Wasted Words: The College Daze

wastedwords

If you like obscure authors, you’ll love this one…

When he enters the prestigious Northwestern University, Lucas Lloyd still has respect for rules. He has never drank, smoked, or gotten anywhere worth mentioning with the opposite sex. The first 18 years of his life have been devoted almost exclusively to academic success.

Wasted Words follows Luke as he comes to realize that the college years go by in the blink of an eye and that A’s are overrated. While knowledge might be gained by listening to professors preach, real wisdom is attained outside the classroom. Though his path to manhood is littered with more beer cans than books, by the time he reaches graduation, Luke has learned how to make his way through the world.

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Music Artist Rankings: 2000s

1. Radiohead
Achieved iconic status with two of the best rock albums of the ’90s, remaining popular despite a more experimental, electronic direction.
Essential Album: Kid A (2000)

2. Arcade Fire
Montreal indie rockers who topped charts and won awards with their intense, anthemic, multi-layered vision of alternative rock.
Essential Album: Funeral (2004)

3. Coldplay
Passionate, heart-rending British pop group whose sweet melodies and swooning lyrics made them one of the biggest bands of the new millennium.
Essential Album: A Rush Of Blood To The Head (2002)

4. The Strokes
New York City band that ushered in a new era of indie rock in the 2000s, with spiky guitars, chugging backbeats, and self-assured songwriting.
Essential Album: Is This It (2001)

5. Muse
Respected British alternative band that combined progressive rock, glam, electronica, and Radiohead-influenced experimentation.
Essential Album: Absolution (2003)

6. The White Stripes
Detroit duo that walked the line between blues-rock primitivism and arty minimalism, unexpectedly becoming kings of garage rock in the new millennium.
Essential Album: Elephant (2003)

7. Arctic Monkeys
Energetic Sheffield indie rockers whose witty songwriting and British slant on punk-pop made them one of the most respected bands of the new millennium.
Essential Album: Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006)

8. Wilco
Critically acclaimed Chicago band initially connected to the No Depression neo-country scene, later emerging as an experimental-pop powerhouse.
Essential Album: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)

9. Animal Collective
Innovative and acclaimed indie band with a penchant for experimental electronics, childlike campfire folk, and a warped take on Beach Boys harmonies.
Essential Album: Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009)

10. Modest Mouse
Jagged, often melodic, lo-fi post-rock, the indie rockers slowly burbled from cult sensations to unlikely alterna-pop stars.
Essential Album: The Moon & Antarctica (2000)

11. Interpol
Kings of the millennial post-punk revival, channeling Joy Division’s moody guitar work, synth riffs, and dour vocals.
Essential Album: Turn On The Bright Lights (2002)

12. Sufjan Stevens
Critically feted indie pop singer/songwriter who wandered the musical highways of Dylan’s Old Weird America.
Essential Album: Illinois (2005)

13. The Flaming Lips
Ever-evolving indie band led by Wayne Coyne that became critical darlings for their discordant, psychedelia-tinged garage rock.
Essential Album: Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots (2002)
 
14. Queens Of The Stone Age
Highly acclaimed hard rockers from the California desert who update old-school riff rock without overloading irony or slavish imitation.
Essential Album: Songs For The Deaf (2002)

15. The Killers
Las Vegas band whose inspired retro-rock earned them a lasting following in the 2000s.
Essential Album: Hot Fuss (2004)

16. The National
Heartfelt and quietly anthemic indie rockers whose sound takes in alt-country and chamber pop.
Essential Album: Boxer (2007)

17. Sigur Rós
Icelandic post-rockers whose uniquely dreamlike, slow-motion sound was popular with shoegazers and filmmakers.
Essential Album: Takk… (2005)

18. Fleet Foxes
Acclaimed indie band from Seattle with an earthy, harmony-rich sound influenced by American country-rock and British folk-rock.
Essential Album: Fleet Foxes (2008)

19. Bon Iver
Indie songwriter from central Wisconsin whose sparse, introspective folk with occasional orchestral touches made him a critical sensation.
Essential Album: For Emma, Forever Ago (2007)

20. Green Day
Snotty punk revivalists with multi-platinum sales during the mid-’90s, then critical respect (and more sales) for their rock opera American Idiot.
Essential Album: American Idiot (2004)

