Maybe if Miss Swift had those particular albums in mind she wouldn’t have ended up hiring the likes of Max Martin and Diane Warren to work on her record. But that private jet and its accompanying airport hangar ain’t gonna pay for themselves, so…
Also, leave NYC the fuck alone. It's been Disneyfied enough; stick to Miami or Las Vegas.
At a time in which so-called artists are using their fame to lend their names to fragrances and fashion lines, Dave Grohl has used his clout and celebrity superpowers for good. He could be marketing “Everlong” anti-perspirant, do a “My Hero” tie-in with a sub shop, or use "This is a Call" to sell Android phones. But no.
Yes, he’s taken advantage of his status to live out his teenage bedroom rock and roll fantasies and play with a number of his heroes—the guy has Paul McCartney on speed dial, jams with Rush, drinks with Lemmy, and is in a band with a member of Led Zeppelin, for Pete’s sake!—but he also invests his time and money in documentaries about the magic of music, basically. So, while we harbor a few minor gripes about the guy, as far as current rock stars go, we could do much worse.
Canto Popular de la Vida y Muerte
[Sony US Latin-1994]
With 2 acclaimed albums already under their belt, Venezuela’s Kings of Latin Ska would begin the solidification of their reign with their third album and first to be released in the US. Helmed by Brazilian producer Carlos Savalla (Paralamas do Suceso), Canto Popular is not only a cohesive effort but one chock full of great tunes, which ultimately opened more doors for the band across Latin America, Europe and the US. (Not to mention it went Gold in the band's homeland.) 20 years on, the songs still shine while the production leaves a bit to be desired. But would you rather have a killer-sounding album full of duds, instead? Didn’t think so.
Highlights: Too many to mention. Seriously.
Coinciding with their homeland’s recent emergence from war and a punishing military dictatorship into a democratic society, the debut album by guitarist/vocalist Gustavo Cerati, bassist Zeta Bosio and drummer Charly Alberti is a hearty stab at escapism and very much a record of its time (new wave, ska, the Cure, the Police, XTC and other early ‘80s signifiers are all referenced). But that spirited approach is what keeps the album from becoming hopelessly dated. Of course, top-notch songwriting never hurts your cause and the album isn’t lacking in that department: “Sobredosis de TV”, “Te Hacen Faltas Vitaminas”, “Un Misil en Mi Placard”, “El Tiempo es Dinero” and “Afrodisíacos”, all helped the album become a smash hit and a critical favorite.
Those more familiar with Soda’s latter, more refined international releases—their third album, Signos [Sony US Latin-1987], was the first to be released in the US—might ask if the debut platter bears the seeds of the influential, ground-breaking band they were to become. Well, it’s quite a stretch from typical, albeit talented, ‘80s new wave-influenced combo to panoramic, sonic-exploring, 21st century rockers slightly ahead of the curve. But let’s just say a sophomore slump would’ve been a surprise. And that 30 years later, this one still holds up.
Highlights: see above.
Of course he’s known as the acclaimed, award-winning director of such classics as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas and Casino, as well as for the music that populates his feature films, but Martin Scorsese’s love of music goes past well-chosen cues and directing Michael Jackson videos (“Bad”).
Starting with his Assistant Director gig on Woodstock  Scorsese’s musical exploits on the big screen have been overlooked, for the most part, in comparison to his feature film bread and butter. Aside from The Last Waltz , which uncharacteristically captures an artist—in this case, The Band—not at the beginning of their career or, more commonly, at their apex but, as the name implies, during their send-off, Scorsese has been almost as busy directing musical endeavors in the 21s century as he's been making features during the same time frame: he was one of the directors involved in The Concert for New York City ; directed the Delta blues-dedicated segment "Feel Like Going Home" for the PBS miniseries The Blues ; helmed the Bob Dylan documentary No Direction Home ; shot Shine A Light , The Rolling Stones’ 2006 performance at NYC’s Beacon Theatre (which Mick Jagger jokingly refers to as “the only Scorsese film that "Gimme Shelter" isn’t played in."); and directed George Harrison: Living in the Material World  a doc based on the life of the late Beatle.
It would be nice if Mr. S tackled a more contemporary subject the next time he’s bitten by the music bug—Beck, Radiohead, Jack White, maybe?—but the above additions to his staggering resumé are quite impressive just the same.