The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

Category Classic Albums

CLASSIC ’90s: Public Enemy – ‘Fear Of A Black Planet’

by Ed Biggs The late eighties saw a couple of seismic events that had same sort of effect on rap that punk had on rock music: those events were N.W.A. and Public Enemy. Just like the brutal basicness of punk’s dictates, these two groups left a profound sonic legacy upon the nascent rap scene that changed it forever. But if N.W.A. were The Sex Pistols in this analogy – with

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CULT ’90s: Guided By Voices – ‘Alien Lanes’

by Ed Biggs With their penchant for alcohol and short, sweet lo-fi songs, Dayton’s Guided By Voices are regarded as one of the defining underground bands of the ‘90s. Their unpretentious brand of hook-laden indie rock, compressed into minute-long song sketches, has captured the hearts of their small but utterly dedicated fanbase ever since their inception in the mid-‘80s. After nearly a decade of slogging, and having finally gained some

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CLASSIC ’90s: Radiohead – ‘The Bends’

by Ed Biggs In 1994, few would have predicted that Radiohead would turn out to be the most influential rock group of the next twenty years. Then merely one of many post-grunge bands with a moderately well-received debut, their defining characteristic was the global hit single ‘Creep’ which, while it was their breakthrough, looked like it was becoming an albatross in terms of people’s expectations of them. The ridiculously tame

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CLASSIC ’60s: Bob Dylan – ‘Bringing It All Back Home’

by Ed Biggs It may not seem like it sometimes, but there’s a good reason why some people go on, and on, and on about Bob Dylan: it is quite impossible to overstate the influence he had upon the sound and structure of popular music. He was arguably the first pop musician to use the album format as vehicle to make an artistic statement – before 1964, the album was

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CLASSIC ’90s: Depeche Mode – ‘Violator’

by Ed Biggs The narrative arc of Depeche Mode is one of the most intriguing evolutions in pop history. When they began their long career in 1980, they were at the lighter end of the post-punk backlash against guitars, often critically derided but achieving commercial success with simple, upbeat synth-pop hits like ‘New Life’ and ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’. But after one album they were left stranded by their original

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CLASSIC ’00s: Bloc Party – ‘Silent Alarm’

by Ed Biggs People tend to think of the mid noughties as a great time for British guitar music. At a cursory glance, this is correct. The breakthrough of The Libertines and Arctic Monkeys grabbed national headlines as their music crossed over to mainstream audiences and, at the time, it felt like we were living through some kind of golden age, with debut records from new and exciting bands coming

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CULT ’80s: The Smiths – ‘Meat Is Murder’

by Ed Biggs If Rough Trade had got their act together sooner, The Smiths’ chart positions might have reflected the true extent of their popularity. If you didn’t know anything about them and looked at the commercial performances of their singles and albums, you’d never guess that it was the body of work by the most significant British guitar act arguably since The Beatles. Just two of their 18 singles

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CULT ’80s: Hüsker Dü – ‘New Day Rising’

by Ed Biggs Of all the great American indie groups of the 1980s, it’s perhaps Hüsker Dü who are the most underrated. While R.E.M. became global megastars and Sonic Youth, Minor Threat and Black Flag became acclaimed names that most people will have at least heard of if you mention them, the Hüskers remain comparatively overlooked. Which is unfair, because they did at least as much as anybody else to

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CULT ’00s: LCD Soundsystem – ‘LCD Soundsystem’

Although I was exposed to a vast galaxy of music at university, two bands dominated the soundtrack to my three years as an undergrad: Wakefield’s The Cribs and New York’s LCD Soundsystem. Musically speaking, they’re two very different groups, but both seemed to epitomise the spirit of invention that characterises all truly great alternative music and, crucially, both released at least two records while I was there. This meant I

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CLASSIC ’70s: Bob Dylan – ‘Blood On The Tracks’

by Ed Biggs For anybody looking for an entry point into Bob Dylan’s vast and varied back catalogue, there’s an awful lot to recommend Blood On The Tracks, yet in some ways it’s unsuitable. While it’s arguably his most famous album, and certainly his biggest seller, it’s something of an anomaly in Dylan’s story. While his imperial phase is generally held to be the mid-‘60s, a sequence of six records

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