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 April 13, 2018 | Sony Music CG

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Two chords on the synthesiser and everything is said! More than enough to recognise the singular sound of Eurythmics, the emblematic band from the 1980s. The tandem of Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart symbolises perfectly this new synth-pop wave (pop in essence, futuristic in form) so typical of this decade during which guitars had almost become personae non-gratae… And while the British duo topped the charts during the entire decade, Sweet Dreams remains their greatest work. On the partition, Dave Stewart dabbled in a darker new wave, a-la Bowie (Love Is A Stranger) and dared venturing into “krautrock” light (Sweet Dreams). He could go funky (I’ve Got An Angel) or even disco (Wrap It Up). On vocals, Annie Lennox is impressive, as always, switching from soul to a bleak singing voice at will. A true classic! © Clotilde Maréchal/Qobuz
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Rock - Released November 24, 2017 | Rhino - Elektra

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Released in 1976, this fifth album from the Eagles would remain their greatest success. Opened by the eponymous hit single, Hotel California marked a turning point in the career of the American group. Bernie Leadon, the most country-orientated band member, jumped ship and Joe Walsh came on board. For his part, Don Henley also seemed to take more control the business. The result was a much more mainstream record than the album’s predecessors with truly enveloping sounds at the peak of their tracks. Everything is XXL here! The production, the solos, the melodies… everything! A masterpiece of classic rock, this is above all a work that crosses decades and makes the crowds go wild. Glenn Frey, Don Felder, Joe Walsh, Randy Meisner and Don Henley would never again find again such impressive complicity and efficiency… Published in November 2017, this 40th anniversary edition offers an original remastered album as well as an energetic Californian live session recorded at The Forum in Inglewood, October 1976. © CM/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 20, 2017 | Rhino

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For their third album, The Smiths are at the top of their game: a tortured crooning voice, crystalline arpeggios seeping from a limpid guitar, romantic and cynical lyrics, everything’s gathered for some 100% British pop, like The Kinks, The Who and The Jam knew how to create in their day… The Queen Is Dead, Bigmouth Strikes Again, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out and Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others are all introspective gems that the charismatic Morrissey transforms into pure poetry. Teenage worries, social paintings, subtle caricatures, Mozzer dips his pen here in the ink of perfection. © MD/Qobuz
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Rock - Released March 18, 1977 | Virgin Records

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In 1976, the Stooges had been gone for two years, and Iggy Pop had developed a notorious reputation as one of rock & roll's most spectacular waste cases. After a self-imposed stay in a mental hospital, a significantly more functional Iggy was desperate to prove he could hold down a career in music, and he was given another chance by his longtime ally, David Bowie. Bowie co-wrote a batch of new songs with Iggy, put together a band, and produced The Idiot, which took Iggy in a new direction decidedly different from the guitar-fueled proto-punk of the Stooges. Musically, The Idiot is of a piece with the impressionistic music of Bowie's "Berlin Period" (such as Heroes and Low), with it's fragmented guitar figures, ominous basslines, and discordant, high-relief keyboard parts. Iggy's new music was cerebral and inward-looking, where his early work had been a glorious call to the id, and Iggy was in more subdued form than with the Stooges, with his voice sinking into a world-weary baritone that was a decided contrast to the harsh, defiant cry heard on "Search and Destroy." Iggy was exploring new territory as a lyricist, and his songs on The Idiot are self-referential and poetic in a way that his work had rarely been in the past; for the most part the results are impressive, especially "Dum Dum Boys," a paean to the glory days of his former band, and "Nightclubbing," a call to the joys of decadence. The Idiot introduced the world to a very different Iggy Pop, and if the results surprised anyone expecting a replay of the assault of Raw Power, it also made it clear that Iggy was older, wiser, and still had plenty to say; it's a flawed but powerful and emotionally absorbing work. ~ Mark Deming
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Rock - Released June 2, 2017 | Virgin Catalog (V81)

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

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Rock - Released July 26, 2016 | RCA - Legacy

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Metal - Released June 1, 1970 | Rhino

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Rock - Released December 4, 2015 | Legacy Recordings

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Them were one of the very best R&B acts to come out of the U.K. during the British Invasion era, as tight, wiry, and potent as their contemporaries the Rolling Stones, the Animals, and the Pretty Things. But as good as they were, their greatest strength was always their lead singer and main songwriter, Van Morrison, who even in his earliest days boasted a style that was raw and unapologetic but full of street smarts and imagination. Morrison's run with Them lasted a bit more than two and a half years, but it laid the groundwork for his wildly idiosyncratic solo career as well as setting a standard that the band would never equal after he left to strike out on his own. There have been plenty of collections devoted to Morrison's tenure with Them, but The Complete Them: 1964-1967 is not only comprehensive but has Van's seal of approval, as it was assembled by Morrison's own team and features liner notes from the man himself. Sequenced chronologically, The Complete Them devotes its first two discs to the group's two albums of the period, Them (aka The Angry Young Them) and Them Again, as well as non-LP single and EP tracks. Disc two is devoted to demos, alternate takes, and some live tracks cut for BBC Radio, nearly all of them previously unreleased. According to Morrison's notes, Them's lineup was never consistent, especially in the studio, as the group's producers often brought in studio musicians (including Jimmy Page) to beef up the performances, but the product was both consistent and strong, with razor-sharp guitars and swirling organs dominating the arrangements and Morrison's vocals sounding nearly possessed. Having essentially all of Them's studio recordings in one place is great, but the bonus material offers a glimpse of their power as a live act, and the outtakes and alternate versions reveal the growing sophistication of Morrison's approach over the course of 24 tracks. Morrison's essay offers as much opinion as it does fact, but given his well-documented reticence, the fact he wrote the notes at all is impressive, and when he sums up his notes with "I think of Them as good records...there's a lot of good stuff here," he's absolutely right. As a history of an underappreciated band's greatest era or the first steps of one of rock's most individual artists, The Complete Them: 1964-1967 is essential listening. ~ Mark Deming
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Pop - Released June 4, 2012 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released January 1, 1970 | Geffen

