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List and review your top albums of all time

This isn't a definitive list. I'm no doubt forgetting quite a few important ones, and I'll no doubt edit this post to add more when I think of them (or just make a new one if this thread takes off). Regardless, these albums are a cut above nearly everything else in my collection and I end up going back to them when I'm in need of something I just can't get from ordinary music.

Feel free to list/review your own choices. You don't have to list as many as I did; I wrote these over a rather long period.

I didn't check whether all the videos still work, so let me know if one of them is broken and I'll find a replacement.

Van Morrison - Astral Weeks (1968)

This album took a long time to click with me. There is nothing else like this album in the pop canon. The vocabulary used by this album is pretty much unique, and while other artists have tried to imitate it, no one has really come anywhere near it. Part of the reason is the compositions, which seem far too deep to have been written by a twenty-four-year-old, and part of the reason is the exquisite cast of musicians brought together to improvise the backing parts for the album. The songs aren't really jazz, and they aren't really folk, and they aren't really soul, and yet they have elements of all three. But all of this would be irrelevant if not for the emotional intensity of the album. There is an earnestness to this album that is seldom found in popular music, and for my money it is one of the most intense listening experiences ever created. If I were forced at gunpoint to list a single album as the greatest album ever recorded, I think I'd have to go with this one.

Madame George
YouTube Video

Further listening:
Moondance (1970)
Tupelo Honey (1971)
Saint Dominic's Preview (1972)
Veedon Fleece (1974)

Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Trout Mask Replica (1969)

No self-respecting rock critic would make a "best albums ever" list that did not include this album on it. There is a good reason for that; even forty-six years later, there is nothing else like this album, and despite critics' love of comparing other albums to this one (Gorguts' Obscura is frequently called a death metal version of this album, to name one example of an album that superficially seems to have little in common with it) there probably never will be. Between Beefheart's gravelly voice (he had a three-and-a-half octave vocal range, by the way), the thoroughly demented instrumentation, the mind-bending dissonance, and the utterly surreal lyrics, this album is an experience like no other. Like many great albums, it took me years to appreciate this one. What Beefheart is trying to do here is not immediately apparent, and until you understand it, it's just going to sound like random noise. But when it clicks, there will be nothing else like it in the canon of recorded music.

Veteran's Day Poppy
YouTube Video

Further listening:
Safe as Milk (1967)
Lick My Decals Off, Baby (1970)
Bat Chain Puller (2012)

Yes - Close to the Edge (1972)

An album that frequently tops polls of the best progressive rock albums of all time (for example, it's currently the #1 ranked album on Prog Archives), with good reason. This is Yes' absolute high point and one of the most important works of the genre, although it's surprisingly avant-garde by this band's standards. The album opens with a dissonant racket worthy of Stravinsky (one of the band's primary influences) before tearing through territory like grandiose church organs, pastoral acoustic guitar, and all kinds of bizarre time signature changes. Too much has been written about this album for anything I say to add significantly to the canon, and honestly the music speaks for itself anyway. This may not be the best starting point for the progressive rock-phobic, but everyone should hear this album at least five times in their life (I say five because that's how many it's likely to take the first song to sink in for most listeners). It's quite honestly unparalleled to this day.

And You and I
YouTube Video

Further listening:
The Yes Album (1970)
Fragile (1971)
Relayer (1974)
Going for the One (1977)
Drama (1980)
Keystudio (2002, though the material dates from 1996-1997)
Progeny (2015, though the material dates to 1972)

Genesis - Selling England by the Pound (1973)

It took a long time for me to make up my mind about what my favourite Genesis album was, and truth be told it took hearing this album in a different order from the intended one to settle the matter for me. The band initially conceived "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight", "The Cinema Show", and "Aisle of Plenty" as a single twenty-minute suite, but split them up after they decided it was too similar to the previous album's centrepiece "Supper's Ready". But I honestly feel this was a mistake, because the resulting split made the end of "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" seem rather anticlimactic. When I listen to this album I now rearrange the running order so that "Firth of Fifth" leads off the album and "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" comes before "The Cinema Show".

