foxinsnow's Diaryland Diary

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my favorite twenty-two albums

MY TOP TWENTY-TWO ALBUMS

Note: these are not listed in order of importance/enjoyment, just as I thought of them. Also, they are MY favorites, not the most important in pop history or whatever.

Self-titled album (also known as “The White Album”)—the Beatles

Why: I can’t explain it. Every song is dynamite, except, perhaps, “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da-“ I’ll take “Revolution #9” over that in a New York minute. But one thing’s for sure: every song has its purpose.

Revolver—the Beatles

Why: It is so tense with transition, the push- and-pull between what the Beatles were and what they were becoming, and it was their first “weird” album. I love it! And I have a peak experience every time I listen to “Tomorrow Never Knows,” an amazing little spiritual (although LSD-induced) song.

Happiness (rare version)—Lisa Germano

By the time you’re finished listening to this album, you will want to check yourself into a psych ward. It’s that powerful.

Geek the Girl—Lisa Germano

The best I’ve ever heard concerning being a female growing up in a world that demands we be sexual but doesn’t tell us how to do it. So we’re left to accrue our own fears, neuroses, and fleeting moments of pleasure like a squirrel scrounging for acorns. Lisa says it better than I do.

CD Version of the First Two Albums—Bikini Kill

If I had to pick a number one, this would be it. It’s rockin’, it’s daring, it’s full of cuss words, it’s brutally honest about sexism, racism, eating disorders, rape and incest, homophobia, and even criticism towards the band itself. I can’t say enough good things about this album.

Pussy Whipped—Bikini Kill

We wanted more, and they gave us more! More screeching, more rockin’ guitars, more anger—and even a version of the first CD’s “Rebel Girl”that is much punchier, with more aggressive drum beats. A gem.

The Score—Fugees

It’s just a great, sad, danceable, clever piece of art. I hate to mention this, but is Lauryn Hill not the goddess? And if you’re hung up on “what she said,” that was a twisted rumor.

Little Earthquakes—Tori Amos

Groundbreaking for it’s song “Me and a Gun,” beautiful for “Little Earthquakes,” girly for “Silent all These Years” (a song which if you buy the single, the proceeds go to Tori’s foundation RAINN, Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network), and all around gut-wrenching, this would be second on my list if I were ranking these.

After Bathing at Baxter’s—Jefferson Airplane

Sgt. Pepper’s? Sorry, my friends. Pepper was indeed groundbreaking for bringing psychedelia into the mainstream, but if you want to listen to a truly lysergic album, this is the one to have. It’s the difference between hearing the band talk about an acid trip and taking acid with them.

Songs of Love and Hate—Leonard Cohen

Each song weaves together to tell me this story: a soldier has a nervous breakdown and has visions of Joan of Arc. There is a strange moment of clarity in the song “Famous Blue Raincoat” in which he appears to be addressing this person as his brother rather than being him. Heavy stuff. But well worth the chills it will send down your spine.

Crown of Creation—Jefferson Airplane

Takes off where “Bathing” leaves off, but tighter and more lyrical, as though maybe it’s about acid rather than being recorded on it. J And, it contains the beautiful song (one among many, but this is my favorite) “Ice Cream Phoenix,”which asks the question “tell me how if you think you know how/ two people love when there’s no tomorrow/ and still not cry when it’s time to go.”

Superstition—Siouxsie and the Banshees

I feet-tapping good time with ethereal, fantastical lyrics.

Peep Show—Siouxsie and the Banshees

A bit darker than Superstition, and a bit more spidery. I recommend both albums.

Dig Me Out—Sleater-Kinney

A rockin’ good time of a riot grrl album. I can’t get enough of this—I listen to it over and over.

Relics—Pink Floyd

Syd Barett at his best, and most unleashed. I guarantee after listening to this, you’ll wish you were as crazy as Syd.

Automatic for the People—REM

Achingly but subtly depressed, but still with a glimmer of hope. I love this album. It’s really mellow, so it’s great to fall asleep to.

Axis: Bold as Love—Jimi Hendrix

The title says it all. This album IS bold as love. Think about it.

Live Through This—Hole

Maybe it just brings back memories of high school, but this was the first “angry girl” music I was exposed to. I keep coming back to this album. Love’s voice sounds serrated, in a sexy way, and like she’s completely out of her mind, which I respect in a woman. And no, you f***ers, she did not kill Kurt Cobain, so don’t hand me that crap. Can we say “Gen X’s Yoko?”

American III: Solitary Man—Johnny Cash

So many amazing songs on this album but my absolute favorite is “Wayfaring Stranger.” If “Hurt” were on this disc and not on American IV, this would be number three in my hypothetical ranking. As is, it’s still an immensely powerful album. And, hello, it’s Johnny Cash! You can’t go wrong!

Under the Pink—Tori Amos

Takes up where “Earthquakes” left off, but she adds the subject of masturbation to her repertoire with the sad and beautiful “Icicle,” which begins with a piano solo by the prodigy! Which is better—this or “Earthquakes?” It’s a very tough call.

Four Track Demos-- PJ Harvey

It's PJ Harvey unleashed in all her Kali-esque ferocity. Not for the faint of heart.

The Singer-- Diamanda Galas

Some of her recordings are too weird even for me! But not this one. It is shrieky, growly, and makes Yoko Ono look like Judy Collins (yeah, no shit), but talk about Kali-esque ferocity! She akes it to even a higher level than Harvey, which is saying a lot. Her covers of "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?" and "I Put a Spell on You" positively take my breath away. Interesting note about Diamanda: she is certifiably, absolutely nuts. If you want to find out more about that, read her interview in Angry Women. Also, I own her recording Plague Mass as well-- I can't stomach it right now, it's way too dissonant for me. But hopefully someday I will be able, because I really appreciate and respect her and her personal concept of art theory.

12:10 a.m. - 2004-01-07

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