Monday, April 28, 2008

15 Albums Everyone Should Own

I am writing this blog as a service to mankind. This is a list of 15 albums that no one should be without in their musical library (according to Emily of course and yes, Scout took a long nap today -see chicken and fries-). I was inspired to write this because I am working on downloading my entire cd collection to my itunes library and this is no small feat. I am coming across albums I haven't listened to or thought about in years. Chances are, if you aren't Radiohead, you've been largely ignored the last few years.
They are in no particular order, well maybe I'll list them alphabetically so there is no mistake- and they made the list either because they are so beautiful, or they are just so damn good.

****Before you pin me to the wall for not including I don't know, Licensed to Ill or something, you must keep some things in mind. This is not necessarily a list of MY favorite albums or the greatest ever (note that it doesn't include my all time fav, The Final Cut -not included because I am not sure it has what you might call "mass appeal"). You might call this a list of albums that it makes me actually sad to think everyone doesn't own a copy. So, after reading this, head to FYE or write me and I will burn you a copy, because we have some gems here guys.

#1. Abbey Road by the Beatles

A Classic. I picked this one (over the White Album, believe me it was a dog fight in my head) because it fit the criteria of what I was looking for in this list. From the first song to the last, you are one happy camper. No skipping around, no funny business, just one great song after another. I love the second side, all the songs kind of mesh and compliment each other.

#2. After the Gold Rush by Neil Young

Oh this album is such a treat, and I don't mean the Japanese version, which is the only picture I could find. It's only flaw is that it doesn't have Down By the River on it. (This album and Decade was another dog fight, but I was trying to steer away from "greatest hits" albums, a goal I had that got shot in the dust later). For all of you that think Neil Young has an unpleasing voice, listen to this album it is beautiful. He may not be Josh Groben, but his voice has a beauty all it's own.
For the record I don't like Josh Groben.

#3. The Bends by Radiohead

What can I say about the Bends? If this was the only album on this earth, I would still be happy. The first 2 songs are good, but with the start of the 3rd song I like to say that Emily's The Bends begins. It gives me pause it is so good and Jonny Greenwood's guitar playing in this album totally kicks my butt.

#4. Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkle
An essential for any great road trip. Roll down the windows in the middle of Iowa, turn it up, and sing every song at the top of your lungs. It will turn the worst mood into the best. This was the last album they recorded together and they were fighting the whole time, but man it has so many of the greats on it.

#5. Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd

It's almost embarrassing to put this one on here, as it is such a cliche on every "best of" list out there. But it is on every one for a reason. It's a masterpiece. 'Nuff said.

#6. Greatest Hits Vol.II by Bob Dylan

Another "diamond in the rough" voice. You have to love Bob. I am sorry to say I only own compilation albums when it comes to Bob Dylan, so I can't really say if he has a album that is awesome start to finish. I am sure he does. This has all the greats: Tangled Up and Blue, Don't Think Twice, Subterranean Homesick Blues, etc.
Another must have for any road trip.

#7. Soundtrack to 'Immortal Beloved' by Beethoven
Besides this being a great Gary Oldman picture (is there any other kind?) this soundtrack is awesome. No one can deny that Beethoven is genus, this particular album provides you with excellent adaptations of his work. If you are looking for good old Beethoven, get this album, you will not be sorry, it is haunting and then totally exhilarating.

#8. The Best of Van Morrison

Another greatest of album, it's the only Van Morrison I own. I haven't felt the need to purchase any other after buying this one. This is the quintessential cd for cleaning the kitchen, (just don't dance too much or you wont get anything done). Van Morrison has a great voice and a catchy sound, very bluesy and soulful for an Irish lad. A must have, you can't help but like it.

#9. Unplugged in New York by Nirvana

This album is beautiful. If you need more endorsement, in high school we were listening to it in my friend Beth's kitchen and her grandma said, "that's pretty" and we are talking about a group that recorded "tourettes". This album was released some time after Kurt shot himself and a few tracks like "All Apologies" and "Jesus Don't Want Me For a Sunbeam" will just break your heart. They do a great rendition of a David Bowie song and some Meat Puppets.
*I was re-reading this blog this morning and need to add that this rendition of "Pennyroyal Tea" canmake you shed tears if you know Kurt well enough. Talk about heart breaking.

