Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen albums you’ve heard that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Tag fifteen friends (or more), including me, because I’m interested in seeing what albums my friends choose. (To do this, go to your Notes tab on your profile page, paste rules in a new note, cast your fifteen picks, and tag people in the note).
This was the latest (oldest?) circular on Facebook, and it came my way today. It’s pretty hard. These are the ones that I feel obliged to replace if I realise they are damaged or missing. Music I just can’t live without. In no particular order …
1. Pink Floyd – The Wall (1979)
I have dim memories of Another Brick In The Wall Pt 2 being in the charts, which is notable to me because I would have just turned three at the time. It was seven years before I heard the rest of the album, and fell instantly in love. I felt wonderfully, vitally alive when I heard it – it just seemed to express emotions that I just didn’t have words for, and I had a pretty expansive vocabulary even then.
2. David Bowie – Changes Two (1981)
I mis-remembered hearing this at three but actually I’d have been four. Every time I hear any of the tracks, I’m instantly a tiny child curled up in the back of the car, loving every note as Aladdin Sane lulls me to sleep over the speakers.
3. Primal Scream – Screamadelica (1990)
Even though it sounds its age, Screamadelica is still an absolute pleasure to listen to.
4. NIN – The Downward Spiral (1994)
Although this album never had the same emotional connection with me that my friends found with it – it was their Wall – I really admired the songwriting on here and thought it was an amazing hybrid of a lot of other acts I loved at the time (not least Floyd and Bowie). From adorning my school locker to writing the Social Network soundtrack I’ve just downloaded, Reznor’s music has long been a part of my life. I don’t think I’ve gone a year – perhaps not even a month – without hearing or humming one of these songs.
5. KMFDM – Nihil (1995)
I have to check the tracklisting here because I had a cassette tape with Nihil on one side and Xtort on the other, and just played them constantly on my walkman for at least a year. Nihil is the stronger album, and I just never get tired of these songs.
6. Levitation – Need For Not (1993)
Formed by ex-House of Love and Cardiacs members, Levitation were my favourite act in the world when I was 16. The album can loosely be described as psychedelic indie, but has some pretty ferocious guitar riffs and Francolini’s drumming is phenomenal.
7. Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
It sold 45 million copies and stayed in the charts for 741 weeks – 15 years! – longer than any other album in history. What I love is the huge diversity of music here, from rock anthems like Money to the proto-dance of Any Colour You Like, along with great lyrics (from the funny to the sad and thought-provoking) and great vocal performances all round.
8. Radiohead – OK Computer (1998)
Following on from the still-excellent Bends, OK Computer is one of the most clever, arresting and memorable rock albums of the past 30 years. Very subtle in its use of samples and layering production techniques, what was most obvious was the soul-crushing emotional impact of the songs. I think in 20 years people will regard this the way they regard Pet Sounds.
9. PIG – Praise The Lard (1991)
I mentioned this in my last post, but if you didn’t check out the clips then (shame on you!), hear this one now. An eclectic blend of rock, samples, jazz, orchestral samples and anything else he could find in the cupboard, it’s most of all just a great pop album.
10. Cardiacs – On Land and in the Sea
I think this speaks for itself. You either get it or you don’t. Those who do are captivated forever.
11. Foetus – NAIL (1985)
I’m not actually sure how many times I’ve heard this since it first blew my mind 15 years ago, but every time I hear it I am surprised – still! – by how good it is. I’m not sure if there can be such a thing as a perfect album, but if this isn’t it, it doesn’t exist.
12. Skinny Puppy – The Process (1996)
Another one I’ve covered at length elsewhere on this blog, it’s my favourite Puppy album and easily their most accessible and consistent release.
13. Revolting Cocks – Linger Fickin’ Good (1993)
It’s actually a while since I’ve played it, but that’s only because I just do not need to hear it for a little while. It still reminds me of being in my friend’s car, playing it so loud the car was bouncing, and deafening any hapless hedgehogs that got too near the deserted 3am country roads …
14. NIN – The Fragile (1999)
Yes, so I have two NIN here, which actually surprises me, but I just cannot imagine not owning this record. I honestly think I’ll still be playing it in 40 years.
15. Saturday Night Fever: The Original Movie Soundtrack (1977)
Say what you will, the songs on this definitive disco release are just f***ing awesome.