Dear Music Appreciators,
This is an ongoing list of my favorite albums. These are not the greatest albums ever made (well, some of them might be), and this is not an objective, pseudo-scholarly music critic’s list, but these are my favorite albums. By favorite, I mean those from which I get the most listening pleasure. I have a couple of special bamboo box CD holders filled with these albums on CD – you know, just in case there’s a fire, I can grab it and go.
Just like the apes at the beginning of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, this list will evolve over time, will learn to swing a club, to stand up a little straighter, and someday, if I’m lucky, I’ll throw a bone in the air and it will turn into a spaceship.
If you see something you like, please check it out. If you’ve got a list of your own, please share it. Maybe we’ll both find our next favorite…
P.S. As time goes by and if and when I’m in the mood, I hope to continue to write on this page about my reasons for loving each of these albums.
@#%&*! SMILERS – Aimee Mann
For its sad attitude and intelligence and rollickingly dark pop-rockiness – for the catchy, throbbing opener “Freeway” – for the breakup song “Phoenix” and the line “You love me like a dollar bill, you roll me up and trade me in” – for the cynical getting older anthem “31 Today” – and for the packaging – the CD digipak with its lyrics and artwork really does make a case that sometimes a tangible record you can hold in your hands is just better.
INFINITE ARMS – Band of Horses
For all its down-in-the-canyon, under-the-open-sky, sweet and sour goodness – for its reverb-soaked, late night radio lead vocals – for its bearded mountain men retro rock harmonies – for the anthemic and catchy-as-hell personal conflict of “Laredo” – for the slow twist and turn questioning of “Blue Beard” – for the creeping Carolina hillbilly magic of “Older” – for the line “Now if Bartles and James didn’t need no first names…” – for so many things, but most of all for the fact that every song goes down smooth and if any of them burn they burn pretty sweetly.
FURR – Blitzen Trapper
For that song about turning into a wolf.
ALBERTINE – Brooke Fraser
For sounding beautiful and making me feel like I want to be a good person.
BORN IN THE U.S.A. – Bruce Springsteen
TUNNEL OF LOVE – Bruce Springsteen
FIRE ON THE VINE – Bryan John Appleby
WELCOME JOY – The Cave Singers
CURSE YOUR BRANCHES – David Bazan
ARE YOU A DREAMER? – Denison Witmer
CARRY THE WEIGHT – Denison Witmer
NOT EXOTIC – Dolorean
FLEET FOXES – Fleet Foxes
FLEETWOOD MAC – Fleetwood Mac
RUMOURS – Fleetwood Mac
THE RUMINANT BAND – Fruit Bats
SPELLED IN BONES – Fruit Bats
HARPER SIMON – Harper Simon
THE CREEK DRANK THE CRADLE – Iron & Wine
OUR ENDLESS NUMBERED DAYS – Iron & Wine
GREATEST HITS – James Taylor
SEABASTOPOL – Jay Farrar
BACK HOME AGAIN – John Denver
HELLO STARLING – Josh Ritter
THE ANIMAL YEARS – Josh Ritter
BEDROOM CLASSICS VOL. III – Josh Rouse
NASHVILLE – Josh Rouse
SUBTITULO – Josh Rouse
CHINESE BOXES – Kim Richey
NOT THE TREMBLING KIND – Laura Cantrell
WHEN THE ROSES BLOOM AGAIN – Laura Cantrell
GIFT OF SCREWS – Lindsey Buckingham
CAR WHEELS ON A GRAVEL ROAD – Lucinda Williams
STUPID LOVE – Mindy Smith
CHILDREN RUNNING THROUGH – Patty Griffin
1000 KISSES – Patty Griffin
GRACELAND – Paul Simon
THE RHYTHM OF THE SAINTS – Paul Simon
TEN – Pearl Jam
For the fact that This came out when I was thirteen and I still remember my older brother showing me the black and white video for “Alive” on MTV where Eddie climbs the proscenium at The Moore. I noted that the protagonist of “Alive” was “home alone at age 13” and even though I never was myself I still felt like I could related for some reason just by virtue of being thirteen myself. My brother also blasted “Alive” on the tape deck of his Subaru Brat when he drove me to baseball practice. He also somehow got my dad to laugh at the line in “Jeremy” – “gnashed his teeth and bit the recess lady’s breast.”
JACKSONVILLE CITY NIGHTS – Ryan Adams
DUST – Screaming Trees
SWEET OBLIVION – Screaming Trees
BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER – Simon & Garfunkel
I FEEL ALRIGHT – Steve Earle
TO BE LOVED – Thad Cockrell
WARM STRANGERS – Vienna Teng