The People’s Albums: 2010s Edition

As I make my way through 2010s music, I figured I’d take a break from mere reviews to do a bonus People’s Album of the best selling album of this particular decade. The ‘10s were much less a decade of blockbuster album releases than the ‘00s or ‘90s before them for a number of reasons. The death of the monoculture, major record labels’ shifting influence, and physical media’s decline all made it hard to put out an album that simply everybody was listening to. Not to mention the effects that streaming had on how people consumed albums, or whether they bothered to listen to entire albums at all. It made for a weird decade for the album’s cultural relevance, and yet despite that, there were still a few that managed to break out and capture people’s ears, as well as their money. Continue reading

The People’s Albums #14: Jagged Little Pill

I know. There are more pressing things going on in the world right now than an alternative pop/rock album from the ’90s. But I started listening to and researching this album prior to Criterion Month, and I never got around to writing about it before that month started. So now, here I am attempting to write about it before Shocktober begins.

Album: Jagged Little Pill
Artist: Alanis Morissette
Release Date: June 13, 1995
Copies Sold In The U.S.: 15.3 million Continue reading

The People’s Albums: #15 The Dark Side of The Moon

As you may have noticed, I got all excited about returning to The People’s Albums after a two-year hiatus in my last entry, and then failed to write a follow-up. This is mainly due to the fact that this entry was not an album I was particularly excited to write about, since it’s not only an album I’m all-too-familiar with, but is also one that is, quite frankly, boring. Not because the album itself is boring, but more because it’s such an unimpeachably classic and influential album that it’s going to be hard to say anything new or insightful about it. But hey, it’s worth a try…

Album: The Dark Side of The Moon
Artist: Pink Floyd
Release Date: March 1, 1973
Copies Sold In The U.S: 15 million

Continue reading

The People’s Albums: #16 Journey’s Greatest Hits

Well… it’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Back in 2013, I started counting down and reviewing the top 50 best-selling albums in the U.S., in the hopes of getting to the bottom of what exactly makes an album that America loves. Though, as you may have noticed, I haven’t done one of these since March of 2016. Which makes it all a bit fortuitous that my last entry in The People’s Albums referred to then-candidate Trump in its opening paragraph.

Obviously, a lot has changed since the Spring of 2016, and our perception of what exactly America is has also changed. This probably shouldn’t have impacted me talking about mega-selling albums from the past, but for some reason, it did. In each People’s Albums piece, I would declare (in plain terms) why America would go for a certain album. But in the wake of the 2016 election, I wasn’t in the mood at all to write about what America did or didn’t like and why. All I knew was that America sucked, and I didn’t want to think about that fact.

But now, two years later, I’m starting to feel like I have a bit more perspective on why America is the way it is. And why the tectonic shift in our perception of it happened when it did. I also still believe that there are transcendent pieces of pop culture that can unite the two warring Americas, if just for the duration of a pop song or two. Yes, even if you’re a small town girl living in a lonely world, or a city boy born and raised in South Detroit.

(Yes, I realize that was cheesy, but what do you expect? We’re about to talk about Journey for god’s sakes!)

Album: Greatest Hits
Artist: Journey
Release Date: November 15, 1988
Copies Sold In The U.S.: 15 million

Continue reading

The People’s Albums: #20 Bat Out Of Hell

In case you were wondering, I haven’t been able to find any definitive evidence whether Meat Loaf — one of showbiz’s true outright conservatives — has come out and endorsed Donald Trump.  However, I’m gonna say Meat’s answer to the question of whether Trump should be president would most likely be a “yes”.  So in case you already had little interest in this piece, there’s one more reason to roll your eyes in Meat Loaf’s direction while reading it.

Album: Bat Out Of Hell
Artist: Meat Loaf
Release Date: October 21, 1977
Copies Sold In The U.S.: 14 million

Continue reading

The People’s Albums: #21 …Baby One More Time

So we’re fairly deep in 2016 at this point, and that means this is potentially another year in which I could finally finish my epic chronicling of America’s best-selling albums.  But considering I’ve got 20 more after this one and I only put out 8 of these during all of last year, well… I guess there’s always 2017.

Album: …Baby One More Time
Artist: Britney Spears
Release Date: January 12, 1999
Copies Sold In The U.S.: 14 million

Continue reading

The People’s Albums: #22 Simon & Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits

FYI, this will probably be a pretty half-assed installment of The People’s Albums because 1) I just wanted to get this one out of the way before the all-out post-a-thon that will hopefully be this year’s Shocktober commences, and 2) this album seems pretty uninteresting/inessential considering it’s filled with a bunch of songs we’ve all heard a million times, while also 3) it feels even more uninteresting/inessential when taking into account that most of Simon & Garfunkel’s proper albums are worth listening to instead of some greatest hits comp.  In fact, the most interesting thing about this album is probably it’s cover photo, which apparently was taken during Simon & Garfunkel’s short-lived proto-Gallagher & college mime professor phase.

Album: Simon & Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits
Artist: Simon & Garfunkel
Release Date: June 14, 1972
Copies Sold In The U.S.: 14 million

Continue reading