Source: besteveralbums.com

Music Artist Rankings: 1990s

1. Radiohead
Achieved iconic status with two of the best rock albums of the ’90s, remaining popular despite a more experimental, electronic direction.
Essential Album: OK Computer (1997)

2. Nirvana
Second-generation punk’s most unlikely success story, a rampaging hard rock trio that influenced countless artists but ended in tragedy.
Essential Album: Nevermind (1991)

3. Neutral Milk Hotel
Indie pop band, headed by the reclusive Jeff Mangum, that gained acclaim for their masterpieces of fuzzy, experimental pop.
Essential Album: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (1998)

4. Oasis
Hard-living Manchester rockers who helped return guitar pop to the top of the charts, and stood at the vanguard of the mid-’90s Brit-pop movement.
Essential Album: (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? (1995)

5. Pearl Jam
The prototypical Seattle grunge band, with a driving sound and a long run as one of the most principled and hard-working groups in rock.
Essential Album: Ten (1991)

6. Smashing Pumpkins
One of the biggest alternative bands of the ’90s, deftly mixing guitar-heavy ’70s arena rock with the sullen mope-rock of the ’80s.
Essential Album: Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness (1995)

7. My Bloody Valentine
Kevin Shields and co. blended ethereal melodies with discordant sounds to become one of the prime influences on the late-’80s indie scene.
Essential Album: Loveless (1991)

8. R.E.M.
Fronted by the charismatic Michael Stipe, one of the first alt-rock bands to make it big, maintaining their integrity and a sense of adventure over three decades.
Essential Album: Automatic For The People (1992)

9. Weezer
Alt-rock dons who matched hook-heavy power pop and doses of melodic metal with themes of awkwardness and geekdom.
Essential Album: Weezer (The Blue Album) (1994)

10. Red Hot Chili Peppers
California band that mixed biting rock guitar with funk rhythms to become superstars by the 1990s and inspire legions of imitators.
Essential Album: Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

11. Jeff Buckley
With his elegantly haunting lone album, he created an immense legacy echoing that of his similarly doomed singer/songwriter father, Tim.
Essential Album: Grace (1994)

12. Pavement
Their fractured songwriting and defiant low fidelity made them the most influential and distinctive band in the American underground of the ’90s.
Essential Album: Slanted & Enchanted (1992)

13. U2
Trafficking in big ideas and big sounds, a band that operated on a grander scale than any other from the ’80s and attracted legions of devoted fans.
Essential Album: Achtung Baby (1991)
 
14. Blur
Innovative, ever-morphing Brit-pop band with punch that nabbed constant critical adulation and the occasional massive hit.
Essential Album: Parklife (1994)

15. The Flaming Lips
Ever-evolving indie band led by Wayne Coyne that became critical darlings for their discordant, psychedelia-tinged garage rock.
Essential Album: The Soft Bulletin (1999)

16. Rage Against The Machine
Fiery, militant rockers who blended metal guitars and hip-hop rhythms with the confrontational, anthemic vocals of Zack de la Rocha.
Essential Album: Rage Against The Machine (1992)

17. Sigur Rós
Icelandic post-rockers whose uniquely dreamlike, slow-motion sound was popular with shoegazers and filmmakers.
Essential Album: Ágætis Byrjun (1999)

18. Portishead
Bristol outfit that popularized trip-hop with liberal doses of cool jazz and spy soundtracks, featuring the angelic vocals of Beth Gibbons.
Essential Album: Dummy (1994)

19. Massive Attack
A Bristol collective whose combination of dark rhythms, reverb-laden guitars, and atmospheric samples helped pioneer the laid-back sound of trip-hop.
Essential Album: Mezzanine (1998)

20. Björk
Iconic Icelander whose unique sonic adventurousness has extended to pop, jazz, electronica, and beyond.
Essential Album: Homogenic (1997)

Source: besteveralbums.com

Music Artist Rankings: 1980s

1. The Smiths
One of the great bands of the ’80s, driven equally by Johnny Marr’s dexterous guitar riffs and Morrissey’s fiercely witty wordplay.
Essential Album: The Queen Is Dead (1986)