#10. OK Computer by Radiohead

The only band to have the honor of having two albums on my list (come on! Is anyone surprised?) This was my first introduction to Radiohead and I bought it while I was living in New York and I didn't just like it, it knocked me down and slapped me in the face. Perhaps you could call it a life changing experience. It has many times been given the honor of being compared to Dark Side of the Moon for being an album that is just pure genius (and Radiohead as the new generation's Pink Floyd) while I can see the comparisons, of course they stand on their own. The album gives the smackdown to all yuppies (when you hear Thom talk about piggies, which you will numerous times, he means yuppies) and the song Paranoid Android has some of the greatest lyrics I have ever heard. (opening with,"please could you stop the noise, I'm trying to get some rest from all the unborn chicken voices in my head" and "I may be paranoid, but I am NOT an android (what?)" and last but not least, "the panic, the vomit, the panic, the vomit, God loves his children, God loves his children yeah!" Classic. Thom, I love you.

#11. Pinkerton by Weezer

If you only know Weezer in passing, perhaps can dig "Buddy Holly" or "The Sweater Song" out of your memories of the 90's, look closer. This fairly obscure album is their second and hands down best effort. It hides in my cd collection until about once a year I find it, pop it in my car and am blown away at how much I love it. With each song that comes on I am like, "Oh yeah! This song is the best!" Nerd rock rules.

#12. The Otis Redding Story
With Otis Redding, I pretty much could put any album on here. I picked this one as it has 3 disks and just about every song he ever recorded. The 1st disk starts with "These Arms of Mine" and I don't know anyone that could hear that song and not just melt into a puddle. That man could have sung a banshee scream and it would have been gold. Just pick up any of his albums, it doesn't matter much, but if you don't have at least one of his in your collection, I will personally come over to your house and slap you in the face.

#13. Cat Steven's Greatest Hits

This is the only Cat Steven's album I own. I bought it when I was about 19 and was enchanted. Every song is just so good. It starts off with "Wild World" and ends with "Another Saturday Night" and has some surprises in between. Play this album while cleaning out the garage or going through boxes of old junk.

#14. When the Pawn........ by Fiona Apple

(The title of this cd is like a paragraph long).
Who knew when Fiona first appeared, that skinny writhing waif would turn out to be among the few women singers I would absolutely love? This album is just so incredibly good, one fantastic song after another. If you are sensitive to some swearing, I guess you can skip this one (there isn't a lot, but a little). A must have if you just got out of a bad relationship, if you are happily married like me, you imagine you have while listening and then when it is over, you are happy married person again and thankful for it (this girl is unlucky in love, and I am glad I'm not the person she's singing to). The song "Get Gone" should be every slighted women's theme song. The whole album is heavy on the piano which is always a great thing to me, and she produced it herself at like 19. Pretty cool.

#15. Wish by The Cure

This album is art. I wrestled with a lot of Cure cds trying to find my favorite start to finish and this is it (dog fight galore). The trouble with The Cure is that they have a habit of starting every cd with a fantastic intro song that is instrumental for 3 or 4 minutes at the very least and very pleasing to the ears, so it was hard to choose. For about a solid year I fell asleep to this album every night. The intro is a desperate plea from Robert and the album includes the classic "From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea" -that song kicks my butt. Some die hard Cure fans might string me up by my toenails for having it beat out albums such as "Faith" and "disintegration" but, you know what, I like those albums too, but this is my list! (Cure fans are a snobby lot, and oh so serious about their Cure albums. Trust me.)

Alright I've said my peace. What I would like is some feedback! Tell me what you think, pin me to the wall, disagree with me, and I'd love to know which of these albums you own too. Let me know if I grossly ignored an album I shouldn't have (I feel like I may have some blaring omissions here, I came up with this list in about 15-20 minutes, ok, truth time, this was originally a top ten, but things happen, and some albums can't be ignored). There are a lot of you out there that read without commenting. I know this from emails and texts and talking. That's fine, but don't be afraid to comment. If you don't want to open a google account, you can do it "B style" and publish under "anonymous" and sign your name. We all would like to hear everyone's opinions I think.


Anonymous said...

