Editor’s Note: The Albumism staff has selected what we believe to be 50 Essential Albums by LGBTQ Artists, representing a varied cross-section of genres, styles and time periods. Considering that the qualifier “LGBTQ” can often be open to various interpretations, for the purposes of this particular list, we have defined an artist as LGBTQ if he, she or they have ever publicly identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer. Moreover, albums by groups have been included in the list if any of their members fit the aforementioned criteria, even if some members do not.
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HÜSKER DÜ | Zen Arcade
Selected by Chris Powers
A brilliant and emotional hardcore journey through teenage confusion. Bob Mould and Grant Hart wrote this, an album considered across the board to be one of the true all-time punk classics, very early in their careers and perfectly captured youthful emotional chaos in both its lyrics and sound.
It's a distorted and fast world that occasionally shines with a pop sunrise, a balance which sees Mould's rage complemented by Hart's passion. Songs that lean toward hardcore like “The Biggest Lie” and ones that lean more towards pop rock like “Turn On The News” exist harmoniously in the loud world of Zen Arcade. I highly recommend that you listen to the vinyl version of this, as the album is structured in a way that the different sides feel like distinct acts of a play.
Even if you are not into sounds that verge on hardcore, you owe it to yourself to listen to Zen Arcade. It is a perfect way to understand why this genre ignites humanity in so many people.