4 Quick Lists

by Luke Muehlhauser on March 28, 2011 in News

Having just finished 30 hours of research on the neuroscience of pleasure and then trimming down everything I learned into two pages, I’m in the mood for some lighthearted candy. Hence, I bring you three quick lists…


Best Films of All Time

  1. Persona (1966, Ingmar Bergman) – I even recorded a fan DVD commentary for this one
  2. Un Chien Andalou (1929, Luis Buñuel)
  3. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stanley Kubrick)
  4. Citizen Kane (1941, Orson Welles)
  5. (1963, Federico Fellini)
  6. Memento (2001, Chris Nolan)

(No, I don’t know what ‘best’ means. But it’s not equivalent to ‘favorite’ or ‘most revered’.)


Best ‘Rock’ Albums of All Time

  1. Faust (1971) by Faust
  2. Trout Mask Replica (1969) by Captain Beefheart
  3. Rock Bottom (1974) by Robert Wyatt
  4. Parable of Arable Land (1967) by The Red Krayola
  5. Twin Infinitives (1990) by Royal Trux
  6. Irrlicht (1972) by Klaus Schulze
  7. Lullaby Land (1993) by Vampire Rodents
  8. Third (1970) by Soft Machine
  9. The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967) by The Velvet Underground & Nico

(Rest of the list is here.)


Albums I’ve Listened to Most in the Last Five Years

  1. Absolution (2003) by Muse
  2. Tarot Sport (2009) by Fuck Buttons
  3. The Blue Notebooks (2004) by Max Richter
  4. Passion (1989) by Peter Gabriel
  5. Escalator Over the Hill (1971) by Carla Bley and Paul Haines
  6. Ys (2006) by Joanna Newsom
  7. Tabula Rasa / Fratres / Summa / The Beatitudes / Spiegel im Spiegel / Festina Lente / Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten (1997) by Arvo Part
  8. Spirit of Eden (1988) by Talk Talk
  9. Rock Bottom (1974) by Robert Wyatt


Best music videos, 2000-2009

  1. Manabe Takayuki – ‘The TV Show‘ (Sugimoto, 2009)
  2. Grizzly Bear – ‘Two Weeks‘ (Askew, 2009)
  3. The White Stripes – ‘Fell in Love with a Girl‘ (Gondry, 2002)
  4. The Flairs – ‘Trucker’s Delight‘ (Perin, 2009)
  5. Manabe Takayuki – ‘Full Moon Party‘ (Sugimoto, 2006)
  6. Autechre – ‘Gantz Graf‘ (Rutterford, 2002)
  7. Modest Mouse – ‘Float On‘ (Mills, 2004)


Okay, readers: your turn!

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

rosyatrandom (Michael R.) March 28, 2011 at 4:21 am

For your music videos list, which I am about to watch, I think I should give Iip Feel Better by Hot Chip a little shout out. It’s directed by Peter Serafinowicz, too.


rosyatrandom (Michael R.) March 28, 2011 at 4:24 am

Well, I must have brushed the touchpad while typing that! Iip=give, somehow!

And looking at it, I see it’s a 2010 release and you seem to have set the cut-off at 2009! Oh well. Here’s the link anyway… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaCZN2N6Q_I


Ajay March 28, 2011 at 5:21 am

Oh man, as a huge huge fan I am glad to see Bergman on your film list. When I first got Netflix a few years ago I watched almost every film of his.

My favorites were (top-5, ranked): Persona, Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light, The Seventh Seal and the underrated gothic horror Hour of the Wolf. A lot of these are on youtube.


Zeb March 28, 2011 at 5:30 am

Best Movie
The Seventh Seal Ingmar Bergman (you were so close Luke!)

Best Rock Album of All Time
The Blue Album Weezer (best at being a rock album, maybe not best album that can be called rock, that’s way too hard, a ten way tie at least!)

Most Listened to Album, Last Five Years
It’s Time For… Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers

Best Music Video
Frontier Psychiatrist Avalanches


Reginald Selkirk March 28, 2011 at 6:08 am

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stanley Kubrick)

These lists are always a matter of taste, so I will go past disagreeing to explain why i disagree.

2001 was BORING. It was inscrutable, and I don’t mean that in a good way. When you have to write a novel afterwards explaining your movie, you have failed to deliver your message. And when that novel spends a lot if time explaining visual effects which are only impressive on-screen, the novel itself is also BORING.


drj March 28, 2011 at 7:54 am

Where’s AI by Spielberg!?


Louis March 28, 2011 at 8:27 am

Where’s AI by Spielberg!?

