We’ve all heard the term bandied about before. A lot of us have even used it to describe some of our favorite records. “A perfect album.” Critics and disc jockeys have been using those words for decades, but what does it really mean? Have you ever stopped to think what really constitutes a perfect album?
I know that I’ve rated a few albums as perfect in my time. AC/DC’s Back In Black, Kiss’ Destroyer, Meatloaf’s Bat Out Of Hell, to me, they are all perfect. But why are they perfect? What makes these particular albums so much better than anything I’ve ever listened to? The definition of a perfect album really does vary from person to person and critic to critic. And while there are many albums that most people will agree are great albums, getting people to agree on perfect albums is an entirely different process.
My criteria for an album being perfect are pretty simple, but meeting those standards is tough. A perfect album is when each song on the record is so fantastic that you want to listen to the current song as much as you want to play the last song. That’s it. What that really means is that each song on the record is so fantastic you want to listen to it over and over and over again. Each song is such a masterpiece that you can’t stop playing it no matter how badly you want to hear the next track.
There aren’t many albums in existence where all the songs are that good. I’ve already listed a few, but there are others. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, By The Way, Pearl Jam’s Ten, and the self-titled debut from Boston all come to mind. In the history of rock music, these are some of the very best of the best and to me, they have all scored a 10. The reason for that is because each song is as brilliant as the last. Every time that I play those records, I want to hear the next song as much as I want to replay the last song.
A perfect album is a precious gift that does not come around very often. There are several amazing bands that have never accomplished the feat. Black Sabbath has never had a perfect album (although they have come close). Kiss has only done it once. The Beatles have never recorded a perfect album. Rating an album as perfect is a serious statement, and those records have to really earn the title. Each song on the record has to be perfect. Near perfect won’t get the job done. Each song has to be a masterpiece.
When you think about all of the albums that have been recorded throughout history, it’s hard to believe that there haven’t been more perfect albums, but then, that’s the beauty of a perfect album, the rareness of it. It’s like pitching a perfect game in baseball. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it is pure gold (or platinum).
As a rock music critic/blogger, I am always on the lookout for that next great thing. I always want to find an album that can be perfect. And even with all of the great music that has been recorded recently, perfect albums are almost impossible to come by. As much as I love the first two records from Pop Evil and the debut album from Dead Sara, none of those records are perfect. They have all come close, but they haven’t met the criteria. They all had one song that was just a little too weak to be a masterpiece. Thinking about that makes me smile every time I play Back In Black. Here is an album recorded in my lifetime that is perfect—an album that will be enjoyed years after I’ve passed away. That’s an awesome
What about you? What are your criteria for a perfect album? What albums do you consider to be perfect?
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