20 Albums that Kicked My Ass When Rich sent out the call for 20 albums, I got scared which meant I had to write it. I'm most definitely not hip in my album selections. I view it as music that came to me from the outside and now lives inside my head. It's a slightly nostalgic list, but nostalgia is what music does best.
So here it is. . .in no particular order. . .
1. Olivia Newton John - Totally Hot
This is the first ‘adult' album I actually had. I played Barbies while listening to it.
With a little more love we can stop pretending
2. Joan Baez – The Best of Joan C Baez
This was my Mom's record, but I borrowed it semi-permanently. It would be a decade before I understood ‘Diamonds and Rust'. Joan Baez just has that great voice that makes you sit up and listen.
Now you're telling me you're not nostalgic Then give me another word for it You were so good with words And at keeping things vague.
3. Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
What can I say? I was in the third ring of Catholic junior high hell, but Cyndi sure could sing. She was like Betty Boop with balls.
4. Madonna – Madonna
Remember when Madonna's first album came out? Remember ‘Lucky Star' and ‘Borderline'? Remember those black plastic bracelets? And the floppy lace headbands? Thank you Madonna. You saved me from beige underwear.
5. The Beatles – Let It Be
I could also have Sgt. Pepper or Revolver as my Beatles selection, but after thinking about it, I realized that Let It Be is the album I listened to the most. Not only does it have Let It Be the song right after Dig It, there's also Across the Universe which I seem to remember using once in a paper on Dionysian ecstasy. There's also Maggie Mae, I've got a feeling, Long and winding road, and Get back. In the midst of breaking apart, the Beatles came together and became the sum of their parts in a far more complex equation.
6. Tom Waits – Mule Variations
One rainy Saturday when I was working in a library many years ago, my co-worker brought in this CD. We played it, played it again, then he went to lunch and I played ‘Hold On' over and over again.
7. Patti Smith – Horses
There's something in her words---an energy---like an electric shock---she's like a bird of prey sitting on an electric wire. No matter how hard the wind blows, ain't nothing gonna blow her off.
8. Agent 99 – Little Pieces: 1995-1993
Ska band from the East Village in the early nineties. They weren't around long enough to make a true ‘album'. This is a collection of the demos, and that sorta suits them. Their cover of ‘Sweet Dreams' is awesome.
9. U2 – Achtung Baby
I remember hearing U2 in eighth grade, high school, college, grad school, my early twenties, my late twenties, my thirties. They just keep going like energizer bunnies. This is the album I just keep coming back to.
10. Bob Dylan – Infidels
I could easily say Blood on the Tracks or Highway 61 Revisited. I could talk about driving up the coast listening to Time Out of Mind. But the Dylan album that really kicked my ass and made me say whoah was Infidels and the last song on it, Don't Fall Apart on Me Tonight.
Yesterday's just a memory Tomorrow's never what it supposed to be And I need you.
11. Black 47 – Home of the Brave
This was their second album from the mid-nineties. We use to play ‘It's Time To Go' everyday at 5pm in the office I worked in. I had this album on my shelf for years, then I pulled it out of a box in Cleveland. I played it on my CD player while wandering through the suburbs on cool dark autumn nights.
12. The Pogues – Best of
This band isn't just good, they're really fucking good. I think God pointed his finger at Shane and said I'm gonna give you a voice, it's both a gift and a curse.
13. Joni Mitchell – Blue
I am a lonely painter I live in a box of paints I'm haunted by the devil And I'm drawn to those ones that ain't afraid.
14. Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts – Gaslight
Yes, THAT band. Once upon a time before all the star fucking bullshit, they had something---an energy---a bit of a laugh. I was lying on a beach in Cancun and listening to them. I was running through Riverside Park and listening to them.
15. Dave Dobbyn – Twist
You've probably never heard of him, but this guy is the song writing Jedi Master of New Zealand. He was the front man for the new wave group, Split Enz, and records frequently with the Finns and Bic Runga. In fact, there's a great concert album out with him, Tim Finn, and Bic Runga. He digs deep and sometimes finds gems.
16. The Cruel Sea – The Honeymoon is Over
Tex Perkins has the sexiest voice on the planet and he fronts a kick ass band from down below.
17. The Cruel Sea – This Is Not the Way Home
In fact, let's have a little more of that.
18. The Supersuckers – Motherfuckers Be Trippin'
Eddie Spaghetti and playing ‘Pretty Fucked Up' in rush hour LA traffic. These are men, not boys.
19. The soundtrack from Until the End of the World
Sorry Rich, I know you said ‘no soundtracks', but this one is special. Remember college? Everyone seemed to have this CD. It was a nice mix for a Wim Wenders film.
20. Not one specific album, but a whole bunch of albums with ‘Original Broadway Cast' in their title. I'm just a musical theatre queen deep down.