My Top 25 Favorite Albums - #11 to #20

Posted by Brandon |

Continuing on with my top 25 favorite albums, plus one extra that I realized that I forgot. I'm sure there are a couple others that I forgot that deserve recognition as well. And really, #20 to #11 could be shuffled up into any order and I'd be fine with it...

P.S...To those of you reading in a reader, I know it looks terrible. It's looks fine and is easier to read if you click over to the post.

Forgotten Favorite
Sir Mix-A-Lot - SWASS - If you grew up in the Seattle area in the early '90's, you surely know and love the ultimate Seattle anthem, "Posse On Broadway". I really don't think there's a better song out there about Seattle and I'm a big sucker for any song that refers to Dick's as "the place where the cool hangout, the swass like to play and the rich flaunt clout." That song alone would be enough, but SWASS also rocks "Buttermilk Biscuits", "Rippin", "SWASS" and the world's only song about Bremerton, "Bremelo". Classics all of them. Mix-A-Lot isn't just "Baby Got Back"

Beck - Midnite Vultures - Odelay could easily be here instead of Midnite Vultures but I actually think I listen to this album more often than Odelay. All of the songs are a blast, it's Beck at his most fun and most ridiculous. I think he was trying to be the bastard son of Prince with this album and surprisingly it worked in a way. I especially love "Debra" for it's random mention of Zankou Chicken.

Beastie Boys - Check Your Head - I love the Beastie Boys, they are one of my top five favorite bands. However, only Paul's Boutique and Check Your Head are albums that I listen to straight through so that's why one of my favorite bands is so far down the list. Check Your Head is probably their most stylistically diverse album and at first listen can seem very chaotic. But every song ends up working in conjunction with the previous or the next and makes for a very cohesive work amidst the chaos. In many ways, that's what I look for in an album.

Killers - Hot Fuss - I resisted The Killers for quite some time when Hot Fuss was released. I had convinced myself that they were nothing but a poser rock band that was all style and no substance. But then I saw the video for "Mr. Brightside" and developed a man crush on Brandon Flowers. Then I heard "All These Things I've Done" which quickly became one of my favorite songs and suddenly, I owned the album, knew all the words and I sang every song at the top of my lungs while I drove to work.

Green Day - Warning - This album was overlooked by many simply because it didn't have a good radio single. "Warning" is a great song, but it doesn't have a solid radio hook that could attract the masses. All the songs deal with complex issues of growing into full-on adulthood and the optimism and pessimism that goes along with that growth. I think that this album hit home with me because it was that same growth that I myself was experiencing at the time. Your mid-20's are a weird time. You feel very young, but are expected to start being an adult ready or not. Green Day and I were at the same place in our lives at the same time and I still feel a strong connection with this album even if I didn't really have much love for Green Day has before or after this album (I hate American Idiot).

Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News - Good News was Modest Mouse's biggest hit with "Float On" reaching a level that I could never have imagined them hitting after seeing them drunk and drugged struggle through a KGRG benefit concert shortly after their debut album was released. To see how far they had come and to see Isaac Brock write music so personally optimistic was a welcome relief after the beautiful but sometimes troubling The Moon & Antarctica. The optimism of a lot of Good News' songs is what makes it stand over Modest Mouse's other albums, despite my love for them. It's also their most edited and cohesive album, it all flows together fairly seamlessly.

Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison - I'll never forget the first time I heard the song "Folsom Prison Blues". I was driving on the Southern Tier Expressway in New York on my way from school in Bowling Green to see Death? in Ithaca. It was late at night and I was scanning the radio trying to find something to listen to. I came across one of those little radio stations in the middle of nowhere that play whatever they want (that sadly are almost gone) and they were playing a bunch of old country songs. "Folsom Prison Blues" came on and rocked my world. The next song he played was "A Boy Named Sue" and my Johnny obsession was born. When you're on a lonely highway at night, Johnny Cash can really speak to you. Anyway, At Folsom Prison was the first of his albums I bought and I've slowly been adding to it ever since (he has a lot of music).

Eels - Daisies of the Galaxy - The Eels have become one of my favorite bands because of how their music is so beautiful and dreamy but often hides much more serious, sometimes pessimistic, sometimes dark lyrics. I don't know why, but those are often my favorite types of songs - poppy and happy sounding with a touch of darkness underneath. No album on this list better mixes happy and dark better than Daisies of the Galaxy. It's got beautiful, dreamy melodies and soaring arrangements that perfectly compliment the fragile emotions of E's lyrics.

They Might Be Giants - Flood - "Birdhouse In Your Soul", a song that can put me instantly into a good mood, is almost enough on it's own to make Flood one of my favorite albums. They could just repeat that song 15 times and it would make the top 25. But then there's "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)", "Twisting", "Minimum Wage", "Particle Man" and...well, I could keep going. They're all good. Flood only is this low because of another TMBG album later.

Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs - Death? says I'm cheating since this is three albums. Fine. I'll just pick Volume 1, the best of the three. 23 love songs that are all completely different in musical styles and sentiment and the album is like nothing else anybody has ever released. Not all are totally successful but with an undertaking as wide ranging as this, that's no surprise. Favorites for me are "Absolutely Cuckoo", "Chicken With It's Head Cut Off", "Let's Pretend We're Bunny Rabbits", "The Luckiest Guy On The Lower East Side," and "Nothing Matters When We're Dancing".

Hot Hot Heat - Elevator - Elevator is forty minutes of fun, dancey, clever pop songs that I sometimes have a hard time believing are a product of the Pacific Northwest - Victoria, BC to be exact. It's so unlike anything that ever came out of the area. Just pure, unadulterated fun. I'm listening to "You Owe Me An IOU" as I type this and I'm fighting the urge to sing along at the top of my lungs like I would if I were in the car. My voice might be horse afterwards but I can't help myself, I'll sing every last song at full voice and look like a complete dork to all the stone faced Californians.


jesse said...

The Eels are a tough one for me. I like quite a few of their songs but no one album really does it for me. I am curious to see which TMBG album beats "Flood" on your list.

dan said...

TMBG are gods among men. If only for producing kids albums that are enjoyable for adults to listen to

dan said...

TMBG are gods among men. If only for producing kids albums that are enjoyable for adults to listen to

martymankins said...

wow... cool.. where do I start?

Green Day "Warning" is a kick ass album. I admit I do like "American Idiot" a lot, but find "Warning" more raw and uninhibited.

Modest Mouse, The Killers, Beck and Beastie Boys are all bands I like, even seen Modest Mouse and The Killers in concert (they both are pretty damn great).

The Eels - for some reason I tend to confuse this band with The Flaming Lips. I know both bands are different in many ways. "Novacaine for the Soul" was the first Eels song I remember.

Hot Hot Heat reminds me a lot like The Cure.... a very similar poppy sound (at least on The Cure's more pop-friendly tunes)

martymankins said...

I forgot to add a clip about The Killers. A great band. Seen them live once. Brandon Flowers is quite the frontman. Not bad for a guy that grew up in podunk Nephi, UT.