My quibble with the running order aside, however, it's difficult to deny that this album shows Genesis at the peak of their form. The songwriting is some of the best they ever did, showing the kind of subtlety many listeners don't expect from a progressive rock band while still allowing the members plenty of room to stretch their instrumental chops (check out Steve Hackett's two-handed fret tapping on "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight". How many of you thought Eddie Van Halen invented that technique?). Some of the most stirring instrumental passages I've ever heard can be found on this album; the coda of "The Cinema Show" bears special mention, and it's worth pointing out that the band continued to perform it live well after they'd retired most of their progressive rock material from their set. I usually like to listen to all of Genesis' best material from Trespass to We Can't Dance, but when I only have time for one of Genesis' albums, I usually make it this one.

The Cinema Show & Aisle of Plenty
YouTube Video

Further listening:
Trespass (1970)
Nursery Cryme (1971)
Foxtrot (1972)
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974)
A Trick of the Tail (1976)
Wind & Wuthering (1977)
Selected tracks from their later albums (let me know if you want my playlist)

King Crimson - Red (1974)

While King Crimson's most popular album is their first, the matter of their best album is hotly debated by hardcore fans of the band. The first is the most popular choice for that as well, but Red often tops fan listings as well. There are good reasons for this. For starters, the band never rocked harder than they did here, to the point where even frequently prog-averse musicians like Kurt Cobain paid their respects to songs like the title track. Moreover, the album contains some of their best material, especially "Starless". This song alone would guarantee this album a place in progressive rock history, but thankfully most of the rest of the material isn't too far behind. Even the improvisation "Providence" manages to be compelling all the way through, which isn't always the case with Crimson's improvisations (though to fully appreciate it, you may want to hear the uncut version which appears on The Great Deceiver and The Road to Red). This was the final work by this incarnation of King Crimson, and in a way it's miraculous that it even got recorded, since the band members were apparently barely even talking to each other by the end. But at least we got this out of them, and truth be told they probably couldn't have topped it anyway.

Starless (note: this may be a live version, but that's fine because Crimson were a flawless live band)
YouTube Video

Further listening:
In the Court of the Crimson King (1969)
Lizard (1970)
Larks' Tongues in Aspic (1973)
Starless and Bible Black (1974)
The Great Deceiver (1992, recorded in 1973-74)
The Night Watch (1971, recorded in 1973)
Absent Lovers - Live in Montreal (1998, recorded in 1984)

Joy Division - Closer (1980)

Given what happened next, it's hard not to read Closer as Ian Curtis' suicide note. The music bears this interpretation out; the material, especially on the thoroughly harrowing side two, sounds like the work of a man who has already given up on life. Joy Division, on this album, perfected post-punk; no one would ever make another album in the genre that would equal this one. It planted seeds that are still germinating to this day in genres as disparate as metal and electronica. After Curtis' suicide, the remaining band members regrouped as New Order and shifted style drastically. It's unlikely they could have topped this album by continuing in the same style anyway.

The Eternal
YouTube Video

Further listening:
Unknown Pleasures (1979)
Substance 1977-1980 (1988)
New Order - Substance 1987 (1987)
You may also want just to skip straight to the band's box set Heart and Soul, which contains all the material on Unknown Pleasures, Closer, and Substance 1997-1980, and then some.

Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation (1988)

This album is one of a small handful of records (Trout Mask Replica is another; so are Master of Puppets, Enslaved's Mardraum and Yes's Close to the Edge) that significantly changed the way I look at music. Like the others I just listed (except Master of Puppets), the first time I heard this album I hated it, except for "Teen Age Riot" and "Candle", but I liked those songs enough that I gave the rest of the record a few more chances. By that point "The Sprawl" and "'Cross the Breeze" had grown on me, and eventually that opened me up to the rest of the album, including the album's indisputable masterpiece, "Trilogy".

The thing about this album is that it manages to be both tuneful and dissonant at the same time. The songs are definitely songs (although they go on for way longer than typical pop songs, for the most part), but Sonic Youth are particularly concerned with finding the beauty in dissonance. If that sounds like a contradiction to you, you probably won't enjoy this album. If you understand what that means, this album may open up worlds for you that you didn't even know existed.

