Albums, blog, Blog a Day, Blog Challenge, blogging, Brothers in Arms, Dire Straits, Frightened Rabbit, Graceland, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Mark Knopfler, Music, My Vitriol, Paul Simon, Rock, Songs, Sound, The Staves, Vocals
Unlike a lot of people who seem to have trouble narrowing their list of favourite albums down to just 5, I am having the opposite problem. I’m not really an ‘album’ person and never have been. I’ve certainly got a couple on my list which I’ll come to shortly, but for me it has always been about individual songs or tracks (unless they clearly combine to make a suite of music… Which I’m sure many would argue is actually the case from the artist’s point of view for most albums, but for the sake of argument let’s say say it isn’t). So it’s not the case really that I have to like every song on an album before I’ll say I love the album… It’s more that I remember them as songs, so half the time I’m not sure which album they’re from anyway. That said however I think I can come up with 5 albums so without further ado here they are:
Paul Simon’s Graceland is in my opinion one of the greatest albums of all time. There are songs that pretty much everyone knows on this album (You Can Call Me Al and Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes) and they’re such classic, fun songs I find them irresistible not to bop along to. His collaboration with Ladysmith Black Mambazo gives many of the tracks a quality I personally find very appealing and memorable.
Dire Straits, Brothers In Arms is a huge album from my childhood and one which would regularly be put on in the car (on cassette too!) while we were on holiday camping. The title track is probably one of the most well known rock songs from this era and its subject and tone makes compelling listening. Alongside that you have songs like Why Worry and Walk of Life which are soothing and upbeat respectively, the latter being another song I find impossible not to tap my feet to. Then of course you have Money For Nothing, with one of the greatest guitar intros of all time.
This album is a classic amongst my friends from home and for the first couple of years after its release was the album for summer parties and barbecues for us. I was genuinely surprised when I began meeting people away from home who had never heard of My Vitriol and have made it my mission to introduce any rock fans to this, their only album. The whole album I feel has a very unique sound, and Always Your Way and Grounded are two songs in particular that I will always love and will remind me of friends.
My next choice is Frightened Rabbit: a band I had never heard of until a couple of years ago when a friend gave me a copy of this album. It’s possibly the only album I can think of off the top of my head that I can say I really like every single song on the album. The lyrics are very clever (I’ve already discussed in a previous post how I’m not really a lyrics oriented person so this is really saying something coming from me) and there’s a sense of quiet, lonely desperation to the songs which I think gives it a really interesting sound. It’s a really great album full of memorable songs and I keep telling myself to check out their other stuff and for no good reason have yet to do so!
For my final album I thought I’d pick something new. I first heard of The Staves around October last year when I read an article about them on the BBC and how they were a new group becoming known for stunning their audiences into awed silence. The group is formed of three sisters from just down the road in Watford which is cool too, so I decided to check them out on the interweb and found a few of their songs to listen to. I immediately became a fan. When their debut album came out a short time later I made sure to get a copy and Dead & Born & Grown has been a regular listen for me ever since. It is a fantastic album full of beautiful songs, wonderful lyrics and some astoundingly good vocal harmonies that are reminiscent of groups like The Carpenters. Each time I listen to it I get something new from it and my favourite song switches every few weeks. I can’t wait to hear more of their stuff and will do my best to see them live at some point soon.
Not only that, but their videos are gorgeous too. Here’s my favourite so far, and one of my favourite songs of theirs: Winter Trees.