…or Albums (if you’re old, like me)
This is a total vanity post, but it’s one of my favorite past-times! Pick the twenty albums you couldn’t live without, and you can only pick one album per artist. Here’s mine in no particular order with links to my fave song on each (and feel free to crush me in the comments section):
1. xtc – English Settlement
The best post-Punk record ever. No, really.
“Senses Working Overtime”
2. Pink Floyd – Animals
Yup, this is my go-to Floyd record. Once listened to it while on a bus ride in the English countryside…a life-affirming experience.
3. The Kinks – Something Else By…
So Ray and Dave, et al, are probably my favorite band of all time, and their four consecutive releases between 1966 and 1969 (Face To Face, Something Else, Village Green…, and Arthur) are simply masterpieces. But this is my go to!
“David Watts” (hey, if it’s good enough for The Jam to cover, it’s good enough for me)
4. David Bowie – Scary Monsters
Yes, I’m aware how many great Bowie records there are, and I love most of them…but I’m stranded on a desert island here and I could only bring one! This is the angry one, and I’m gonna need it.
5. The Who – Quadrophenia
Pete’s best. End of story.
6. American Music Club – San Francisco
Criminally under-appreciated, AMC (and Mark Eitzel) have been making me feel less alone in my misery for years. Great post-break-up music!
“What Holds the World Together”
7. Prince – Parade
“Parade?! Prince has like 100 albums…you’ve seen him perform about 40 times…and you pick…Parade?!” What can I say, I love, love, love this record. Always have.
“Sometimes It Snows In April”
8. Tower of Power – Drop It (In the Slot)
The reason I started playing sax 37 years ago is this album. So, as long as I can bring my tenor to the island, I’ll need this.
9. The Blue Nile – A Walk Across the Rooftops
Bridging the “woe is me” gap between Brian Eno’s “Before and After Science” and AMC’s “San Fran”, is this gem from one of the great bands to ever release all their albums seven years apart. Literally.
“Stay” & “Tinseltown In the Rain” (two fer one!)
10. Chris Squire – Fish Out of Water
So, yes, I am an unabashed ProgRock fan and I grew up on Yes and ELP, and later on Crimson. But this solo record from the recently deceased bass-playing god is still my fave and I have probably listened to it, beginning to end, well over 1,000 times.
12. Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders
My sole hip-hop entry, even though I’ve been listening to it since 1985 (in fact, was at the Clash Bond shows in 1981 when Grandmaster Flash was the warmup act – not that we got it at the time). This is the one that has lasted for me.
13. Brian Eno – Before and After Science
Like Prince, there are about 250 Eno records. This is the one that affected me the most and the highlighted song was the aural embodiment of the unrequited love I held for a certain woman in college (most of you know who that is – she probably won’t be reading this post – and her name is not Julie)
14. Gang of Four – Entertainment
Best live punk band, and, easily, the most danceable Marxist band ever.
“Not Great Men”
15. Siouxsie and the Banshees – Juju
Yes, I was a Goth before it was called Goth (I don’t make that statement with any sense of pride, mind you) and Siouxsie and Bauhaus were the reasons. This album was a critical part of my high school life (’79-’82).
“Spellbound” (she sounds a little like Geddy Lee on the very first line, but I would dance until I couldn’t breathe to this song)
16. Talking Heads – More Songs About Buildings and Food
Learned more about irreverence and irony from this record than anywhere else. Plus, saw them about seventeen times in high school, including an awesome secret show in Staten Island when they were rehearsing what would eventually be the Stop Making Sense tour.
“Girls Want To Be With the Girls”
17. Bauhaus – In the Flat Field
Gave xtc a run for their money as my favorite post-punk band for years. Now, I can pretty much only listen to this record, but it’s a great record!
18. Thomas Dolby – The Flat Earth
I have always loved Thomas Dolby’s first three records (and his composition written for Lene Lovich, “New Toy”), but while the first album is really good pop, and the third record is incredible L.A. funk…this middle record is the most well-crafted and musical album.
“Screen Kiss” (the breakup song for my first girlfriend in Los Angeles back in 1988 – I really am such a sap)
19. Little Feat – Time Loves A Hero
One of the only holdovers from my brothers’ influences on my musical taste, you gotsta love the Feats…and this record is filled with incredible songs.
“Day at the Dog Races” (the best DRIVING song on the record, if not actually the best song on the record)
20. Donnie Hathaway – Everything is Everything
I hope no explanation is needed…simply one of the greatest vocal performances on record. Ever. Listen to this and tell me I’m wrong: