Friday, December 3, 2010


As promised, here are the other 10 albums I'm grateful for/ couldn't live without/ would take on a desert island with me/ am jealous I didn't write/ that make me want to keep writing/ I own 3 copies of. The first list seemed to have been fairly well recieved, and I may have turned one or two of you on to things you hadn't encountered yet. The joys of blogging.
 OK, without further ado:

1. Groove Armada - Vertigo (1999)
I heard this at a soundcheck on a beautiful summer morning on the south coast of England, just after it'd come out. I was newly married, touring England playing music, the sun was shining, and on came "Chicago", Vertigo's opening track. A moment in time. GA have never really equalled this.

2. Chicane - Behind The Sun (2000)
Staying in chilled ambient mode, this was Nick Bracegirdle's finest. Pop dance, to be sure, and not for purists, but still great in its own right. I remember listening to this on headphones in California. A perfect record where every song means something to me. Even the one with Bryan Adams on it.

3. Fleetwood Mac - Tango In The Night (1987)
"Big Love" got me first, and then the eerie opening notes of "Little Lies". Another pivotal time in my life, and after 20+ years, I'm still listening to this from beginning to end. Lindsay Buckingham: the hidden punk in the FM machine? Definitely a genius. I'm still searching for "You and I (Part1)".

4. Bob Marley and the Wailers - Kaya (1978)
I'm a fairly late convert to Bob. It took me a while, but I'm a believer. I went from not even owning "Legend" to owning everything, on CD and wax, even the obscure pre-Chris Blackwell, pre-Lee Perry productions. I love all of it, especially "Natty Dread" (his first 'solo' album) and this one. This one wins though. Don't know why, it just does.

5. Prefab Sprout - Jordan: The Comeback (1990)
Paddy MacAloon is one of the greatest British songwriters of all time. To me, he's right up there with Pete Townsend, Ray Davies and XTC's Andy Partridge. This Thomas Dolby-produced masterpiece was the one that made me a fan, and a soundtrack to my last year of school and my first real girlfriend. Heady days, gorgeously odd music, the Sprout's finest hour.

6. Depeche Mode - Violator (1990)
The Mode were always too dark for my Beatle-infected young mind, but "Enjoy The Silence" and "Policy Of Truth" finally got to me, and this is another album from my last school year that fit a lot of moods perfectly. Ominous and gloomy as only DM can be, it fitted my late-teen angst and it still sounds like it was made yesterday. Not even DM themselves have bettered this one. It was their last before Dave  Gahan went off the proverbial deep end.

7. Midnight Oil - Diesel And Dust (1987)
It was 1987, South African civil society was on the brink of exploding, the State of Emergency was not even a year old, and along came a song called "Beds Are Burning". I'd never heard of Midnight Oil before, even though they'd had a fiercely productive decade prior to this, their mainstream breakthrough. They refused to allow this album to sell in SA, they were tough, socially-conscious Aussies, they played guitars, and they were undeniable. One of the soundtracks of my life, this one.

8. Katrina and the Waves - Katrina and the Waves (1985)
Another unforgettable record for me. Did you know that this was their third album, consisting of re-recorded older songs, that they had more hits than just "Walking On Sunshine", and that they made at least two more great albums? No, probably not. They looked like a real band to me (turned out they were) and I learned every song on the record.

9. Coldplay - A Rush OF Blood To The Head (2002)
Remember when Coldplay were still vaguely an indie band with street cred? This was the beginning of the end for them, because it was so consistently good it couldn't be ignored, and it turned them into the globe-spanning corporate behemoth they are now. Intense time in my personal life (is there any other kind of time, really?), and this album gave me a lot of courage.

10. Muse - The Resistance (2009)
Thank the Good Lord for Muse. We need a band like this we can believe in. Makes us Nickleback-haters feel like we're right! This album was on repeat for months in my car. They've just gotten better and better as songwriters, and this is sophisticated genius.

What, no Rage Against The Machine? No Queen? No Stones? No Nirvana? No Sinatra? No Mellencamp? No Kinks? No Talking Heads? I love all these people, but these last 20 albums have been my personal journey through music. And countless others, I'm sure. I'll have to write a Top 20 Greatest Hits band blog now...


  1. John,

    If you haven't already heard; 2, soon-to-be-classic, undeniably awesome albums... [possibly for your readers more than you]

    Check out:

    TV On The Radio - Dear Science
    Sheer indie/art/rock/pop/funk brilliance!

    Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Baby 81
    British/sleazy/Bluesey/Swagger Rock personified!

    I await the Hank Skinner album with open ears...


  2. I love Chicane! I got this at the same time BT released his Movement in Still Life. Those two cds didn't leave my 6pack for 6 months. I discovered DM (#6) late in my years, as well as INXS (sorry)... grabbed all the albums I can get my hands onto. It helped me survive the awful girl power/seattle craze of the 90s.
    Are you still looking for actual physical records of Katrina? I think you asked for some last you were here.
    Coldplay I admire, I just never admired them enough to buy. I had a slight inkling they'd be famous.. and everyone was jumping on the bandwagon. I choose not to.
    I need to listen to more Muse... I heard Keane at the same time too... ?!

  3. Wow! Love the second part of your list as well. Prefab sprout wow, i forgot all about them...Midnight Oil.... So many many good records(lol).