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This is Proust in eight sides, four albums, one vision. This is the album Cleveland’s own answer to The Stooges and The New York Dolls, the Dead Boys were a dumber, drunker slice of the distorted NY thrash-cake.
RAMPANT MADNESS, cheap powder, and the whiskey river: below are the 50 most debauched, sodden, and certifiable records in music history.
The rules are simple: being merely eccentric while swathed in outlandish clothing fails to qualify.
It’s the same reason Mötley Crüe doesn’t warrant space on this list. Every single album on this list is a remarkable document, and warrants repeated listens over the course of a lifetime. Spence was a founding member of both Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape, who spent months howling at the walls in Bellevue after epic runs of windowpane LSD.
Sure, they snorted live ants (actually, that was Ozzy) and mainlined Jack Daniel’s to stave off epic boredom, but their music would have been exactly the same steaming pile of hair regardless. Just after his release he was cynically recorded, releasing , which is a mix of shambling nonsense and haunting ballads, soul-baring and childish in turns. This album has been passed around for years among giggling heads, serious collectors, and those in recovery looking for inspiration or something to truly fear.
Whether Cale continued to abuse white lines, or just sound like he did, this album is like a sunny afternoon in a hammock with a beautiful girl, a joint, and decades of easy living ahead.
Cale’s signature laid back virtuosity is in evidence track-by-track.
One of the least scrutable albums ever recorded, the kind of thing that could only have made sense on the high wire of Elliott Smith died at age 34 of two stab wounds to the chest, which was ruled a suicide but is still inconclusive by many accounts.
A heavy user of drugs and alcohol, as well as a sufferer of mental illness, Smith nevertheless put out six albums before his death, many of which are now acclaimed by cognoscenti as among the best of their generation.
Either through orgasm or chemical rush, Cochran’s raspy bass voice and “fuck ’em all” lyrics lit an intoxicating pyre under the first 50’s wave of rockabilly crossovers, which were absolutely dripping with the primal frustration and random anger unmatched by later, more overtly sexual acts. The Replacements – is a grim slog through the wreckage of the band that is austere and revealing in turns.
Cochran’s filthy twang, which ruled the radio waves when panties were still pure, can be heard in nearly every rock band since, from Led Zeppelin to the White Stripes, decades of ready bobby-soxers mainlining shuffle rhythm to get their rocks off. It’s pre-rehab but post-realization, a dissipated reprieve where stock must be taken and hard decisions made.
The effect is both intoxicating and disconcerting, like the best moments of being high in any context.