The 4 albums I listened to yesterday, ranked

On 8 May 2016, I listened to four albums, all of them at least good.
  1. 1.
    Iron Maiden, The Number of the Beast (1982)
    It's difficult for me to articulate my feelings about this album, and Maiden in general, beyond "Well, it rules." But I'll try. This is their first LP with the air raid siren-voiced Bruce Dickinson. The playing is fast and furious, the riffs are killer, and every chorus is sing-along perfect.
  2. 2.
    Townes Van Zandt, Townes Van Zandt (1969)
    Townes Van Zandt was one of the greatest songwriters of all time, and his third album is one of the best collections of sad bastard music to ever be recorded, country or otherwise. In a way, this feels like a do-over; his first records were lushly produced affairs. This one is a lot more spare. It's just Van Zandt, his guitar, his words, and minimal accompaniment. Powerful stuff.
  3. 3.
    Tatsuro Yamashita, For You (1982)
    This was yesterday's discovery. This album is part of a genre called City Pop, a mix of AOR, plastic funk, and silky smooth sophisti-pop that was popular in Japan in the early 80s. It was basically yuppie music, a sonic analogue to the bubble economy culture. Now, with its clean guitars, rubbery bass, precise horns, and tasteful arrangements, it sounds like the blueprint for what we now call future funk. Three cheers for the recontextualization of art!
  4. 4.
    Iron Maiden, Powerslave (1984)
    Some Maiden albums are more awesome than others. This, while not as focused or immediately thrilling as The Number of the Beast, is a great record in its own right. I mean, just look at that artwork! It that isn't Maiden's most van-worthy album cover, I don't know what is. No album with cover art like that can be bad. Also, it includes the best song ever written about imminent nuclear annihilation.