Often you can see lists with names like “ten things to die for”, but I don’t like this approach. There is nothing you should die for, instead, I would like to imagine that there are things, that make you want to live. Like the suicide song. Even the most depressed person should feel some kind of inspiration after listening to it (until the end, of course). Anyway, that’s just about the title of this post, actually it has nothing to do with suicide. It’s about music.
I am an album person. I don’t have single songs in my iPod, only complete albums, with proper names, tags and album art. I like the nice perfect order, it’s tidy and I always know where to find something. I guess I became an album person when I first listened to one of these “500 greatest rock songs” collections. I found some very nice songs that I liked, say – “Ziggy Stardust”. At that point, I had no idea about the early work of David Bowie. I found and listened to the whole album, and it was a revelation. I didn’t have any idea that there could be so much more of these great songs. The hit singles are only the ones loved by some gray mass, but my taste can be different. I can find unnoticed gems in B sides and near the end of a bad-selling album. I also learned to appreciate the concept of an album, that the artist works to present the album as a whole piece of art, not just a bunch of songs he wrote during last 3 years of touring (sadly, most new artists make albums in such way).
I have some albums, that have made me who I am at this point. They are albums that I love with all my heart, that have changed my way of thinking, and influenced me in every way. I cannot make a specific TOP5, but I wanted to keep the list short and specific. Here goes:
Bob Dylan -
The Times They Are a-Changin’
I chose this specific album because it’s very simple and uniform. It also sounds good as a whole. It’s very peaceful, and has some really great lyrics. My second choice was Blood on the tracks but there were too many songs I didn’t care about, and it had that pop-music sound at some points. That doesn’t mean I don’t love it also, I especially adore the first two tracks in Blood
David Bowie – Hunky Dory
This is an album that grows on you. I didn’t like it at start, it sounded very Pop, but as the tracks progress, it becomes better and better. It’s not one of those albums which have the best songs at the start, and after those it gets worse and worse until you get bored. I especially love the Song for Bob Dylan, and the Andy Worhol song. My second choice was Ziggy Stardust, but it’s too grand, too huge and too polished. Hunky Dory is much simpler, natural and down to earth.
Led Zeppelin – IV
I can’t really say that this specifically is the best Led Zeppelin album, but I guess it means more to me, because it’s how I found Zeppelin. Of course – because of Stairway to Heaven. I also listened to I yesterday, and couldn’t decide which one I loved more. I guess all the quadrilogy is perfect together, and I can’t pick one specific part.
Pink Floyd – Wish you were here
Of course, Pink Floyd has always had a special place in my heart. It’s the untouchable band for me. I maybe haven’t really listened to them for two years, but inside I know every single sound of all their albums, and I love them anyway. It’s easy to say which albums I like the most – anything they released in the seventies. Outside of that decade, there is no Pink Floyd for me. WYWH is my favourite because it’s not so complicated and big as the Wall, and still has the Gilmour sound. The band is still together here. It’s also the first PF album I ever heard, I found it in my parent’s collection of audio casettes, ripped from large tape spools. The casette only had “Pink Floyd” hand written on it.
Jethro Tull – Aqualung
I’m not entirely sure about this one, I know I love the album, but this place could also be occupied by Joni Mitchell’s Blue, Abraxas, Disraeli Gears, or any other of my favourite albums. There is just too many of them. This album I found by asking my dad for some recommendations. This was before the internet age. I knew that me and my dad shared some taste in music, so I trusted him for such things. He told me that it was some kind of a crazy flute player, which I found strange, and ignored it for quite a while, but when I found it, I immediatelly told myself to never doubt my dad anymore :)
Anything else? Yes, there is a lot of special albums that I love and listen to – daily. I also almost included () by Sigur Ros, Consolers of the Lonely by the Raconteurs, Abraxas by Santana, some Simon and Garfunkel album, maybe a Cream album, maybe something by Jimi Hendrix or the Kinks, maybe a Beatles album. But I didn’t want to make a huge list, just a few of the most important ones, in no particular order, not even perfectly considered. Maybe this list will change in a few months, who knows.
How about you? Do you have a few albums that you will listen to probably for ever? Something that has influenced you in many ways, something that can make you cry or scream? Something that will remain like that for a long time, because it’s music is just too beautiful?
Share those albums in the comments of this article. I will gladly listen to them and try to appreciate what you loved.