Enduring Albums From Selected Artists
Which is to say, albums that I think best exemplify them, are sometimes underrated, and that I never tire of.
- •Sketches of Spain, Miles DavisAmazing fusion of nodal jazz and traditional Andalucian music. Great fun.
- •The Lion and the Unicorn, John RenbournJazz flute madrigals. Nuff said.
- •The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Joni MitchellIt's hard to pick just one Joni, but this one has the perfect intersection of folk, jazz and pop.
- •Computer World, KraftwerkWay ahead of its time. Set the standard for all synth music to follow.
- •Movement, New OrderTheir first recording as New Order, and in fact some of the songs had been written before Ian Curtis' suicide. Joy Division's darkness and hard edges get replaced with sorrow. Very somber.
- •1984, EurythmicsThe soundtrack that never was. In a way, by being constrained to trying to support the emotional flow of the film, it pushed them into their most meaningful work.
- •The Colour of Spring, Talk TalkYeah yeah, the first two albums are catchy pop. And then...this. Like they came out of a cocoon. Maybe that's why the cover has moths on it.
- •Aeon, Dead Can DanceSteeped in medieval/early music, which I love, with a goth twist. Pitch perfect.
- •Bright Red, Laurie AndersonMoody and ponderous but also deeply personal. It makes me respect her more every time I listen to it.
- •Last Temptation of Christ Soundtrack, Peter GabrielHaunting and rich.
- •Rain Tree Crow, Rain Tree CrowErsatz reboot of Japan, after they'd all had some time to go do other things. Quirky and haunting, but this album was a huge part of my life when I lived in Santa Fe. The music seemed to fit there.
- •Wrecking Ball, Emmylou HarrisClearly I have a thing for moody music from strong women.
- •Paris, Malcolm McClarenPoetic and jazzy like the city it describes. Rare case of an album whose remix complement is at least as good.
- •A Secret Life, Maryann FaithfullShe leverages her smoky, weary voice to great effect.
- •Erasure, ErasureI didn't like this album initially. It was weird. Weird that the eponymous album should not be their first, and there are parts of the album the stray into eerie, dreamlike fugues. But it's also full of urgency and life. I think this was around the time Andy Bell was diagnosed with HIV.
- •Bikini, ZofkaFun, retro, space-age.
- •Hurricane, Grace JonesI don't think I ever expected her to come out with something this mature and deep. A coup de grace for a disco diva.
- •Look Around the Corner, Quantic and the Combo BarbaroEvokes the vibrancy of Latin pop of the '60s and '70s. Makes me wish I lived in Caracas during those years. Bonus prize: Alice Russell.