Skip to main content

Top Albums

I got tagged for this on Facebook and I didn't know how to respond. It's supposed to be the albums that mean the most to you, but many people are listing albums which are considered great albums. And I like great albums--I'm not one of those singles only kind of people--but in terms of my top albums I came up at sort of a loss. I didn't spend my money on music in my teenage years and so the list is limited to my favorite artists. So I decided I needed to explain my choices.

1. The Wizard of Oz, original movie soundtrack. What can I say. This movie/album was the end all, be all for me, up to about 7. I had all the books, the play sets, the dolls, I even saw Margaret Hamilton in one of her last performances as the Witch. I wore down the grooves (isn't it nice that that is a thing of the past?).

2. At 8 it was replaced with Camelot (original Broadway recording). It was just the perfect show for me. I read The Once and Future King and The Mists of Avalon and any other Arthurian stuff I could access, good and bad. I still think Alan Jay Lerner was the best lyricist of all time. I read his autobiography, checked out again and again from the library (and still kick myself that I didn't pick it up years later in a bookstore in New York). I loved it's blend of dark and light. Also bubbling under were My Fair Lady and Oliver! which taught me cockney (or the movies version of it). Somewhere in there I also found Cabaret and learned that as well, and Kismet.

3. I didn't listen to rock and roll until I was 12 because my parents didn't listen to it. We listened to Big Bands and Standards and some opera and show tunes. And then at 12 I discovered Duran Duran. But here it gets fuzzy. The album out at that time would have been Duran Duran (original--reissue) with Is There Something I Should Know in constant rotation on both the radio and MTV (when I could view it at friend's houses) and boy, did I love that video, but I also loved Save a Prayer from Rio (although bizarrely missed hearing Rio, the song, for at least six months).

4. And at the same time that I saw Duran Duran's posters in record stores I saw David Bowie for Let's Dance, but I didn't get the cassette until a few years later when a friend gave me hers. And I distinctly remember another friend's older sister playing Young Americans, the 45 for us at some point. Mixed in to that I caught some run of old Bowie videos on Friday Night Videos or some other show. After seeing Ashes to Ashes and Boys Keep Swinging, I was hooked. So is it Let's Dance, Heroes, Scary Monsters, Station to Station? I love Hunky Dory now. But I never owned these albums (they belong to my husband).

5. This same friend's sister played us all of Hounds of Love by Kate Bush when she bought it and I was hooked. I saved up and bought cassettes of every one of Kate's albums to that point because Kate answered something in me. To paraphrase Emily Dickinson, I felt as if the top of my head would come off. I now know that HOL is actually Kate lite, so I would say that it's a tie with The Dreaming. Suspended in 'Gaffa's lines, "Am I doing right, can I have it all now" seem to sum me up so often.

6. Can you remember the first time you saw "Sweet Dreams"? Annie Lennox. I wanted her, or I wanted to be her. The voice, the beauty, the bravery. Saved up, bought Sweet Dreams. Played it over and over.

7. Then too, Savage got me through some high school times--Annie's pain, my pain, Annie's experience, my desire for life.

8. I've mentioned in other posts how Don't You Want Me? by The Human League was one of the first New Wave songs I ever heard and probably one of the first rock and roll songs, but it would be more than 10 years before I heard Dare, the album all the way through. There were numerous bands that I heard then, who's CD's I now own (or downloads), but I couldn't buy them then. I did own Pretty in Pink (soundtrack). It seemed to validate the music that I was listening to.

9. And it got me into the Psychedelic Furs. I found Mirror Moves in a discount bin in a convenience store in Muncie, IN. Years later Should God Forget, the Psychedelic Furs retrospective (double album) would help get me through the worst time in my life.

10. Music for the Masses (Depeche Mode) and 11. Strip-Mine (James). This was the soundtrack to my high school romance. I only got the actual CD's for both of them. I tapped them off of my high school boyfriend and when I went away I stopped listening to them. I missed Strip-Mine the most.

12. Big Thing (Duran Duran). Seven and the Ragged Tiger was not that good--too overproduced and then there was the hiatus and Notorious, while interesting and gritty is still too much Nile Rogers. I think it's on Big Thing that they really matured as a band (by which point no one cared). I listened to Big Thing over and over during Christmas break of my senior year, writing college essays (which were all due on Dec. 31) and an essay for a competition on Atlas Shrugged. Even now, passages of the album will make me think of passages in the book.

13. A Little Night Music (original Broadway album). I don't know why, this one of all Sondheim, maybe the connection to the Bergman film. Maybe just a memory.

