#315Albums is a list of 315 albums that appear on both the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list, as well as the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die book, edited by Robert Dimery. At its best, it is a representation of some of the greatest music ever released; at its worst, it is a journey through the history of music that the majority see as important, influential, and/or relevant. If nothing else, these albums are worth experiencing at least once to get a better understanding of music, which is why we are working to complete all #315Albums.

No. 022

“This is Newman’s quiet masterpiece, less rock than fuck-you cabaret. Even now, ‘Political Science’ (‘Let’s drop the big one/And see what happens’) is relevant; either Newman is brilliant or we haven’t come a long way, baby.”

Artist: Randy Newman
Album: Sail Away
Released: 1972
Label: Reprise
Rolling Stones Ranking: 322

It’s because of my age, I know, but I cannot hear Randy Newman’s distinct vocals without thinking about Toy Story (and that episode of Family Guy). The two will be forever tied together in my head, and that’s just the way it is. Sail Away was a lot different lyrically than I expected it to be. The music is fantastic, catchy, and fun to listen to. I was shocked to find out that Newman is actually an atheist, and leans left politically. Songs like “Sail Away” and “Political Science” had me thinking the complete opposite was true. Either way, these are catchy tunes that are worth listening to. In fact, the album feels almost apocolyptic with the one-two punch of “Political Science”, followed by “Burn On”. In “Political Science”, Newman talks about essentially nuking the rest of the world to leave America to stand tall, and then “Burn On” feels like it could be the post-apocolyptic aftermath, with the lyric “burn on, big river, burn on” being most memorable. For my money, the most powerful song on the entire album has to be “Old Man”, which ends with the lyrics, “don’t cry, old man, don’t cry/Everybody dies.” This is a lot darker than I ever would have expected from Newman, but wonderfully powerful, and a great example of why I will definitely listen to this one again in the future.

Cinefessions’ #315Albums Rating: 79%

Image and quote courtesy of Rolling Stone Magazine.