In very rough order.
  1. Blue, Joni Mitchell
    My favorite writing about being a woman in any medium.
  2. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West
    The artistic masterpiece of my generation, not exaggerating.
  3. Blood On The Tracks, Bob Dylan
    This one has stuck with me for 20 years now. Something about it just haunts my heart.
  4. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Lauryn Hill
    Timeless in a genre where so much changes that very little is.
  5. The Execution of All Things, Rilo Kiley
    #relatable. The album I feel like I would write if I was a talented songwriter and musician. In my dreams, I see myself hitting a baseball.
  6. Astral Weeks, Van Morrison
    Van Morrison was 23 when he recorded this, which never fails to make me feel like a human dumpster in comparison.
  7. Crooked Rain Crooked Rain, Pavement
    It's always a good time to listen to this.
  8. Purple Rain, Prince
  9. Lifted..., Bright Eyes
    My favorite album by a band that shaped my early adulthood. Also: I saw seven stops on this tour and it was the most magical couple weeks of my life, probably.
  10. The White Album, The Beatles
    Hard to pick one Beatles album but the breadth of this one is breathtaking.
  11. Moon Pix, Cat Power
    The first time I ever heard Moon Pix I was listening to my discman on the public bus and I burst into tears within one minute of the first song.
  12. One Night Stand (live), Sam Cooke
    The best live album ever by the best soul singer ever.
  13. Down The River Of Golden Dreams, Okkervil River
    An album and a band that kept me company through most of my adult life so far. The songwriting is often a remarkable exercise in empathy and storytelling.
  14. Heartbreaker, Ryan Adams
    On one of my favorite nights, my friend Shantelle drove me home late after the bars closed and then came in and we listened to Heartbreaker from beginning to end in silence and everlasting friendship.
  15. Graceland, Paul Simon
    Like so many people I know my age, the soundtrack of my childhood and unseverably hitched to my heart.
  16. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, Neutral Milk Hotel
    The soundtrack to so many important + emotional moments of my life and in the lives of the people I love. Still gives me chills.
  17. Full Moon Fever, Tom Petty
    It's unbelievable that this isn't a greatest hits album. Every song is a jam!
  18. Bows + Arrows, The Walkmen
    Appropriately, feels like arrows piercing my heart every time I pay attention to it. This is rock and roll that caught feelings.
  19. Girls Can Tell, Spoon
    The coolest music of my time. Always right on.
  20. Flood, They Might Be Giants
    My first favorite album (age six) and my first show (age twelve) and, weirdly, still holds up and keeps changing every year of my life.