After hours of debating (with myself) and endless switching and swapping it’s done. So, here goes: the almost nearly impossible task of choosing my favourite album of all time. It will, without doubt, have changed in a few weeks time, maybe even next week or tomorrow but for now, this is it.
While I thought I’d be endlessly thinking of brilliant albums that would definitely be fighting for a place in the top ten, I came to realise the opposite; that as much as I like certain bands there are some that couldn’t get the album just right. David Bowie immediately comes to mind when the favourite artists topic arrises but no matter which album I listen to I always find my self skipping tracks. My favourite Bowie tracks are hidden amongst the soundtrack to The Labyrinth but they are few and far between cinematic instrumentals. I was also certain that The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen and Dylan would make an appearance but while I may have had The Killing Moon and Lay Lady Lay on repeat for the probably the last five years of my life, I could not justify the including the whole LP.
The albums I have eventually chosen are those I can listen to on repeat, from track one until the end. They are the albums that I find myself going back to year after year and they are the albums that make me feel happy and sad, cynical and optimistic and the albums that I can walk down to the street to, feeling like I am in a film or like my life is so dramatic is deserves a soundtrack (I know).
Despite Fleetwood Mac releasing Rumours twenty four years before I was even born it has crept in at number ten. For the most part my list is contemporary music but Rumours is such a brilliant mix love songs and love songs tend to stay relevant. Ditto with my number seven and The Queen Is Dead. Morrissey may be a depressing sod but The Smiths get those twisted love songs spot on. The Editors fall in to that same category with their epic, atmospheric and almost cinematic tracks on The Back Room and For Emma, Forever Ago by Bon Iver (the one who took himself away to live in a cabin for a few months and write this masterpiece) is one of those albums that just flows seamlessly whether it’s on really loud or in the background. It is tremendously good if you have a long train journey or a lot to think about. re:stacks is my personal favourite for this type of activity.
When I’m not feeling so thoughtful or sorry for myself I retreat back the my earlier teenage days when gigs and train travel was a whole new world to me. I didn’t manage to make room for The Cribs. Even though the were an integral to this part of my life I don’t find myself listening to them so much today as I do Maximo Park and Yeah Yeah Yeah’s. A Certain Trigger is the album I always go back to. I still know what song comes next and it still makes me dance around my room as does Karen O and her gorgeous pop songs. If only I had room for all three albums but alas, I went with their debut, Fever To Tell, when Karen is at her best spangly rock and roll goddess stage as she screams ‘Rich.’
For anyone who knows me, even a little bit, the next album is an obvious one. Yes, it’s good old Florence and her Machine. Lungs is full of twisted songs (all covered by a soft female voice, if Slipknot were to sing this album it’d be a different story) about wanting to cut another girl’s heart out on account that she’s made our Flo’ cry and wanting to get so drunk you die. Sometimes I think we’ve all felt a bit like that, no? Just me then. Anyway, it’s been at least once a week for the last year and a half and it gets me dancing, even in public and that’s a rarity.
The Scots making an appearance at number two and eight. Frightened Rabbit have three brilliant albums all brimming with meaningful love songs, break up songs and songs about snake shaped door stoppers but it was their second album that made my list. Midnight Organ Fight is genius; a favourite track being ‘Heads Roll Off’ which begins ‘Jesus was just a Spanish boy’s name/How did one man get so much fame?’ We Were Promised Jetpacks only have the one album but boy, it’s good. It is a strong mix of heartfelt meaningful and somewhat power vocals set over an ambient background or strings and piano before crashing into heavy drumming a guitar. These Four Walls could have been at number one.
However, Art Brut’s Bang Bang Rock and Roll is the top of the list. Singer Eddie Argos writes about his life in love in which he seems comically unsuccessful, his life in music and mix tapes and his life growing up. It’s the lyrics that are the genius in this album, and every album Art Brut released. ‘Bad Weekend’ was the song that summed up my snobbish NME attitude I once donned, ‘Haven’t read the NME in so long/ Don’t know what genre we belong /Popular culture no longer applies to me.’ Every song on the album sums up some part of life whether it’s falling in love with ‘Emily Kane,’ trying to understand ‘Mordern Art’ or just having a ‘Good Weekend’ while watching your little bother discover rock and roll for the first time.
- Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll (2007)
- We Were Promised Jetpacks – These Four Walls (2009)
- Florence and the Machine – Lungs (2009)
- Maximo Park – A Certain Trigger (2005)
- Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago (2008)
- Editors – The Back Room (2005)
- The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead (1984)
- Frightened Rabbit – Midnight Organ Fight (2008)
- Yeah Yeah Yeah’s – Fever To Tell (2003)
- Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977)