#2 Prince: 1999 (Super Deluxe Edition)

For a Christmas present, he sent for me to come out on the road to see him, all expenses paid. It was New Year’s Eve in Dallas for the 1999 tour. That’s when I totally got it. I had never seen anybody give so much to an audience. I got weak in the knees. I was by the soundboard and the soundman got me a chair. Then I was literally up screaming with the crowd and dancing, and it was like, ‘Oh, my God. This guy’s incredible.’ That’s when I realized who I was working with.

Audio engineer Peggy McCreary

Oh, I’m sorry, did you forget about my Prince Journey? Did you think that albums on the journey couldn’t possibly finish this high? I regret to inform you that we’ve already entered the greatest run of albums in music history, so we’re likely to see Prince albums populating Necessary Evil’s top five until likely ‘Batman’ in around 2028. Also, it’s my (29th) birthday today, and you’re not going to let me talk about one of the greatest albums ever??

Back in 1982, this must have felt like it. Prince’s fifth album must have sounded like the ultimate and crowning masterpiece of His career. Not just ‘to date’, either, as ‘1999’ is such a comprehensive set of searing yet succeeded ambitions that it would have seemed unfeasible that Prince had anywhere left to go. He seemed to have finally perfected his mission statement: combining His formative ‘Minneapolis Sound’ with rock, reggae, electro pop, and heavy metal guitar screeches to create something entirely new, and to combine it with perfectly crafted pop songs to appeal to the mainstream. Prince had a one off hit song back in ’79 with the peppy I Wanna Be Your Lover, but as He’d grown as an artist and expanded his palate with more experimental and ambitious albums His commercial success had’t matched his critical one. Now, promoted by pop hits like Delirious, the inescapable title track and Little Red Corvette – legitimately one of the most perfect pop songs ever crafted – ‘1999’ provided that proper breakthrough. Despite being a double album, it entered the the US top 10, sold a million copies in only a few months and – despite being released in late 1982 – it’s staying power was enough for it to be the fifth biggest selling album of 1983.

Of course, this was no surprise to Prince, and only exactly what He had planned for.

WE NEED A PURPLE HIGH

#3 Let’s Eat Grandma: Two Ribbons

We’re never really taught about friendships. I’m not arguing that we get bad information, or problematic role models, just that we get none at all. Your parents show you what to expect from relationships, what sexual love looks like, and what your expectations should be. Yeah, almost entirely wrongly, and that will likely ruin your whole life, but at least an archetype exists. They fuck you up, your mum and Dad, but at least that’s something.

Who shows you what friendship should look like? Your siblings?? Either you have such a difficult relationship with your siblings twisted by hierarchies subconsciously solidified within your family’s dynamic that friendship should be an escape from those relationship, or your connection with your siblings is so strong that no unrelated person could ever compare with the history you share, and no friendship can clear the prerequisites. I love my siblings (but also: fuck them, right?), you love your siblings (but also: fuck them, right?), you might wish you had siblings (but also: fuck that, right?), but that is not friendship.

JUMP IN ANY TIME, THESE ARE GOOD TOPICS

#4 yeule: 𝖌𝕝𝒾,c̶̳͚̈́͌̿͋̔ͅ𝖍 ρ𝖗𝕚n̶͓͉̣͉͚̂̏͐ƈᵉ𝖘ร

My name is Nat Ćmiel
I am 22 years old
I like music
Dancing ballet

Crushing up rocks and snorting them
And genderless people
I like to eat
But I don’t like it when it lingers on my body

I like to take up as little space as possible
I like pretty textures in sound
I like the way some music makes me feel
I like making up my own world

And the people who live inside me
I like to dress up and not going out
I like my cat, Miso
I like touching myself

And I like being far away from my own body
I like sweet things
Physical and consumable
I like short sentences that say everything I felt at one go

I like obsessing over people
And then throwing them away
I like being a boy
I like being a girl

I like getting fucked
And I like to fuck
I like to be pure
I like believing there’s a cure
But, most of all, I…

My Name Is Nat Ćmiel
I CAN HEAR THE VOICES TELLING ME TO DIE

#5 Sudan Archives: Natural Brown Prom Queen

I’m back, bitches!

Oh, my God, Britt
They gon’ have a fit when they hear this shit

OMG BRITT

So, yeah, first of all this achievement is out of the window, so I’m naturally a bit bitter about that.

But I had to really slow down and take stock as I entered the top five, as these five records are so close together in terms of absolute genital bursting incredible quality that I felt I needed to take a step back and really evaluate the order that I’d placed them in. Despite what that insolent little prick Shawn might say, this is important. Also, I really didn’t want my number one album to still be number one, for reasons that will become clear.

ONLY BAD BITCHES IN MY TRELLIS

#8 Jeshi: Universal Credit

When I become in charge of the UK – I am more than happy to kill the 50.48million people ahead of me* in the line of succession to become king and then declare an absolute monarchy – I like to think I will be a fair and benevolent ruler to the 15 million or so remaining residents that I didn’t need to slaughter in order to become leader. The death penalty though? Yeah, bring that shit in straight away. Only for the most heinous crimes (parking on bike lanes for example), but chiefly for what my reign will consider the Original Sin: complaints about how ‘easy’ people on benefits have it. Yeah, any version of that and it’s Who Wants to be Beheaded?! live on ITV presented by Declan Donnelly (I can’t explain it, but I feel that Ant McPartlin will have been executed pretty early on).

