Agony Shorthand

Thursday, March 06, 2003
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION – THE FALL’s TOP 10 LPs….The first LP by The Fall that I ever heard – 1985’s “This Nation’s Saving Grace” – absolutely blew me away and set me on a decade-long grail-quest (one I actually completed) to find every piece of vinyl they’d put out before that time. I’d like to say I really enjoyed their follow-up records – which continue to somehow be released as “The Fall” to this day – but I didn’t, and I don’t. Mind you, the stuff isn’t awful, but you probably know that. Folks have tried to sell me on “I Am Kurious Oranj” and “The Frenz Experiment” and the others ("it's almost as good as the early stuff"), but I think the band permanently lost their life-changing repetitive rawness right when I was getting turned onto them. I’ve still never seen “them” live. I heard there’s a DJ in the band now who continually blows a whistle during the set. That sounds fucking great.

Here, then, in order, are their best LPs (with an EP included just because it rules). I will provide scant commentary – perhaps in future posts we can dissect these. Of course, minus two live LPs and a live cassette, these are all the pre-1985 records. Surely we can benefit from having them ranked, right?

1. Hex Enduction Hour
2. Slates
3. Perverted By Language (I believe this one gets short shrift when people consider the band’s top records. “PBL” is The Fall at their most jarringly dark and troubled – after this one their internal sun began to burn successively brighter LP-to-LP until they were almost a full-on pop band. They were true originals on this late 1983 release, more weird and as depressingly great as ever, with two drummers and Mark E Smith in top form. As they say in Northern England, this one is the dog’s bollocks)
4. Grotesque
5. Room To Live
6. This Nation’s Saving Grace
7. Dragnet
8. A Part of America Therein
9. Live At The Witch Trials
10. The Wonderful and Frightening World of…