Saturday, 6 November 2010

Fifteen in Fifteen

Prompted by Dave, the biggest music-lover I know, I cobbled together my fifteen most memorable albums in fifteen minutes for a facebook challenge he sent around. Rather than let it disappear under the ever-rising tide of facebook posts, I thought I'd reproduce it here. In part so that I can check up from time to time on whether I'd still concur with it. Anyway, it's organised here chronologically to avoid an agonising bubble sort that would take me far outside the required fifteen minute time-frame.
  • Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles, 1967
  • Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd, 1973
  • Welcome to the Pleasuredome, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, 1984
  • Graceland, Paul Simon, 1986
  • Life's Rich Pageant, R.E.M., 1986
  • The Raw and the Cooked, Fine Young Cannibals, 1989
  • The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses, 1989
  • Into the Great Wide Open, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, 1991
  • 99.9F°, Suzanne Vega, 1992
  • Welcome to Wherever You Are, INXS, 1992
  • Parklife, Blur, 1994
  • Different Class, Pulp, 1995
  • Disgraceful, Dubstar, 1995
  • The Boy with the Arab Strap, Belle and Sebastian, 1998
  • Bachelor No. 2, Aimee Mann, 2000
Major omissions are Talking Heads and David Bowie, both of whom, hand on heart, I couldn't really pick out a favourite (non-compilation) album for. They both may have written some of my favourite songs, but consistency over the length of an album isn't one of their strengths.

Fifteen in Fifteen


APM said...

None since 2000?

Plumbago said...

Not ones that immediately sprung to mind. I'm not sure if that's because (a) I've just not heard any genuinely top notch albums since then, or (b) I'm no longer capable of being bowled over by music in quite the same way as I once was. I think probably a bit of both. That and, I guess, that fact that it takes a few years for something to settle within me as a "classic".

Deditos said...

I was gonna say the same thing - looks like it's been a pretty bleak decade for you.

Interesting to see that Aimee Mann album in there. It wouldn't occur to me to put it on any memorable/favourite/best list, but by 'eck it's a bit of a guilty pleasure whenever it pops up on the pod.

I managed to get my list down to 20, but drew a blank trying to whittle the last few. Hmm... someone's probably used this for a job interview psych test at some point.

Plumbago said...

To continue the list above ... (c) I discovered the joys of Radio 4 in 2000 and it's largely taken over from my music listening since then. What's worse is that my originally implacable resistance to The Archers has been ground down entirely, and I'm now able to converse at length about its various plot strands.

As regards Aimee Mann, her album is one that I always enjoy when its tracks float to the top of my iPod. I'd agree that she's not the most obvious entry though. Not least because of her almost anti-romanticism, though it is sugar-coated in lush melodies.

You do realise that, when you make it onto Desert Island Discs, Kirsty is going to thin you down to a single track. Best get whittling!

Deditos said...

Oh, sadly I've had the DID list sorted for a while. You know, just in case the call comes.

It's surprisingly easy to whittle tracks, as one song can represent the entire output of an artist. Albums have more variables and are, perversely, a more specific choice than Desert Island tracks.

Plumbago said...

I'll be keeping an ear out for your appearance with Kirsty. It surely can't be long now.

Actually, I think you might be onto something regarding the ease of picking individual tracks relative to albums. While it's straightforward to identify a great song, rare is the album that is uniformly perfect. So in composing the list above I found that I had to exclude albums that, while having some great songs, offset these with a number of duffers (cf. Talking Heads, David Bowie).

That said, whittling my favourite songs down to a mere handful for Kirsty would still pose problems. Not least because the perfect DID list has to avoid including the overly familiar classics (1 is permissible; but Nessun Dorma must be avoided at all costs), while equally avoiding personally meaningful dirges that might be mistaken for pretentiously obscure picks.

That, and one has to get over the fact that taste is flighty and fickle, and that a list picked today will likely be judged embarrassingly pop/self-indulgent by a hyper-critical future self. Or is that just me?