The Sprawl
YouTube Video

Further listening:
EVOL (1986)
Sister (1987)
Washing Machine (1995)
Murray Street (2002)

My Bloody Valentine - Loveless (1991)

There is a reason this is by far the best-known and most acclaimed shoegaze album ever released: there is a depth to the album that remains unparalleled to this day. No doubt a large part of this is down to the tortured recording process, which took years, went horribly over-budget, and allegedly nearly bankrupted the label (although bandleader Kevin Shields has disputed this, claiming that the cost of the recording was exaggerated because Creation's owner "thought it would be cool").

In any case, what Kevin Shields does with guitars here had never been done before and is unlikely to be replicated by anyone else, especially considering his perfectionism resulted in the follow-up taking twenty-two years to make. (Shields, by his own admission, "went crazy"; his behaviour has been compared to that of Brian Wilson and Syd Barrett). The album plays like a dream, and manages to be one of the sexiest, most psychedelic albums ever made. No less a source than Brian Eno has said that the album's closer "Soon" "set a new standard for pop. It's the vaguest music ever to have been a hit." As with many great rock records, its influence can be felt all over, from Siamese Dream (the Pumpkins later worked with this album's producer Alan Moulder) to The Fragile (another Alan Moulder production) to much of Radiohead's work and beyond.

YouTube Video

Further listening:
Isn't Anything (1987)
Feed Me with Your Kiss (1988)
You Made Me Realise (1988)
Glider (1990)
Tremolo (1991)
MBV (2013)

Talk Talk - Laughing Stock (1991)

Talk Talk are essentially the inventors of post-rock, but for all that, very few other practitioners of the style sound anything like them. Maybe Bark Psychosis. Talk Talk's last two albums are undisputed classics in the field, but this is probably the better of the two, even if only by a slim margin. A lot of post-rock tends to maintain a similar mood throughout the album. On the other hand, there is a song here for every mood, and yet it manages to maintain a pretty consistent atmosphere from track to track.

YouTube Video

Further listening:
The Colour of Spring (1986)
Spirit of Eden (1988)
Mark Hollis - Mark Hollis (1988)

Enslaved - Mardraum: Beyond the Within (2000)

This album is probably as much to blame for my immersion in metal as anything else this side of Opeth's Blackwater Park. The word "epic" is often abused these days, but this is music that really deserves the appellation, being informed by such disparate strands of culture as '70s progressive rock and Norway's Viking heritage. Future albums would incorporate more progressive rock influence, while previous albums were more rooted in traditional black metal; this album, which also happens to be their best, has a good mix of both that will serve nicely as an introduction to both periods of Enslaved, a band that has never released a bad album. Particularly noteworthy are Grutle Kjellsen's fantastic clean vocals (he would be joined by Herbrand Larsen in latter-day recordings). The only flaw is a boneheaded clip-heavy mastering job, which is thankfully less severe on the recent vinyl edition.

Større enn tid - Tyngre enn natt
YouTube Video

Further listening:
Hordanes Land (1993)
Vikingligr Veldi (1994)
Eld (1997)
Below the Lights (2003)
Isa (2004)
Axioma Ethica Odini (2010)
In Times (2015)
And, really, their entire discography

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven (2000)

I can't really pick a favourite Godspeed record, so I'm just going with their longest, and the first I heard (although I was also sorely tempted to list their shortest, Slow Riot for New Zerø Kanada, which has a power like little else I've heard). There is something otherworldly about everything this band has ever recorded. They record desolate songs about the end of the world, but they don't leave beauty and hope out of their extended compositions. I can't really do their music justice with words either.

YouTube Video

Further listening:
F♯ A♯ ∞ (1997/1998)
Slow Riot for New Zerø Kanada (1999)
Yanqui U.X.O. (2002)
'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! (2012)
'Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress' (2015)
Live performances

(yes, I listed everything in this band's core discography; I'm glad you noticed)

Radiohead - Kid A (2000)

Hopefully I don't have to introduce this album to anyone. Even fifteen years on, I'm not sure the vocabulary has invented to describe it. 2000 was an unusually strong year for music.

Morning Bell
YouTube Video

Further listening:
The Bends (1995)
OK Computer (1998)
Hail to the Thief, (or, The Gloaming.) (2003)
In Rainbows (2007)

Opeth - Blackwater Park (2001)

Few albums that came out of the metal underground have made as big a splash as this one. Mixing '70s progressive rock with death metal wasn't a completely unheard-of proposition, but few bands ever did it as skilfully as Opeth. They also haven't forgotten to leave beauty and majesty out of their songs, which makes this a nice entry point into the genre for the death metal-phobic.