I agree with probably every single one of these (I'm not familiar with the entire albums, but most of the artists except Otis Redding and Fiona Apple. Please don't slap me in the face!). Oh wait, I agree except for NEIL YOUNG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! UGH!!!! Number 2 worst artist in history, right after Shania Twain!!!! But I'm very glad you had lots of free time, and that you are getting your car back!! Have a great weekend!!! Only it's Tuesday...I'm going nuts. Oh, love B! (Hooray for B-Style, probably the only style I've ever had!)

Emily said...

Never ever EVER lump Shania Twain and Neil Young in the same category. Ever. Besides that, you are certainly entitled to your opinion and I like to hear it. Don't be surprised if the entire Wright family tries to school you a little. We like our Neil (and I'm not talking Diamond! We like him too though)

Anonymous said...

B, you crack me up! Anyway....I must say...a pretty impressive list. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the following from said list: Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Otis, Pink Floyd, The Cure, Cat Stevens, Van Morrison, and surprisingly I really like Neil Young. Sure, he's not the most talented of singers but he is a heck of a song writer. I actually like his voice though, it makes me smile. And I like him AND Josh Groban! Haha. I wore out the Dark Side of the Moon album from listening to it so much, it got pretty beat up after a while. I love that album, it's genius. I fell asleep to that one for quite some time. The rest of your list I just don't know enough about to even have an opinion on. Fiona Apple reminds me too much of Alanis Morresette, YUCK!! Maybe it's just the angry woman vioce, I don't know. Again, don't know enough about her. Not a huge fan of Nirvana for obvious reasons but never heard that album. I might have to give Radiohead a try since you adore it so much! Now, I am going to list some of my own. Some are just classics that I personally love, they don't necessarily make a list of essentials, but some do! I just love them and I think they are great so here you go! These are some of my additions: The Original Broadway Soundtrack Recording of Les Miserables. AMAZING. It's only fitting that the best songs ever go with the best book ever! This album should be heard by everyone in the whole world. Gives me chills just thinking about it. Haha. Michael Jackson's Essential Album. I love Off the Wall and Thriller albums best, but this one has it all! John Denver's Greatest Hits. I love John Denver, his songs have such a sweet simplicity and are so thoughtful. I appreciate that. I can just listen to him for hours. The Eagles, Hell Freezes Over. I grew up on this album (one of my dad's favorites) It is packed with great songs, definitely a classic. Journey's greatest hits, I know this is nerdy but I love Steve Perry! His voice is just amazing. I love those 80's music videos too! There are many more that I love, but these are some of my contributions to the list. Hope you like them! -Haley

Emily said...

Thanks for the feed-back. First off, I acknowledge that Josh Groban has talent, I am just afraid he bores me to tears, that's all. Secondly, Alanis is Crap. But if you don't care for angry women voices, maybe Fiona isn't for you. Les Mes is indeed good, good call. Micheal Jackson came close to making the cut, but my favorite is "Bad" but title song, not so much. THat album would certainly be in my top 25 or so fav of all time. Oh, I love John Denver! He is someone I haven't thought about in a while. Anyone who sings about flowers being his sisters and brothers is a prize. I saw him in concert just a month or two before he died. The Eagles were my favorite band in high school, and I attended the Hell Freezes Over concert. I have left behind my Eagle loving ways, I think I got sick of them and my tastes had a renaissance of sorts with my introduction to The Cure. Some of their songs still make me happy and Don Henley's voice will always make my legs wobble a little. You should check out my and B's Myspace comments on our pages, we have been having quite the Journey video discussion. About your liking Steve Perry and stuff, it's cool, you can let your freak flag fly here. The question is how do you feel about Steve Perry's mustache?? I didn't know you like Dark side... this opens you up to some good Radiohead lovin. I shall make you a sample. Like Dark Side, the albums are best listened start to finish as the songs thrive off of each other and where they are in the album, but I think I still can give you a taste and see what you think, then we can talk more.

Anonymous said...