2. Pixies
Indie icons who influenced countless artists by welding classic pop influences and jagged, roaring guitars to Black Francis’ fragmented songwriting.
Essential Album: Doolittle (1989)

3. U2
Trafficking in big ideas and big sounds, a band that operated on a grander scale than any other from the ’80s and attracted legions of devoted fans.
Essential Album: The Joshua Tree (1987)

4. The Cure
The flagship for Great Britain’s post-punk gloom-rock trend of the late ’70s, with a ghoulish image that masked the diversity of their music.
Essential Album: Disintegration (1989)

5. The Stone Roses
Manchester baggies whose classic 1989 debut made them indie legends and a highly influential name for countless alternative bands to follow.
Essential Album: The Stone Roses (1989)

6. Metallica
The most consistently innovative metal band of the 1980s and ’90s, reinvigorating the music with a fast, fierce, and surprisingly melodic sound.
Essential Album: Master Of Puppets (1986)

7. Sonic Youth
Pioneers in noise rock who continued creating sophisticated, visceral music long after they became an alt-rock institution.
Essential Album: Daydream Nation (1988)

8. Talking Heads
One of the most acclaimed bands of the post-punk era, a vision of innovative art-pop featuring David Byrne’s manic yelp over tight R&B grooves.
Essential Album: Remain In Light (1980)

9. R.E.M.
Fronted by the charismatic Michael Stipe, one of the first alt-rock bands to make it big, maintaining their integrity and a sense of adventure over three decades.
Essential Album: Murmur (1983)

10. Michael Jackson
The biggest pop star of the ’80s, and one of the most popular artists of all time, with a brilliant, soulful voice and breathtaking dance moves.
Essential Album: Thriller (1982)

11. Guns N’ Roses
Best and most influential hard rockers of the 1980s and ’90s, a straight-ahead guitar boogie band that often displayed a surprising musical diversity.
Essential Album: Appetite For Destruction (1987)

12. Joy Division
The definitive post-punk group, whose vocalist Ian Curtis sang of despair and self-loathing until his tragic suicide in 1980.
Essential Album: Closer (1980)

13. Tom Waits
A neo-beatnik songwriter who grew weirder and wilder in the ’80s, earning a cult following that only grew larger as the years passed.
Essential Album: Rain Dogs (1985)
 
14. Bruce Springsteen
A passionate showman who gained worldwide acclaim by marrying literate songwriting with bar-band rock & roll plus a flair for the dramatic.
Essential Album: Born In The U.S.A. (1984)

15. AC/DC
One of the defining acts of ’70s hard rock, driven by the bazooka roar of the Young brothers’ twin guitars and Bon Scott’s snarling vocals.
Essential Album: Back In Black (1980)

16. Kate Bush
Haunting second-wave art rocker who was critically deified in the 1980s thanks to her tasteful, intelligent, and stimulating songwriting.
Essential Album: Hounds Of Love (1985)

17. Iron Maiden
At the forefront of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and a major metal contender from the late ’70s into the 21st century.
Essential Album: The Number Of The Beast (1982)

18. Prince & The Revolution
One of the most singular talents in music, a multi-talented pop/funk/rock performer who showed remarkable stylistic growth and musical diversity.
Essential Album: Purple Rain (1984)

19. Beastie Boys
A trio of punks turned sophomoric rappers, who then traded superstar status for increasingly adventurous and acclaimed hip-hop.
Essential Album: Paul’s Boutique (1989)

20. Rush
Beloved by millions and scorned by critics, one of the great prog-rock bands, possessing an instrumental acumen rivaled by few other groups.
Essential Album: Moving Pictures (1981)

Source: besteveralbums.com

Music Artist Rankings: 1970s

Pink Floyd2
1. Pink Floyd
One of the most predominant and celebrated rock bands of all time, prog- and space-rock legends, known for superlative musicianship.
Essential Album: The Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)

Led Zeppelin
2. Led Zeppelin
Acknowledged as the most successful and influential band of the heavy rock era, with a catalogue that continues to inspire.
Essential Album: Led Zeppelin IV (1971)

David Bowie
3. David Bowie
The mercurial music icon widely considered the original pop chameleon and figurehead for countless musical movements.
Essential Album: The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (1972)

