Album Rewinds

Given the test of time and the wisdom of hindsight, how do significant albums from the past sound and play today? Our critics take a second look from a fresh perspective

Big Brother’s ‘Cheap Thrills’: Behind R. Crumb’s LP Cover

It would be the only rock album for which the cartoonist would do the art. It continues to serve as a psychedelic timestamp of one crazy summer.

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The Flying Burrito Bros.’ Seminal Country-Rock Debut

Gram Parsons had envisioned the Burritos as “his” band, but ‘The Gilded Palace of Sin’ underscores the partnership between Parsons and Chris Hillman.

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Rolling Stones Ya-Ya’s Still Unrivaled

The late Lester Bangs had “no doubt that it’s the best rock concert ever put on record.” Decades later, our writer feels that’s still true

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Steely Dan’s ‘Countdown to Ecstasy’ @ 45

If the songcraft displayed on the first album reflected their Brill Building apprenticeship, the new material proved more open-ended—and more sophisticated.

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‘Astral Weeks’: Van Morrison’s Masterpiece @ 50

A “feverish poetic intensity persists” throughout the cycle of songs that comprise Morrison’s 1968 work, even as those songs shift in pace and tone.

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Dire Straits’ Breakthrough Debut Album @40

“Sultans of Swing” was immediately distinctive in both sound and story. The album proved the band to be one of the most refreshingly creative of its day.

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The Blues Project’s Determined ‘Projections’

Their second album marked them as a formidable and creative force, incorporating elements of other genres ranging from folk to jazz and tossing it all into a psychedelic blender.

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When Johnny Cash Did Time ‘At Folsom Prison’

Performing for prison inmates was nothing new for the legendary singer, but his record label was nervous about making an album at one. Good thing they did.

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‘Dixie Chicken’: Little Feat’s Secret Southern Sauce

The group drew on Lowell George’s versatile command of blues, country, folk and R&B for its third–and many feel finest–studio album.

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Blondie’s ‘Parallel Lines’: An Ideal Confluence

The LP, which included the smash “Heart of Glass,” would transform the group from boutique act into a worldwide sensation. Our Album Rewind…

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