My 20 Favorite Albums

10 Jun

20. In Rainbows/Radiohead
I actually made this list backwards, and surprised myself with the amount of Radiohead on here. It makes sense, though, because nobody can make an album an album quite like they can.  I’ve omitted so many bands that I love, but I just can’t justify putting their imperfect albums with a bunch of great songs in front of In Rainbows. Similarly, this could be The Arcade Fire’s Funeral, but that album doesn’t have quite the emotional punch for me. More than any Radiohead’s there other albums, In Rainbows drawn you in and scares you with how close you’re getting. It’s always a good time.                      
(favorite track: Nude)

19. Give Up/The Postal Service
I don’t know if I can write this thing now due to I’m now remembering performing Such Great Heights (Track 2) in the 7th grade talent show with my best friend under the band name “The Cuties”. Like the fruit. I’m not sure if I’m embarrassed by this. Anyways, Give Up. I’ve heard people say that they like this better than anything Death Cab. I can’t agree with that, but it’s definitely some of Mercer’s best work. Give Up was also my first experience with electronica, and sort of blew my mind for that reason.
(favorite track: Such Great Heights and We Will Become Silhouettes are tied…)

18. Weathervanes/The Freelance Whales
The Freelance Whales are the most charming mix of indie pop and electronica. After listening to Weathervanes a few times, I was thrilled to discover that there was much more to these songs than just the catchy tunes. The whole album works perfectly as a whole, and this maybe the only album that I can listen to more than 5 times in a row without getting sick of it or exhausted. That’s saying a hell of a lot of anything with “pop” anywhere in its genre.                                                   
(favorite track: Broken Horse)

17. Wish You Were Here/Pink Floyd
I knew the title track off Wish You Were Here long before anything else. This is sort sad to me now, considering how much cooler that song is in the context of the album. Pink Floyd’s lyrics are incredible as usual, and the guitar on here is crazy.
(favorite track: Wish You Were Here)

16. Noble Beast/Andrew Bird
Andrew Bird whistles, sings and plays like 4 instruments, all of which he does perfectly. Aaaaaandrewwww. Be my best friend. His style’s not really different or anything, it’s just better than ANYTHING in indie music (except, you know, the Shins). Armchair Apocrypha is perfect too, but I just don’t know it well enough yet to make it top 20. It will probably get there. I’ve heard he’s incredible live, too. Oh my gosh, I really want to see that.
(favorite track: Souverian)

15. Houses Of The Holy/Led Zeppelin
I get that this is kind of a weird favorite Zeppelin album to have, but it’s the one with the majority of my favorite Zeppelin songs. I also feel like it has the perfect mix (for me) of hard rock and lighter, blues-y moments. Like a lot of other stuff on here, I didn’t like this album at first because it wasn’t like what I was used to, but the individuality of it eventually made me love it much more than if it was generic. Also, watching The Song Remains The Same (the movie) made me fall in love with Robert Plant, so that doesn’t hurt either. 
(favorite track: Dancing Days)

14. Wincing The Night Away/The Shins
Ah, Wincing The Night Away. This album is pretty much the reason why I decided to befriend the person who then became my best friend for 5 years.”You like the Shins? Okay, now I’ve decided that I love you and am going to tell you everything about everything I’ve ever thought about ever.” Even now, it makes perfect sense to me. You can’t have a functioning friendship without dance parties, and you can’t have dance parties without fantastic dance music, like The Shins’ Australia. So.                                                                                                                                                                                             (favorite track: Australia)

13. Abbey Road/The Beatles
Abbey Road is cool because the whole second half is like one long song with a constantly changing melody. I can’t think of another band that could possibly do this half as well. My dad also summed up my love for Abbey Road with the following; “I think it’s fantastic how you can be singing about being in love with a girl one moment, and the next moment you’re singing about a creepy kid who beats people to death. That’s what I love about The Beatles.
(favorite track: Maxwell’s Silver Hammer)

12. For Emma, Forever Ago/Bon Iver
There’s a line in re: Stacks (Track 11) that goes “everything that happens, is from now on”. For several months, this was my motto. I didn’t listen to any music that reminded me of anything or anyone. I mostly just listened to For Emma. This was something that I very much needed, and this was very much the perfect album for it. For Emma doesn’t have a single track on it that I don’t love, and includes some of the most gorgeous songs I have ever heard, including Skinny Love and the title track.
(favorite track: re:Stacks)

11. Parachutes/Coldplay
If my life was music, it would be a very long version of Parachutes.  This is as close as I will ever get to admitting that early Coldplay is not the most interesting thing ever. I don’t even care. I love Chris’ voice so much, and these songs are basically designed so that he can show it off. Don’t hate on his falsetto, people. It’s beautiful.
(favorite track: Shiver)

10. We Have The Facts And We’re Voting Yes/Death Cab For Cutie
This is the perfect fall album. This and Modest Mouse’s The Moon and Antarctica. If you have them both, you’re set. I tend to not be able to stop talking about this album, so if you really care, you can read this thing.
(favorite track: Scientist Studies)

9. Graceland/Paul Simon
Graceland is both the album and song most played on our family iTunes (my dad, brother, and I). We just put it on repeat during road trips, and my brother would play Graceland and You Can Call Me Al over and over and over. It’s really upbeat, and also very musically interesting because it has all these cool African influences. Needless to say, it also brings back a lot of great memories.
(favorite track: The Boy In The Bubble)