That sounds great! I'm always open to new things. This is so fun! I love this blogging stuff! I love reading yours, it is a delight. Especially hilarious Scout stories, original words, etc. She is so funny. I have to say, I think my favorite of them so far was the one about all the characters you guys are! That was so funny. The meowing story was classic as well. They are all great and it is fun to hear about things I otherwise wouldn't. The pictures are great also. That bandaid picture is so hilarious! Oh and I have to agree with everyone else that I want to see a picture of your new haircut! -Haley

Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHA! Em, I loved my newest Journey comment so much. MTV voted that the lamest music video of all time, or at least in the top 5 I think. Funny story, I told Matt what I said about Niel Young, and he was really worried that you guys (meaning you, Cath and Sue)were going to disown me because of my hatred for Niel Young. He actually said that we might have to get a divorce if I don't get over it. In my defense, this is what I was forced to listen to by my dad in my years when "Daddy" was becoming "Who's that old guy over there?". It was the most hillbilly and bluegrass/hippy music I'd ever been forced to listen to. And by forced I mean blast it over the speakers while we're snowed in forced. It just has a negative connotation that I may never recover from. I'm up for trying anything though, so if it means that much to you, I *gulp* might voluntarily listen to him. BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN I HAVE TO LIKE HIM!! Love B. P.S. An addition to this list would have to be the Rolling Stones Forty Licks, or Tattoo You. These are who I grew up listening to. The Beatles used to be a dirty word in our house (before you smack me I am a huge Beatles fan now!!!).

Emily said...

Ok B. I understand bad connotations with certain things and can see where you are coming from. I also can see Matt's fears. Cath, Sue, and I have a FIERCE love of Neil, we are loyal Neil lovers (ok, some very iffy stuff came out in the 80's) but besides that we are fairly maniacal about him. If you ever can (and I can see it being hard) you should try to have your eyes opened to the wonder that is Neil. He is the best example of being yourself and not letting anyone else influence you. He does what he does, wears what he wears and everyone and everything else be damned. I totally admire that about him. His songs, and I am not talking about the over played stuff, can have such a sweet beauty about them and some of his lyrics have stopped me dead in my tracks wondering how anyone can write something so well and so close to my own heart. Ok, my Neil soapbox is over (for now). I won't push him on you, I just wanted you to know my feelings about him.
Now, the Rolling Stones are a much loved favorite of mine, more so then the Beatles in some ways. But I left them off just because, I don't know, I suppose I don't consider them a band that EVERYONE loves (or should). Another group that would make my top list, but not my "everyone should own list" I don't know, maybe they should have. So what do your parents (or mom) have against the Beatles? Just wondering (too popular?)

Sue said...

Okay, I've decided I must have my say on all this. First, Em, it is always gutsy to put out a favorite anything of all time list. You are brave to do it, especially with music. Such a personal thing!

Here is my opinion of your list. I agree with six of the bands and three of the albums. You have a few that I have a problem with. Fiona Apple, really? Best 15 albums of all time?!? We will discuss this in person some time. One thing though, don't be ashamed of putting Dark Side of the Moon on your list. There is a reason that album is on every number one list. IT IS THE BEST ALBUM EVER!!!

Haley--I am pleasently surprised by your reaction to some of Em's choices. But, you say you don't agree with Nirvana for "obvious reasons". What are those reasons? They are not obvious to me. Can you explain?

Bronwyn-- I seriously had to take a few days to figure out how to deal with your feelings towards Neil. Here is what I figured out. I'm kind of okay with it. You grew up listening to Neil, and as a result you hate him. I grew up listening to Neil, and as a result, I love him. We all react to things differently, that is what "makes the world go round." (CHEESEY!, but true).

Although we are understanding, you have to realize one thing B. Your sisters-in-law are quite passionate about Neil Young, and it would be in your best interest not to bring up your contempt towards Neil around us. If you do, don't be surprised if you see us wearing PURPLE Neil Young t-shirts, and eating raspberries.

I will leave you with the words of Don Corlione "Don't ever go against the family".

Emily said...

