Which is to say, albums that I think best exemplify them, are sometimes underrated, and that I never tire of.
  1. Sketches of Spain, Miles Davis
    Amazing fusion of nodal jazz and traditional Andalucian music. Great fun.
  2. The Lion and the Unicorn, John Renbourn
    Jazz flute madrigals. Nuff said.
  3. The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Joni Mitchell
    It's hard to pick just one Joni, but this one has the perfect intersection of folk, jazz and pop.
  4. Computer World, Kraftwerk
    Way ahead of its time. Set the standard for all synth music to follow.
  5. Movement, New Order
    Their 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.
  6. 1984, Eurythmics
    The 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.
  7. The Colour of Spring, Talk Talk
    Yeah 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.
  8. Aeon, Dead Can Dance
    Steeped in medieval/early music, which I love, with a goth twist. Pitch perfect.
  9. Bright Red, Laurie Anderson
    Moody and ponderous but also deeply personal. It makes me respect her more every time I listen to it.
  10. Last Temptation of Christ Soundtrack, Peter Gabriel
    Haunting and rich.
  11. Rain Tree Crow, Rain Tree Crow
    Ersatz 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.
  12. Wrecking Ball, Emmylou Harris
    Clearly I have a thing for moody music from strong women.
  13. Paris, Malcolm McClaren
    Poetic and jazzy like the city it describes. Rare case of an album whose remix complement is at least as good.
  14. A Secret Life, Maryann Faithfull
    She leverages her smoky, weary voice to great effect.
  15. Erasure, Erasure
    I 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.
  16. Bikini, Zofka
    Fun, retro, space-age.
  17. Hurricane, Grace Jones
    I don't think I ever expected her to come out with something this mature and deep. A coup de grace for a disco diva.
  18. Look Around the Corner, Quantic and the Combo Barbaro
    Evokes the vibrancy of Latin pop of the '60s and '70s. Makes me wish I lived in Caracas during those years. Bonus prize: Alice Russell.