer approach informed by, but not beholden to, recent developments in extreme metal, as well as a groove-laden, muscular riffing style punctuated by squealing pinch harmonics -- as illustrated to perfection by the downtuned post-thrash beatdown of the title track, "Primal Concrete Sledge," and "The Art of Shredding," among others. For his part, Anselmo was only too eager to decorate Darrell's blunt rhythmic onslaught with cavernous roars declaiming impetuous and empowering lyrics that challenged all comers. In the process, he virtually abandoned his impressive melodic singing range (on par with the great Rob Halford) altogether, only reaching for those higher registers on "Shattered" (a rather misplaced throwback to the power metal era) and the stately lament "Cemetery Gates," which, years later, would sadly serve as requiem for Darrell's untimely passing. Not to be left out, drummer Vinnie Paul almost matched his baby brother's coming-out party with a heretofore unknown percussive dexterity, and bassist Rex Brown not only managed to keep up with Darrell's six-string tour de force, but bolstered the band's bottom end with added gut-punching power. So it was that, in what can truly be described as a collective ritual of musical catharsis, the members of Pantera were reborn as Cowboys from Hell, simultaneously defining an entirely new subgenre in the process: groove metal. [Indeed, such was the album's lasting impact that in time it was accorded a 20th anniversary reissue comprised of three separate discs: the first contained a complete remastering of the original set; the second packed 12 live recordings, of which seven (recorded at the 1990 Foundations Forum music industry event) were previously unreleased; and the third collected the all-important album demos (most of them very faithful to the album versions, although "Shattered" boasts an intro that was later dropped -- "Cemetery Gates" still lacks the intro it got) plus a never-heard album outtake called "The Will to Survive," which, with its more traditional heavy metal riff and predominating melodic vocals from Anselmo, wouldn't have sounded out of place on Judas Priest's Painkiller.] ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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Pop - Released May 7, 2013 | Rhino Atlantic

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Rock - Released April 19, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

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Paired with Stax writing whiz-kids Isaac Hayes and David Porter, Thomas had her greatest chart run, beginning with the hit "B-A-B-Y" and continuing with "Let Me Be Good to You." Both of those appear here, alongside evocative slabs of country-soul in covers of Hank Williams's "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces." For good measure, Thomas also tries her hand at the blues with covers of Howlin' Wolf's "Little Red Rooster" and Jimmy Reed's "Baby What You Want Me to Do?" ~ Rob Bowman
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Rock - Released January 18, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

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Rock - Released June 30, 1975 | Rhino Atlantic

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Drummer Billy Cobham was fresh from his success with the Mahavishnu Orchestra when he recorded his debut album, which is still his best. Most of the selections showcase Cobham in a quartet with keyboardist Jan Hammer, guitarist Tommy Bolin, and electric bassist Lee Sklar. Two other numbers include Joe Farrell on flute and soprano and trumpeter Jimmy Owens with guitarist John Tropea, Hammer, bassist Ron Carter, and Ray Barretto on congas. The generally high-quality compositions (which include "Red Baron") make this fusion set a standout, a strong mixture of rock-ish rhythms and jazz improvising. ~ Scott Yanow
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Rock - Released July 26, 1994 | Rhino Atlantic

