Tuesday, January 7, 2020

AM's Top Ten For the Moment


When we have guests on the iHeart radio program, I often ask for influences and favorite LPs. Because of this, I found that when people list their top five or 10 albums, there are always a few surprises; albums I've never even heard, or maybe never paid attention to.

The following, therefore, is my top 10, at least for the moment. I hope they will inspire you to listen to those albums you’ve never heard, and I also hope that you'll provide your top 10 in the comments so that I may discover something new as well.

Joni Mitchell - Blue*
Kate Bush - The Hounds of Love*
Sergeant Pepper
The Cure - Disintegration
Jack’s Mannequin - Everything in Transit
Dark Side of the Moon*
The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds*
Weezer - Blue Album
Copeland - Beneath Medicine Tree
Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy

Are these the greatest LPs ever recorded? Some of them (*). Some are just favorites. There is always room for another LP.

I go back and forth between Blue and Court and Spark as my favorite Joni, but also constantly have on the turntable Hejira, Ladies of the Canyon and For the Roses. So, my favorites are everchanging, but Blue is a perfect AM10 of an LP. Court and Spark to me is flawed only for personal reasons (not a fan of "Raised on Robbery" as being of the caliber of the song suite that begins with "People's Parties" and ends with "Just Like This Train," which is perfect, indeed).

The Hounds of Love and Disintegration are examples of just how sublime the 80s could be, when it wanted. Retrospectively, as much as the era encompassed my informative/club years, I dismiss, these days, the everpresent drum machine with its impeccable and lifeless precision, but there's none of that with The Cure and Bush's experimental use of the Fairlight defines the era. Obviously, when creating a list of only ten examples, LPs get left out. Ordinarily, the list would contain The Smiths' God Save the Queen, but, just 'cuz, I'm not listening to The Smiths right now. Same for New Order and Velvet Underground and Bowie.

No, not blurry; just old and
tattooed on my crepe-paper
arm. "So we beat on, boats
against the current, borne back
ceaselessly into the past."
Dark Side never gets old, and today, I cannot even listen to "Time" without breaking into tears. Sgt. Pepper is my lifelong companion, but I don't necessarily find it flawless; indeed, despite The Beatles' impact on my life, no Beatles' LP is flawless. There are songs that aren't my favorites, but no song to me should be tossed to the side - maybe a cover or two and yet... Pepper is like The Great Gatsby, also flawed (and I have the last line of Gatsby tattooed on my arm - to emphasize its importance) in that it is not just a pleasure, but an LP that I study and read about. I have the same passion for Pet Sounds.

Jack's Mannequin, Weezer and Copeland are the more modern LPs that impact me in the same way that Pepper does and are constantly on my turntable. Houses of the Holy is a go-to that I've been going to a lot lately, but it's one that will fall off the list occasionally or get replaced by LZ4.

How did I create this list? Off the top of my head. If I've forgotten something, it means I'm not actively listening to it right now. I created the list yesterday; today I realized that I left out Joy Division and Death Cab and any jazz or Every Picture Tells a Story or The Moody Blues and Talking Heads and Peter Gabriel and Yes and - you get the point.

Join us on Facebook and leave me your Top 10 - what am I missing? What have I overlooked?

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