Alright Sue, I thought I made it clear that these are not the 15 greatest albums of all time. If I was to do the "greatest list" there would have a few the same albums, but would NOT be the same list. Fiona Apple would not have made that cut. I will leave Rolling Stone to make the greatest albums list, they know more then me and also, I think that is more based on talent, ground breaking etc, something best left to experts. This isn't even "the 15 greatest albums in Emily's opinion" This is a list of 15 albums I think everyone should own. Very different. Fiona was added because I think it is a pleasantly surprising album, very few people know about it and I think it is really good. I think many people that might have preconceived ideas about Fiona, upon hearing it, might think, huh, this ain't so bad. I must admit, when she first hit the scene I was turned off, and wanted nothing to do with her. I changed my tune though, and Rob even likes it and borrows it once in a while.
So, I normally would defend myself, I also agree, our opinions need to be different, because that does make the world go round, how boring would life be if everyone liked the same thing, Rob and I have over 250 cds each (not one of them country) and had exactly one cd in common (Billy Breathes by Phish) we had 2 artists in common Phish and Otis Redding). Anyway, it made for an interesting courtship where we both learned some new artists and opened our minds and fused together hip hop boy and gothic girl.
So anyway, I normally wouldn't defend my opinion, but I had to say my peace about that, because you were a tad misguided.
I am interested to hear which you agreed with...........


Emily said...

Oh, and Sue, I am serious, I would really like to know the 6 and the 3. You left me curious. I guess I get that one would be Dark Side.

Leave the gun, take the cannoli

Sue said...

Em you're right, Sorry! Even though you explained it, I still read it as a "greatest" list. Now that I read it with a different frame of mind, it looks a lot different to me. I'm still a little perplexed by the Fiona thing, but that's okay. I'm also a little disturbed by the Cat Stevens and the Cure thing, but we can talk about that later.
Anyway, now that the list has changed, my numbers have changed. I now agree with 4 of the albums and 2 of the artists. The albums I agree with are Abbey Road(duh), After the Gold Rush, Dark Side of the Moon, and now Van Morrison's Greatist Hits. I used to own that and I loved it, and lost it in the divorce. I guess I could go buy it.
The artists I agree with besides the 4 above, are Bob Dylan and Simon and Garfunkle. Nirvana almost made that list, but I don't think Nirvana is for everyone, most people, but not everyone.
I also really agree with everyone owning something classical. I haven't heard the soundtrack, but I saw the movie "Immortal Beloved" loved it! All my classical stuff is on LP, so I don't listen to it much. I should go buy some CDs.
Tough call on the Beatles. Abbey Road is an excellent choice.
If you switched Fiona with Grateful Dead's "American Beauty" and the Cure with the Traveling Wilburys Vol 1, and maybe switched out Cat Stevens for some Johnny Cash, it would be a great list!

Hope you're having fun in Wyoming! Happy Mother's Day.

Emily said...

You can be perplexed about the Fiona thing, we are just making the world go round. I know your feelings about the Cure and that's cool, I shall keep Robert Smith all to myself, I had no idea you disliked Cat Stevens, that is interesting to me -the things we find out when we make these lists! I do love me some Cat Stevens. Traveling Wilburys are awesome of what I have heard, just haven't heard a lot of them (never owned an album). I used to like the Grateful Dead a lot, but haven't listened to them in years, Rob would disown me besides that, they kind of went the way of the Eagles. I would probably like Johnny Cash quite a bit if I ever listened to him!
Thanks for the feedback, it is fun to hear everyone's opinions, but I think my list is pretty good as it is hee hee......

Sue said...

You should listen to Johnny Cash! The albums he put out just before he died are great. I think they are just called American or something like that, there are 6 volumes I think. He does covers of all sorts of songs you would never think of. He does Nine Inch Nails "Hurt", it's better than their version. He does Bridge Over Troubled Water, and your beloved Fiona does backup vocals on that one. Cam and I own a couple of those albums, plus pretty much all of his older stuff which is good too.

Anyhoo, it's true I cannot stand Cat Stevens. I used to like him a lot, I had his greatest hits album and listened to it fairly often. Now I cannot stand his music at all. I can't really pinpoint what happened. But something changed, because in the last few years when I hear his music I have to turn it off. Maybe I was kidnapped and tortured while Cat Stevens was playing in the background and I have blocked out the memory or something.

Hey, hey, my, my, rock and roll will never die!

Emily said...

Maybe it was Cat Stevens loving aliens.

My my hey hey, rock and roll is here to stay!

Emily said...

I would like to announce that I made B a copy of the Fiona Apple cd and -she loves it....
You know, I got a lot of crap for adding that album. Just wanted to let you all know.


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