I remember buying compilation CDs and tapes in the 90s just to get one or two certain songs on each one, and wishing you could buy just one song. Now I imagine most people buy one song at a time. Has it eliminated the album? I am not up enough on new music to know if many artists still put out collections of new recordings that are meant to be played all the way through in a certain order. But I suspect that by the time Mario is buying music on his own, the album will be an almost outdated concept. I have to remember to play some for him, because he definitely is into music a la carte only so far. Lists are fun, so here are a few albums I like to listen to all the way through, and they are always over too soon. I’ll post about favorite live albums in another post.
Willie Nelson: The Sound in your Mind – I think this is the first album I ever remember hearing, on vinyl, as the good Lord intended it to be heard.
Simon and Garfunkel: Bridge Over Troubled Water – But it could have been this album. This one was my mom’s favorite, the Willie Nelson was dad’s.
Cake: Prolonging the Magic – My brother made me a cassette of this when it came out and said “you have to hear this.” That’s because I didn’t have a CD player in my truck. In 1998. I have always been a dork who is slow to acquire the latest things.
Grateful Dead: American Beauty – I discovered this one when I first went off to college.
Jane’s Addiction: Nothing’s Shocking – Someone gave me this for my 18th birthday, thinking I would like it. One of the best surprise gifts of music ever.
Morphine: Cure For Pain – These guys put on some of the best live shows I’ve ever seen, and frontman Mark Sandman seemed like he enjoyed performing just about better than anything. I’ve never heard one person ask if they could play just one more song that many times.
Van Morrison: Moondance – I don’t remember how I came across this one for the first time, but it involved a road trip out west.
Robbie Robertson: Contact From The Underworld of Redboy – I’m sure I bought this when it came out because, hey I really liked The Band’s The Last Waltz and that Carny movie Robertson was in with Gary Busey and Jodie Foster. And it turned out to be good, although I don’t usually like electronic music. Also, I hate how young people keep making up new musical genres, because I’m sure this album isn’t even “electronic” but “deep banana peel quad middle fi.” They have lots of genres that all sound like fucking techno to me. But hell, I like this noisy album.
Prince: Purple Rain – I got this album for Christmas in 1985, yep, a couple of years after it came out, and I had to listen to it with the huge headphones on because it had bad words. I was ten and there was Darlin Nikki in my ear and I was like lolwut. That was when Teddy Ruxpin commercials were on during every commercial break in a kids’ show, and I always wished I had one that I could play stuff like the Purple Rain album on. But I was too old. I should’ve just asked for one anyway, because I still think it would have been rad to have Teddy Ruxpin singing Prince and the Beatles, to name two artists I liked at 10. I can’t remember any others. But they should have been sung by a creepy bear, whatever they were.
Modest Mouse: The Moon and Antarctica – One year I had this nutty (but hot) boyfriend who, among other fibs, claimed he was a founding member of this band, but just walked off and let them have the songs he wrote, which included “Bankrupt on Selling” from a couple of albums before this one.
Rolling Stones: Flowers – I don’t usually go for the early 60s British stuff, because I imagine everyone standing on those weird TV studio sets where people were all up on different platforms playing and the whole thing is orange with swirls in the background, only how the hell would you know because it’s not in color. And someone has a velvet jacket on and lace cuffs sticking out of the sleeves, and someone is pretending to play a keyboard. But Flowers was in the family record collection when I was a kid, so I have to admit that this one is good. I could name several different Rolling Stones albums I can listen to in their entirety, and I’m not even that big of a Stones fan; they’re just that good. Or old.