The Clash
4. The Clash
The most accomplished punk band, critically important provocateurs influenced by reggae, rockabilly, soul, and blues.
Essential Album: London Calling (1979)

Rolling Stones2
5. The Rolling Stones
The premier British rock band for over half a century, creators of the sound and style imitated by countless groups.
Essential Album: Exile On Main St. (1972)

The Who2
6. The Who
An explosive combo that pioneered progressive and arena rock, each new sound increasing their influence and legacy.
Essential Album: Who’s Next (1971)

Photography by Steve Babineau
7. Neil Young
Eternally restless figure who pursued an idiosyncratic solo career touching on everything from noise-rock and synth pop to blues and rockabilly.
Essential Album: After The Gold Rush (1970)

Bruce Springsteen
8. Bruce Springsteen
A passionate showman who gained worldwide acclaim by marrying literate songwriting with bar-band rock & roll plus a flair for the dramatic.
Essential Album: Born To Run (1975)

Bob Dylan2
9. Bob Dylan
Iconic singer/songwriter and musical wanderer who rose to prominence during the ’60s folk revival and changed the world of music.
Essential Album: Blood On The Tracks (1975)

Queen
10. Queen
Larger-than-life British arena-glam rockers who mastered the art of the pop single, led by the incomparable Freddie Mercury.
Essential Album: A Night At The Opera (1975)

Fleetwood Mac
11. Fleetwood Mac
Mick Fleetwood’s boys (and girls) morphed from a respected British blues outfit into the world’s biggest pop band by the 1970s.
Essential Album: Rumours (1977)

Black Sabbath
12. Black Sabbath
The embodiment of heavy metal, with the overpowering volume, sludgy attack, and fantasy lyrics that would define the genre.
Essential Album: Paranoid (1970)

Genesis
13. Genesis
Seminal British prog band whose ambitious, classical-tinged art rock gradually became more accessible by the ’80s.
Essential Album: Selling England By The Pound (1973)

Joy Division 
14. Joy Division
The definitive post-punk group, whose vocalist Ian Curtis sang of despair and self-loathing until his tragic suicide in 1980.
Essential Album: Unknown Pleasures (1979)

Stevie Wonder
15. Stevie Wonder
A teenage soul sensation in the ’60s who racked up smash after smash, then explored adventurous, risky territory on his pioneering ’70s albums.
Essential Album: Innervisions (1973)

Marvin Gaye
16. Marvin Gaye
Monumentally influential soul/R&B vocalist whose music incorporated socio-political issues, atmospheric arrangements, and unified album themes.
Essential Album: What’s Going On (1971)

Nick Drake
17. Nick Drake
Revered British folk singer/songwriter who produced several albums of chilling, somber beauty and gained a cult following after his early death.
Essential Album: Pink Moon (1972)

Yes
18. Yes
The definitive English progressive rock band, purveyors of virtuoso playing and vast musical tapestries topped off with gorgeous melodies.
Essential Album: Close To The Edge (1972)

Television, First Avenue NYC 1977
19. Television
Propelled by the guitars of Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd, they were at the vanguard of New York’s art-punk scene of the ’70s.
Essential Album: Marquee Moon (1977)

John Lennon
20. John Lennon
One of the greatest figures in popular music during the ’60s, followed by a highly adventurous and eclectic solo career.
Essential Album: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970)

Source: besteveralbums.com

Music Artist Rankings: 1960s

Beatles
1. The Beatles
The most popular and influential rock act of all time, a band that blazed several new trails for popular music.
Essential Album: Revolver (1966)

Bob Dylan
2. Bob Dylan
Iconic singer/songwriter and musical wanderer who rose to prominence during the ’60s folk revival and changed the world of music.
Essential Album: Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

Velvet Underground
3. The Velvet Underground
The quintessential bohemian New York band of the ’60s that fused art, rock, and poetry in a fashion that proved incalculably influential.
Essential Album: The Velvet Underground And Nico (1967)

Beach Boys
4. The Beach Boys
One of the most influential acts of the rock era, purveyors of both infectious surf music and sophisticated baroque/psychedelic pop.
Essential Album: Pet Sounds (1966)

