A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.
This list is the last of the original years covered in my previous survey. The Favorite 10 hasn’t changed, but the extended list has gotten longer.
- Tears for Fears, Songs from the Big Chair
- Sting, The Dream of the Blue Turtles
- Arcadia, So Red the Rose
- ABC, How to Be a Zillionaire!
- 10,000 Manaics, The Wishing Chair
- Clannad, Macalla
- Kate Bush, Hounds of Love
- Soundtrack, Macross Song Collection
- Midnight Oil, Red Sails in the Sunset
- Andrew Lloyd Webber, Requiem
Other favorites from the year::
- Camper Van Beethoven, Telephone Free Landslide Victory
- Eurythmics, Be Yourself Tonight
- Hiroshima, Another Place
- The Pogues, Rum Sodomy and the Lash
- Simple Minds, Once Upon a Time
- Sade, Promise
- Hüsker Dü, New Day Rising
- The Replacements, Tim
- The Outfield, Play Deep
- INXS, Listen Like Thieves
- Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam with Full Force, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam with Full Force
- The Power Station, The Power Station
- The Family, The Family
- Prince and the Revolution, Around the World in a Day
Younger Me would approve of most of this list.
He would have gasped at the inclusion of Prince, considering the Sibling Rivalry Collection Race was at its height, and this kind of intrusion would be accompanied by a drubbing.
And he would groaned at the inclusion of The Outfield. Older Me would then advise him to wait 20 years before a real appreciation could begin.
I capped this survey at 1985 because my collection before that year wasn’t extensive enough for much punditry. Weekly visits to thrift shops in the last three years have allowed me to fill in enough gaps to keep going till 1978.
Tags: 10000 maniacs, abc, andrew lloyd webber, arcadia, camper van beethoven, clannad, eurythmics, favorite edition, hiroshima, husker du, inxs, kate bush, lisa lisa and cult jam, midnight oil, prince, sade, simple minds, soundtrack, sting, the family, the outfield, the pogues, the power station, the replacements
In 1987, I turned 15 years old, an age when music discovery exerted its strongest pull. The same Spotify analysis that charted music tastes over time claims most teen-agers highly identify with popular titles. Had the same study been done when I was a teen, I probably would have been an outlier point.
Kronos Quartet, Black Angels
The first Kronos Quartet album I purchased was Winter Was Hard, and it was something of a Reader’s Digest for modern classical music. Then Black Angels followed, and it exploded my perception of what music could be.
John Zorn, Naked City
I was a pissed-off teen for a lot of reasons, most of them mundane. But it gave me drive to find music that would alienate everyone around me, and the howls of Yamantaka Eye and John Zorn fit the bill nicely.
In Tua Nua, The Long Acre
This album introduced me to the idea that popularity is not the same thing as merit. I couldn’t find a filler track anywhere on this album, and the confrontational “The Innocent and the Honest Ones” mirrored my own dissatisfaction with being raised in a monotheistic culture. It should have been a hit, but mostly, you’ll find it in the 99 cent bins.
U2, The Joshua Tree
U2 had to score a number one album in order for radio stations in Hawaii to pay attention. I knew about the band beforehand but hadn’t taken the plunge till I saw the video for “With or Without You.”
Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Phantom of the Opera
Andrew Lloyd Webber gets a lot of flack for his signature hit tunes, but for a young burgeoning composer, his scores are incredibly instructional. I’ve yet to encounter another pop writer who can make a hook out of an atonal melody.
The Art of Noise, In Visible Silence
Before I learned about Kronos Quartet, John Zorn or Andrew Lloyd Webber, I encountered the Art of Noise. I would later learn (Who’s Afraid Of …?) The Art of Noise! had some bonafide songcraft, but its follow-up, In Visible Silence, essentially jettisoned all that.
Arcadia, So Red the Rose
Of the two Duran Duran splinter projects from 1985, Arcadia hews closest to the parent band and engenders the most sentiment from long-time fans.
Stephen Sondheim, Sunday in the Park with George
Sunday in the Park with George arrived at time in my life when I was just starting to learn about modern classical music. I looked to Lloyd Webber to bridge my interests in classical and pop musics, and I turned to Sondheim to go further into modernism.
Eurythmics, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
I loved Eurythmics singles, but their albums tended to have quite a bit of filler. Sweet Dreams is the deserved obvious choice, but Savage and In the Garden deserve some props.
Duran Duran, Rio
This tops my Desert Island Disc list, so of course, it’s going to be here.
Wendy Carlos, TRON Original Soundtrack
I listened to this soundtrack to death because I loved the computer graphics of the movie. It wasn’t till much later that I discovered how rich Carlos’ harmonic language was. This soundtrack pretty much planted the seed that would be nourished by the Art of Nosie, Kronos Quartet, John Zorn and classical music after 1900.
Tags: andrew lloyd webber, arcadia, duran duran, eurythmics, in tua nua, john zorn, kronos quartet, music discovery, stephen sondheim, the art of noise, u2, wendy carlos