25 favorite albums

These are albums I love listening to from beginning to end and have a magical appeal no matter the time, place or mood. These are not necessarily the albums I respect the most. In other words: this is a list of what I consider to be my favorite albums—but not, in all cases, what I consider to be the best albums. I’ve listed them in chronological order of discovery (I guess I didn’t discover anything good during college years: 1995-1998.)

01 beatles_abbey-road abbey road the beatles [part of my earliest musical memories—thank you Mom]
All time favorite. The second side of the album is my favorite 22 minutes of popular music recorded.

02 thriller-michael-jackson thriller michael jackson [Dixon 1982, age 5]
Do I need to explain anything? Even if the only song on the album was Wanna Be Startin’ Something, this would be one of my five favorite albums.

03 rem-green-frontal green r.e.m. [Wheaton 1991, age 13]
I have more respect for albums like Murmur and Reckoning, but there’s a very special place in my heart for this album—so many early teen hours spent pouring over these songs and lyrics.

04 big_audio_dynamite_ii_globe_1991_retail_cd-front the globe big audio dynamite II [Wheaton 1992, age 14—thank you Paul Mirek]
A bit embarrassed this is on here while The Clash and Joe Strummer aren’t, but I can’t help but love every minute of this album. Chalk it up to nostalgia and repeat listens on a 14-yr-old mind.

05 album-bang bang! world party [Wheaton 1993, age 15]
Opening band for my first concert ever. This album isn’t so much full of favorite songs as it is full of favorite memories. If fellow World Partier Liz Avery were on facebook, I’d tag her in this note.

06 led_zep_3 III led zeppelin [Oregon 1993, age 15]
I love every song, but Tangerine truly makes this a special album.

07 bjork-debut debut bjork [Wheaton 1993, age 15]
I still distinctly remember lying in my bed in my dark room listening to late night radio on my headphones when I first heard Human Behaviour—I was transported to another planet. I still feel transported every time I listen to this album.

08 pixies-bossanova-frontal bossanova the pixies [Wheaton 1993, age 15—thank you Joel Bergstrom via Seth]
I think I was confused the first time I heard this and the confusion turned into fascination and the fascination turned into obsession and the obsession continues.

09 binarycacheservlet teenager of the year frank black [Wheaton 1994, age 16]
A close second behind Abbey Road for all-time favorite. I can listen to this album in my mind, I know it so well. Strangely, I thought it was horrible the first time I heard it.

10 mybloodyvalentine-loveless loveless my bloody valentine [Wheaton 1994, age 16]
This album was the soundtrack to driving home at night in my parent’s station wagon. It’s been a recurring theme throughout my life. Definite top fiver.

11 2372603452_19e2a5b6df love bites the buzzcocks [Seattle 1999, age 21]
I spent a significant amount of time listening to the Buzzcocks exclusively—I still haven’t met a Buzzcocks song I don’t like.

12 mccartney_hi mccartney paul mccartney [Los Angeles 2000, age 22]
I fell in love with this intimate, beautiful pop when I was 22, but it speaks to me even more so now as a father of a young family. Chad, I love George too, but I love Paul a bit more.

13 5x8ez6c kid a radiohead [Los Angeles 2000, age 22]
I listened to this album exclusively for several months—most of which was spent driving around Hollywood. I love the journey it follows and the breadth and width of the music.

14 603px-i_should_coco i should coco supergrass [Los Angeles 2000, age 22]
The energy and mania builds track after track until you feel like you’ve gone insane with beautiful weirdness—whenever I listen to it, I wonder why I don’t listen to it more often.

15 80822 his ‘n’ hers pulp [San Francisco 2000, age 22—thank you Sarah]
The blissful blend of pop, glam and dance—the soundtrack to my burgeoning love affair with Sarah and San Francisco.

16 2w670x1 discovery daft punk [San Francisco 2001, age 23]
As I’ve probably shown, I have a major soft spot for 80s pop music—this album nestled itself in that soft spot while also taking advantage of my soft spot for sci fi futurism.

17 theviewstore the view eureka farm [San Francisco 2001, age 23—thank you Mary]
I can’t quite tell you why, but I adore this album—it’s in my blood stream. I’ve spent hours upon hours painting while listening to it.

18 chairsmissing chairs missing wire [Chicago 2001, age 23—thank you Melissa Harrington]
Something drew me to this album while staying at Chad & Melissa’s apartment—I was compelled to put it on and was instantly an obsessed fan. I now have all their albums and more—but it all comes back to this album for me.

19 clinic walking with thee clinic [San Francisco 2002, age 24]
This album haunted my mind and makes me feel oddly giddy and moody at the same time—spawned my love for melodica.

20 front-21 real life magazine [San Francisco 2002, age 24]
How can something be so dark and so colorful at the same time? Bubbly, moody, madhouse fun.

21 4f8e124128a0685a4ac88010l the very best of hall & oates hall & oates [Sonoma 2002, age 24]
You know, I detest compilation albums and “best of”s most of all, but I can’t deny the limitless pleasure I get from every single song on this album.

22 cover_22501224102008 roxy music roxy music [Sonoma 2002, age 24]
Everything wonderful about this spectacular band is present in perfect excess on this album.

23 the_chameleons_what_does_anything_mean_basically-front-wwwfreecoversnet what does anything mean? basically the chameleons [Sonoma 2003, age 25]
Gorgeous, just plain gorgeous. I get lost deep within the folds of this album and never want it to end.

24 your_blues-destroyer_480 your blues destroyer [Sonoma 2006, age 28]
I loved this album from the first notes of the first song and my love has not faltered since. We discovered if you watch Portrait of Jennie with the sound off while listening to this album, it syncs up in an eery and beautiful way.

25 album-beast-moans beast moans swan lake [Sonoma 2006, age 29]
Strange, expressionist beauty that weaves so many insanely wonderful elements. I’m moved and inspired every time I listen and consider it an artistic masterpiece—before it was released I had doubts three of my favorite musicians could pull off a supergroup project. They extraordinarily exceeded my expectations.

It’s interesting that a lot of my favorite bands aren’t represented on this list (Bowie, Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, The Cars, Belle & Sebastian, Echo & The Bunnymen, Eno, OMD, Pink Floyd, etc) but I guess while in those instances I love their music, there’s no one particular album that stands out. As well, I left a lot of contemporary favorites (Walkmen, Wolf Parade, Animal Collective, M.I.A., White Stripes, Of Montreal, etc) due to not having a chance to stand the test of time yet. 15 years from now, this list may look different.

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