Overkill (1979, Bronze - mine is the 1996 Castle Music version) - This was my first Motörhead album I had on CD, and was a major part of the soundtrack to my oft-mentioned failed college career, along with Speak English or Die, We Kill Everything, the entire Honkeyball discography, and a Cd by this band called the Pissants that I'll get to eventually. Anyway, it was kind of jarring going from the way more metal-ish stuff on 1916 (the tape I grew up with) to a more bluesy, rocking version of Motörhead, but I still loved every bit of this, and it's still probably my favorite Motörhead record overall. Also, the remastered versions of Motörhead's stuff that hit in the late 90s did a really good job of giving you pretty much everything, and this has all the B-sides from all the applicable singles, the non-album cover of "Louie, Louie," plus a couple alternate versions.
Bomber (1979, Bronze - '99 Castle version) - Looking back at this from the future, this is sort of a perfect halfway point between Overkill and Ace of Spades, ramping things up from a blues-rock band playing fast to being a band that really did sound like they'd make your lawn die simply by virtue of moving next door. Like they were a fully formed version of Motörhead by this point, but they were still a year away from putting out a song whose title you'd yell while overturning a burning cop car. Again, modern releases of old Motörhead records are really good, so you also get the full "Golden Years" live EP with this, and even though there has always been a glut on the market for live Motörhead stuff, there's also always been a desperate need for more of it.
Ace of Spades (1980, Bronze - '99 Castle version) - Like I said a minute ago, Overkill is probably my favorite by these people overall, but I get it, man. If ever there was an early stage Motörhead album that would totally melt people's minds and blow their balls off and stick them to the back of the arena, this would be it. On the internet, you're trained to be a too-cool-for-school contrarian, but that's impossible here. The title track here is huge, the absolute king hell arch deluxe of Motörhead songs, and even if every single copy of this, past or present, had been subject to gross manufacturing errors that made the CDs, records, and tapes unreadable after the first song, this would still be in at least the band's top five. God damn, you guys. Also, bonus tracks on this include two-thirds of the Motörhead/Girlschool/Headgirl St. Valentines Day Massacre EP, and I wish they had just said to hell with it and added the whole thing, because in all honesty, the Girlschool cover of "Bomber" is actually better than the original, which is saying something.
No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith (1981 Bronze - '88 Profile version) - This was back when stuff like this was a lot harder to make, so live albums only happened once or twice in a band's career, and you didn't have situations like Iron Maiden putting out (at least) one between every studio album. So it's always fortunate when a band would put out a live album at *exactly* the right time, (again, like Iron Maiden's Live After Death) and this is one of them. This is the classic Lemmy/Fast Eddie/Philthy Animal lineup at the absolute peak of everything, before Eddie Clarke started to get pissed about Lemmy wanting to make records with girls or whatever, and before Brian Robertson insisted on erasing Overkill, Bomber, and Ace of Spades from any possibility of having their stuff played live. Everything about this is beautiful and perfect, just like Motörhead.
Orgasmatron (1986, GWR - 2006 Sanctuary 2CD Deluxe version) - This album is kind of representative of a pattern in Motörhead's oeuvre, where they'd do something (or many somethings) that folks didn't care for, (in this case, Another Perfect Day - which isn't actually bad, you guys) be written off as dead, and then just blast back with murder and mayhem for everyone's faces. This is the first full-length album with the band as a four-piece, and I don't know if it was by design or coincidence, but it's probably the most "metal" album they had done by this point. The whole thing is just fast and crazy (I mean, it is Motörhead) and "Deaf Forever" and the title track just sound god dang evil, and it is the best. The super-fancy version of this that I have comes with a second disk, with a few b-sides, etc. that I'm pretty sure were on previous single-disk bonus track versions, plus an at least mostly full live set from 1984, and again, there will never be enough live Motörhead.