8. OK Computer/Radiohead
The first time I listened to OK Computer, my thought process was something along the lines of “This is not music. This sucks. I hate this.” Luckily, my step-dad told me to/made me listen to it 4 more times before deleting it off my computer, and GOOD LORD. It really IS music! Insanely awesome music at that! Thus began my summer-long decoding of the themes, and boring the hell out of my friends and family. If anyone ever wants to have a 3-hour conversation about the state of modern society as presented in OK Computer, I will definitely completely not object.
(favorite track: No Surprises)

7. The Suburbs/Arcade Fire
Here’s a fun question for discussion; has the Arcade Fire ever made anything that isn’t perfect? I mean, I guess Neon Bible isn’t, but it’s still damn close. I could go on (and on) about this album, and in fact I have, so I won’t do it again.
(favorite track: Wasted Hours)

6. Rainy Day Music/The Jayhawks
I actually hated this album when I first heard it (sometime around 2007) because this was during my “I’m-listening-to-cool-music-like-Daniel-Powter-and-Sara-Barilles” phase. Luckily, my dad played it incessantly and made constant comments about how much he loved it and how I should too. I tried to fight it, but couldn’t, because… so… good. Since 2008ish, my dad and I have been singing along to Rainy Day Music with ridiculous amounts of enthusiasm, often driving around the block several times before going home so that we can listen to our favorite parts.
(favorite track: Angelyne)

5. Pretty Paper/Willy Nelson
Here’s my WTF pick; it’s Willy Nelson and it’s Christmas music. There’s an explanation, though. I’ve always had issues with falling asleep due to anxiety. Between the ages of 3 and 5 I would listen to this almost every night, year round. I absolutely could not fall asleep without hearing the entire album. It makes sense, too, because Christmas is when everyone was happy and nice, and Christmas was when things were good. Besides still having a really strong connection to this album musically (though I only listen to it at Christmastime now), it reminds me of what music can do. It can change my mindset and my mood. It can make me ridiculously sad or comfortably happy, and I think that’s one of the most wonderful things in the world.
(favorite track: Pretty Paper)

4. Viva La Vida (Prospekt’s March Edition)/Coldplay
This was my first ever Coldplay album, and what got me into Coldplay (as well as my love/hate relationship with Chris Martin…). Coldplay and I have been through a lot together since 2008, to say the very least. After learning all of their older music, I definitely had a greater appreciation for the direction that they went with this album. Viva La Vida is more upbeat, more varied, generally more interesting. While I’m a huge fan of older Coldplay, I’m so glad I started here.
(favorite track: Strawberry Swing)

3. Kid A/Radiohead
I’ve heard people say that Kid A is basically emotional acupuncture. It just sort of hits you everywhere, and by the time the album’s over, you feel strangely different. This is very true. Kid A is like absolutely no other album, and makes me feel things that nothing else in the world can. It also scared the crap out of me when I first heard it, but it’s slowly become one of the most comforting albums I can think of. I can’t listen to it around other people, though. It just makes me too uneasy.
(favorite track: Ideoteque)

2. Oh, Inverted World/The Shins
For being this high on my list, my love for Oh, Inverted World is not very (melo)dramatic. This is the album that I listen to when I need to calm down (which is, um, a lot). I think that’s the best way to describe this album, really. It’s calm and simple and beautiful, and I never get sick of it. I makes me sort of trance out and go on the fantastic journey that is this album. Towards the end of The Past and Pending (track 11), I start to feel sad because it’s like waking up from a really beautiful dream. You’re in meadow with someone who you love more than anyone else. The sky is orange and pink as the sun goes down, and you’re walking down a dusty path away from all of it. It’s so heart wrenching that it’s actually made me cry several times (okay, can’t avoid the melodrama). There is definitely a place this album takes me. I also love it because it’s the only one on this list that is completely and entirely my own.
(favorite track: New Slang)

1. The Wall/Pink Floyd
Every album on this list changed the way I see music, but no album changed the way I see life like The Wall. This album quite literally marks the end of what I consider my childhood, which is both scary and a little sad. I can honestly say that there is no other piece of music that I’ve connected with like this, nor any other piece of music that I’ve ever been quite as obsessed with (though if anything could come close it would be OK Computer). I’m constantly amazed by the production (for instance, the perfectly timed background noises), as well as the flawless instrumentation and the way the album flows seamlessly from start to finish. I could go on and on about this album, or why I like it better than The Dark Side of The Moon, but none of it will make any sense. I can’t explain what it was about hearing The Wall (it was probably mostly the timing of it), but this album has become a huge part of who I am and how I see the entire world.
(favorite tracks: Goodbye Blue Sky, One Of My Turns, Nobody Home)

Total credit for this idea and font and everything else goes to Peter, who should have a WordPress (as WordPress is obviously the best blogging site), but sadly does not. Therefore, we have to resort to linking rather than reblogging.

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7 Responses to “My 20 Favorite Albums”

  1. The Other Category June 10, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

    The Wall. . . . such a classic. This is really great list!

    • notesonlifefrommyplasticturtlehankandi June 10, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

      Thanks Katie! You should make one too! I’m really interrested to see what kind of music you like (besides Billy Joel, of course!). Also, are you out of school yet? The Chanches should roadtrip to visit you! So many exclaimation points!

      • The Other Category June 10, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

        It’s our last week! I’m on the internet as a way to procrastinate from studying for finals tomorrow 😉

  2. Peter Vilardi June 11, 2013 at 12:41 am #

    very good list! glad you were inspired to do it! and i would actually love to have a discussion on OK Computer anytime haha

  3. Andy July 1, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    This is a ridiculously good list. I can’t stop reading it over and over again.

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