If you're a music nerd, there is nothing more sacred than your favourite albums. Sure there are individual songs and artists that you love, but it all comes down to that ultimate nerdy concept of an album. So with much further ado, here are my favourite albums:
Only one album per artist is allowed (this rules out multiple entries from the likes of Stevie Wonder and obviously the Beatles). The selection is based on a number of variables including personal significance, the overall strength of the songs, number of individual great songs, the flow from track to track, etc. Ultimately it's just my choice.
The list has been whittled to 14. Hardly a pretty number, but it's the best i could do without continuosly adding more and more albums and at the same time, i didn't feel that i left anything out that was equal to an album that had been included.
It's also worth mentioning that while i love Led Zeppelin, the Kinks, CCR, David Bowie, Supergrass, the Beach Boys, the Wu-Tang Clan, Outkast, Prince, Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan and the like, they have no single album that stands ahead of the rest and demands inclusion. For the record, my favourites by those artists respectively are Zeppelin I, Arthur, Green River, the Man Who Sold the World, Life on Other Planets, Pet Sounds, Enter the 36 Chambers, Stankonia, Dirty Mind, Court and Spark, and Pretzel Logic.
So in alphabetical order by artist, my 14 favourite albums from 1-7 are:Ryan Adams - Gold (2001)
In Ryan Adam's Gold i can hear the sounds of summer. Some songs evoke the rousing, communal fun of block bbqs and busy summer-related festivities. Others are the quiet and lonely nights, spent outside under the stars. He took heat for being a copy-cat on this album, but i could never agree. The songs are diverse, reaching from sparse folk to country-rock, and all the while maintain Ryan Adams lyrical and emotional honesty. When i listen to a song like "Firecracker" i feel the joy shine though the opening harmonic lick as well as the longing in the chorus that asks 'maybe be my baby tonight'. Each song sounds like alot of good and bad days and nights i've had, and i'm sure i'll have in the future.
Air - Moon Safari (1998)
Some music make you feel like you're on psychadelic drugs (i.e. jefferson airplane or early Pink Floyd) or they give the feel of a stoner's haze (i.e. the Doors), but Moon Safari is like being incredibly high on oxygen. Your head feels huge, filled with air and you float about in a state of bliss. But it doesn't just elevate your mood. It is musically quite interesting. Layers of synths dance beautifully with horns, gurgling sound f/x, lovely french vocals, all combining to make this album perfectly suited to providing background relaxation, as well as music worthy of examination. I used to listen to this album whenever i walked onto campus, helping to reduce the feelings of anxiety associated with School.Beastie Boys - Check Your Head (1992)
Forget Paul's Boutique, this is the
Beasties album. Funk, hip hop, rock, it's all mixed up and mashed together, but never does it feel like a departure. The Beasties are adept at every turn they make. The rapping is their trademark style of goofy self-deprication and the funky jams are energetic and tight. The flow on the album also deserves mention. The album serves up a perfect balance between rapping and instrumentals, mixed with humourous samples including the always hilarious "Blue Nun". It is always a joy to listen to check your head, and it's usually best listened to with a friend who knows it as well as you (looking at my man Ryan here).The Beatles - Abbey Road (1969)
Like i said in a previous blog, i can't believe there's better music in existence when i'm listening to this album. From the onslaught of single-calibre song after single-caliber song (think "Come Together", "Oh Darling", "Something", "Here Comes the Sun") to the wonderful medley of Because to the End, it's the greatest band's greatest work (in my opinion, obviously). How it all ends with that last line (excluding her majesty) "the love you take is equal to the love you make" just kills me. When i first heard it it was an absolute revelation and it still moves me to this day (what a softy, i know). I could go on for every about it, but i'll just finish by saying i can't listen to any other music for about a day after listening to Abbey Road in its entirety.Chicago - Chicago III (1971)
For 2-3 years i listened almost exclusively to Chicago. When you play jazz and love rock, it's appeal is huge. I know chicago are synonymous with lame-ass ballads, and they certainly have their share, but their early work is something worth checking out. Chicago III reminds me of a billion things because i listened to it so much. It has what may be my favourite song ever "Happy 'Cause I'm Going Home", a blissful la-la-ed melody with crunchy accoustic guitars and flute. The albums' also filled with suites of songs that move from one to the next, with blazing instrumentals and impeccably strong pop song writing. Early Chicago had that great combination of musical virtuouso and tight song-writing that i still admire today. Al Green - Let's Stay Together (1972)
The personal importance of this album has a huge bearing on it being here, but i'd rather focus on the music side of things. Al's voice was great, because he always knew how to hold back. He'd scream and immediately haul that scream back in and make a sound of anguish. And boy does that ever sound more powerful than just letting it go. Let's Stay Together is a very warm and loving sound, the humming organ, the simple brass, the tight rhythm section and on top of that Al's crooning. Nobody crooned with more expression and passion than my man Al. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland (1968)
A fucking epic album. There's every kind of song on this album, tight pop songs, big expansive moody pieces, blues jams, and on every type Jimi jams in as much fuzzy guitar pyrotechnics as possible. This is the greatest guitar album ever made. Just witness Jimi take "voodoo chile' or bob dylan's "all along the watchtowe" and blow them right open. As a young kid this stuff made my jaw drop and put stratocasters in my dreams. And the album isn't just flash guitar work. There's soul in Electric Ladyland. Jimi's voice is expressive and heartfelt. He was one of the most loving and kind people around say those who knew him. He just happened to be able to blow things apart with a guitar.
I'll do 8-14 tomorrow or something.