The Drapery Falls
YouTube Video

Further listening:
My Arms, Your Hearse (1998)
Still Life (1999)
Deliverance (2002)
Damnation (2003)
Ghost Reveries (2005)

Kayo Dot - Choirs of the Eye (2003)

This is simultaneously one of the heaviest and one of the most beautiful albums I have ever heard. I am a raging Toby Driver fanboy, so I'm not sure I'm capable of being completely objective about his music (I had to restrain myself not to put several other albums of his, and honestly I'm probably going to put at least one maudlin of the Well album in a future post in this thread), but I don't think it's exaggerating to say that there isn't really much else like this in existence. Toby structures his songs as modern classical compositions, but he uses the vocabulary of metal and post-rock to elaborate them. Several songs on this album have literally hundreds of tracks buried in the mix, and the result is something utterly dense with wonder. It doesn't hurt that several songs are suffused with enough dread to embalm a hearse, either. The sample track here, which I have in all seriousness described as the "greatest song of all time" before (it would still probably rank in my top ten), manages to go from one of the darkest, heaviest places I have ever heard in any composition to, in its five final minutes, a mood I can't even describe. Even bands like Sigur Rós and Radiohead only dream of going places like this.

The Antique
YouTube Video

Further listening:
maudlin of the Well - Bath (2001)
maudlin of the Well - Leaving Your Body Map (2001)
Dowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue (2006)
maudlin of the Well - Part the Second* (2009)
Coyote* (2010)
Hubardo (2013)
Coffins on Io* (2014)

(The albums marked with * have nothing to do with metal, so those who don't like death growls can listen without trepidation. Also, I had to strain really hard not to put Hubardo on this list as well, but I wanted to keep it to one release per artist)

Negură Bunget - Om (2006)

Negură Bunget do for their native Transylvania what Enslaved do for Norway, but where Enslaved's music is rooted in chaos, theirs is a more pastoral take on the genre. This album is already recognised as a classic ( has already given it five stars, which rarely happens with albums this new), and with good reason - there is nothing else in the genre that sounds like this. Unfortunately, this lineup of the band no longer exists, and it is unlikely that the splinter factions will record anything quite this majestic again.

YouTube Video

Further listening:
'n crugu bradului (2002)
Măiestrit (2010)

Warning - Watching from a Distance (2006)

If Joy Division were a metal band, they would be Warning. Patrick Walker's songwriting has the same forlorn sense of anguish to it; his vocals are just as desperate as Ian Curtis's. This is traditional doom metal in the strictest sense; the songs go on for an average of ten minutes each with only a few riffs and very little variation, but it doesn't matter because the performance and lyrics are so compelling. Every aspect of the album is simple and sparse, and that just adds to its direct impact. It is drenched with raw emotion to an extent that is rarely found in metal, and it is all the better for it. Unfortunately, this album was Warning's swan song, but two-thirds of the band (including Walker) later showed up with a new band, 40 Watt Sun, which continues where Warning left off.

YouTube Video

Further listening:
The Strength To Dream (1999)
40 Watt Sun - The Inside Room (2011)

Moonsorrow - Viides luku - Hävitetty (2007)

If one of the tenets of folk metal is that it should be epic, this album manages to adhere to that rule better than almost anything else in the genre. It's not just because it has only two songs that both exceed twenty-six minutes in length, though that helps. The scope of this music is nothing less than the scope of the world itself. Lyrically the album could be taken as an allegory for global warming, but that ends up being the least important part of the album's success (most people won't understand the lyrics anyway). Musically, the album covers as much ground as you'd expect a blend of folk metal, progressive metal, and black metal to cover; there are lushly orchestrated passages mixed with furious blasting and all kinds of territory in between. And the songs, performances, and atmosphere are never anything less than completely compelling; the opening riff of "Tuleen ajettu maa" remains one of my favourite riffs in all of metal. The only major flaw I can pick out with this album is the godawful clipped master.

