One year ago, I celebrated The Fourth of July with a list of the greatest American punk bands of all-time. For an encore, today I'm listing the greatest American punk albums of all-time. In honor of revolutionary America's 13 colonies, I've decided to make it a top 13. Plus it was too hard to limit it to just ten LPs. I'd always shied away from this kind of list before since I thought it would be goofy to have the top four selections all by the same band. But fuck it. It's America's birthday! Let's have fun!
As for ground rules, I wanted to keep it to proper albums. Compilations don't count (sorry, Avengers, Weirdos, and Pagans). And I'm sticking with the punk era (1976 to present), so hopefully that will eliminate the "Where the hell are The Stooges and MC5?" comments.
Alright, then. Let's get to it!
13. The Fuses- I Wanna Burn (1998)
This, in my humble opinion, was the greatest punk album of the '90s. Imagine Wire playing the first Clash album at hardcore speed on the eve of armageddon. One of these days, I've got to do a retrospective on American Punk Records.
12. Dictators- D.F.F.D. (2001)
Ah, the legendary Dictators. You can't talk great American punk rock without talking about the 'Tators. Bloodbrothers is their acknowledged classic. But D.F.F.D., released 27 years into the band's existence, is for my money the best overall Dictators album.
11. Dead Boys-Young, Loud & Snotty (1977)
The title says it all, doesn't it?
10. Exploding Hearts- Guitar Romantic (2002)
A decade ago, I claimed that this album ranked up there with the classic pop/punk albums of the late '70s. I still feel the same way.
9. Descendents- Milo Goes To College (1982)
The Descendents are one of those rare bands that everybody loves. It doesn't matter which sub-genres you dig. If you're into punk, you like The Descendents. That's because they rule. When we put on Milo Goes To College, we all become 17 again for 22 minutes and ten seconds.
8. Misfits- Walk Among Us (1982)
Just as it was becoming fashionable to suck the melody out of punk music, The Misfits put it back in with a vengeance. Horror never goes out of style.
7. Angry Samoans- Back From Samoa (1982)
How about this for a list idea: the all-time greatest sophomore albums. This would be one of 'em!
6. Black Flag- Damaged (1981)
Three decades on, and this remains the gold standard for hardcore punk. Give Rollins his due: he was the perfect singer for Black Flag as the band fully blossomed into a powerhouse of anger and ferocity. Even a lot of genuinely great hardcore albums seem weak compared to Damaged.
5. Adolescents (1980)
The holy grail of the So-Cal punk sound.
4. Ramones- Rocket To Russia (1977)
3. Ramones- Road To Ruin (1978)
2. Ramones- Leave Home (1977)
1. Ramones (1976)
Ask me tomorrow, and I might completely invert the order. But these four Ramones titles are an iron-clad top four. Each one is a stone cold classic. I might have to do a future list where I just rank the best Ramones albums! Maybe next year.
So...who did I miss? Who should have I cut? Have at me!