Top Ten Albums of All Time
I won’t claim that my collection holds the greatest albums of all time, only the albums that have been the soundtrack to my life so far. I’ve only been knocking about for twenty-two years and these are some of the most important to me, the ones that changed my life once I heard them.
Nevermind - Nirvana
Talking of life-changing, when I was twelve my mum’s boyfriend handed me his guitar and although he tried to point me in the direction of David Bowie, I learned the entire Nirvana discography, back to front. I was hanging around with older kids at school who all had their own bands and I remember thinking it was the coolest thing. I was so into Nirvana and I’m surprised I didn’t wear a hole in Nevermind. I’d never heard anything like it before, nor have I to this day.
I don’t think I’ve ever known a more consummate album, I declare Illinoise a masterpiece! Our very own Friday Zach introduced me to Sufjan and this terrific album; combined I think we’ve listened to it more than Sufjan himself. I find the whole album so atmospheric and intricate, telling many wonderful abstract stories about people and places in the state of Illinois. I am a sucker for concept albums. At 73:59 minutes it’s just the right length to make me want to play it from the beginning once it finishes! I will promote this album to anyone and EVERYONE.
This is simply my favourite soundtrack of all time, and usually I give all my OST credit to Tarantino but the Coen Brothers cannot be beaten with this compilation. This is one of the albums I specifically mean that changed my life; these songs shaped how I thought of music and opened my heart to the country, bluegrass and spiritual genres. There are appearances from glorious musicians such as Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris and The Cox Family; all of which have had a huge impact on how I write songs, play guitar and use my voice.
Top Track (seriously difficult decision) - O’ Death (Ralph Stanley, Traditional)
Sam’s Town - The Killers
I don’t care that everyone reckons Sam’s Town is nothing compared to Hot Fuss, I think it is an incredible album and more of an all-rounder than the previous. Then again, I’ve loved everything The Killers have ever done and they’re usually my answer when I’m asked what my favourite band is. The sound of this album is simply fabulous (which is a word I usually hate, but it’s apt here) and glittery. I know every single word on Sam’s Town and it includes one of my favourite songs of all time:
This feels like a relatively new addition to my desert island discs but there is something I’ve always found so homely about Johnny’s songs. When I first heard A Larum it was like I was being reminded to not forget my English roots and since then I have embraced the Anglo side of folk in my writing a lot more. He writes like an ancient spirit that favours the Shakespearean era of drama and I’d never known such beautiful lyricism like it.
I could have included all the Nirvana albums in this list but this one is probably my favourite album of all time. I spent many hours listening to this when I was a teenager and I don’t think there is an album that has shaped my taste in music more than this album. These days I try to listen to it as little as possible as to preserve the magic I’ve always felt listening to it. I love all the covers they did and I’ve purposely never sought to hear the originals because their cranky renditions are perfect. Over all, however, without a shadow of a doubt:
When I’m singing, I have to make a conscious effort to not completely imitate Leslie Feist because she has my favourite female voice. So delicate and pure, with such power and soul. The first time time I heard The Reminder I was walking through a park in the Autumn, having just left the first funeral I’d ever been to. There was something so soothing and completing about Feist and my mood that day; I would name The Park as my favourite song on this album, for the pure delicacy of it, but I have sung So Sorry enough times to feel like it is almost one of my own; it’s a song I can really feel when I sing it.
Top Track - So Sorry
Play - Moby
My love of Moby is all thanks to my mum. Play reminds me of car journeys because I remember that being the only time she’d really play music. This album is so perfectly 90s yet it’s always felt timeless to me and I can’t imagine ever regarding it as dated. The first time I went to Glastonbury (2002) Moby was headlining the Pyramid Stage and he absolutely blew my mind; I’d never really been to a live gig until that weekend and to witness such a huge force as Moby, live, at the peak of his career, must have jump started my passion and endless pursuit for taking to the stage.
I must say that I wish In This World was part of this album because it is one of the defining tracks of my Moby love. But here is the most nostalgic track for me (even though all of them propel me back to the 1990s):
Top Track - Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad
Kala - M.I.A.
Again, a life-changing album. Hearing M.I.A. for the first time was literally the instantaneous switch between anything I’d listened before and would again. I remember hearing part of Paper Planes at about 3am on Radio 1 and thinking what a strikingly original tune it was, but I didn’t catch the name or the artist so I had to just keep my ears open and hope I’d catch it again!
Top Track (of course) - Paper Planes
For Emma, Forever Ago - Bon Iver
I don’t even know where to begin with talking about this album. All I can ever say is that it is the closest thing to perfect music I know. I checked out For Emma as soon as I read a newspaper article about this bearded chap who had spent three solitary months out in a cabin and returned with an unspeakably beautiful album. I soon got to see him live in a converted church in Bristol, just before he peaked, where the capacity was 250. I would give my life’s savings to go back to that gig. Tears were streaming down my face through the entire show. I’m pleased this is the last album of my list, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about them.
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- hawkeye39 said: Good selection!