Various Artists – Wanna Buy A Bridge? #935 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Various Artists - Wanna Buy A Bridge

Why is Wanna Buy A Bridge? on my best 1,000 albums ever list?

A stunning collection of post-punk (but mostly leaning into the punk side, and thankfully so) artists out of the UK.

What does Wanna Buy A Bridge? mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?

In the streaming age, I’m not sure if album compilations can have nearly the same power or value that they once did. With an infinity of curated playlists accessible at any time, day or night, they simply can’t.

In some ways, that’s a shame. I recall getting my hands on No Alternative in the early ‘90s and simply being blown away by tracks I didn’t already own by the likes of Nirvana and Beastie Boys and Pavement on the same album. That collection of songs and artists together in one package represented a sound and an attitude and a culture that I wanted to be a part of. And there’s indeed some real power and value in that.

Onward to Wanna Buy A Bridge? Released in 1980 by Rough Trade (and dig that name), it’s a pretty stunning collection of post-punk (but mostly leaning into the punk side, still, and thankfully so) artists out of the United Kingdom that was released in the U.S.

Probably the best known song on this album is Stiff Little Fingers’ “Alternative Ulster,” which I talk about on my Inflammable Material entry, #952 on my best 1,000 albums ever list. Though, as luck and fate has it, I’ve heard Delta 5’s “Mind Your Own Business” on some commercial or another that I’ve sat through any number of times while watching live sports online, presumably. It’s super catchy, and I can sympathize with those who may be in the “but not in a good way” camp, though I’m in the “I could totally play this at my camp during evening cocktail hour, actually.” In any event, it’s unabashedly funk and sort of experimental rock and punk and weird (good weird!) at the same time.

I’ve been really loving “Read About Seymour,” by Swell Maps, of late, a raucous and rough-cut punk affair with a killer guitar hook that I could completely imagine a young Kurt Cobain listening to and thinking, “hmm…” It also clocks in at a wonderfully punk minute and 28 seconds.

There’s tremendous punk and hardcore energy percolating on “Aerosol Burns,” by Essential Logic, to the point where you’re tempted to think it’s almost like a Dead Kennedys song with a female vocalist… right up until the horn section kicks in!

I’m not sure exactly what the origins are of this album, but I liken it to what I believe to be an old school New York City thing, which boils down to, “If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell to you.” In other words, if you’re naïve enough to believe that, you’re naïve enough to believe anything.

And that got me to thinking about songs and albums that have the word bridge in them, as I’m wont to do. My favorite is easily one of my favorite deep cuts by one of my favorite bands, “The Crunge” off Led Zeppelin’s astoundingly good Houses of the Holy album.

(Have you seen the bridge)
I ain’t seen the bridge
(Where’s that confounded bridge)

For music fans of a certain age, Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” might be their go to “bridge song,” whereas for others it would be “Under the Bridge,” perhaps the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ best known song.

Here’s a bridge curveball for you: “Bridge to Canada” by the absolutely fantastic Noisettes.

Some stats & info about Wanna Buy A Bridge?

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Punk, Punk Rock, Rock, British Bands, Old School Punk, British Punk, Compilations
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating4.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was Wanna Buy A Bridge? released? 1980
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #935 out of 1,000

Wanna Buy A Bridge? on Spotify

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.