SOSxx reviews: My favourite albums ever

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Jan 25 2009, 20h38

This journal is pretty much me discussing my favourite albums, and my favourite tracks from each. I think I have a pretty eclectic taste - although my plays for certain artists would beg to differ - and so I hope there's a wide variety here. I also wouldn't mind some recommendations, and I'd like to think that someone out there will enjoy these albums as much as I do.


Fleetwood Mac - Tango in the Night (1987)


I've already done a track-by-track review of this album, but as it's one of my favourite ever ever albums, I felt I must include it.

This was the last album Lindsey Buckingham did with Fleetwood Mac until 2003's Say You Will, and he certainly went out with a bang. It's one of the few albums I can listen to wholly, and love absolutely every track. One of the few albums of the eighties to use synthesisers effectively - and I love synths - and so different to anything Fleetwood Mac have done before or since, it's absolutely amazing. It also strongly reminds me of being a small child and my mam playing this to death.

Best Cuts
Big Love
Seven Wonders
Little Lies
Tango in the Night
Isn't It Midnight


Fleetwood Mac - Tusk (1979)


Aah, Tusk. After the soaring success of Rumours (to the extent where even my generation know most of the songs off that album), where else could Fleetwood Mac go? I know, let's put the group's resident eccentric Lindsey Buckingham in charge of production, let him have nine songs and let him create cocaine fuelled, fragmented brilliance. However, despite his craftmanship on this album, it's really the one which Stevie Nicks rules. Her contributions could pretty much fill the best cuts I'm doing for each of this albums, as they're flawless. However, I'll limit to three songs by her.

Two warnings, however -
1) To get the full magnificence of this album, I recommend listening to it the whole way through.
2) It's not something for everyone. Sure, it has it's moments where the songs can transcend all taste - Sara in particular - but it is something you will either love or loathe.

Best Cuts
Sara - probably one of the most beautiful songs ever.
Beautiful Child
Sisters of the Moon
Tusk
Brown Eyes


Kate Bush - The Dreaming (1982)


To me, this is Kate Bush's Tusk. She had the success of Never for Ever to follow, and instead she went for something completely different. The structure of the songs, the obsessive production and the sometimes manic vocals remind me of the former. This led me to the conclusion she was heavily influenced by it. That's not to say it's a replica, because Kate Bush can never be compared to anyone.

Once again, it's not something that will be liked by everyone. But if you do like it, you will love it. The atmosphere is dark, and it's great for night time playing. But this is Kate Bush at her most creative and most weird. Plus, her voice sounds great.

Best Cuts
Night of the Swallow
Get Out of My House
Leave It Open
Sat in Your Lap
Pull Out the Pin


Kate Bush - Hounds of Love (1985)


Most people would consider this Kate Bush's definitive album, and it is sheer perfection. The first half is more 'commercial' (if you could ever call a Kate Bush album such a thing) whilst the second is a concept piece, about someone's night in the water and their life flashing before them. It's the second half that makes me love this album though, despite it having my favourite Kate Bush song ever on the first half: Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God).

For anyone just starting off listening to Kate Bush, this is the album to begin with. It sounds so modern now, and the intricacy of the songs makes them the more beautiful. I've also tried not to take apart the second half of the album, because it's better to listen to it from start to finish.

Best Cuts
Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)
Hounds of Love
Cloudbusting
Watching You Without Me
Waking the Witch


Stevie Nicks - The Wild Heart (1983)


This is the second album Stevie Nicks released as a solo artist, two years after her debut Bella Donna. In all truthfulness, it doesn't break loads of new ground for her in comparison to the former album, except perhaps in the inclusion of synthesisers. However, this is an incredibly strong album. Her voice sounds amazing throughout, the harmonies she creates with Lori Nicks (at the time Perry) and Sharon Celani are gorgeous and it includes my all-time favourite solo Stevie song, Beauty and the Beast. It's a great rock album, with some of Stevie's strongest tracks to date on it.

Best Cuts
Beauty and the Beast
Nothing Ever Changes
Stand Back
Nightbird
If Anyone Falls


Roxy Music - Avalon (1982)


By the eighties, Roxy Music had moved on to a more smooth, "sophisticated" sound in comparison to their earlier albums. Think sunsets, romantic walks on the beach, dinner dates... you get the picture. Bryan Ferry used this style later in his solo work, but throughout this album are ambient landscapes and lush sounds. However, Bryan performs brilliantly through this album with his vocals and song-writing. It is probably the most cohesive album in the entire Roxy Music catologue, and the most accessible. It's a truly magnificent album that deserves to be the only Roxy Music album to go platinum in the US.

Best Cuts
To Turn You On
True to Life
Avalon
While My Heart Is Still Beating
More Than This


Peter Gabriel - So (1986)


Like whom I consider to be his ultimate peer, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel released what is considered by many critics to be his masterpiece with "So". His highest selling album to date, I feel this is Peter's most accessible album. Of course, this does not detract from the extremely high quality of the songs or the creative energy within it.

The album incorporates lots of different areas of music, from jazz to African, but manages to still sound cohesive. The lyrics are well-written and thoughtful, reflecting on many different subject areas. And of course, Kate Bush is featured in a heart-wrenching duet about suffering through hardships in life and work.