Tuleen ajettu maa
YouTube Video

Further listening:
Tämä ikuinen talvi (1999)
Voimasta ja kunniasta (2001)
Kivenkantaja (2003)
Verisäkeet (2005)
Tulimyrsky (2008)

Falls of Rauros - The Light That Dwells in Rotten Wood (2011)

This is quite possibly the most perfect fusion of black metal and folk metal I've ever heard. Not only is it stylistically a perfect fusion of the two, but the material is amongst the strongest either genre has to offer. Every aspect of the performances is perfect, from the drums (Panopticon's Austin Lunn performs on all songs except the bonus track) to the guitars to the vocals. The songwriting is staggeringly good, and the earnestness of the album is rivalled by little else in the genre. Make sure you track down the version with the bonus track, which is well worth hearing.

Stream the whole album here. A choice cut is the one-two punch of "Nonesuch River Chant" and "Silence".

Further listening:
Hail Wind and Hewn Oak (2008)
Brotherhood (Panopticon split, 2014)
Believe in No Coming Shore (2014)

Giles Corey - Giles Corey (2011)

Several years ago, Dan Barrett tried to kill himself. He failed, and instead of trying again, he began a project to search through as much written material as he could find to determine whether life was worth living. The material on Giles Corey's first album consists of songs he wrote during the search.

As would be expected, Giles Corey is a harrowing and at times terrifying listen. The material here spans genres from alt-country ("Spectral Bride") to ambient ("Empty Churches") to post-punk ("Buried Above Ground") to folk ("Sleeping Heart") to extended freakouts ("The Haunting Presence") to songs that flit between genres ("No One Is Ever Going to Want Me"). Barrett is equally competent at all of them, and the material maintains a consistent atmosphere that works wonderfully with the subject matter.

Much of the album is concerned with Barrett's experiments with a device called a Voor's Head Device, and the accompanying book delves into the work of its inventor, Robert Voor. (Not much, if any, information about Voor is available outside the work of Giles Corey and Barrett's other project Have a Nice Life; more cynical Internet users have theorised that Voor was invented by Barrett and HaNL's Tim Macuga). Musings about ghosts are a large part of the album, but you don't have to buy into the concept (I don't) for the album to remain compelling throughout. Even if large parts of it are made up, it makes one hell of a compelling story.

Stream the whole album here. A choice cut is "No One Is Ever Going to Want Me", which for some reason is mistitled in the Bandcamp.

Further listening:
Have a Nice Life - Deathconsciousness (2008)
Have a Nice Life - Voids (2009)
Deconstructionist (2012)
Hinterkaifeck (2013)
Have a Nice Life - The Unnatural World (2014)

Panopticon - Kentucky (2012)

Given that folk metal tends to be rooted in its practitioners' local forms of folk music, it's rather surprising that so few people have thought to mix metal with bluegrass. Panopticon has done this before on Collapse and It's Later Than You Think (both of which I can unconditionally recommend), but it's possible that the band's sole member Austin Lunn has taken his art to a new level with his latest release. This album is rooted in the history of his adopted home state, which bleeds through in every song. More than half the songs on the album are traditional bluegrass material, which are fantastic, but the three metal songs probably eclipse anything else he has recorded to date. The album flows fantastically as well.

Stream the whole album here. A choice cut is "Killing the Giants as They Sleep".

Further listening:
Panopticon (2008)
Collapse (2009)
...On the Subject of Mortality (2010)
Social Disservices (2011; the album is being remastered to correct for production flaws and will be reissued shortly)
Roads to the North (2014)
various splits

Caladan Brood - Echoes of Battle (2013)

This album is quite likely the best discovery I've made all year. They're frequently compared to Summoning, which is an accurate comparison, but somehow I find them to top Summoning at their own game. The band's blend of ambience, medieval-sounding orchestration, gorgeous choirs, and the typical racket of black metal are the kind of thing that only comes around rarely, and the quality of the material is second to none. Every song is a tour de force, with "Wild Autumn Wind" and "Book of the Fallen" standing out as the best of the lot, and the Summoning covers on the vinyl edition are well worth tracking down too. The band also have to be commended for not basing their concept around Tolkien the way so many other black metal bands have done; Steven Erikson's rich world turns out to be the perfect basis for a black metal band. I can't recommend this album highly enough.

