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Favorite Album List

So, you didn’t ask, but I’ve been thinking about this one for a long time. Long before High Fidelity, I started making a mental list of my favorite albums. All collectors do, I guess. But for a long time, that was just for my own amusement while waiting for the train or walking somewhere. Recently I returned to this idea having listened to quite a bit of music in the meantime.

As I recompiled this list (paring it down from 100) I found several titles stll remaining in the list from the first go-around. That says something. If I was still listening to an album with the same passion all these years later, then there there had to be something endearing about it. Putting the list in order was the trick, and it surprised me how difficult that was to do, and the eventual order that came about. As it stands, the first 15 titles are in order, But for the contenders, I couldn't quite come up with an order, so I listed them alphabetically. And, since I originally wrote this article in late 2008, I’ve added a few more titles to the contender section.

The Criteria

My basic criteria for a fave album is that I have to think it is a strong album all the way through. This means material, performance, production (needs to be appropriate), and overall concept. Another is that it must be able to stand up to repeated listening. And by repeated listening, I mean three times in a row; in a single day. Then again the next. It has to stand the test of time. I need to want to listen heavily to it again and again over the years.

Full disclosure: While I tried to exclude records that I worked on, there are a few that still make the list nonetheless. I worked on the CD reissue of Dealing with the Dead, in the early ’90s, but by then, that album had long-since been part of this list. Additionally, Medicine Ball and Willie Alexander each contributed one song to the compilation Where’s Stanton Park? and have releases of their own on Stanton Park. Sandoz Lime contributed a track to Frozen Laughter. In these cases while I was involved with the aforementioned records, I was not involved with the records included on the list below. And, I might add that there are a few titles, that would have made this list were it not for this last criteria.

The Picks

  1. Medicine Ball: Sandwich Full of Lies read | buy
  2. Mission of Burma: Vs
  3. Sonic Youth: Sister
  4. Jimi Hendrix: Electric Ladyland
  5. Beach Boys: Pet Sounds
  6. Willie Alexander: Willie Alexander and the Boom Boom Band
  7. Plan 9: Dealing with the Dead
  8. 13th Floor Elevators: The Psychedelic Sounds of…
  9. Cynics: Rock ’n’ Roll
  10. Sonic Youth: NY City Ghosts & Flowers
  11. Television: Marquee Moon
  12. Guided by Voices: Bee Thousand
  13. Sandoz Lime: Sandoz Lime buy
  14. Take 6: Take 6
  15. Lyres: Lyres Lyres

Close Contenders

  • Willie Alexander: Private WA
  • Bad Brains: I against I
  • Black Star Liner: Yemen Cutta Connection
  • Cheater Slicks: Cheater Slicks
  • Dinosaur Jr.: You're Living All Over Me
  • Flies: The Other Side of the Tracks
  • High Dials: A New Devotion
  • Jam: Sound Affects
  • Loons: Love’s Dead Leaves
  • Midivial Punditz: Midivial Punditz
  • Pink Floyd: Piper at the Gate of Dawn
  • Rain Parade: Emergency Third Rail Power Trip
  • White Heaven: Out
Medicine Ball - Sandwich Full of Lies Back