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Rushed out in 1970 as a way to bide time as the Who toiled away on their follow-up to Tommy, Live at Leeds wasn't intended to be the definitive Who live album, and many collectors maintain that the band had better shows available on bootlegs. But those shows weren't easily available whereas Live at Leeds was, and even if this show may not have been the absolute best, it's so damn close to it that it would be impossible for anybody but aficionados to argue. Here, the Who sound vicious -- as heavy as Led Zeppelin but twice as volatile -- as they careen through early classics with the confidence of a band that had finally achieved acclaim but had yet to become preoccupied with making art. In that regard, this recording -- in its many different forms -- may have been perfectly timed in terms of capturing the band at a pivotal moment in its history. There is certainly no better record of how this band was a volcano of violence on-stage, teetering on the edge of chaos but never blowing apart. This was most true on the original LP, which was a trim six tracks, three of them covers ("Young Man Blues," "Summertime Blues," "Shakin' All Over") and three originals from the mid-'60s, two of those ("Substitute," "My Generation") vintage parts of their repertory and only "Magic Bus" representing anything resembling a recent original, with none bearing a trace of their mod roots. This was pure, distilled power, all the better for its brevity; throughout the '70s the album was seen as one of the gold standards in live rock & roll, and certainly it had a fury that no proper Who studio album achieved. It was also notable as one of the earliest legitimate albums to implicitly acknowledge -- and go head to head with -- the existence of bootleg LPs. Indeed, its very existence owed something to the efforts of Pete Townshend and company to stymie the bootleggers. The Who had made extensive recordings of performances along their 1969 tour, with the intention of preparing a live album from that material, but they recognized when it was over that none of them had the time or patience to go through the many dozens of hours of live performances in order to sort out what to use for the proposed album. According to one account, the band destroyed those tapes in a massive bonfire, so that none of the material would ever surface without permission. They then decided to go to the other extreme in preparing a live album, scheduling this concert at Leeds University and arranging the taping, determined to do enough that was worthwhile at the one show. As it turned out, even here they generated an embarrassment of riches -- the band did all of Tommy, as audiences of the time would have expected (and, indeed, demanded), but as the opera was already starting to feel like an albatross hanging around the collective neck of the band (and especially Townshend), they opted to leave out any part of their most famous work apart from a few instrumental strains in one of the jams. Instead, the original LP was limited to the six tracks named, and that was more than fine as far as anyone cared. And fans who bought the LP got a package of extra treats for their money. The album's plain brown sleeve was, itself, a nod and nudge to the bootleggers, resembling the packaging of such early underground LP classics as the Bob Dylan Great White Wonder set and the Rolling Stones concert bootleg Liver Than You'll Ever Be, from the latter group's 1969 tour -- and it was a sign of just how far the Who had come in just two years that they could possibly (and correctly) equate interest in their work as being on a par with Dylan and the Stones. But Live at Leeds' jacket was a fold-out sleeve with a pocket that contained a package of memorabilia associated with the band, including a really cool poster, copies of early contracts, etc. It was, along with Tommy, the first truly good job of packaging for this band ever to come from Decca Records; the label even chose to forgo the presence of its rainbow logo, carrying the bootleg pose to the plain label and handwritten song titles, and the note about not correcting the clicks and pops. At the time, you just bought this as a fan, but looking back 30 or 40 years on, those now seem to be quietly heady days for the band (and for fans who had supported them for years), finally seeing the music world and millions of listeners catch up. ~ Bruce Eder & Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released September 25, 2015 | Parlophone UK

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 30, 2015 | Rhino - Warner Bros.

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Rock - Released January 1, 1966 | Capitol Records

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

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Rock - Released January 1, 1979 | Geffen

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Pop - Released July 1, 1990 | Parlophone UK

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Rock - Released May 21, 2015 | Legacy Recordings

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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
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Rock - Released March 17, 2015 | RCA - Legacy

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David Bowie has never been shy about acknowledging his influences, and since the boho decadence and sexual ambiguity of the Velvet Underground's music had a major impact on Bowie's work, it was only fitting that as Ziggy Stardust mania was reaching its peak, Bowie would offer Lou Reed some much needed help with his career, which was stuck in neutral after his first solo album came and went. Musically, Reed's work didn't have too much in common with the sonic bombast of the glam scene, but at least it was a place where his eccentricities could find a comfortable home, and on Transformer Bowie and his right-hand man, Mick Ronson, crafted a new sound for Reed that was better fitting (and more commercially astute) than the ambivalent tone of his first solo album. Ronson adds some guitar raunch to "Vicious" and "Hangin' Round" that's a lot flashier than what Reed cranked out with the Velvets, but still honors Lou's strengths in guitar-driven hard rock, while the imaginative arrangements Ronson cooked up for "Perfect Day," "Walk on the Wild Side," and "Goodnight Ladies" blend pop polish with musical thinking just as distinctive as Reed's lyrical conceits. And while Reed occasionally overplays his hand in writing stuff he figured the glam kids wanted ("Make Up" and "I'm So Free" being the most obvious examples), "Perfect Day," "Walk on the Wild Side," and "New York Telephone Conversation" proved he could still write about the demimonde with both perception and respect. The sound and style of Transformer would in many ways define Reed's career in the 1970s, and while it led him into a style that proved to be a dead end, you can't deny that Bowie and Ronson gave their hero a new lease on life -- and a solid album in the bargain. ~ Mark Deming