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One of the most hotly awaited second albums in history -- right up there with those by the Beatles and the Band -- Déjà Vu lived up to its expectations and rose to number one on the charts. Those achievements are all the more astonishing given the fact that the group barely held together through the estimated 800 hours it took to record Déjà Vu and scarcely functioned as a group for most of that time. Déjà Vu worked as an album, a product of four potent musical talents who were all ascending to the top of their game coupled with some very skilled production, engineering, and editing. There were also some obvious virtues in evidence -- the addition of Neil Young to the Crosby, Stills & Nash lineup added to the level of virtuosity, with Young and Stephen Stills rising to new levels of complexity and volume on their guitars. Young's presence also ratcheted up the range of available voices one notch and added a uniquely idiosyncratic songwriter to the fold, though most of Young's contributions in this area were confined to the second side of the LP. Most of the music, apart from the quartet's version of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock," was done as individual sessions by each of the members when they turned up (which was seldom together), contributing whatever was needed that could be agreed upon. "Carry On" worked as the album's opener when Stills "sacrificed" another copyright, "Questions," which comprised the second half of the track and made it more substantial. "Woodstock" and "Carry On" represented the group as a whole, while the rest of the record was a showcase for the individual members. David Crosby's "Almost Cut My Hair" was a piece of high-energy hippie-era paranoia not too far removed in subject from the Byrds' "Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man," only angrier in mood and texture (especially amid the pumping organ and slashing guitars); the title track, also by Crosby, took 100 hours to work out and was a better-received successor to such experimental works as "Mind Gardens," out of his earlier career with the Byrds, showing his occasional abandonment of a rock beat, or any fixed rhythm at all, in favor of washing over the listener with tones and moods. "Teach Your Children," the major hit off the album, was a reflection of the hippie-era idealism that still filled Graham Nash's life, while "Our House" was his stylistic paean to the late-era Beatles and "4+20" was a gorgeous Stephen Stills blues excursion that was a precursor to the material he would explore on the solo album that followed. And then there were Neil Young's pieces, the exquisitely harmonized "Helpless" (which took many hours to get to the slow version finally used) and the roaring country-ish rockers that ended side two, which underwent a lot of tinkering by Young -- even his seeming throwaway finale, "Everybody I Love You," was a bone thrown to longtime fans as perhaps the greatest Buffalo Springfield song that they didn't record. All of this variety made Déjà Vu a rich musical banquet for the most serious and personal listeners, while mass audiences reveled in the glorious harmonies and the thundering electric guitars, which were presented in even more dramatic and expansive fashion on the tour that followed. ~ Bruce Eder
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Rock - Released June 12, 2007 | Rhino Atlantic

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The first of two albums on Atlantic records for the singer with an immaculate voice, Jackie was produced by Arif Mardin, Tom Dowd, and Jerry Wexler, one less producer than her What the World Needs Now Is Love album had helping craft the sounds. The festivities start off with John Prine's song "Paradise," a folksy title, not to be confused with the Perry Botkin, Jr./Harry Nilsson/Gil Garfield tune that Bette Midler and the Ronettes covered as the Jackie album tends to stay in an interesting space that could be described as "adult contemporary folk." "Vanilla 'Olay" moves brightly, a rare spirited pop vocal which is one of four compositions by the singer/songwriter here, two-thirds of the 12 selections coming from a dizzying array of songwriters. John Hurley and Ron Wilkins' "Heavy Burdens Me Down" is a beautiful gospel number, and the version of Neil Young's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" is one of the album's highlights. It certainly is interesting hearing someone with a traditional voice putting some polish on a Neil Young staple. This album is as smooth and dreamy as Dusty Springfield's Cameo, though the three producers don't let the singer break out of the controlled mood they've set. DeShannon's original "Laid Back Days" tries to escape those confines, and "Vanilla 'Olay" actually does, John Stewart's xylophone bringing the latter to another level. Steve Goodman's "Would You Like to Learn to Dance" has ace Bee Gees co-producer Albhy Galuten adding a distinguished harpsichord -- it really is special, and what the album cries out for is one of those extraordinary songs that the Bee Gees gave to so many artists, from Samantha Sang to Dionne Warwick and Rare Earth. Galuten could have made this very good album even better had he contributed his production skills. Cissy Houston adds some magic to the Donna Weiss/Mary Unobsky composition "I Won't Try to Put Chains on Your Soul," more gospel-pop which is another notable track here. Weiss would of course go on to co-write "Bette Davis Eyes" with DeShannon when the singer moved on to Columbia records for the adult contemporary album New Arrangement. Unlike the string of albums on Imperial where this extraordinary talent got to try new things and get into a groove, this '70s period has work spread across multiple labels, and as the music changed hands the sounds took bigger leaps than they might have had all this activity progressed under a single record company umbrella. Van Morrison's "I Wanna Roo You" works, as do the two Jackie DeShannon originals that conclude the album, "Peaceful in My Soul" and "Anna Karina." DeShannon plays acoustic guitar on "Anna Karina," "Laid Back Days," "Vanilla 'Olay," and "I Wanna Roo You," adding her personality to the musical mix. Jackie is an interesting and worthwhile collection of 12 songs falling stylistically somewhere between her albums What the World Needs Now Is Love from the '60s and You Know Me from the '90s. Her voice is in great shape, and the music is created with loving care, making for a satisfying chapter in the singer's impressive body of work. ~ Joe Viglione
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Rock - Released March 15, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

