Friday, July 04, 2008

a thing to do...

Chris at gorilla v. bear had a great (borrowed) idea to post his favorite albums from every year he's been alive. I thought I'd do the same...even though it will disappoint some of you to find just how old (or young) I actually am. It's harder than it may seem, especially to come up with albums while you were in diapers that you actually own now.

So, without further ado, here's my list of favorite albums from each year of my life. (Remember, hindsight is 20/20.)
1975: Patti Smith - Horses
Honestly, this is one of those albums I have listened to or had various tracks on mixed tapes many, many times but have never purchased it. I do always look for it whenever I'm sifting through stacks of used vinyl but to no avail. The fun part about making this list is that it gives me a new list to take to the store.

1976: The Ramones - The Ramones
Here's another album I am vastly familiar with but don't actually own. Add it to the list.

Television - Marquee Moon
The title track has to be one of the top-five guitar songs of all-time.

1978: Devo - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
An Ohio band makes it onto the list. Was music ever the same after Devo?

1979: The Clash - London Calling (UK release)
I bought this when I was searching out anything with a political pulse. The cover is the most punk rock thing ever...until everyone and his brother started smashing their guitars like 12 years later.

1980: Talking Heads - Remain in the Light
This is the album when Talking Heads came into their own. I think it deserves more credit than it often gets for its influence on indie music for the next 28 years.

Mission of Burma - Signals, Calls and Marches
I got into this band (and several others from the 80's) after reading Michael Azerrad's excellent book, Our Band Could Be Your Life.

Prince - 1999
This might be the first album on the list that I actually liked in the same year it was released.

1983: Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes
Sure, karaoke singers, acoustic guitar hacks, and 80's nostalgia have tainted this record, but it's still a fantastic punk rock album.

The Replacements - Let It Be
My uncle who came of age during the SST/Twin Tone 80's suggested I start my Replacements education with this one.

1985: The Smiths - Meat Is Murder
I've never really been a huge Smiths fan, but the combination of the music and the imagery on the cover really appeal to my punk side, despite Morissey's melodrama.

Beastie Boys - License to Ill
As I entered this piece of grade school nostalgia, I realized that my cassette tape copy is nowhere to be found. It's time to upgrade. And when are the drastically evolved Beasties going to remake this album to better represent their current views?

Sonic Youth - Sister
Two words: "Tuff Gnarl".

1988: Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation
There's a reason they played this record for ATP.

Pixies - Doolittle
I did not catch this band in their heyday, but I did see the fatter, balder version about three years ago.

1990: Sonic Youth - Goo
I could have put Sonic Youth all over this list. The fact is that few bands (if any) made music as good as SY through the first half of their career. This is about the year where it gets increasingly harder to pick albums. My own nostalgia and expanding knowledge base through the next 18 years made it very hard to pick just one record from each year.

My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
This album is on every one's shortlist.

Pavement - Slanted and Enchanted
If you know me, then you knew Pavement had to make one or two appearances on this list. Admittedly, I probably had Crooked Rain... before I bought this one.

1993: Liz Phair - Exile in Guyville
I think I've said enough about this album.

1994: Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
For me, indie rock finally took off once Pavement figured out what Sonic Youth was doing and took it to another place. Have I mentioned my fondness for this band? Read my other blog.

Yo La Tengo - Electr-O-Pura
This might be their sloppiest, dirtiest album, but "My Heart's Reflection" is the most gut-wrenching song I've ever heard.

1996: Modest Mouse - This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About
This is certainly a nostalgia pick for me. The best part of this album (and most great albums) is that it has pieces and parts that would revolve as my favorite sequence of 3-4 songs. TIALDFSWNTTA encapsulated my last year of college perfectly.

Built to Spill - Perfect From Now On
Warner Brothers thought they had a pop-punk hit-maker, but what they got was one of the most sprawling exercises in guitar indulgence ever put to tape.

Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
I'm glad this album is getting renewed interest in its tenth year.

The Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin
It took me a while to get this record, but when I did...

2000: The White Stripes - De Stijl
This album flew under the radar until a few well-produced videos and a re-release gave it new life in the following year. They used to play the club circuit in Ohio all the time.

2001: The Shins - Oh, Inverted World I'm sad that no one recognized this LP's brilliance until Padmé and that dude from Scrubs shared some headphones, but at least they did. I ignored them the year before as they opened for Modest Mouse.

2002: Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
This choice felt like I was cheating.

The Shins - Chutes too Narrow
Play this one with the stereo all the up while you drive through town today and you'll understand.

Arcade Fire - Funeral
No band has excited me as much as Arcade Fire since my college days which were filled with endless excitement.

Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
If he's going to record an album for all 50 states, he better get a move-on. This only makes two.

The Thermals - The Body, the Blood, the Machine
I caught on to this one late. To this day, I still have to consciously keep myself from playing it over and over.

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
This was another late pick-up for me.

2008 (so far):
Port O'Brien - All We Could Do Was Sing
OK, so I've already revised my list for 2008. It's hard for me to not listen to this CD.

Now, it's your turn. I suggest posting your list on your blog and leaving a link in the comments. Of course, you could just critique mine...just no name-calling.


Zach said...

Why doesn't this have any comments?

I'll say that you're crazy for mentioning anything other than "Blue Line Swinger" in a single sentence about Electr-O-Pura. And that I'd have never pegged you for a Ramones fan. What do you consider the most underrated song on that album?

Mike said...

Good list. I'll be doing the same sometime this week. My digital collection organizes things into years for me, but I've been lax in putting in any late 70's and late 80's music, so I can't do it now.

Also, no She & Him? Have you caved in to the Gil and Anonymous and dustystems faction?

comoprozac said...

Zach, I agree. This is a perfect opportunity for someone to post a list...or at least I thought so.

"Blue Line Swinger" is a really great song, but I have a personal connection with "My Heart's Reflection."

I wouldn't consider me a Ramones fan either. I just think it was the best and most important album of 1976.

The most underrated song? That's a good question. I'd say that "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue" is the most underrated song from this album. I mean, who represented glue-sniffing chic more than Ramones?

I'm expecting a list from the bathysphere as well.

Pizza, go to the link at gvsb. They have some links to Wikipedia and some critics picks that helped me match albums with years and vice versa.

I didn't change my current album b/c of anyone. The Port O'Brien record has just moved up my last (as have several others).

I look forward to reading your list.

Kiernan said...

There are a number of artists we agree on but have them on the list for different albums. One of them is Modest Mouse -- I'm curious about your sequence theory.

What is the 3-4 song sequence(s) on that album you mean? What about other sequences? Do you have one all time favorite?

Also, the Shins changed my life.

comoprozac said...

The funny thing about this list is that some of these albums were chosen just because they were the best choice for that particular year and not exactly the best by a certain performer. I look forward to seeing your list.

The sequence thing? Oh, this guy and I used to like just portions of that album. For example, one of the sequences we loved and talked about a lot was "Novocain Stain"/"Tundra/Desert"/"Ohio"/"Exit Does Not Exist." Our favorite often rotated.

Ha. "The Shins changed your life." I think they also sold some Big Macs and fries.

sarah said...

Terrific list! I'll have to get busy on mine later on today (although I have the feeling it's gonna look a lot like yours...Sonic Youth and Pavement are going to be all over the place.)

ks said...

I'm working on mine. A few years are kind of hard...forcing me to do a little homework. That's a good thing, though! I'm hoping to get it up before I leave for Chicago on Friday. (First trip to Chicago...woohoo!)

ks said...

I'm working on mine. A few years are kind of hard...forcing me to do a little homework. That's a good thing, though! I'm hoping to get it up before I leave for Chicago on Friday. (First trip to Chicago...woohoo!)

ks said...

sorry that went twice....delete the second copy. (and this one.)