In the bargain bucket.


Martin Freedman March 28, 2011 at 8:40 am

Will add to the bet music videos list – of all time:

Herbie Hancock Rocket (I think I can only add one link in a comment).

Jamiroquai http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REfDCPhPQQ4 Virtual Insanity (a bias this is directed by on old mate of mine but I liked it long before I knew he had directed it – he also did the most famous Guinness ad – the surfer, horses and waves one).

One you are most likely familiar with (why is this line font smaller in preview?)
Lady Gaga “Telephone ft Beyonce” (comment link limits aside you have to login to youtube to access this).

Note I don’t think much of this tune, not being a fan of either Lady Gaga nor Beyonce, but I think the video is great. I am looking at this purely in terms of the best video, on the other hand one must not forget Not the Nine O’clock News music video – “Nice video, shame about the song” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQamw4xxxHY

Oh dear that has sent me off on old NTNON sketchs, so thats my 2 pennies worth for now.

All worth checking out and thanks, Luke, for pointing me in the direction of some music videos I was unfamiliar with.


Garren March 28, 2011 at 8:42 am

Excellent, a fellow Newsom fan!

(And to counter Reginald, I forced myself to start watching 2001 this winter with low expectations and was deeply engrossed the whole time. I found it quite scrutible.)


Martin Freedman March 28, 2011 at 9:06 am

Zeb, great choice, thanks
Frontier Psychiatrist Avalanches
and the trick of using rel=”nofollow” to add mutiple links.

So here are some more:

Basement Jaxx Where’s your head at

New Order True Faith (very bauhaus – the best video of its type – the ones that NTNON link in my previous comment was taking the mickey out of – IMHO)

One for the atheists here, XTC Dear God. Great tune and shows that music videos don’t have to be all special effects and/or nothing to do with the song – as in the New Order video. (Hopefully theists here can still appreciate it, whilst disagreeing with the lyrics…).


Garren March 28, 2011 at 9:30 am

I should have included this with the first comment…

Two excellent alt-country albums I wish more people knew about! Preview clips on Amazon.

* Sabella — Lonesome Wyatt and the Holy Spooks

* For Blood and Wine — Rykarda Parasol

Four pre 20th century philosophy/religion books I found surprisingly great.

* On Liberty — John Stuart Mill (I’m doing series of ‘excerpts’ posts from this one)

* Letter to Menoeceus — Epicurus (Like a New Testament epistle, but better)

* On the Freedom of the Will — Arthur Schopenhauer (turned me into a ‘hard determinist’)

* The Age of Reason — Thomas Paine (the ‘new atheists’ have nothing on this old deist)


Luke Muehlhauser March 28, 2011 at 10:19 am

I appreciate AI‘s ambition, but it didn’t quite succeed.


Martin Freedman March 28, 2011 at 10:39 am

I appreciate AI‘s ambition, but it didn’t quite succeed.

If only Kubric had lived long enough to make it …


Sabio Lantz March 28, 2011 at 10:41 am

That was a fun trip. My physician colleague and I sat in our slow office today and plugged in many of your music items into Pandora — they are all now permanently deleted!!

Shows how otherwise rational people can have irrational tastes! (kidding, bro)


Kutta March 28, 2011 at 11:05 am

Un Chien Andalou is just too small a shot to be justly included in any top list. A progenitor of cinematic surrealism, yes, but from that it partly follows that its main merit is the basic idea and being the first of its kind, not excellence in execution or whatever. Pure surrealism is among the sort of obvious outside-the-box boxes in art, and the most successful later attempts at filmic surrealism usually involve attaching that surrealism to some thematic, narrative or symbolic framework, e.g. in the later works of Bunuel himself or in the case of David Lynch.


Felipe Ramos March 28, 2011 at 11:07 am

My 5 top favorite films:
1. Ben Hur
2. Lord of the Ring
3. 300
4. Joseph King of Dream
5. Matrix

Best “ROCK” Album all time: NONE
Albums I’ve Listened to Most in the Last Five Years: NONE
Best music videos, 2000-2009: NONE
Atheist blog I ve check most in the last 2 years:
1. Common Sense Atheism
2. Debunking Christianity

Christian Apologetic I ve check most in the last 2 years:
1. Apologetic 315
2 Christ the Tao


Michael March 28, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Best films:
City of God
Reqiuem for a Dream
Unsure of this one but Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless mind.

For ‘best’ I think my criteria is, in general, the films that left me most in awe by the time I finished watching. Esp for first three.