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David Crosby's debut solo album, If I Could Only Remember My Name is a one-shot wonder of dreamy but ominous California ambience. The songs range from brief snapshots of inspiration (the angelic chorale-vocal showcase on "Orleans" and the a cappella closer, "I'd Swear There Was Somebody Here") to the full-blown, rambling western epic "Cowboy Movie," and there are absolutely no false notes struck or missteps taken. No one before or since has gotten as much mileage out of a wordless vocal as Crosby does on "Tamalpais High (At About 3)" and "Song With No Words (Tree With No Leaves)," and because the music is so relaxed, each song turns into its own panoramic vista. Those who don't go for trippy Aquarian sentiment, however, may be slightly put off by the obscure, cosmic storytelling of the gorgeous "Laughing" or the ambiguous (but pointed) social questioning of "What Are Their Names," but in actuality it is an incredibly focused album. Even when a song as pretty as "Traction in the Rain" shimmers with its picked guitars and autoharp, the album is coated in a distinct, persistent menace that is impossible to shake. It is a shame that Crosby would continue to descend throughout the remainder of the decade and the beginning of the next into aimless drug addiction, and that he would not issue another solo album until 18 years later. As it is, If I Could Only Remember My Name is a shambolic masterpiece, meandering but transcendentally so, full of frayed threads. Not only is it among the finest splinter albums out of the CSNY diaspora, it is one of the defining moments of hungover spirituality from the era. ~ Stanton Swihart
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Rock - Released February 8, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

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Songs for Beginners is Graham Nash's solo debut apart from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Released in 1971, it is a collection of songs that reflect change, transition, and starting over. The set was recorded in both Los Angeles and San Francisco, in the immediate aftermath of Nash's traumatic breakup with Joni Mitchell. Unlike the colorful dynamism of Stephen Stills' eponymous debut recording, or the acid-drenched cosmic cowboy spaciness of David Crosby's If I Could Only Remember My Name, Nash's album is by contrast a much more humble and direct offering. It is a true, mostly introspective songwriter's album full of beautifully performed and wonderfully recorded songs that reflect transition, movement, the desire to look backward and forward simultaneously. Like the aforementioned offering, this one is star-studded in its choice of players and singers: Crosby, Chris Ethridge, Jerry Garcia, Rita Coolidge, Clydie King, Venetta Fields, Dave Mason, Neil Young (under the pseudonym "Joe Yankee"), David Lindley, Bobby Keys, Phil Lesh, Dallas Taylor, and drummer John Barbata reflect some of the personnel on this heady yet humble session. The album is bookended by two of Nash's best-known tunes, the anthemic "Military Madness" that remains timeless in the 21st century, and "Chicago," that doesn't. That said, they are among the weakest songs here -- which reveals what a solid collection it is. Unlike many recordings birthed from personal angst, Nash's engages in no self pity; instead, he focuses on the craft of songwriting itself. Despite its personal darkness, "Better Days," with its swirling piano and pronounced bassline, is also an actual paean to self-determination and perseverance, the logic being that there were better days in the past, so there must be better ones in the future as well. "I Used to Be a King," with Garcia on a gorgeous pedal steel and Lesh on bass, is a direct, mature response to "King Midas in Reverse," a song Nash wrote and recorded with the Hollies. "Simple Man," with its sparse melody and strings and a fine backing vocal from Coolidge, was written on the afternoon of the breakup with Mitchell. The violin-cello backdrop to Nash's piano is particularly effective and makes this one of his most memorable songs. The parlor room country waltz that commences "Man in the Mirror," features Garcia's steel, Young's piano, ex-Flying Burrito Brother Ethridge, and drummer Barbata; it shifts keys, tempo, and feel about a third of the way in with a very long bridge that transforms the song's sentiment as well. Ultimately, Songs for Beginners is the strongest of Nash's solo efforts (outside of his work with Crosby). ~ Thom Jurek
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Alternative & Indie - Released November 30, 2004 | Rhino Atlantic

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Every so often, a band comes along that digs back into what pop music is all about -- good, fun tunes. Fountains of Wayne is one such band. The wonderful thing about the duo (singer Chris Collingwood and bassist Adam Schlesinger of Ivy) is that they manage not to be overtly retro -- the album is a wholly modern production. The only non-modern aspect of it is the fact that the songwriting is so straightforward and wonderful; nearly every song is a pop gem. The result is an album that's almost innovative, when you really think about it -- very few albums released in the '90s have been this pleasant, charming, and all-around likeable. The obvious reference points would be Teenage Fanclub, Big Star, and the Posies, but even these don't quite capture the duo's sound. Think of some of They Might Be Giants' best pop tunes and scrape away every trace of silliness, and you'll be a little closer. ~ Nitsuh Abebe
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Rock - Released February 8, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

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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