cover image Fear of Music: The 261 Greatest Albums Since Punk and Disco

Fear of Music: The 261 Greatest Albums Since Punk and Disco

Garry Mulholland. Orion, $14.95 (373pp) ISBN 978-0-7528-8243-7

In his follow-up to This is Uncool: The 500 Greatest Singles Since Punk and Disco, music writer Mulholland states that, where singles are one-night stands, albums are more like ""partners for life."" The 261 post-1975 specimens he's collected are meant to take listeners on a trip, deliver from start to finish and never get old. Many of his choices will find ready agreement among critics and fans: the Ramones' self-titled debut, Dr. Dre's The Chronic, Prince's Purple Rain. Other choices will spark heated debates: both Dare and Travelogue by the Human League? Surprisingly, Mulholland ably defends these and other potentially dubious choices. Mullholland's passion is infectious and winning, and his knowledge obvious; still, a handful of inflammatory claims may get record geeks in an uproar (The Modern Lovers invented punk; NWA's legacy is anything but good). But Mulholland's goal is to educate rather than stir the pot; he's at his best when he's examining the Bad Brains' I Against I, or offering a new take on lesser-recognized works like Iggy Pop's Avenue B. Despite a heavy dependence on U.K. artists and some strange omissions (no Nirvana?), readers will find themselves nodding along with Mulholland and stopping periodically to dig through the record collection.