Monday, September 15, 2008

Searching For the Perfect Album...

A few weeks ago, I was driving out to visit Sid, Andie, Mothra and tiny baby Conan. It's a long drive, babies. But! I have recently discovered podcasts! Did you know that they're free? And that you get them from the nice people at iTunes and you put them on your iPod and it's people talking about interesting things? And it doesn't take up much space at all? Did I mention that they're free? (Yeah, I'm new to this whole thing. And stupid. Shut up.)

A music magazine that I occasionally enjoy, Alternative Press, has a series of podcasts. I got one featuring Gabe Saporta and Ryland Blackinton from the band Cobra Starship. Cobra Starship amuses me greatly; they're what would happen if you threw electronica, pop punk and 80s music into a blender with a handful of glitter. Very light and fun, but musically, fairly solid and their videos are hilarious. ANYWAY. It was a good podcast, they talked about their band (obviously), about music they like and played some interesting stuff I'd never heard (Daft Punk, eh? Tell me more...), about who's better: Nirvana or Weezer (Nirvana. I'm just NEVER going to like Weezer.) and then they got to talking about the internet and downloading and how people download singles and hardly ever purchase a whole album.

Which, yeah. Seriously, the shuffle function was pretty much invented for people like me. I have such a short attention span sometimes and love variety. I have my iPod on shuffle right now, it played "Life On Mars?" by David Bowie followed by Tori Amos' "Spark." Then "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" by The Temptations. (Then "Hey Pretty [Drive By Edit]" by Poe. I could go on...) But I did feel a tad guilty because Saporta was talking about how much work bands put in to arranging their music into the right order and blah. I mean, I'm not going to STOP shuffling, but it got me thinking about what cds I listed to the whole way through. A morning radio show I listen to occasionally has talked about "perfect albums," albums that are so great that you listen to them the whole way through and love every song. There aren't many albums that I listen to the whole way through on a consistent basis, see above re: attention span, but here's a few (And I don't count soundtracks*, Broadway albums or Best Ofs):

  1. Ten**, Pearl Jam: God, this album is still so awesome. I actually have to repurchase this at some point because my second copy got irretrievably scratched. Grr. I think I was 15 or so when this came out? (Ugh, just checked Wikipedia Try 12 years old. Daaaamn.) Every single song on it is awesome, it maintains a mood and flat-out rocks. Honestly, I've not liked any of their other efforts nearly as much.
  2. Operation Mindcrime, Queensryche: You guys, this cd is so great. It will never not be great. I don't know anyone who doesn't love it once they've heard it, especially music-type people. It's a concept album, so it tells a story, but most of the songs can stand on their own and DAMN, it rocks. Whenever I listen to it, I always have to rewind the opening bit of the title song at least three times.
  3. Under the Pink, Tori Amos: I think Little Earthquakes is more of an accomplishment, (There's something so...raw about it.) but I probably enjoy Pink more. I think it's the most accessible of her early stuff. If you want to get someone into Amos' music, (And really, why wouldn't you?) start with this one. It's much smoother, there's less shrieking/hooting and the piano work is stellar. Particularly on "Bells for Her."
  4. The Black Parade, My Chemical Romance: Shut up. You knew this was coming. Listen, it's not the band's fault that most of their fans are emo preteens. Ok, it totally is, never mind. But really, The Black Parade is really terrific. It has some AMAZING guitar work and every single song on it is just great. If you've dismissed it, (And I wouldn't blame you!) but like hard rock, you should really give it another shot.
What do you guys think? Got any "perfect albums" I should know about?

*But if I WERE counting soundtracks, I would totally list the
Blackpool soundtrack, which is so random and awesome. It's got Kenny Rogers! And The Smiths!

**I think ALL of these kinds of lists mention Ten. It's that good. (Also an excellent Doctor! Hee.)


Anonymous said...

I think that you should post the e-mail I forwarded to you regarding birth control becoming illegal. seriously...not cool. and this is sooooo not cool either.

Beau said...

ok, here is my list of great albums in no particular order:
1st: Pearl Jam's Ten (it just needed to be said again)
2nd: Live- Throwing copper
3rd: Dave Matthews- Under the Table and Dreaming
4th: Stone Temple Pilots- Purple album
5th and final: Red Hot Chilli Peppers- Blood Sugar Sex Magic.

I just had to add to your list

"Lady" Bea said...

Bwahaha, Beau. I knew you could not resist the siren song of my "Ten" reference. GOTCHA.

"Lady" Bea said...

And I completely agree, anonymous poster who I am assuming is actually Josephine. Heee.

Not cool, indeed.

EGT said...

Fiona Apple's "Extraordinary Machine," U2's "Achtung Baby," and, er, Ashlee Simpson's "Autobiography" (shut up).

Sid said...

"Annonymous" is an idiot (This is Sid, by the way!).

Never forget Purple Rain and Controversey from Prince. You guys are too young...
Sting right after he left the Police (Dream of the Blue Turtles, etc..)
Chicago's 2nd album, a mix of funk and psychodelic with a brass section!

Anonymous said...

Sounds of Silence- Simon & Garfunkel
Dark side of the Moon- Pink Floyd
Portrait Gallery- Harry Chapin
My "dated" list of perfect albums. I am nothing if not diverse.
Bea's Mom

Auntie Mame said...

Setting my Journey and Air Supply greatest hits albums aside; moving my Meat Loaf "Bats of Hell" boxed set out of the way, here are my favorite albums (I know they were long awaited):

August and Everything After - Counting Crows
Forever and Ever Amen - Ben Folds Five
Empire Records Soundtrack - Various Artists including Dire Straights!!
Classic Queen I & II (the blue and red albums)
Flight of the Conchords - Flight of the Conchords

dan mac said...

Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie & the Infinite Sadness

OutKast ATLiens

Nine Inch Nails The Fragile