my favorite things, music edition
For some reason the other day I started thinking about the movie High Fidelity which led me in turn to top five lists which landed me on the subject of personal top five favorite albums of all time. I'm not claiming these are the best music ever written, or even close to it. These are just the albums that I can listen to over and over and lose myself in every single time. I think a lot of it is because they have good memories attached to them, but maybe also because some of them are just good albums. Ok. Two of them. Two are ok and one is just crap. BUT AWESOME CRAP. :D
- The Beautiful Letdown (Switchfoot)
This is the first album where Switchfoot made it big, but that wasn't a big deal to me at the time; this was one of the albums we first purchased when we were breaking away from our "all classical all the time" rules, and at the time I think "Gone" was my favorite song. Now I can still listen to it over and over again: the guitar leads, the strong melodies, and above all, the lyrics. I haven't really kept up with Switchfoot since then, and I've yet to see them in concert (I've heard they're really good), but all it takes is the introductory chords of "Dare you to move" and I'm gone, transported to a place all my own.
Current favorite lyrics "I want to see miracles, see the world change/Wrestled the angel, for more than a name/For more than a feeling/For more than a cause/Still I'm singing Spirit take me up in arms with you"
- The Sign (Ace of Base)
Yes, this is crap. But I love it so! You've no idea. The first time I listened to it I was still firmly controlled by my parents' "no rock music" rules, and the thrill of listening to such forbidden music while speeding madly along with my (considered rebellious and heathenish) older sister in her little red BMW, well, that was living. We would WAVE OUT THE SUN ROOF, YO. And we looked QUITE sexy in our shapeless jumpers. Ok, I'll stop with the sarcasm now. That first time around it was actually popular, and I felt very hip to actually have a cultural reference I could make. And then my older sister moved out and I reformed my rebellious ways and I was once again consumed with following the rules that would make me godly. I'd almost forgotten it until a few years later, when we'd dropped a bunch of the rules that we'd grown up with and I was actually DATING. A BOY. THAT I MAY HAVE KISSED. I know. Le scandale! Anyway, I was hanging out with him/his incredibly cool family one day and someone flipped on this CD, and we were all dancing and laughing around the kitchen. I couldn't dance then, still can't dance, but they were trying to show me, and now hearing snippets of this album fill me with this sense of possibility: like if I just try hard enough I can jump over the moon.
Favorite lyrics: "Voulez-vous danser avec moi/Voulez-vous dancer avec moi se soir"
- Genius Loves Company (Ray Charles)
This is the first CD that I ever bought from Starbucks, and I don't even remember why I did. I just know that I purchased it, loved it, and listened to it non-stop for the next few months. I still love it, and I don't get tired of any of the songs. But the one that makes my heart melt every single time is "Here we go again" with Norah Jones. It's ridiculous, really, because the song is about a man treating his woman badly. But it's just so beautiful and can't help getting my voice stuck in my throat.
Favorite lyrics: "Fever when you touch me/fever when you hold me tight"
- The Last Kiss (soundtrack)
Fact: this movie is kind of depressing and lame: it's Zach Braff running around being a douche by cheating on his pregnant girlfriend and expecting us to sympathize. But the soundtrack? Oh, it's lovely. I've the albums that a lot of these songs came from, and none of them are as perfect as the rise and fall of this album. Hearing it transports me back to Ohio, to missing my sisters, to the rejection and criticism I faced there, and to drowning myself in "Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap, letting her electronic harmonies sweep over me, washing away thoughts of others and their expectations and my failure to live up to them.
Favorite lyrics: "Spin around again and rub my eyes/this can't be happening"
- The Joshua Tree (U2)
I don't even know when I first heard parts of this album; it's so woven through my consciousness that I can't peel it away. "Where the Streets have no Name" is one of my all-time favorite songs, filling me as it does with the longing for another place. Lately, though, I'm loving "Running to Stand Still." But it doesn't matter which song it is: the songs consume me, drawing me in, the ache in Bono's voice echoing my certainty that I was not meant for this time and place.
So. That's my maudlin and very personal rambling. What are your top five favorite albums of all time?