10.5 favorite albums
Courtesy of the website The Awl, I learned that the Violent Femmes 1983 self-titled debut album came out 30 years ago this month. The Awl correctly identifies this album as “one of the greatest albums ever recorded by anybody.” I discovered the Violent Femmes in middle school, as many kids do, and for years they were my favorite band. And though they’ve produced a number of fine albums and fine songs — I’m very partial to their 1991 album “Why Do Birds Sing?”, which contains the great song “Out the Window” — their debut remains their best work: a sarcastic, aggressive, occasionally wistful blast of angst, sexual frustration and sneering punk-folk attitude. (Bandleader Gordon Gano wrote the songs on the debut when he was in high school, which might explain why generations of teenagers continue to discover this album and play it over and over and over again.)
Anyway, I found myself nodding my head in agreement with The Awl’s Violent Femmes piece, because the band’s 1983 album is definitely one of my favorite albums of all time. This made me wonder what my other favorite albums are, and I decided to put together a list. But when I sat down to type up a list, I quickly became stumped. For some reason, it seemed impossible to narrow my CD collection down to a list of five favorites.
For instance, my favorite band is The Replacements, and I could easily make a list of favorite Replacements songs, or favorite songs in general, but I found the task of picking out a favorite album almost impossible. Then there are albums that I once considered favorites, such as Pearl Jam’s “Ten” or Green Day’s “Dookie,” but hardly ever listen to today — do those types of albums really deserve a spot on a list of favorite albums? And then there are personal favorites that seem a little silly when. I mean, should I really put The Mighty Mighty Bosstones album “More Noise and Other Disturbances” album on a favorite albums list, and leave off Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” No sane person would argue that “More Noise and Other Disturbances” is a better album than “What’s Going On?” And yet the Bosstones album is a favorite, and while I really, really like the Marvin Gaye album, it’s not really in my top five. Or 10.
Anyway, perhaps I think about this stuff too hard. In any case, here’s my attempt to come up with my top 10 albums of all time.
1. Violent Femmes self-titled debut
2. U2, Achtung Baby
3. The Replacements, Let It Be
4. The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds
5. Guided by Voices, Bee Thousand
6. The Afghan Whigs, Black Love
7. Morphine, Cure For Pain
8. Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
9. Pink Floyd, The Wall
10. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, More Noise and Other Disturbances
and one more, because I can’t count.
10.5. Face to Face, Big Choice
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