(*yeah, worked it out. I accept that I’m pretty low down on the list, but I am white, so the Royal Family will still automatically choose me ahead of a certain section of the population. So there’s that.)

PAIN IN MY MIND, BRAIN, BACK, LOWER SPINE

#9 Sharon van Etten: We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong

Ooooooh, that title is an open goal for renowned and celebrated political satirists such as myself, isn’t it?? ‘We’ve been going about this all wrong’, aye? What biting topical references could I make here??

#topical

OK, OK, let me just get my satire iron. I’m about to take you to a satire ground. Like higher ground, yeah? You got that? Allow me to put on my satirish dancing shoes and perform for you a satirish jig, Remember that Jim Carrey film, ”Satiar Liar’?? Well, that’s me.

THIS IS SOLID GOLD CONTENT

#10 The Hotelier: It Never Goes Out

We leave our higher educations that we all ‘must’ get
With a signature stamped paper and a mound of debt
The bank has got us by the throat and then we’re forced to settle
For the jobs we hate, 9 to 5, 40 hour, 40 years ’til the day
We are too weak to work, too frail to play
No friends or lovers because they all passed away
We’ve waited for this day all our lives long
And on our death bed the stereo plays our favorite teenage anthem song
And we sing along

Our Lives Would Make a Sad, Boring Movie

We into the top ten, God dammit! With, another album was wasn’t actually released this year: The Hotelier’s 2011 debut album that I just needed to complete my set.

I KEEP CHOKING ON MY FEARS

#11 Hatis Noit: Aura

There was a movie released recently called ‘The Menu’. Did you see it? It was pretty great, a riotous ‘high concept’ comedy thriller, the kind of ‘middle class’ Hollywood film you don’t get enough of these days, where every movie is either a multi-squillion dollar ADHD nightmare where Marvel’s ‘Dr Thorcock‘ graphically violates DC’s ‘The Lib Pungent‘ in gold plated 4D, or a zero budget Slovakian mood piece shot on a Nokia 3320 that depicts a peasant girl attempting to collect enough dead rats to properly honour her village’s head priest who recently died of gout. Oh, and that priest is also a violent and sadomasochistic child abuser. Oh, and all these movies are 250 minutes long.

I’ll try not to spoil too much, but ‘The Menu’ (107 minutes) generally concerns a ‘menu’ that a chef is preparing for an extremely despicable clientele at his preposterously high end restaurant. A speech that the chef makes to all his diners before they sampled his creations really came back to me while listening to Hatis Noit’s debut album proper:

PROPER NAUGHTY

#12 Manic Street Preachers: Know Your Enemy (Deluxe Edition)

Seriously? You freakzillas want more content from me about this album??

I gave all you cretins, like, a million words back when this astonishing reconceptualisation of the divisive 2001 release by Our Lord Jesus’s Favourite Band back when it was released in September! “But Alex!” I hear your dribbling mouths bray, “This isn’t even a proper anniversary! 2021 would have been the *actual* twentieth anniversary, so wouldn’t it make more sense to put it on last year’s list??”. To which I lower my voice to an angry whisper, pull your collar roughly forward so our foreheads clash, and say, through gritted teeth, You think I don’t know that?? This is a band that fucks everything up! And that’s part of the reason we love them!! Now sit down and enjoy your Epicentre!!

SEEMS LIKE THERE’S NO ESCAPE EXCEPT THROUGH MY HATE

#13 Hallelujah The Hills: No One Knows What Happens Next (2012)

Rerelease number two! By the way, I’ve also come to notice since I last wrote that Marina post signalling the Oncoming of the Rereleases, where I rather cerebrally and logically (some would say deeply sexually) explained how I’d been smart enough to collate the list’s three big rereleases all together just outside the top ten. Or maybe that was a complete accident. The point was: I’m a fucking critical genius. Well, afterwards, I realised that there were rereleases at numbers 14, 13, 12, then a completely valid 2022 record at #11… Then another ‘rerelease’ (not technically rereleased this year, but a ‘Legacy Release’ that I’d decided to include) at number ten. Honestly, I’ve no fucking idea what’s going on with this list. Or my life, for that matter. Please help me. Any clues on how to sort this shit out?

My life, I mean, I don’t want to hear about any perceived ‘improvements’ to this blog or the Necessary Evil year end list. Necessary Evil is a perfect little crystal and I’m very protective over it. My life? Meh, I’m not too fussed, so I’ll give everything a shot. Have I ever tried deeps sea crab fishing as a vocation, you ask? Why not!? Live out my days as a Dreamsexual?? That sounds pretty problematic these days. I’ll do it.

THERE’s NO USE PRETENDING THAT THIS LIFE IS UNENDING OR CRUEL