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.
1990 has always felt more like 1989 v.2.0 than 1990 v.1.0. It was clearly the start of a pivot that wouldn’t really end till 1992, but the ’80s held its grip on that first year of the decade (if you’re using a 0-based system.)
- Kronos Quartet, Black Angels
- Robin Holcomb, Robin Holcomb
- John Zorn / Naked City, Naked City
- Midnight Oil, Blue Sky Mining
- Sonic Youth, Goo
- The Waitresses, Best of the Waitresses
- Geinoh Yamashirogumi, Akira Original Soundtrack
- Madonna, I’m Breathless
- The Sundays, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic
- Living Colour, Time’s Up
Other favorites from the year:
- Duran Duran, Liberty
- Depeche Mode, Violator
- Deee-Lite, World Clique
- Enigma, MCMXC a.D.
- Meredith Monk, Book of Days
- Joan Tower, Silver Ladders / Island Prelude / Music for Cello and Orchestra / Sequoia
- Uncle Tupelo, No Depression
- Jane’s Addiction, Ritual de lo Habitual
- Fugazi, Repeater
- Information Society, Hack
- Björk, Gling-Gló
- Wendy and Lisa, Eroica
- Lisa Stansfield, Affection
- Sinéad O’Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
1990-me would have protested the inclusion of Uncle Tupelo on this list. 1995-me would have had to slap some sense into him.
1990-me would have also questioned the addition of Lisa Stansfield, and 2008-me would have had to confront him about how he secretly loved “All Around the World.”
1990-me would have also wondered why 2008-me didn’t include Jane’s Addiction the first time around. 2008-me would have shrugged.
I would like to think 2008-me relished introducing 1990-me to Fugazi. 1990-me would not have been prepared for them, however.
All of us are still wondering how I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got manages to stay on the list.
Tags: bjork, deee-lite, depeche mode, duran duran, enigma, favorite edition, fugazi, geinoh yamashirogumi, information society, jane's addiction, joan tower, john zorn, kronos quartet, lisa stansfield, living colour, madonna, meredith monk, midnight oil, naked city, rewind, robin holcomb, sinead o'connor, sonic youth, the sundays, the waitresses, uncle tupelo, wendy and lisa
2017 marked the largest year-over-year increase in my CD collection, and the biggest recipient of that largesse is the Lifelong Thrift Shop.
I crunched the numbers, and the store provided 168 of the 458 items bought in 2017. At an average of $0.73 per CD and $1.46 per record, I contributed more than $130 to Lifelong coffers. I wouldn’t have made a charitable payroll deduction that large.
The Friends of the Seattle Public Library Book Sale is another source for discount music, and I parted with $75 of my cash to them.
Essentially, weekly visits to the thrift shop has crowded out my interest in new releases. That, and being old.
- Art of Noise, In Visible Silence: This album started my fascination with the Art of Noise and, more importantly, introduced me to the term musique concrète. It was the weirdest album I encountered in my tween years, and it primed me to discover Kronos Quartet.
- Wendy and Lisa, Eroica: A woefully underrated album.
- k.d. lang, Ingenue: The MTV Unplugged bonus material didn’t seem like much of an enhancement on paper till you actually listen to it
- The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead: The demos don’t stray too far from what eventually appeared on record, but it’s nice to hear how these tracks evolved.
- Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain: I have to admit I was more enamored of the Eroica reissue, despite the bonus material in this special edition.
- Deee-Lite, World Clique: I’m usually not a fan of remixes, but the bonus disc on this special edition actually worked.
- Moondog, Moondog: I had been curious about Moondog for a long time, and the Record Store Day reissue of his self-titled Columbia debut was a good excuse to fill in a gap finally.
- Shawn Colvin, A Few Small Repairs: Yes, you can find this album at Lifelong for $1, but I still like it. And it’s on vinyl to boot!
- Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers, At the Ryman: OK, I ended up with two copies of this album on vinyl because I hadn’t anticipated I could get the Ryman special edition when I visited Nashville in August 2017.
- Geinoh Yamashirogumi, Symphonic Suite AKIRA: The sequencing of the album had to change to accommodate the limitation of vinyl, but that doesn’t work against it.
- Nakamori Akina, Fushigi: I have a number of middling Nakamori Akina albums,
so out of curiosity, I did a search for what’s considered her best work. I wasn’t expecting an album that actually gets nods by the American indie music press. It puts to rest who I like better in the Akina vs. Seiko debate.
