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.
I had discovered so much music in 1987 that at the time, I thought 1988 was a dud by comparison. Over the years, I’ve discovered that is not the case. The Favorite 10 doesn’t change from the original list, but look at that expanded list.
- In Tua Nua, The Long Acre
- Midnight Oil, Diesel and Dust
- Kronos Quartet, Winter Was Hard
- The Sugarcubes, Life’s Too Good
- Enya, Watermark
- Tracy Chapman, Tracy Chapman
- Living Colour, Vivid
- Duran Duran, Big Thing
- Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation
- The Dead Milkmen, Beelzebubba
Other favorites from the year:
- Stephen Sondheim, Into the Woods
- John Adams, Nixon in China
- Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, Savvy Show Stoppers
- Camper Van Beethoven, Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart
- Sarah McLachlan, Touch
- Erasure, The Innocents
- Sade, Stronger Than Pride
- The Pogues, If I Should Fall from Grace with God
- The Waterboys, Fisherman’s Blues
- The Godfathers, Birth, School, Work, Death
- Camouflage, Voices & Images
- Ambitious Lovers, Greed
- Iron Path, Iron Path
- Toni Childs, Union
- R.E.M., Green
- Throwing Muses, House Tornado
- Pixies, Surfer Rosa
- N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton
- Information Society, Information Society
- Ofra Haza, Shaday
- The Smiths, Rank
- Lucinda Williams, Lucinda Williams
I guess I really limited the expanded list 10 years ago so I wouldn’t have to do so much writing. The Pogues, the Waterboys, the Godfathers, Ambitious Lovers, Ofra Haza, the Smiths and Lucinda Williams would not have appeared on that list — I’ve discovered those albums only in the last 6 years.
Tags: ambitious lovers, camouflage, camper van beethoven, duran duran, enya, erasure, favorite edition, in tua nua, information society, iron path, john adams, kronos quartet, living colour, lucinda williams, midnight oil, n.w.a., ofra haza, pixies, r.e.m., rewind, sade, sarah mclachlan, shadowy men on a shadowy planet, sonic youth, stephen sondheim, the dead milkmen, the godfathers, the pogues, the smiths, the sugarcubes, the waterboys, throwing muses, toni childs, tracy chapman
The strongest memory I have about this album involves one of my teachers in high school. At the time, I wouldn’t have admitted to thinking he was cute. Heck, I really didn’t know what was going on with my hormones to tell.
Compared with all the other teachers on the faculty, he was a kid, probably not more than 10 years older than I was. I didn’t really give age much nuance back then — he was an adult, so he fell under the broad stroke of old.
As a student, I never really liked raising my hand and asking for help. I perceived that as a sign of weakness. But on that first summer of high school, I was underwater. The school threw us into a geometry class that required Algebra I, and most of us hadn’t taken algebra.
So I had to ask for help. A lot. And I didn’t mind because, well, the teacher’s cologne smelled nice.
He was also building his music collection, and one of the albums he owned was Birth, School, Work, Death by The Godfathers. The album cover intrigued me, and it struck me as something I probably would like.
A friend of mine had picked it up based on said teacher’s recommendation and encouraged me to do so as well. I choose my purchases carefully back then, so I didn’t follow up.
Not for another 30 years.
I probably would have dug the Godfathers quite a bit. Birth, School, Work, Death has the reverb-drenched commercial sheen required of post-punk albums at the time, but it didn’t polish off all the rough edges from the band.
The Clash is an obvious influence, especially with the shouted choruses and Peter Coyne’s monotone verses. But that influence is tempered with a dash of classic rock and some well-timed melodies.
I hadn’t quite gotten into the rougher areas of punk, so the Godfathers would have been an appropriate gateway band.
Birth, School, Work, Death also has a cover that absolutely sells the album. If I had discovered the album by other means, I still would have found the austerity of the cover fascinating.
As it stands, Birth, School, Work, Death marks the first time my life ever resembled a song by The Police.
Tags: the godfathers, thrift store find
I catalog my music purchases on Collectorz and Discogs, but they don’t give me a sense of change over time. So I’m noting them here weekly as well.
- The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
- The Godfathers, Birth, School, Life, Death
- Meredith Monk, Our Lady of Late
- Trio Bulgarka, The Forest Is Crying
Tags: meredith monk, purchase log, the beatles, the godfathers, trio bulgarka