14. Gone to Earth (David Sylvian). I remember seeing David's picture in Star Hits at some point, and while I didn't develop a crush on him I thought him so beautiful--almost too beautiful. I know I heard about Gone to Earth at some point, borrowed it from a friend in college, and then played my then boyfriend/now husband's copy over and over. What I've needed from David's lyrics have changed over the years but there's always something there.

15. And the list wouldn't be complete without L'Arc~en~Ciel, my mid-life crisis crush. But the crush is over and the music remains. When I first heard L'Arc, I felt as I did when I first heard Duran or Bowie. That this was necessary. But because I was downloading, and downloading in the twilight of their career, I got a few random songs, and a few more and then whole albums and pretty much the whole discography together. Tierra and Awake remain my favorite albums. And Hyde's own Roentgen deserves a mention, but I cannot say which of those is the most valued.

And just to round it out, another list for which I have not been tagged, but began thinking about anyway:

Songs I could not do without:

1. Forbidden Colours, instrumental--Sakamoto)
2. Forbidden Colours, vocal--Sylvian)
3. Kasou-L'Arc
4. Grey Lady of the Sea--Duran Duran
5. Gymnopedies--Erik Satie
6. Claire de Lune--Debussy
7. Suo Gan--Empire of the Sun soundtrack
8. Suspended in Gaffa--Kate Bush
9. I Love You Goodbye--Thomas Dolby
10. A Drop of Colour--Hyde

I have not been the kind of person who makes mixes--I stress too much about the order, but with my lovely random feature on my mp3 I can pick the songs and let the player order them differently each time. I recently made a big list of "Happiness Songs"--those which make me smile when they begin, even though they may not actually be happy songs (I must be the only person in the world who smiles when they hear Disappointed by PIL or How Soon is Now sung by Richard Butler (Morrissey cover). I then made another list called "Sweeter than Happy" because these songs make me a little sad, but happy in my sadness. All of the above are on there.


musing said…
the crush is over and the music remains

My infatuation for L'Arc has definitely cooled but those "longterm relationship" brain chemicals I once read about have kicked in.

I think I'll always love them. :)
Novel said…

Popular posts from this blog

Driving in Boston

Inching along in a log jam of traffic yesterday on the Mass Pike I watched an Audi a few cars in front of me weave in and out of traffic determined to find the lane that was "moving" and yet for the whole half an hour that we sat there he ended up still only a few cars ahead of me. Sure there were times his lane pulled ahead, but then mine would catch up and he would switch back. The only thing he accomplished was to make the line that much slower. There was a great article that a friend sent me years ago on the physics of traffic and it has been determined that weaving in and out of tight traffic will really gain you nothing and in fact cause the very blockages that you believe you are defying. (Sidenote--an unfortunately side effect of so much of interest on the internet is that it is impossible to store all of the articles that interest you over the years in the vague belief that you will someday want to reference them to others) The article also pointed out that if all d…

Adapting a book--The Prestige

I was completely blown away by the movie of The Prestige, and I thought then about reading the novel, but it seemed too soon. So I carried the author's name around with me for over a year (Christopher Priest) and then, finally remembered to buy it through an odd sequence of events. We watched The Painted Veil based on the novel by Maugham starring Edward Norton, and while I decided I didn't want to read The Painted Veil because of it's differences from the film (which was more romantic and tragic) it reminded me that I had wanted to read Fight Club (the movie version of which starred Edward Norton) and that reminded me that I had wanted to read The Prestige (which did not star Edward Norton, but was up against The Illusionist which did). it's all Edward Norton's fault.

The Prestige is a very good novel, and yet, the movie differs from it considerably. And I am still trying to figure out what exactly that means. The central premise is the same, AND HER…

The end of Cloud Atlas

Feel I must write this--promised it to myself, can I finish before midnight (when I said I would go to bed at 11)?

Where was I?

Oh, yes, section 5, where it gets interesting--because it's the future, at least 25 years, hopefully more. I say hopefully, because I don't want to be living in this future. The section is called "An Orison of Sonmi-451." An Orison (I had to look it up, proving I don't remember my Shakespeare) is a prayer, but in this future world where language has taken as many turns as in Orwell's 1984, it is more a confession or final statement. Sonmi-451 is a clone (as the name might suggest). The section is not entirely original. It owes much to Brave New World and Phillip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (made into the film Bladerunner). I find it interesting that 40 or so years ago--when Dick wrote his book he believed that future slaves would be Androids, replicants. Now we are much more likely to presume they will be clones,…