Jimi Hendrix
5. The Jimi Hendrix Experience
The greatest rock guitarist of all time, with a raw, blues-influenced style that brought fire and emotion to rock music unseen before or since.
Essential Album: Are You Experienced (1967)

Led Zeppelin
6. Led Zeppelin
Acknowledged as the most successful and influential band of the heavy rock era, with a catalogue that continues to inspire.
Essential Album: Led Zeppelin II (1969)

Rolling Stones
7. The Rolling Stones
The premier British rock band for over half a century, creators of the sound and style imitated by countless groups.
Essential Album: Let It Bleed (1969)

Doors
8. The Doors
Mystical blues-based rock group based around the dark poetry and shamanic presence of Jim Morrison.
Essential Album: The Doors (1967)

King Crimson
9. King Crimson
Spurred on by Robert Fripp’s innovative guitar work, arguably the definitive exponents of British progressive rock.
Essential Album: In The Court Of The Crimson King (1969)

Van Morrison
10. Van Morrison
Soulful Irish singer/songwriter who combines folk, gospel, R&B, rock, and jazz, often with a mystical bent.
Essential Album: Astral Weeks (1968)

Love
11. Love
One of the best West Coast folk/psych bands and producers of the seminal Forever Changes, a symphonic explosion of lush textures and surreal lyrics.
Essential Album: Forever Changes (1967)

Kinks
12. The Kinks
An early highlight of the British Invasion that artfully chronicled British life past and present, fueled by the songwriting genius of Ray Davies.
Essential Album: The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society (1968)

John Coltrane
13. John Coltrane
The supreme jazz icon of the late 20th century, whose transition from devoted traditionalist to radical innovator made him the preeminent stylist in jazz.
Essential Album: A Love Supreme (1965)
 
The Who
14. The Who
An explosive combo that pioneered progressive and arena rock, each new sound increasing their influence and legacy.
Essential Album: Tommy (1969)

The Band
15. The Band
The former Bob Dylan backing band that ushered in the roots rock of the ’70s, embodying Americana in a way that no one else has approached.
Essential Album: The Band (1969)

Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Syd Barrett, Rick Wright
16. Pink Floyd
One of the most predominant and celebrated rock bands of all time, prog- and space-rock legends, known for superlative musicianship.
Essential Album: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1967)

The Zombies
17. The Zombies
Popular British Invasion beat group who also redefined the concept of the rock album with their chamber pop masterpiece Odessey and Oracle.
Essential Album: Odessey And Oracle (1968)

Captain Beefheart
18. Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band
Influential figure who fused disparate forms (free jazz, the avant-garde, blues, rock) into a highly original and nearly unclassifiable style.
Essential Album: Trout Mask Replica (1969)

Charles Mingus
19. Charles Mingus
A legendary composer, innovator, and bass virtuoso who articulated contemporary emotional currents as well as anyone in jazz.
Essential Album: The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady (1963)

Cream
20. Cream
The first and best power trio, whose brand of highly amplified, free-form playing took blues and rock in new directions.
Essential Album: Disraeli Gears (1967)

Source: besteveralbums.com

Hozier

hozier
A young Irish lad born on St. Patrick’s Day, a soulful singer of bluesy hymns, a mix of Celtic hillsides and deep South bayous.

“From Eden”

“Work Song”

“Arsonist’s Lullabye”

Best Albums of 2014 (so far)

The-War-On-Drugs-Lost-In-The-Dream
The War On Drugs, Lost In The Dream

“Under The Pressure”

“Red Eyes”

Temples-Sun_Structures
Temples, Sun Structures

“The Golden Throne”

“Mesmerise”

Mac_DeMarco_Salad_Days
Mac DeMarco, Salad Days

“Salad Days”

“Blue Boy”

BeckMorningPhase
Beck, Morning Phase

“Blue Moon”

“Heart Is A Drum”

realestate_atlas
Real Estate, Atlas

“The Bend”

“Talking Backwards”

Monday Night Mix

mnm

Mac DeMarco, “Salad Days”

Paolo Nutini, “Coming Up Easy”

Max Frost, “White Lies”

Hozier, “From Eden”

The Sudden Death of Stars, “Inside Out”

Bahamas, “Caught Me Thinking”

keeping the beat