- The Streets, Original Pirate Material: I so dug “Geezers Need Excitement”, I used it as part of an assignment for an ear training/sight singing class I’m taking.
- New York Dolls, New York Dolls: I picked this album up from Lifelong Thrift Shop purely on reputation, and I didn’t expect how prescient it was.
- Loretta Lynn, Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind): Don’t let the country weepies fool you — this album is all about how women have to be strong because men are just no good.
- Perfume, GAME: It took nearly a decade for me to discover the sublimity of “Polyrhythm.”
- The Roots, Game Theory: I want to call this album punk AF.
- Low, Things We Lost in the Fire: I’m not sure how much further I want to explore the Low catalog.
- Midnight Oil, Head Injuries: For the American Midnight Oil fan who wants to reach back into the Australian catalog, this album is where to start.
- Charles Mingus, The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady: Similarly, I’m not sure how much further I want to explore Mingus after hearing this work. I feel everything else would pale by comparison.
- Weezer, Pinkerton: This album is the one to own if you can’t stand Weezer fans.
I don’t think I’d mind Weezer if it weren’t for the fans.
Tags: charles mingus, deee-lite, emmylou harris, favorite edition, geinoh yamashirogumi, kd lang, loretta lynn, low, midnight oil, moondog, nakamori akina, new york dolls, perfume, prince, shawn colvin, the art of noise, the revolution, the roots, the smiths, the streets, weezer, wendy and lisa
The moment I announced I’m taking a break, a whole bunch of new releases appear on the schedule. I’d be remiss not to preview them.
Royal Wood, Ghost Light, Jan. 27
Ghost Light was released in Canada back in April 2016, but an international release had to wait till now. The cover for this edition — Wood in silhouette — matches the title, but I prefer the Canadian cover because Wood looks hotter in a t-shirt.
Sleater-Kinney, Live in Paris, Jan. 27
I’m still kicking myself for missing the band’s three-night run in Seattle.
Onitsuka Chihiro, Syndrome, Feb. 1
I haven’t paid much attention to Onitsuka Chihiro since her lackluster cover album FAMOUS MICROPHONE. So it was a surprise to find out she’s on yet another new label, and she released an independent album with a band in 2014.
Deee-Lite, World Clique (Deluxe Edition), March 3
Yeah, it’s about time this album got the reissue treatment.
George Michael, Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 (Deluxe Edition), March 3
I’ll deal with George Michael’s untimely death in a future entry. I didn’t pick up this album till after I heard the news, and I can understand both the initial underwhelming reception and its subsequent critical acclaim.
Cocco, 20 Shuunen Request Best + Rare Track, March 21
What? I’ve been listening to Cocco for 20 years now?
The Old 97s, Too Far to Care, Jan. 13
When I first started buying up vinyl in 2013, I considered getting the reissue of Too Far to Care. I decided against it because I wanted to track down titles preceding the CD era first. By the time I was ready to get it, all the copies had been snatched up. I snagged a used copy two weeks before I saw Music on Vinyl would reissue the original album without the bonus tracks. *sigh*
MONO, Under the Pipal Tree, Jan. 20
I don’t think MONO really topped this debut album till Hymn to the Immortal Wind.
Madonna, The Immaculate Collection (Colored Vinyl), Jan. 24
Am I really going to drop cash on a compilation where I have most of the tracks on other vinyl releases? Evidently.
Eurythmics, Greatest Hits, Jan. 27
I still have all the Eurythmics albums I bought back in the ’80s. I only had to flesh out my collection with In the Garden and We Too Are One.
Madonna, Confessions on the Dance Floor, Jan. 31
This album was really welcome after a pair of back-to-back disappointments with Music and American Life.
Eluvium, Copia, Feb. 3
I would be so on board with a reissue of An Accidental Memory in Case of Death.
Duran Duran, The Wedding Album, Feb. 10
Let’s see if this release date sticks. I think it’ll have been nearly a year since this reissue popped up on the schedule.
John Zorn, Spy Vs. Spy: Music of Ornette Coleman, March 3
I found an original Nonesuch pressing of this album many months back, but it’s a definite recommendation for anyone who loves Naked City.
Tags: cocco, deee-lite, duran duran, eluvium, eurythmics, george michael, john zorn, looking ahead, madonna, mono, onitsuka chihiro, royal wood, sleater-kinney, the old 97s