Stream it here (sadly, the Summoning covers aren't included). If you only have time to listen to one song, make it "Book of the Fallen", which is probably the best encapsulation of all the band's strengths.

Further listening:
Gallowbraid - Ashen Eidolon (2010)
Ered Wethrin - Tides of War (2014)
Plus Summoning's discography (especially Minas Morgul and onward); unlike the two I just listed, Summoning doesn't contain the same members, but anyone who likes Caladan Brood is likely to like Summoning and vice versa

Lux Occulta - Kołysanki (2014)

Before I heard this album, I probably would've listed My Guardian Anger for this band's entry on this list. But now I have little choice but to list this, because while My Guardian Anger is an unusually strong progressive black metal album, Kołysanki sounds like nothing I've ever heard. I don't feel like reinventing this wheel, so I'm just going to reprint this review I wrote for Prog Archives:

When a band reappears after over a decade of silence, any of a number of things can happen. The band can carry on as if no time had passed whatsoever, releasing music that is clearly of a piece with their earlier work, as Änglagård and Godspeed You! Black Emperor did. They can experiment with their sound, making music that is a progression from their earlier work but still clearly the work of the same band, as My Bloody Valentine and Gorguts did. Or they can just throw all the rules out the window entirely and release material that doesn't even sound like the work of the same band.

Poland's erstwhile black metal band Lux Occulta opted for the latter option. While there are a few metallic moments on this album, they are few and far between, and they have far more to do with industrial metal than they do with black metal (what's more, the trademark harsh vocals of the genre are almost nowhere to be found). The non-metal parts of the band's previous record, The Mother and the Enemy, offer vague clues to some of the places the band have taken their sound (avant-garde jazz, electronica), but more of the record is new ground entirely. Not just for the band, but for music itself. The list of genres on Wikipedia gives you a vague idea what you're in for ("electronic rock, free jazz, avant-garde rock/metal, spoken word"), as does the list of instruments (which includes accordion, violin, trumpet, double bass, and cajón), but even that won't prepare you for how utterly weird this album is. Where else can you hear accordions and violins duel with industrial guitar riffs and samples of Polish folk music? The diversity of this album bears mention as well. While the album maintains a consistent atmosphere throughout, not one song sounds like any other, and in fact even within the same song you will frequently hear a wide range of stylistic ground covered.

There is nothing else like this album in existence, and it is a mind trip like little else you will hear this year or any other. Strongly recommended.

Stream it here. I recommend to start with the song "Sen jest lżejszy od powietrza", which is possibly the least confounding song on the album, and definitely the catchiest.

Further listening:
Maior Arcana: The Words That Turn Flesh into Light (compilation, 1998)
My Guardian Anger (1999)
The Mother and the Enemy (2001)

This isn't a complete list. Like I said, I'm going to be adding to it.

ff · tmv · reds · lj · · soundcloud · pm for facebook (which I never check)

“The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain. If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. If it hurts, repeat it. But to praise despair is to condemn delight, to embrace violence is to lose hold of everything else. We have almost lost hold; we can no longer describe happy man, nor make any celebration of joy.”
-Ursula K. Le Guin, “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas

“I never knew a man could tell so many lies
He had a different story for every set of eyes
How can he remember who he’s talking to?
’Cause I know it ain’t me, and I hope it isn’t you”
-Neil Young, “Ambulance Blues”
I’m armed to the teeth
Like a fucking animal
I ruin everything
I get my bony hands on

And here we go now over the bridge of sighs
We will get a cross like Christ, crucified
It’s like a birth but it is in reverse
Never gets better, always gets worse
Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose vis-à-vis an introduction, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.
Vaulting, veering, vomiting up the values that victimized me, feeling vast,
feeling virginal... was this how he felt? This verve, this vitality... this vision...

La voie... la vérité... la vie.
The Dead Flag Blues
The car is on fire, and there’s no driver at the wheel, and the sewers are all muddied with a thousand lonely suicides, and a dark wind blows. The government is corrupt, and we’re on so many drugs with the radio on and the curtains drawn. We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death. The sun has fallen down, and the billboards are all leering, and the flags are all dead at the top of their poles.

