Apologies for my somewhat odd posting schedule of late. I’ve been both pretty sick (chest infection) and hellishly busy (end of quarter), and have defaulted to writing about current preoccupations like British politics. I’m away this weekend, so won’t be back until next week now, but thought I’d leave you with what’s hopefully a fun one.
This blog has been running well over three years and in that time I’ve talked a lot about favourite songs and favourite albums, but without having put down a list in black and white.
So I thought I’d give it a try, and actually, it’s a tough exercise. The hardest thing is deciding how whether to include old favourites that you, if you’re honest, don’t listen to anymore. I’ve mentioned that Nirvana’s Nevermind was the album that inspired me to pick up a guitar and start playing, and in my teens I must have listened to it hundreds of times. But I’ve not sat down and listened to the whole thing as an album in a decade at least. I decided not to include it in favour of things that I still listen to regularly, but if the list were of albums that have meant the most to me, no question it would have to be in there.
Most of the records on my list I bought in my twenties. The one that’s newest, to me, is also the most recent, Hem’s Rabbit Songs, which I love for personal as well as musical reasons. The ones I’ve been listening to longest, Dust and Murmur, I first heard as a teenager in the 1990s, and I still hear new, fresh details in them each time I listen.
Top of the list, my two favourites, are Judee and Joni. I’ve written about both records here before. In fact, I’ve written about songs from most of these albums, if not the full albums themselves. Click on the links below for detailed thoughts.
- Judee Sill – Judee Sill
- The Hissing of Summer Lawns – Joni Mitchell
- Paul Simon – Paul Simon
- Good Old Boys – Randy Newman
- Murmur – R.E.M.
- Dust – Screaming Trees
- The Band – The Band
- Rabbit Songs – Hem
- The Heart of Saturday Night – Tom Waits
- Fred Neil – Fred Neil
The songs list is a bit less heavy on singer-songwriters and has more soul, funk and disco. For whatever reason, I’ve never found those musical forms as satisfying at album length, but maybe that’s down the road for me. Unsurprisingly, I’ve written about every single one of these here.
- Native New Yorker – Odyssey
- Didn’t I Blow Your Mind (This Time) – The Delfonics
- She’s Gone – Hall & Oates
- Silver Threads & Golden Needles – Fotheringay
- Stormy Weather – Nina Nastasia
- Tennessee Jed – Grateful Dead
- What You Won’t Do For Love – Bobby Caldwell
- What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
- Someone to Watch Over Me – Blossom Dearie
- Rock With You – Michael Jackson