12 Albums

I’m only here really because I saw the 12 Album challenge thing on Facebook and I thought I’d have a crack at it. But I didn’t want to put it on Facebook as I bore people on there about music enough. So I’m putting it here, just so it goes somewhere.

The idea is to name 12 albums that have stayed with you. Not necessarily your favourites, but the ones you keep coming back to, or that played a big part in your life. So in no particular order:

Suede – Suede. Because it was the first album I bought while at university and it completely changed my musical tastes. Before then I’d been into metal (and Grunge) and they opened up the whole world of indie music for me. Admittedly, that meant I spent a few years lost in Britpop but I won’t hold that against them.

The Smiths – Singles. Is a compilation a bit of a cheat? Maybe, but I’ve listened to this at least once a month since I bought it about 20 years ago. Probably the best band ever.

Bruce Springsteen – Darkness on the Edge of Town. Everyone thinks of Springsteen as being a bit of a dull, middle of the road pub-rock singer. And sometimes he is. But this album is just superb. On it he’s like a small-town, blue-collar 70’s version of Bob Dylan. It’s proper haunting. I listen to it all the time and I don’t care who knows it.

John Frusciante – Shadows Collide with People. The songs on this record have the same effect on me as crack cocaine would. When I listen to them I listen to them over and over to the exclusion of everything else. I don’t know why. Probably because Frusciante is a genius. He even made the Red Hot Chilli Peppers worth listening to.

Nirvana – Unplugged. I know, Nevermind is a masterpiece. But I listened to it so much for so long. I didn’t ruin this one for myself as much and so I still go back to it a lot more often.

Jeff Buckley – Grace. Just one of the best and most original records ever recorded. Such a shame he never really did more. Seeing him live is one of my favourite memories from my student days.

Portishead – Dummy. In the same week I bought this I also bought REM’s Automatic for the People, and Nirvana’s Nevermind. What a week that was.

The Lemonheads – It’s a Shame About Ray. Criminally underrated band, and this is their best record. It’s just full of perfect, though slightly wonky, pop songs. Wonky is good. I like wonky.

INXS – Kick. Just because when I was a teenager everyone had this record. It got played at every party and you could dance to it without looking like a dick (or so I like to think).

The Misfits – Collection. Another compilation, but all their songs sound the same anyway so I reckon I can get away with it. Not much in terms of melody or tunes or musicianship. It’s basically just sheer energy, but there’s nothing wrong with that.

Radiohead – The Bends. Better than OK Computer for me. Everything just came together on this record. And Thom Yorke was the coolest man alive for about 6 months when this came out. I bought a leather jacket and a pair of trainers that were the same as the ones he wore in the video for ‘Just’. Oh dear.

The Prodigy – Fat of the Land. It just hasn’t aged. I listened to it the other day and ‘Breathe’ sounds like it was recorded last week rather than nearly 20 years ago.