This past year, I started keeping a log of purchases every week, and a cursory look at those entries show how much catalog has taken over my collection.
Like last year, many of these purchases come from Lifelong Thrift Store or Goodwill. A month-long CD sale at Easy Street Records contributed quite a number of titles. I’ve whittled down nearly 600 purchases to a list of Favorite 10.
Patti Smith, Horses: The first time I played this album, I didn’t get it. So I played a few more times and became fascinated with it on each play.
Boris, Pink: I remember other Japanese indie rock fans fawning over this album, and it’s taken me 12 years to get around to finding out why.
David Bowie, Scary Monsters: At first I was going to be boring and choose Ziggy Stardust or Let’s Dance as my favorite Bowie album, but this one takes it, hands down.
Bruce Springsteen, Nebraska: I like the story of how this album came about just as much as I like the end result.
Fugazi, The Argument: Fugazi didn’t make a bad album, just less good ones. The Argument would probably be Fugazi’s best album if 13 Songs and Repeater weren’t in the way.
Joni Mitchell, Court and Spark: I went on a Joni Mitchell binge this year, and this album is the only one I really like. Sorry, Blue.
Roxy Music, Avalon: Quite the dapper album.
The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced: It’s weird how familiar this album feels after years of hearing covers by Kronos Quartet, Sting and Emmylou Harris.
The Pogues, Rum Sodomy and the Lash: I didn’t accommodate the Pogues during my Celtic phase of the mid-90s because they were more rock than Celtic.
Wire, Pink Flag: I’m also fond of the self-titled Killing Joke album.
The last half of the year was stuffed with reissues that were of particular interest for me.
Art of Noise, In No Sense? Nonsense! (Deluxe Edition):(Who’s Afraid Of …?) The Art of Noise! may have all the hits, but the post-ZTT albums from 1986 and 1987 are the band’s creative peak.
Camouflage, Voices and Images (30th Anniversary Edition): This reissue received a limited run in Germany, so pick it up before they’re all gone.
Johnny Hates Jazz, Turn Back the Clock (30th Anniversary Edition): The acoustic re-recording of this album works quite well, given how reliant the original was on MIDI.
Kate Bush, Remastered Part I and Remastered Part II: It’s apparent on which side Kate takes in the loudness wars, because these remasters do nothing with the volume. In the case of The Red Shoes, it’s actually pulled back. But they sound great, particularly Part I.
Julee Cruise, The Voice of Love: I so dug Floating Into the Night that I didn’t think it could be topped. It wasn’t, because The Voice of Love is a different beast.
Sasagawa Miwa, Houjou -BEST 03-18-: I passed on the two most recent Sasagawa Miwa albums, but this retrospective does a good job of highlighting the best parts of her output.
Frank Ocean, Endless: This album was better than Blonde.
Prince, Piano and a Microphone 1983: How about a vinyl reissue of the Love Symbol album?
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.
At the time, SLOTH LOVE CHUNKS edged Utada Hikaru for the top spot of 2006, but Ultra Blue has proven far more durable. This list has gone through quite a number of changes.
Utada Hikaru, Ultra Blue
SLOTH LOVE CHUNKS, Shikakui Vision
VOLA & THE ORIENTAL MACHINE, Waiting for My Food
Furukawa Miki, Mirrors
Tokyo Jihen, Otona (Adult)
Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere
The Roots, Game Theory
Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson, Neruda Songs
Nick Lachey, What’s Left of Me
Other favorites of the year:
J Dilla, Donuts
Hajime Chitose, Hanadairo
Now It’s Overhead, Dark Light Days
Envy, Insomniac Doze
The Gossip, Standing in the Way of Control
ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, Fan Club
I’ve known about Boris for as long as I’ve been following Japanese music, but I never made time for them until I picked up Pink at Goodwill for $2. Well, hell …
I wouldn’t have listened to the Roots or J Dilla at the time. Hip-hop had diversified to have its own underground, and that was just so much history that I wasn’t willing to unpack. I’ve only started exploring hip-hop with any seriousness in the last year.
Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson was quite the late discovery. I didn’t pick up Neruda Songs till 2008, but it quickly became a favorite, dislodging Ex-Boyfriends completely off the list.
When I was first introduced to ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, I dismissed them as “eastern youth lite”. The joke was on me — I don’t even own an eastern youth album anymore, and I’ve purchased ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION on vinyl.