Monday, July 28, 2008

The List Cannot and Will Not Be Stopped: 80-71

In order for me (and you) to have some energy left for the later stages, I think the next couple of installments will feature 10 albums at a time, with less description. Like so:

80. Patty Griffin -- Living With Ghosts (1996)

Stripped-down arrangements and a powerhouse voice. (Favorite song: “Forgiveness”)

79. Lyle Lovett -- The Road to Ensenada (1996)

Lovett might be one of my 20 favorite musical acts, but he’s never quite captured on any single album the greatness of his live shows, so this is the highest slot he gets. (Favorite song: “The Road to Ensenada”)

78. Uncle Tupelo -- No Depression (1990)

The debut by one of my favorite bands. More on them later. (Favorite song: “Whiskey Bottle”)

77. Son Volt -- Straightaways (1997)

Nearly as consistent as their debut, but with songs just a bit less potent. (Favorite song: “Left a Slide”)

76. Everything But the Girl -- Amplified Heart (1994)

This band became something stronger and more original when they took a turn for the dance-oriented, but this earlier album is nothing to be ashamed of, despite its adult-contemporary vibe. Smart writing and Tracey Thorn’s gorgeous voice make this the best of their earlier sound. (Favorite song: “Two Star”)

75. Bruce Springsteen -- Nebraska (1982)

The Boss’ famous step back from his bigger persona, a very quiet collection of songs about brotherhood, desperation, regret, and in the title track, young killers. (Favorite song: “Atlantic City”)

74. Mountain Goats -- The Sunset Tree (2005)

Smart, sad lyrics, and a closing trio of songs as pretty as on any other album I own. I wrote lots more about this band here. (Favorite song: “This Year”)

73. Belle & Sebastian -- The Boy With the Arab Strap (1998)

When I first heard this album, about ten years ago, it might have made the top 25. Maybe ten years hence it will jump up again, but for now I’ve reached a plateau with this band. The B&S album before this one, and the album after, are arguably just as good or better, but this one will always be my favorite, associated as it is with a great trip to Boston with friends. (Favorite song: “The Boy With the Arab Strap”)

72. Billy Joel -- Turnstiles (1976)

Growing up on Long Island, I had little choice but to love Billy Joel, and I’m glad about that. (Favorite song: “Summer, Highland Falls”)

71. Fleetwood Mac -- Rumours (1977)

This list is so ridiculous, especially from 50-100, because of how susceptible it is to my mood. Let’s just say this is the lowest this album would ever be. It could only rise, depending on the day. (Favorite songs: “Dreams” and “Go Your Own Way”)



Blogger Dezmond said...

Not sure that I approve of the truncated list.

I have seriously soured on Billy Joel. His music seems to age less gracefully than most. That being said, 'Turnstiles' is one of his better albums.

'Rumours' as good as it is popular. One of those rare megahits that deserves its status.

No complaints with Bruce. 'Nebraska' is a fantastic set of folk songs.

That is my favorite Lyle record. You give us the double whammy of Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt. Nice.

3:24 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

Just read your movie post and now this, I'm starting to think that you are somehow peering in on our lives. First The Graduate and now Patty Griffin.

"Mrs. White" was cooking two days ago and she turned our I-Pod stereo on to Living With Ghosts. She started singing (I joined in a bit) and she remarked that she loves the album but hasn't listened to it in nearly 10 years and wondered why. A discussion followed.

But my question is this: Are you spying on us? Besides The Graduate and Griffin, I have discussed Lyle Lovett and Springsteen in the last two days. I haven't talked about The Graduate, Patty Griffin, Lyle Lovett, or Springsteen to anyone in years, but yet you somehow knew.

Are we under surveillance?

8:07 PM  
Blogger JMW said...


Of course I'm not spying on you. What an absurd notion. Now, stop watching Adult Swim and wash the dishes.

12:23 PM  

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