The 50 Most New York Albums

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Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever to Tell (2003)

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs might not be the hipster band du jour anymore, but Fever to Tell is still a perfect downtown New York record, gritty and artsy and stylish. Karen O has always sounded (and dressed) like the most inaccessibly hip girl at the art school party, but Fever's appeal is also about the genuine substance locked inside layers of noise and attitude and snarl. O's lines here are plaintive and written to cut like diamonds, like when she addresses a string of no-good lovers in "Y Control," rebuking both them and herself: "Well I'm just one poor baby/'Cause well I believe them all/Wish I could buy back the woman you stole..."

For the past week we've been locked in the torch of the Statue of Liberty, subsisting on nothing but Russ & Daughters' lox, listening to the best records about, by, and for New York City through headphones endorsed by Lou Reed. Our mission: to come up with a list of the 50 Most NYC Albums Ever; albums born of the five boroughs that best capture what it's like to live, love, struggle, and exist in the sprawling, unforgiving, culturally dense metropolis we pay too much to call home. The albums we finally agreed upon capture everything from the unaffected cool of the Lower East Side to the horn-spiked salsa of Spanish Harlem and much more. So let's get to it. Here, now, the 50 most quintessential New York records. Apologies in advance for The Muppets Take Manhattan not making the cut.

Contributors: Rae Alexandra, R.C. Baker, Lilledeshan Bose, Jonah Bromwich, Tom Finkel, Kat George, Beca Grimm, Chris Klimek, Brett Koshkin, Nick Lucchesi, Anna Merlan, Phillip Mlynar, Chris Packham, Albert Samaha, Alan Scherstuhl, Elliott Sharp, Brittany Spanos, Tessa Stuart, Eric Sundermann, Katherine Turman

Listen to selected songs from most of these 50 albums with our Spotify playlist.

See also:

"I Fucking Hate This Generation": Memorable Comments on Our 50 Most NYC Albums Story
Ten Jazz Albums to Hear Before You Die
The Top 20 New York Hardcore and Metal Albums of All Time
The Top 20 NYC Rap Albums of All Time

Published on February 26, 2014

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