I like albums. They're an artform in themselves, in addition to the songs they contain. They say something about an artist at a particular time.
Here are some lists of my favourite albums, arranged by decade:
Links from artist and album names are to Wikipedia.
Other links next to artist or album names:
- is a link to Bandcamp
- I rate each listed album 5 stars (out of 5) - I really like these albums!
- Some years might have a single standout album, while other years may have many albums that are equally good even though they may be very different
- There is no attempt to rank albums within a year
- Albums are from my collection
- No compilations or live albums, unless they are career defining
I don't like pigeonholing music but...
Desert Island Album?
It used to be popular to choose a "desert island album". This is the album you would choose (or hope) to have with you if you were marooned on a desert island album.
For a long time my choice was Pearl by Janis Joplin. There's a problem with this, though. Pearl is about the only Janis Joplin album I really know or like. She's not my favourite music artist, so that choice doesn't represent what I generally listen to, and there is so much good music. If I manage to take my phone and a solar charger with me when I'm marooned then I can listen to more than 1000 albums while waiting for help!
There is a lot of good music so it is worth picking a lot of favourites!
Note that this is a work in progress. I'm working backwards from the present. This allows me to easily point to the recent stuff I like. I may never make it back as far as the 1960s... and that might help me to avoid some arguments. ;-)
Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
With about 20 excellent albums to his name in a career spanning about 50 years, Bruce Springsteen is one of the greats. Combine that talent with The E Street Band - one of the greatest bands ever - and you have something that is very hard to beat.
Here are some examples of live performances that showcase this great band:
- Kitty's Back (Live at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, 1975)
- Lost in the Flood (Live in New York City, 2000)
- You Never Can Tell (live in Leipzig, 2013)
Note that these performances span nearly 40 years.
Cowboy Junkies are a Canadian band that has been around since 1985. I first heard their music at a live show in 2004, immediately became a fan and added most of their back-catalogue to my collection. Cowboy Junkies are generally labelled alt-country, which almost works for some of their earlier work - for example, they're well known for their cover of Sweet Jane - but it doesn't fit their later work very well at all.
Finding new music…
I avoid listening to the radio, partly due to lack of opportunity and partly due to lack of interest. I try to watch (or listen to) every Tiny Desk Concert, even those I don't think I'm going to like. I subscribe to newsletters from web sites like No Depression and AllMusic. When I find something interesting my first port of call is usually Bandcamp. There I can usually listen to a full album, pay for it and download the album in a lossless format (e.g. FLAC) - I don't buy music in lossy formats (e.g. MP3) - and Bandcamp actually pays artists (as opposed to this). I still buy CDs but the albums I like are not always easily available on CD so I'm getting used to the idea of downloading them.