Top Ten at Ben


March 5, 2013 by benmblackman

The, soon to be, internationally acclaimed Young Adult Writer who goes by the name of @Vicky_Walters said to me, ‘we should create an ultimate playlist.’

Considering she possibly has a stranger music collection than I, this was a worrying situation.

Of course I concluded, ‘Yes, we bloody well should but where would you even start?’

‘God knows I have too many albums to count,’ she admitted.

Home Taping is Ilegal

Wait until the internet is invented!

Same here. On CD; Vinyl; iPod; Computer; Phone (all of those plural). I’ve even got some tapes somewhere dating back to when I used to record the Top 40. I really should update my CV to include, ‘Grand Master of High Speed Dubbing’.

‘I can’t do it, it’s impossible,’ I said. ‘I reckon I could pick a top 100 albums but I couldn’t narrow it down more than that.’

She wanted to see the top 100.

‘Don’t make me do it. 250?’ I pleaded. ‘I’d basically list every single album ever made (aside from the Jedward one).’



What can I say? I’m greedy for music. I like it all. Rock; pop; soul; swing; jazz (well not much but the stuff that doesn’t make me feel like I’m going insane I can cope with); hiphop; reggae; blues; country; I could go on. One hit wonders; 1930’s to present day; any continent or country of origin (‘even the French’). To me, if you love music, you’ve got to love a lot of it.

So, my top albums – well that would just be boring. It’d be a lot easier if I gave you my bottom ten. A list of what I don’t actually like. How’s that?

Ben’s Musical Bottom Ten (but don’t count them).


Florence & the Machine (but mainly her). Yes she has an amazingly ‘powerful’ (I say loud) voice but you don’t have to use it all the time do you? Stop shouting. Shhhh.

Are they Human or Just Dancers?

The Killers. I just don’t get it.

Fix FactorXFactor Bashers

Two of the greatest men in the universe, who both know far more about music than you and I by the way – Dermot ‘O Leary and Noel Gallagher – get the X Factor for what it is. If they can, you can too. Yes it’s corporate ridiculousness. They’ve all sold out before they’ve even started but take it for what it is. Enjoy some of it (you are allowed you know), shout at the rest but don’t get too serious. Also, of course it’s a fix! Get over it.

Did they actually get the bends at some point?

Did they actually get the bends at some point?

The difficult 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th Albums

Radiohead (after OK Computer). Everything since then. What the?!


Popstars; Fame Academy; XFactor; even The Voice; it matters not to me where you have come from but anybody who starts getting too serious and ‘artisty’ gets voted off my playlists pretty quickly.

I’m looking at you WILL YOUNG. Evergreen was a cracking start to your manufactured pop career. What happened after that though? You started going all diva on us didn’t you? Dude, you sing songs for a living. Much as that is a wonderful thing to do, it is only one step up from karaoke you know? You don’t fight on the front line, save lives, or even leave a lasting musical legacy. So suck it up fella and chill out on the big (Will) I am can’t you?

Lead singer of the Levellers - Swampy

Lead singer of the Levellers – Swampy.


The Levellers. Half because they were rubbish, the other half because it annoys ‘the crusties’ (as I like to call their fans) SO much!

A poor man's Boyzone they are

Westlife = A poor man’s Boyzone.

Lazy Boys

I like a good boyband as much as the next man but the Westlife boys have never done it for me. Not one song. They’re just not trying hard enough for my liking.

Try Hards

On the contrary, I think the reason Steps always irked me so and impressed me never was the fact they tried too hard. That, and they were absolutely terrible.

These are in my top ten though.

These are in my top ten though.

2 Kool 4 for Skool Me

Kraftwerk. I always want to like them because, well you’re meant to if you’re serious about music aren’t you? But I don’t think I could name one track (they’re called tracks if you’re as cool as Kraftwerk by the way). Could you? Really? Anyhow, if you can’t do it on karaoke what’s the point? Don’t judge me.

This was a good album. I've got it.

This was a good album. I’ve got it.

Impossible Princess

Apart from the album nobody else liked, I’ve never been a fan of Kylie Minogue. I just don’t believe her. The album nobody else liked was honest. That made it good. Also she didn’t use that annoying voice effect that makes her sound a bit like Cher.

I would do Anything for Music but I won’t Buy That

Meatloaf – I think we can all agree on this one? I shouldn’t need to elaborate.

