Haven't written much lately. But to possibly start some conversation, here's a list I did awhile ago of my 40 favorite albums.
There are a few missing plates from this dinette set--The Cryan' Shames' A Scratch in the Sky
, Pet Sounds
by the dB's, Dylan's Bringing it All Back Home
, Skylarking by XTC--but I'm pretty comfortable with this list.
In alphabetical order:
*The Beach Boys, Friends
, 1968. Anyone who doubts the healing power of music can start here.
*With the Beatles
, 1963. Awe-inspring in its energy, songcraft, and performance.
*The Beatles, A Hard Day's Night
, 1964. Sees them at some sort of peak; 13 fabulous original songs, not a clunker among 'em.
*The Beatles, Revolver
, 1966. Just the greatest record by the greatest band.
(White Album), 1968. Sprawling and flawed as hell, but amazing nonetheless.
*Bee Gees 1st
, 1967. Baroque pop perfection. The confidence and vision are still astounding.
*Big Star, #1 Record
, 1972. A nearly perfect pop-rock album.
*The Byrds, Younger Than Yesterday
, 1967. In early 1967 the Byrds were the only act that could look the Beatles in the eye without having to blink.
*The Byrds, The Notorious Byrd Brothers
, 1968. While crumbling, the band left one last magical artifact.
, 1970. It has "Mother Sky," and the rest of it is almost as great.
*Sheila Chandra, ABoneCroneDrone,
1996. Nobody has ever figured out how to make a more psychedelic sound than Sheila Chandra and Steve Coe.
*Charlatans UK, Some Friendly
, 1990. Takes familiar ingredients and makes something new and vital.
*Elvis Costello & the Attractions, Get Happy!!
1980. Nothing has ever sounded like this.
*Elvis Costello & the Attractions, Imperial Bedroom
, 1982. Some of his best songs are here, and certainly his best production and arrangement.
*Miles Davis, In a Silent Way
, 1969. The sound of great musicians exploring the very concepts they hold so dear.
*Nick Drake, Bryter Layter
, 1970. Any one of his three albums could have gone on this list; tomorrow my pick might change.
(1st album), 1985. The best album to come from my favorite city in the world. All hail Jeff Lescher.
*Herbie Hancock, Blow-Up
(soundtrack), 1967. Sure, it's swinging and cool, but it also features lovely shards of melody and great playing by musicians stretching themselves into all directions.
*Juanes, Mi Sangre
, 2004. He's the last rock star the world will ever need. Witty, talented, and a hell of a musician.
*John Lennon, Imagine
, 1971. The groom stripped bare by his bachelors, even. As harrowing in its own way as Plastic Ono Band
*The Kinks, Face to Face
, 1966. I wish they'd have had better production, but that's my only regret.
*Love, Forever Changes
, 1967. As a last will and testament, it's pretty damn convincing. Some of the most beautiful arrangements ever.
*Orange Juice, You Can't Hide Your Love Forever
, 1982. If punk had only led to this one album, it would have been worth it.
*The Patron Saints, Fohhoh Bohob, 1969.
Homemade folk-psych that exists in its own glorious universe.
*Pink Floyd, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
, 1967. Syd Barrett laid it all out for us, going so far out he couldn’t come back.
*Pink Floyd, Meddle
, 1971. Could be the best album of the 1970s. “Echoes” is beyond words.
*Public Image Limited, The Flowers of Romance
, 1981. Nobody else I know likes this album, but I don't give a damn.
, 1983. This is the
American post-punk album; it has a mood all its own and continues to beguile.
*Terry Riley, A Rainbow in Curved Air
, 1969. Swirling, adventurous, mind bending, full-on psychedelic. Somewhere between rock and roll, Indian music, and modern classical.
*Sade, Love Deluxe
, 1992. Nothing has ever sounded like this, part II.
, 1970. The template by which all future genre-bending experiments should be matched.
, 1993. As weird as My Bloody Valentine and, for my money, more interesting.
*Spacemen 3, Recurring
, 1991. An aural trip. Believe me, I know.
*Squeeze, East Side Story
, 1980. At this time, they were the best songwriters with the best songs, best singing, and best playing.
*Steely Dan, Countdown to Ecstasy
, 1973. For various reasons, their most human record; the songs and performance are stunners.
*Thievery Corporation, The Outernational Sound
, 2004. They're great DJs because they care about songs more than they care about beat-matching or other such b.s. They could have had at least one more CD on this list.
, 1974. Incomparable American power-pop/glam/60s-inspired homemade rock.
*Various Artists, Excursions in Ambience, Volume 1, 1993.
This nearly flawless album opened my mind to new ways of hearing music.
*The Velvet Underground
(3rd album), 1969. Either mix of this superb album works its magic.
*Zeitgeist, Translate Slowly
, 1995. Lo-fi production, hi-quality songs, superb band dynamic.