1916 (1991, WTG) - I don't know if I can honestly say that this is my favorite Motörhead album (and for the record, I said Overkill earlier, but every time I go back to another CD, I think "no, THIS is my favorite," so to avoid confusion, I'll just stick with Overkill) but it's definitely the most special one to me. This is the Motörhead album of my youth, the one my older brother had on cassette, (and I still have that tape) the one whose videos I remember seeing on Headbanger's Ball, and the one that I remember Lemmy and Würzel promoting on Night After Night With Alan Havey during extended summer hours of watching the Comedy Channel all day. Anytime my brother would do something impressive while playing basketball or jump and touch something impressively tall, he'd follow it up by going "I'm so bad, baby I don't care," because of this album. Anyway, this rules, but I have an intimate confession to make, in that I never really got into the song "Ramones," probably because I never liked the Ramones. There, I said it. Damn you all.
March Ör Die (1992, WTG) - Man, this, I dunno. This shit right here is "major label syndrome" writ large. A lot of this doesn't really sound like Motörhead at all, (outside of the singer, obviously) and is in that weird mainstream metal/hair metal adjacent space that people like Ozzy and Lita Ford and Alice Cooper were in at the time, and they just couldn't pull it off. It's full of ballads and overwrought shit that's just a little too far outside their "blues meets speed metal" comfort zone. Lemmy blamed this record bombing on Sony wanting to use WTG Records as a tax writeoff or some shit, but most of this is just not good, and 1992 was *just* outside its window for being commercially viable, anyway. And on the inside, there seems to be this weird attempt to take "dreamy hunk" photos of all the band members, complete with what looks an awful lot like eyeliner on Lemmy, and while I suppose young Mikkey Dee could get it, the whole thing was just ill-advised as all hell. "Stand" is pretty good, though.
The Best of Motörhead (1993, Roadrunner) - Despite it just being on of eighty-six billion official or semi-official Motörhead "best ofs," this is another special one to me, as it was my first Motörhead CD and was part of the illustrious original 12 Columbia House CDs. (not to be confused with the Original Eleven I bought from my cousin) And the beauty of the compact disc format is that nothing actually physically touches the playing surface, meaning they never wear out unless you toss them around like a dipshit, but if they did wear out, this thing would be toast. In a world where you only own 23 CDs, the Motörhead one will always win, and if it's a CD that has most of their good stuff from Motörhead up to Rock n Roll, it's going to win big.
King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Motörhead (1997, King Biscuit Flower Hour) -This one is kind of weird, because it's a live record, but it's one from the Robbo years, (er, year?) so outside of "Iron Horse/Born to Lose," all of this comes from Another Perfect Day, aka the Motörhead album that no one liked until it was about twenty years old. And yeah, it's not as bad as people probably said it was in 1983, but something's just weird about it, so this is more useful as a rare historical document than anything to rock out to. The highlight is a 20 minute interview with Lemmy tacked on at the end, that I got a lot of use out of for between-song mixed tape material. "Remember, boys and girls, a two-party state is only one party better than a one-party state."
Motörhead Today (1998 BMG Special Products) - This is kind of a weird little compilation I picked up off some discount rack not long after it came out. Essentially, this is like a "best of Motörhead" compilation that would exist in a world where the only two albums they ever did were Sacrifice and Overnight Sensation. On some level, I wish I had never bought this, because those two albums are both really, really good, ("Sex and Death" and "Civil War" are two of the best songs they ever did, probably) and I think having a physical Cd with most of the highlights has been what's kept me from getting legit copies of those for the last couple decades. Not that I'd ever illegally download anything, though. No, sir.
Live, Loud, and Lewd (1999, Big Ear Music) - So a long time ago, in 1978 I think, someone recorded a Motörhead show, and Chiswick records had the rights to it, and Lemmy was like "eh, what the hell, do what you're gonna do with it," and now you have to be careful with strange Motörhead live CDs, because this has been released like a dozen times under a dozen different names. So if you see any officially-released live CD with a 1978 date on it, (which isn't listed anywhere on this one, for the record) it's going to be this show. (and anything from '77 will be the same Blitzkrieg on Birmingham show, for the record) I think the most official version of it was What's Words Worth?, but there are at least a few more. Anyway, this is Motörhead early in the classic lineup's run playing stuff off the first album, and it's really, really good. There are a couple bonus tracks on this one, which are (obviously) later live versions of "Overkill" and "Iron Fist," but they sound like they weren't even soundboard recordings, and are kinda shitty as a result.
Everything Louder Than Everyone Else 2CD (1999, CMC International) -The only thing better than a live Motörhead album is TWO live Motörhead albums, and that's pretty much what this is. And the setlist is god dang fantastic, because they eschewed an older band's usual habit of doing the "greatest hits of the eighties plus one new song" thing, and threw in a lot from records like Bastards and Snake Bite Love, so it's a complete experience for optimized rocking. Also, I'd just like to say that in both length of service and the habit of occasionally putting out something insanely good, the Lemmy/Phil Campbell/Mikkey Dee lineup of Motörhead deserves some sort of "classic lineup 2.0" designation or some shit like that. Motherfuckers out there acting like the band broke up when Eddie Clarke left need to recognize.
Extended Versions (2002 BMG Special Products) - So, uhhh, hey, this is just a single-disc, condensed version of Everything Louder Than Everyone Else. I cannot be blamed for a double-dip into a lackluster copy like with the Anthrax extended versions CD though, because I actually had this one before I had the real version. You could do a lot worse for literally $2.50 new, I suppose.
Inferno (2004, SPV) - The blood libel against Motörhead - mostly spread by people who don't listen to Motörhead in the first place - is that it all sounds the same, and that the last album worth paying any attention to was either Iron Fist in 1982 or Rock 'n Roll in 1987. Which is why it may comes as some surprise to some of you fucking posers that Inferno is amazing, and pretty much the Secret Greatest Motörhead Album. The whole thing is just stacked from top to bottom with stuff that could stand up against any of the band's 80s "greatest hits" material. Furthermore, if you attempt to put together any sort of definitive Motörhead mixed CD/playlist/etc. and do not set "Whorehouse Blues" as the final track, you are incorrect. (The first should always be the Michael Palin blessing from Rock n Roll, followed by either "Doctor Rock," "Ace of Spades," or "Motorhead.")
The Wörld is Yöurs CD/DVD (2010, UDR) - Latter-day Motörhead has a lot of ups and downs; for every insanely good record like Inferno, you get one that's just kind of there, like Hammered. And honestly, this is a lot closer to the latter than the former. Outside of a couple songs here and there, there's just not a whole helluva lot to be excited about, HOWEVER: "I Know How to Die" is just unreasonably good, and I don't want to be some sort of controversial internet hot-takesman here, but it's got to be seriously one of the top ten best Motörhead songs, possibly even top five. (And there are like eighteen thousand Motörhead songs, so that's saying something) And that's even given the awkwardness of the subject matter, given Lemmy Kilmister's present state of deadness. I do appreciate that in the face of a world of headbanger doofuses screaming that Lemmy was a god that would live forever, that he had the foresight to try and get out in front of things, all "uhh guys, I'm pushing seventy, my diet consists of fried potatoes, whiskey, and amphetamines, my kidneys don't work anymore, and I've probably got more cholesterol in my veins than blood, maybe you should just walk back the immortality talk a little." Anyway, this is depressing now, but the bonus DVD has live versions of "In the Name of Tragedy" and "Killers," so that's a plus.
Aftershock (2013, UDR) - This one is awkward. On one hand, it's really, really good. There's quality shit all up and down this one, from songs like "Dust and Glass" that sound like they came from Overkill all the way to latter-day speed metal stuff like "End of Time," and after a while, it starts to sound like a career retrospective/best-of thing made up of all new songs. But man, this was after Lemmy's health had started to deteriorate on a major scale, and it really shows here. He's kinda mush-mouthed, like Droopy the Dog or someone whose dentures weren't glued in right, (which actually may have been the case) and he just sounds worn out in places. And not like "the world-weariness of a rock n roll road warrior" or some such bullshit, I mean he just sounds tired. I guess it's just hard to rock out when you're suddenly facing the concept of mortality, which is honestly why I still haven't really listened to much off of Bad Magic after it's been out for two years. Maybe someday, I dunno.