Monday, September 6, 2010

My 15 Most Important Albums

Recently there's been a Facebook note going around where your friends list 15 albums that they will always "take with them." I don't like Facebook notes, but the concept of listing your 15 most important albums is certainly appealing. It's like making an impersonal mix tape and screaming from a rooftop, "OH MY GOD LISTEN TO THIS VERY IMPORTANT MUSIC BECAUSE I SAY SO!" Yeah. You should listen to these albums:

15. Sound of Silver - LCD Soundsystem
(Top Track: Someone Great)
One of the best concerts I ever went to was LCD Soundsystem on Randall's Island in 2007. I gained a profound understanding of this album. It took over my body and I danced like a maniac for over an hour. But this album isn't just good for dancing, it's got a serious side too.

14. Moon Safari - Air (Top Track: Kelly Watch the Stars)
If you ever need a good album to chill out/take drugs/make out to, Moon Safari is your album. There's something about the French... I don't know how they make such fantastic music. Ya know what? Don't even worry about it. Just sit back and roller skate through outer space.

13. Building Something Out of Nothing - Modest Mouse (Top Track: Broke)
Isaac Brock is arguably the King of Indie Rock. Building Something Out of Nothing is his variety pack of masterpieces. Sometimes hypnotic and psychedelic, and sometimes rockin' with a dash of country, the songs on this album are all worth listening to at least two or three times in a row.

12. the Trainspotting soundtrack - various (Top Track: Born Slippy by Underworld)
My friends and I used the movie Trainspotting as the Bible of Cool way back in the late 90's. When I first saw this film, I knew that Renton and his pack of drug-addicted mates were the key to understanding the universe. I proceeded to watch the movie about 37 more times to absorb as much as I could about heroin-chic fashion, European sub-culture and of course, the music. Oh God, the music. From Iggy Pop's Lust for Life, to Blur's Sing to the adrenalin-fueled Born Slippy by Underworld, this soundtrack has so much to offer.

11. Nevermind - Nirvana (Top Track: Lithium)
If this album isn't in your top 15 list too, there's a good chance you were born before 1970 or after 1990. Everyone knows Nevermind rules - it's just a fact of life. Some people just happen to take this knowledge too far by making a pathetic documentary about Nirvana when they're in middle school. Hey, at least I learned how to use a jog shuttle and paid tribute to one of the best bands of my generation. Anyways, Butch Vig sums up the album nicely:
"Even though you couldn't quite tell what [Kurt] was singing about, you knew it was intense as hell."

10. Keep It Like A Secret - Built to Spill (Top Track: The Plan)
Remember when I told you about that summer I spent locked in my room playing Sim City 2000 and listening to Keep It Like A Secret? Best summer of my fuckin' life. Really.

9. Dirty -Sonic Youth (Top Track: Drunk Butterfly)
When I was 17, I used to raid my parent's liquor cabinet and jump around my bedroom to Dirty - particularly to the song Drunk Butterfly. I'd stare at myself in the mirror and think about how I would give anything to be Kim Gordon, and how Thurston Moore would obviously be in love with me if he only knew me. These days, not much has changed except I have my own liquor cabinet.

8. Diary - Sunny Day Real Estate (Top Track: In Circles)
Before emo music turned stupid, it was a reasonable direction for modern rock bands to turn. The pioneers of emo, Sunny Day Real Estate paved the way with their heartfelt lyrics and quiet versus followed by intense choruses. Diary was the beginning of a beautiful thing. Just listen to In Circles and you'll see what I mean.

7. Post - Bjork (Top Track: Hyper-Ballad)
Bjork is a magical Icelandic elfin fairy, and this album is her very special gift of wonderment to you! The poppy electro-beats and pixie-eque charm are a spectacular combo that can only be provided by a creature like Bjork.

6. Pinkerton - Weezer (Top Track: The Good Life)
It's too bad that Weezer became unbearable after this album, because every single song on Pinkerton is fantastic. The lyrics are painfully earnest, and when set to the melodic dork rock that made Weezer famous, you end up with one mind-blowing song after another. There are rumors that Rivers' feelings were hurt after spilling his soul into this album only to have it sell poorly. What happened next is a travesty we shall not speak of on this blog. But listening to gems like Across the Sea and Tired of Sex will remind you of happier times of singing at the top of your lungs with your best friends.

5. Entroducing - DJ Shadow (Top Track: Mutual Slump)
I was just listening to this album last night and thinking about how ahead of its time it was when it originally dropped in 1996. Listening to Entrouducing is like going on a trippy spiritual journey guided by David Bowie from Labyrinth. Its little sampled treasures from old songs and movies and hip hop beats layered on entrancing melodies will seduce you.

4. Brighten the Corners - Pavement (Top Track: Shady Lane)
I've already sung praise for Brighten the Corners before, but I'll do it again. Steve Malkmus is a genius. The "lyrical complexity" is pretty stellar:
One of us is a cigar stand -- And one of us is a lovely blue incandescent guillotine The edge of creation is blurred and blushed Not a lot of room to grow inside this leather terrarium

And the slacker ballad Fin proves that Pavement didn't just make cool, clever songs, they were like, real musicians.

3. Homework - Daft Punk (Top Track: Rollin' & Scratchin')
The French duo Daft Punk introduced me to electronic music in high school with Homework, and I'm sure I listened to this album more than actually doing homework. The pounding drums and bass made my parents angry because they thought I was hammering, and I'm sure that made the album even more delightful for me. But beyond that, Homework was the first album I listened to that really made we want to dance.

2. OK Computer - Radiohead (Top Track: Let Down)
The Bends was pretty awesome and it seemed almost impossible for Radiohead to top that with something better. On my God, they TOTES did! OK Computer sort of changed music forever right? Alternative rock was taken to a new level when mixed with all the looping and heavy beats. And the lyrics themselves are heartbreaking, especially for the 16-year-old emotionally charged me. This album confirmed that I was a pig in a cage on antibiotics. More than a decide later when I'm much fitter and happier, this album still blows my mind.

1. Doolittle - the Pixies (Top Track: Debaser)
Anyone who knows me knows that I love the Pixies just as much as Lindsay Lohan loves cocaine. When I first got this album at the ripe age of 15, it was given to me on cassette tape by an improv genius named T.J. I listened to it on my walkman (gross) while spitefully folding laundry or lighting candles and pouring the wax onto my floor (two popular teenage activities.) These were the times of my life I suppose. The second I heard the opening track, it instantly became my favorite song on what became known as the best album that could possibly ever exist at any time in Le Monde de Lesley. Frank Blacks wailing, Kim Deals eerie/awesome vocals and simple baselines, Joe Santiago fucking shredding on guitar, and Dave Lovering... well yeah... how can you not be obsessed with this album!? Thank god I am going to see the Pixies perform it live tomorrow night. This monkey's gone to heaven.

1 comment:

ELI said...

Love that you included the Trainspotting soundtrack...what an effing trip. That takes me back. As does Pinkerton - a most excellent concept album that gets lost in all of Weezer's poppy shit.
Nevermind - YES
Doolittle - YES - that would be on my top 5 for shizzy.

Personally, I would have thrown in Blood on the Tracks, but I just can't get enough Dylan.