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

Steely Dan’s Sophisticated ‘Countdown to Ecstasy’

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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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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Van Morrison Grooves With the Street Choir

Morrison’s third official solo album in 1970 is largely about the spirit of soul/R&B, the feel and his singing. It features his biggest U.S. hit, “Domino.”

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Stray Cats’ Debut Album & the Rockabilly Revival

The Long Island trio had to go to England to find success playing American rockabilly. By the time they returned home, they were stars.

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Talking Heads’ ‘Fear of Music’: A Transitional Gem

“The first step in David Byrne’s assumption of power, moving Talking Heads from a band to his band… It was dance music that reflected the time.”

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Black Sabbath’s Debut LP: Where Metal Began

Every defining characteristic of the British band’s self-titled debut would become a hallmark of the oft-maligned heavy metal genre.

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Linda Ronstadt’s ‘Heart Like a Wheel’ Breakthrough

After Ronstadt’s first four albums, followers of country-rock knew there was something special about her. On her fifth, they found out what it was.

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Quicksilver Messenger Service’s Shining Debut

Years of playing and professionalism produced one of the era’s best records, whose sheer musicality shines as brightly today.

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James Taylor’s Seminal ‘Sweet Baby James’

It ushered in the singer-songwriter era and has endured as a beacon to listeners and like-minded musicians for half a century.

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Eric Clapton’s Lifesaving ‘Rainbow Concert’ Revisited

It’s widely believed that Pete Townshend’s successful efforts to bring Eric Clapton out of his self-imposed musical exile marked a turning point.

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