It went like this: The buildings tumbled in on themselves; mothers clutching babies picked through the rubble and pulled out their hair. The skyline was beautiful on fire, all twisted metal stretching upwards, everything washed in a thin orange haze. I said, “Kiss me, you are beautiful; these are truly the last days.” You grabbed my hand, and we fell into it like a daydream or a fever.

We woke up one morning and fell a little further down; for sure it’s the valley of death. I open up my wallet, and it’s full of blood.
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Smashing Pumpkins
we can watch the world devoured in its hate.
The late prophet Bill Hicks
I’m so sick of arming the world and then sending troops over to destroy the fucking arms, you know what I mean? We keep arming these little countries then we go and blow the shit out of ’em. We’re like the bullies of the world, you know. We’re like Jack Palance in the movie Shane, throwing the pistol at the sheep herder’s feet: “Pick it up.” “I don’t wanna pick it up, mister; you’ll shoot me.” “Pick up the gun.” “Mister, I don’t want no trouble, huh. I just came downtown here to get some hard rock candy for my kids, some gingham for my wife. I don’t even know what gingham is, but she goes through about ten rolls a week of that stuff. I ain’t looking for no trouble, mister.” “Pick up the gun.” Boom, boom. “You all saw him. He had a gun.”

moar I’ll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here. “I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs.” “I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking.” “Hey, wait a minute, there’s one guy holding out both puppets!” “Shut up! Go back to bed, America! Your government is in control. Here's Love Connection. Watch this and get fat and stupid. By the way, keep drinking beer, you fucking morons.”

All governments are liars and murderers. Go back to bed, America! Your government has figured out how it all transpired. Go back to bed, America! Your government is in control again. Here, here’s American Gladiators. Watch this, shut up! Go back to bed, America! Here is American Gladiators; here is 56 channels of it! Watch these pituitary retards bang their fucking skulls together and congratulate you on living in the land of freedom! Here you go, America: You are free to do what we tell you! You are free to do what we tell you!

The Supreme Court says pornography is anything without artistic merit that causes sexual thoughts, that’s their definition, essentially. No artistic merit, causes sexual thoughts. Hmm… Sounds like… every commercial on television, doesn’t it? You know, when I see those two twins on that Doublemint commercial? I’m not thinking of gum. I am thinking of chewing, so maybe that’s the connection they’re trying to make.

I have this feeling man, ’cause you know, it’s just a handful of people who run everything, you know… that’s true, it’s provable. It’s not… I’m not a fucking conspiracy nut; it’s provable. A handful, a very small elite, run and own these corporations, which include the mainstream media. I have this feeling that whoever is elected president, like Clinton was, no matter what you promise on the campaign trail – blah, blah, blah – when you win, you go into this smoke-filled room with the twelve industrialist capitalist scumfucks who got you in there. And you’re in this smoky room, and this little film screen comes down, and a big guy with a cigar goes, “Roll the film.” And it’s a shot of the Kennedy assassination from an angle you’ve never seen before that looks suspiciously like it’s from the grassy knoll. And then the screen goes up and the lights come up, and they go to the new president, “Any questions?” “Er, just what my agenda is.” “First we bomb Baghdad.” “You got it…”

They don’t want the voice of reason spoken, folks, ’cause otherwise, we’d be free. Otherwise, we wouldn’t believe their fucking horseshit lies, nor the fucking propaganda machine of the mainstream media and buy their horseshit products that we don’t fucking need and become a third world consumer fucking plantation, which is what we’re becoming. Fuck them! They are liars and murderers. All governments are liars and murderers, and I am now Jesus, and this is MY compound.

The world is like a ride at an amusement park. It goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills and it’s very brightly coloured and it’s very loud and it’s fun for awhile. Some people have been on the ride for a long time and they begin to question, is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say, “hey – don't worry, don’t be afraid, ever, because this is just a ride…” And we… kill those people. Haha. “Shut him up. We have a lot invested in this ride. Shut him up. Look at my furrows of worry. Look at my big bank account and my family. This just has to be real.” It’s just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok. Jesus murdered; Martin Luther King mudered; Malcolm X murdered; Gandhi murdered; John Lennon murdered; Reagan… wounded. But it doesn’t matter because it’s just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings and money. A choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defences each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace. Thank you; you’ve been great.

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