Album Talk – Top 11

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for new music, as I noted here. New Mumford & Sons, new Florence + the Machine, and new Of Monsters and Men, all some of my favourite bands. It makes me hopeful that their new albums are super awesome (but no pressure, guys), because I’ve loved their previous stuff so, so much. A little while ago, Nat at The Mustard Jumper did a list of her favourite 15 albums and it got me thinking about my favourite albums of all time. OF ALL TIME (so far). Most are from the last ten years, because those years were the most formative in developing my musical tastes.

Here is my list of stuff that gets played over and over and over again, in no particular order. And I couldn’t narrow it down to just ten, I just COULD NOT DO IT.

Snow Patrol – Eyes Open (2006)
Favourite track – You Could Be Happy

I remember so clearly driving home from work in 2006 and hearing a song on the radio – Triple M, I believe, which I don’t normally listen to, and I turned it up. Like, WAY UP, which is another thing I don’t normally do. That song was You’re All I Have and from those opening “ooo oooooo ooo oo’s” I was hooked. I went out and bought the album that week and it was on repeat in my car CD player for about three months. Snow Patrol’s music on this album is everything you want from a newish band – straight up infectious pop rock with the most beautiful song lyrics I’d heard in rock music.

Of Monsters and men – My Head is an Animal (2011)
Favourite track – Slow and Steady

About eighteen months ago I put a call out on Facebook for new music recommendations and someone suggested this album from the Icelandic band. I had heard their single Little Talks on Triple J a fair bit and gave the album a whirl. I’m so glad I did. The album is full of toe tapping, gorgeously harmonious folk music that envelopes you with its multitude of instruments. Other songs of note are Love, Love, Love and King and Lionheart. But really, this whole album is fantastic from start to finish, and I am unblieveably excited for their new stuff coming out this year!

Lorde – Pure Heroine (2013)
Favourite track – 400 Luxe

When Royals came out, I remember hearing Matt Okine on Triple J describe the first time he heard it. He said he was in a car with four other friends driving somewhere, and the song came on. He said the entire car went quiet for the duration of the song. That’s how I felt when I bought the album last year and heard 400 Lux on my first listen. I turned it up and hit the repeat button about five times. The rest of the album was like that as well. It left me awestruck and amazed at the sounds she had created with alternating frenentic and hypnotic beats. It was a game changer.

Joshua Radin – Simple Times (2008)
Favourite track – You Got Growin’ Up To Do

I’ve been listening to Joshua Radin for a long time, which readers of my blog will know. But this album is some of his best work, in my opinion. Every song on the album is wonderfully written, and a nice graduation from the self-proclaimed “Whisper Rock” style of his previous album, We Were Here. I find it to be complete comfort music – sweet and touching lyrics with happy melodies that always evoke emotion when I listen to them. If you want to start listening to his music, start here (after you’ve told me why you’re not already listening to him, obviously).

Florence + the Machine – Lungs (2009)
Favourite track – Dog Days Are Over

I mean, this song alone is worth purchasing the entire album for. It’s a fantastic gut-punch of choral pop that makes me feel like I can fly when I hear it. The rest of the songs on the album are the same – choral, euphoric songs with twisted lyrics that wrap around me and make me restless in the very best way. Their subsequent album, Ceremonials is similarly wonderful, but Lungs will always have an edge over it for me. I have such a vivid memory of being about 8 and a half months pregnant and listening to it while I did some sewing, just enjoying being. I cannot WAIT for their new album this year. CAN. NOT. WAIT.

Alanis Morisette – Jagged Little Pill (1995)
Favourite track – Forgiven

This was the first time I realised that as a female I didn’t have to polite and quiet. Not that I became a raving lunatic who attacked people with an assault of opinions, but as a fourteen year old, it was liberating to hear this woman rock her feelings out until she was emotionally spent. I saw her live a couple of times and she was electric. There’s so much more to this album than the hit single Ironic, and while I’ve chucked out many CDs from my 90s youth, I could never bring myself to get rid of this gem.

Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More (2009)
Favourite track – The Cave

I fell in love with the sound in Little Lion Man, but when I bought the album, every song on there had the same addictive, pounding pace with such a thrilling folk pop rock sound. It’s possibly the first time I ever really enjoyed the banjo, and much like Florence + The Machine, Mumford & Sons’ music makes me feel free and ready for adventure.

Sara Bareilles – Little Voice (2007)
Favourite track – Many the Miles

Sara Bareilles became a hit because she wrote an anti-love song when her record label asked her to write a love song, which delights me. After hearing Lovesong as the free iTunes download one week in 2007, I was hooked on her sound. The album is full of a mix of soulful songs and pretty pop ballads, and it never fails to put me in a good mood. I was lucky enough to finally see her live in September last year, and damn, that girl can really, really SING. Her subsequent albums have shown a lot of maturation in her song writing skill, but this early album will always be one of my favourites.

Back to Basics – Christina Aguilera (2006)
Favourite track – Ain’t No Other Man (Disc 1) and Save Me From Myself (disc 2)

After the fantastic about face of Stripped in 2002, I was impatiently waiting for Back to Basics for what felt like a long time. My impatience was rewarded though, because she managed to reinvent herself and her sound yet again. As soon as I heard and saw the first single from the album, I knew this album was going to blow everything else out of the water. The commitment to the sound and style of the 20s, 30s and 40s from Aguilera was so perfectly polished and presented I had this album on repeat for a long, long time. Her Back to Basics tour was awesome as well, with a full band, wonderful sets and costumes, and of course, her phenomenal voice. I’m a die-hard Aguilera fan, and I’m disappointed her follow up albums haven’t come close to being as slick as Stripped and Back to Basics were. She is working on a new album apparently, so fingers crossed it’s not totally forgettable like Lotus, right?

Paolo Nutini – These Streets (2008)
Favourite track – Loving You

If you’re not familiar with Paolo Nutini’s gravelly, soulful voice then I feel sorry for you. I was introduced to his music with his single Jenny Don’t Be Hasty which had such a motown sound that I had to hunt down the rest of his stuff. The album itself is full of that motown sound, and the songs are catchy and sexy as hell. My other favourite song is Last Request, which is so bittersweet and angsty it’s irresistible. Plus, did I mention the gravelly voice?

Death Cab For Cutie – Plans (2005)
Favourite track – I Will Follow You Into The Dark

I can’t remember where I first heard Death Cab For Cutie’s music. I just know that their sound and their lyrics pulled me in from the very first song I heard. Plans remains one of my favourite albums of theirs, and chances are you’ve heard their music in any number of TV shows. Other songs of note on the album are Soul Meets Body and Different Names for the Same Thing. Ben Gibbard has such a distinctive voice and it’s the type of music that always just kind of chills me out while also making me feel really contemplative. It’s just really beautiful music and lyrics, and I highly recommend you give them a listen.

So much of music is how it makes us feel, and every single one of these albums give me FEELS in so many different ways. Of course, it helps that all the artists are ridiculously talented and, for the few I’ve seen live, can really sing and play their instruments live and still sound fantastic.

What are your favourite albums? I’d love to know – I’m always on the hunt for new music!

Until next time,

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