Music   

 

 

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g' rendition of 

Stupid Lists

Essential Albums

according to LouV

A local alternative radio station, WFUV, had an "essential album" subscription drive this year -- listeners shared their list of "essential albums" with their DJ's, and their DJ's shared their's with listeners, and played a song or two off the albums that people submitted, over a week's time period. 

Well they didn't play any of mine. I didn't give them any money for their subscription drive, so I guess we're even. 

Then they posted the list of 'essential albums' that each of their DJ's came up with, and the cumulative list of top 90 essential albums that fans submitted. None of mine made the top 90 either; you probably needed two votes on an album to have it listed. I should've voted twice. 

Oddly enough, the most interesting list was that of their webmaster; their DJ's listed the same old albums that have been played ad infinitum by radio stations through the decades. Not bad albums; but after listening to Abbey Road one billion fucking times, how many more times can you listen to it? It can't be that 'essential albums' for the most part stopped being made in 1976 can it? You would think so after seeing their lists.

Here's my list, as I submitted it to WFUV. Essential albums, according to me. You can send me your essential albums list and paperbacknovel.com will publish it. Swear to god. You don't have to send us any money either.

 

Lost in Space -- Aimee Mann

The quintessential Aimee Mann album. Spacy, great lyrics, love her intonations; the way she sings a song. Name me another female artist who writes an album about space! (even though her Lost in Space isn't quite the same as Pink Floyd's). I love all of Mann's albums, but I'd say I love this one the most.

 

Ghost of You -- MaryAnne Marino

Marino is the new breed of 'city folk' artists (even though she doesn't get played on your radio station). Her song "Conversation" is one of the best folk compositions of the last 30 years; "Subway" the quintessential city folk song. "Solitaire", It's Great", and "Goodbye My Love" other favorite songs. And then you have Marino's silky smooth, powerful voice. A lot of fun. I've listened to this album over 500 times probably; as much as any record in my record collection, or more.

 

Has Been -- William Shatner

A gem of our time, Shatner, writes down essentially his life story, his autobiography, and Ben Folds puts it to music. And they get some of the best artists in the industry today to duet with Bill. The album will make you laugh, make you cry, fill you with melancholy; it is wistful, silly, fun, and rockin. One of the best albums of the last 10 years. Joe Jackson is exceptional. Aimee Mann perfect (as the voice of one of his daughters). I've listened to this album over and over and over, even a year after first listening; it holds true.

 

SuperUnknown -- Soundgarden

First time I heard this album was on the radio as I was driving on the dark roads of Massachusetts one night -- the radio station played it through and through. The album BLEW ME AWAY. And still does today.  

 

Physical Graffiti -- Led Zeppelin

It all starts with Zeppelin for me. First time I heard Kashmir, I said to myself, that's a damn good song. Second time I heard it I said to myself, wow. Third time I heard it I ran out and bought this album. I was like 12. To me this may be the greatest album of all-time. Two record set of the 'definitive diz-buster heavy metal band'. The melodies! The folk! The rock! The rockin folky melodies! Page's guitar and Plant's canibal yell.

More

That was the list I submitted, and my reasoning for each one. I have many more essential albums -- I'll keep adding more as they come to me, so keep checking back. Or send me your list already.

Here's more, in no particular order -- guaranteed you will put these albums on over and over and over again.

  

Fun House -- The Stooges

The definitive straight-up, hard-driving, blues-based rock-and-roll record. Maybe the best rock-and-roll record of all time. Infectious energy. Incredible psychedelic blues guitar riffs. Iggy Pop is god.

 

Sleep and Dream of Fire -- Sequoya

From out of the DIY (Do It Yourself) scene and the Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina belt, one of the best albums of the new century. It is great American folk music, sometimes hard driving, sometimes soft, but always melodic, thoughtful, and thought-provoking, with a haunting female lead vocal. Great music, great lyrics, unique topics; Sequoya is making some of the best music being made today.

 

The Rising -- Bruce Springsteen

Springsteen was the first major artist to attempt to put into music a response to the September 11th, 2001 devastation of the World Trade Center towers. It was a very difficult and touchy subject at a very difficult time, and he nailed it. He summed up the day, the feelings of those involved, even the feeling one got afterwards of the view of the 'empty sky'. Springsteen puts you in the shoes of the unknowing husband or wife waiting and hoping for their partner to return. The album is sad and inspirational and melodic and rocking; it reaches out a hand and brings in arabic music to help us remember we are all one people. It is Springsteen at his best; a poet representing the common man and woman. One of the great albums of all time.

 

  

The WIld, the Innocent, and the E-Street Shuffle -- Bruce Springsteen

The imagery in the lyrics of the young poet Bruce Springsteen is phenomenal on this album; as are the melodies and the energy and the passion.

 

  

1,000 Kisses -- Patti Griffin

So pretty, so melodic -- this whole album. It is a gentle kiss of an album. One thousand gentle kisses.

 

 The Velvet Underground and Nico

I always thought Lou Reed was a poor man's Bob Dylan until I listened to this album. In some ways it was the other way around, especially when forging electric psychedelic, distortion-based blues rock and roll. Reed is the street-wise poet in the back alley with the needles on the floor, and Nico is singing her deep, bleak vocals from the drug-laden tenement apartment on the first floor.

 

Nevermind -- Nirvana

Every rock-and-roll fan that was alive in 1991 remembers where they were when they first heard Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit". I was driving in my car in Brooklyn, and they came on the radio. God Damn -- finally -- powerful, stripped-down, passionate rock-and-roll; and you just knew that this music was going to blow the crap that had been playing on the radio (hair bands of the eighties with costumes and synthesizers and over production.) off the radio.

 

A Mexico, Con Amore -- Jose Feliciano

I've had a lifelong grudge against Jose Feliciano for covering the Doors Light My Fire while it was still on the charts. I was ignorant and naive. Jose is one of the great guitar players of the last 50 years; a fabulous classical guitar player. Youtube has unearthed this. Jose sings some of the great, classic Mexican songs on this album, and plays guitar. Fabulous album. The music is so good. 

 

Blood on the Tracks -- Bob Dylan

Early one morning the sun was rising; I was laying in bed. Dylan at his story-telling best and the music gets right to you.

 

  

Dark Side of the Moon -- Pink Floyd

Turn out the lights, put the volume of the stereo way up high, and take a journey through space, in your mind.

 

  

Elephant -- The White Stripes

Jack White continues the tradition of Iggy Pop and the Stooges with passionate, blues-driven, psychedelic, hard-driving rock and roll.

 

Joni Mitchell Ladies of the Canyon, oincludes "For Fee", "Conversation", Big Yellow Taxi, Woodstock