Best Cuts
Red Rain
Sledgehammer
Don't Give Up
Mercy Street
In Your Eyes


Tori Amos - From the Choirgirl Hotel (1998)


This album, to me, marked Tori Amos taking a different direction with her music. She no longer relied so heavily on the piano carrying the songs, but she began to carry them herself and allow other instruments to intigrate with it. I think in some respects this is probably her most difficult album, particularly considering the subject matter and time-frame.

Tori Amos as an artist focuses heavily on women's roles in society, and turning them on their head. This album is no exception, but it is so melancholy particularly as she had just suffered miscarriages. Spark focuses on this in particular, and the suffering is so poignant some could consider it difficult to listen to. I love this album though, because I feel it is Tori's most fully realised, the concept is there and its cohesive, with a narrative running throughout.

Best Cuts
Spark
Black-Dove (January)
Raspberry Swirl
Jackie's Strength
i i e e e


Bat for Lashes - Two Suns (2009)


I consider Two Suns to be the album of 2009, and one of the most original pieces of work ever made. Natasha Khan focuses heavily on visual elements and by translating these very well into music, she creates landscapes that the listener feels a part of. This album seems to be a tribal world, almost an alternate universe which her alter-ego, Pearl, travels through until death - The Big Sleep.

This may all seem very new-age and kitsch, but Natasha manages to throw away the clichés and with the slick production, her job is completed very well. I was watching an interview where she said that she used random objects and parts of her body for percussion, which in my opinion brings the album down-to-earth slightly, so it doesn't go completely over the top of the listener's head.

Best Cuts
Glass
Daniel
Siren Song
Two Planets
Travelling Woman


Garbage - Version 2.0 (1998)


This album encapsulates Garbage's greatest strength as a musical outlet: they don't sound like anyone else. They've created a sonic experience that is unique. It's a sublime mixture of pop, rock, alternative, electronica, dance and even at times hip-hop and R&B. They're not afraid to use dense production or catchy hooks but don't compromise themselves with mediocre lyrics either. When I was little I remember watching "Top of the Pops" and seeing Shirley Manson's face week on week, or so it seemed. If you've ever listened to this album, you'll know why. If you haven't, you need to.

Shirley Manson's voice has never sounded more harrowing or silky. She has the rare ability to portray thousands of different emotions in just one word, as well as the talent of expressing emotions for the "misfits" and self-doubting so eloquently. For what began as essentially an "experiment" became a musical movement. In 1998, Garbage were everywhere. This album earned them that right.

Best Cuts
Push It
I Think I'm Paranoid
Medication
You Look So Fine
When I Grow Up

Comentários

  • retro_trash

    sterling taste! if i might say so myself! avalon is so beautiful, its deffo the album that made me fall in love with roxy, i wish i had more childhood musical memories mine wud probs b stevie wonder, the carpenters, david bowie, & the eurythmics

    Mai 29 2009, 23h15
  • _KevMusic_

    Wow. Nice one.

    Jul 20 2009, 15h39
  • sameoldscenexx

    I've always preferred "The Wild Heart", I mean I adore "Bella Donna", it's a magnificent album but I have far too much Stevie on here anyway. I might do a write-up about it at some point.

    Set 10 2009, 19h16
  • sushiflower9

    So is just timeless. You could seemingly place that album in any decade since it's release and it would still be fresh. I'm so happy that it was one of the first albums I was exposed to when I was young. I'm slowly, but surely, going through Peter Gabriel's music and man, he is a genius!

    Set 11 2009, 4h14
  • ghostdog75

    I finally got around to getting Trouble In Shangri-La and it's pretty solid too.

    Out 29 2009, 2h56
  • jumpinatshadows

    Good picks! When I first bought The Wild Heart, I'd only heard Bella Donna, a few FM albums, maybe Enchanted and the synths wore on me, songs mostly weren't memorable. So it took years before I appreciated the splendor of Stevie's voice, the beauty of her vocal melodies, and the poetry of the lyrics I'd previously thought of as flowery. My favorite Stevie record has cycled between Bella Donna, Rock A Little, The Wild Heart, currently The Other Side of the Mirror. Street Angel & Trouble in Shangri-La have been given many listens too of course. To be a Stevie fan is to in the words of Severin, enact " a screenplay of discipline and devotion." ;-P

    Nov 21 2009, 21h58
  • dirtybeatsinc

    running up that hill is a great song, placebo did a great cover of it as well...peter gabriel's "in your eyes" is a timeless masterpiece..digging in the dirt is a great song as well (from the 90's). great list miss

    Dez 1 2009, 1h24
  • lamblung

    Wow, you're a really good writer. I hope you become a professional music critic, that is, if you're not one already. I've seen your comments before on last.fm and always enjoy your insights. Guess we listen to lots of the same music, except that I'm not as into Fleetwood Mac. Glad you included Two Suns in your picks:)

    Jan 10 2010, 1h57
  • DarkGerudo

    great list, and nice to see "the wild heart" instead of the overrated "bella donna" album. try out blondie's "eat to the beat" album and "the family jewels" by marina and the diamonds :)

    Mar 1 2011, 19h26
  • cbecrad

    Very nice and interesting choices. Cool to see Choirgirl on there.

    Jun 19 2011, 5h57
  • sameoldscenexx

    I desperately need to finish this!

    Jun 20 2011, 0h22
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