I got 99 Problems…and they’re all in the Same Band

Chumbawumba – Ditto.

I think we'd all rather hit snooze wouldn't we?

I think we’d all rather hit snooze wouldn’t we?

It’s so Cheerful you’re Meant to Love It but…

And my all time, ultimate, I really should like this or it will highlight what a grumpy bastard I really am but I can’t help it, award goes to: The Boo RadleysWake up Boo. I used to get up at 6am for a paper-round. This played in the paper shed more than once. It’s good to know, even as a 15 year old boy I was a grumpy old man!

Don’t disagree with any of my selections above (you would be wrong to do so) but please do tell me your Bottom 10 (or 13).


6 thoughts on “Top Ten at Ben

  1. isabelrogers says:

    Light the touchpaper … and run. Brave boy, Ben. Can’t believe I’m the first comment. I’ll restrict it to saying I have a soft spot for Meatloaf (was smitten as a teenager and happily have never grown out of it). Also am now on a secret (damn) mission to introduce you to some wikkid classical music innit.

  2. Ben, Ben, Ben. It was all going so well until we got to Kraftwerk and Kylie (although I also love the album when she was uncool). I’ll allow you the Mighty Steps but they’re a kitsch favourite of mine. In the spirit of sharing, ignoring manufactured pop and in no particular order.

    1) The Boo Radleys – Wake Up Boo; yep they’re b***** awful.
    2) Meatloaf – any album you like (and any other Jim Steinman related project e.g. Bonnie Tyler); Godawful bombastic stuff.
    3) Any band or artist with a symbol in their title: any album they’ve ever produced; it’s a kitemark of garbage, even Prince never managed anything decent in his ‘squiggle’ phase)
    4) Ultravox – Lament; Ultravox started as Ultravox! (which of course is a symbol – see 3) producing sub Kraftwerk rubbish before inflicting their pseudo arty synth rock on us. Their very worst track ‘ Love’s Great Adventure’ precedes this album.
    5) Emile Sande – Our Version of Events; music for people who don’t really like music but like to be trendy and play it at dinner parties. Her incessant presence on the BBC at any event is a crime against humanity.
    6) Simply Red – Stars; music for people… (see above). I find Mick Hucknall creepy. The fact that any woman has slept with him (let alone hundreds) leaves me greatly perplexed and a little bit sick at the thought. This album is bland beyond words.
    7) Enuff Z’Nuff – Enuff Z’Nuff; you’ve probably never even heard of them and there’s a really good reason for that. Look for ‘New Thing’ and ‘Fly High Michelle’ on Youtube and you’ll understand why. 80s hair metal at its very worst.
    8) T’Pau – Bridge of Spies; Again all that was bad about the ’80s. Big hair, plinky plonky keyboards, shoulder pads and over emoted lyrics.
    9) Neil Young – Greendale; At his best Neil Young is an inspired songwriting genius, at his worst the musical equivalent of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. If you ever need to clear a room in a hurry, put this on.
    10) Sting – If On a Winter’s Night; The Police – brilliant. First solo album – brilliant, then an ever increasing career of dreadful self indulgence. To quote the man himself

    If On a Winter’s Night… presents an arc of songs that conjures the season of spirits, resulting in a haunting, spiritual and reflective musical journey. “The theme of winter is rich in inspiration and material,” comments Sting; “by filtering all of these disparate styles into one album I hope we have created something refreshing and new.” He continues, “Our ancestors celebrated the paradox of light at the heart of the darkness, and the consequent miracle of rebirth and the regeneration of the seasons.”

    Of course it’s s****!

    • benmblackman says:

      Let it all out Peter…let it allllllll out. Love this! Re: The Huck. I think we must applaud him for becoming a multi-million selling artist (and millionaire several times over) in the unlikeliest of circumstances.
      You’ll shout at me but…I sing along to several of his songs on the radio (but own none). 5/10 for me on that one! Must try harder.

  3. I will not deny Hucknall his talent only his genius. I think 100 albums should be achievable if you apply the rule of only one album per artist, no greatest hits/compilations, no live albums (much as I love them).

    • benmblackman says:

      Agreed on both counts. Also I agree on Emeli Sandé – I’d have given her award at Brits for ‘alright(ish) album of the year – nothing to write home about’
      I look forward to your top 100, don’t make me!

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