Five Classic Minnesota Albums To Re-Visit

erik ritland

With a covid-19 forcing most of us to spend a lot more time at home, it’s a good time to listen to more of your favorite bands and albums. 

Minnesota, of course, has exported many acclaimed bands and artists. Below are five classic albums from Minnesota musicians to revisit. All of these albums can be found on most streaming platforms.

Blood on the Tracks – Bob Dylan (1975)

Many consider this to be Dylan’s finest hour. While it has a lot to go up against – say, his entire 60s output – it’s definitely some of his most mature songwriting. Come for hits like “Tangled up in Blue,” stay for classic album tracks like “Idiot Wind” and “Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts.”

A Tiger Dancing – Heiruspecs (2004)

The most recent album on the list, Heiruspecs’ breakthrough contains their most popular local song (“5ves”) and the track that still gets them the most income from streaming internationally (“Heartsprings”). Their combination of a tight live band and two evocative, talented MCs is unparalleled. Other standouts: “Something for Nothing” and the title track.

Blues, Rags, and Hollers – Koerner, Ray, and Glover (1963)

And now for something completely different. The oldest album on this list is from Bob Dylan’s mentors, 60s folkies Koerner, Ray, and Glover. The trio were as popular and influential as any artists from the renowned folk revival of the 60s. Tracks on Blues, Rags, and Hollers range from acapella stompers (“Linin’ Track”) to genuine classic acoustic blues (“Dust My Broom,” “One Kind Favor”).

Controversy – Prince (1981)

This might be considered a dark horse pick, but a majority of Prince’s albums from the 70s and 80s would qualify for this list. Largely because it is surrounded by so many other classic Prince releases from the period, the ambitious mix of rock, funk, and pop on Controversy is often overlooked. And those synths! They’re everywhere, and they’re glorious. If you don’t listen to the whole thing – and you should – at least check out the title track and “Annie Christian.”

Let it Be – The Replacements (1984)

The number of iconic artists and albums from Minnesota is truly staggering. Dylan’s 60s output, Prince’s stuff from the ‘80s, and basically the entire Replacements catalog could all be included on this list. As it is, the Replacements’ third album Let it Be is their best, containing their most fully realized songwriting. 

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