Tshepang Lekhonkhobe March 28, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Reginald sez:
2001 was BORING. It was inscrutable, and I don’t mean that in a good way. When you have to write a novel afterwards explaining your movie, you have failed to deliver your message. And when that novel spends a lot if time explaining visual effects which are only impressive on-screen, the novel itself is also BORING.

Me sez:
I think the first two times I saw it, it was hard to keep awake (I didn”t finish). The ending is so… how the heck am I supposed to figure it out: http://scifi.stackexchange.com/q/2579/292.


Tshepang Lekhonkhobe March 28, 2011 at 2:53 pm


What do you mean by ‘most revered’? Is that as in ‘most respected’? In that case why would a movie you respect more not be ‘superior’? When thinking of it, someone might respect some movie for what it teaches or the influence it had on said person’s life, while at the same time being less-than-ideal in other departments (maybe the acting/direction sucks). Do you mean it that way?


Curt March 28, 2011 at 3:07 pm

The following question will probably get me in trouble with the Dept. of Homeland Security. Have you ever heard the Jeffeson Starship album Red Octopus?
Chrystal Choir Curt


muto March 28, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Best films of all times :

1. Paths to Glory

2. Fight Club

3. Silence of the Lambs

4. Dr. Strangelove

5. In Bruges


MarkD March 28, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Most of the album picks are way over either side of the avante garde line, pushing “rock” into ambient, into noise, into noise-jazz, etc. I would push most of these down into a second tier excepting Velvet Underground, and build my list based on a different set of criteria that includes representatives of different subgenres. So, we would get a prog-rock pick from ELP or your King Crimson; a jazz fusion pick like Beck’s Blow by Blow; a proto-punk pick like The Stooges; some experimental/ambient–yet listenable–like Eno’s Another Green World; Zappa just because I like Zappa; glam rock moving to experimental like Bowie’s Heroes; some random Dylan or, more to my taste, Joni Mitchell, as a folk-rock choice; early heavy metal like Black Sabbath, etc.; New Order just because I like New Order; etc.


Kutuzov March 28, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Top 5 albums(-ish) I’ve most listened to in the past 5 years:

1. Untrue – Burial
2. Yha Hamaraa – Paavoharju
3. Blue Notebooks / Memoryhouse / Songs From Before – Max Richter
4. Pink Moon – Nick Drake
5. XX – The XX


Lucas March 28, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Tarot Sport is immense. I feel like I could run through a brick wall when Surf Solar hit its peak.

Winter Light would be my pick on the Bergman front, but it’s a close call among several.


Luke Muehlhauser March 28, 2011 at 6:53 pm


That’s why I put scare quotes around ‘rock.’ :)


Scott March 28, 2011 at 7:14 pm

My top films:

2001: A Space Odyssey
Aguirre: The Wrath of God
Apocalypse Now (not Redux!)
La Dolce Vita
Dr. Strangelove
The Fog of War
Raging Bull
The Third Man

I’m an obsessive Kubrick fan, as well, having seen every film he made, including the early documentaries. Thanks, internet!


Bill Maher March 28, 2011 at 8:56 pm


no Blade Runner? are you a communist?


Lex March 28, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Favorite films:
Shawshank Redemption
Citizen Kane
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Favorite Albums:
Wish you Were Here – Pink Floyd
Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness – Smashing Pumpkins
Led Zeppelin IV – Led Zeppelin
Black Holes and Revelations – Muse


Esteban R. (Formerly Steven R.) March 28, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Favorite Albums/Best Rock Albums (only began listening to good music about 2 years ago):

In Rainbows-Radiohead
OK Computer-Radiohead
Hail to the Thief-Radiohead
Slanted & Enchanted-Pavement
The Artist In the Ambulance-Thrice
Push Barman To Open Old Wounds-Belle & Sebastian
In the Grips of Light-Racebannon
Cat Party-Cat Party
Evil Urges-My Morning Jacket
The White Album-The Beatles
Shazam!-The Move
Ars Vita Longa Brevis-The Nice
Come On Pilgrim-Pixies
Skag Heaven-Squirrel Bait
Against the Grain-Bad Religion
Brighter than Creations Dark-Drive-By Truckers
Temple of the Morning Star-Today is the Day
Piece of Time-Atheist
Veckatimest-Grizzly Bear
So Runs the World Away-Josh Ritter
Into the Nightside Eclipse-Emperor
The Sound of Perseverance-Death
Black Tambourine-Black Tambourine
Unknown Pleasures-Joy Division
London Calling-The Clash
Naked City-Naked City
Marry Me-St. Vincent

Should stop there before I get carried away (aka list rap albums I like). Anyway, great list you linked us to for rock albums and nice music taste you have (and everyone here for that matter).

Oh, and no music video beats the Resident’s “Constantinople”.


Esteban R. (Formerly Steven R.) March 28, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Oops, left out two:

Led Zeppelin-Led Zeppelin
Astral Glamour-The Homosexuals


Haukur March 29, 2011 at 3:56 am

Hey, Luke! Congratulations on finally changing the quote in the masthead!


juhou March 29, 2011 at 4:18 am


I disagree strongly about you’re best films. Here is a far superior list:

The good the bad and the ugly. Sergio Leone.
Bande a Part. Godard J.
Pulp Fiction. Tarantino.
In the Mood for Love. Wong Kar Wai.
Taxi Driver. Scorcese.
Chuen Jik Sat Sau. To Johnie.
Mies Vailla Menneisyyttä. Aki Kaurismäki.
Schindler’s List. Spielberg.
Dancer in the Dark. Lars Von Trier.
Shaun of the Dead. Edgar Wright.


Luke Muehlhauser March 29, 2011 at 4:30 am

Lol, ‘disagree strongly’??? I don’t even know what I mean by ‘best’!


juhou March 29, 2011 at 5:24 am


I just making a small joke because the lists sounded so serious.

Anyway a couple more. Since I don’t have much of a music sense (I like almost anything), here is a best fiction list:

Malone Dies by Samuel Becket.
Waiting for the Barbarians by J. M. Coetzee.
Harry Potter 1-7 by J.K. Rowling.
Der gute Mensch von Sezuan by Bertolt Brecht.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
Bible by God et al. (would be higher but there are some bad ones in this anthology.)
Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot.
La peste by Albert Camus.
Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre.
The Pet Semetary by Stephen King.

Football (Soccer for US)
Monkey Island 1-3
Warcraft 3 The Frozen Throne (Include DotA to this)
Ice Hockey (no NHL rules)
Poker (All variants)
Starcraft 2 (Include Smashcraft to this)


juhou March 29, 2011 at 5:41 am

By the way my lists after the top 3 are in no particular order and my criteria was not only artistic but also entertainment merit. I really want films, games and fiction to make me think and entertain at the same time. Some are more purely entertainment and some more serious stuff.


Teapot March 29, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Come to intellectual, in-depth blog to get away from easily-digested mass-appeal content

Get easily-digested mass-appeal content


Luke Muehlhauser March 29, 2011 at 6:17 pm


I have to take a break every now and then. :)


MicThacks March 30, 2011 at 4:34 am

no mention of The Mars Volta anywhere.

Very disappoint.


LilRobbie March 30, 2011 at 8:36 am

Well, since I’m a huge fan of lists, I’ve got to throw in a couple of my own…

7 of My Favorite Albums (in no particular order)
OK Computer – Radiohead
Grace – Jeff Buckley
Abbey Road – Beatles
The Sophtware Slump – Grandaddy
Elephant – The White Stripes
Nevermind – Nirvana
The Bends – Radiohead

7 of My Favorite Films (again, in no particular order)
Fight Club – David Fincher
Evil Dead (Franchise) – Sam Raimi
Memento – Chris Nolan
Spirited Away – Hayao Miyazaki
The Incredibles – Brad Bird
Se7en – David Fincher
Lord of the Rings (franchise) – Peter Jackson


clamat March 30, 2011 at 9:43 am

Lists! Yay!

“Best” “rock” “albums”:

The White Album – The Beatles
London Calling – The Clash
Bitches Brew – Miles Davis
One Nation Under a Groove – Funkadelic
Rain Dogs – Tom Waits

Luke, do you like any Belew-era King Crimson? I don’t care for In the Court, Lark’s Tongue, etc., but Discipline, Beat, and Three of a Perfect Pair all might be in my second tier. Belew brought the groove!

“Best” “movies”:

Apocalypse Now
West Side Story
Wings of Desire
Before Sunrise / Before Sunset


Lee A. P. March 31, 2011 at 10:56 am

When you have to write a novel afterwards explaining your movie, you have failed to deliver your message. And when that novel spends a lot if time explaining visu

Holy shit. You can be pompous about peoples (rightful) love of that film but at least get the facts straight. 2001 was based on the novel by Arther C Clarke. The book was not written to explain the movie.

The movie is extraordinarily captivating visually. I don’t know that such a fascinating story has ever been told in film via pictures before. Wasn’t there some saying about a picture and a thousand words? This picture, this movie, is worth billions of words. Its a fantastic movie-film.


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