Assignment: exchange top twenty albums with coworker/friend Evan. And now more information than you ever wanted to know about me and my relationship to these twenty albums (in no particular order).
sarah mclachlan // fumbling towards ecstasy -- This album slays me still, 20 years after its inception, around 17 since I first discovered its divine beauty. It's breathtaking, gorgeous, and my #1 makeout album of all time. Forget Barry White, THIS is all you need to get down. I'm pretty sure this album has never been played in its entirety in front of a man I like without something interesting happening, is all I'm sayin'. It's sexy. It takes you through all stages of well, fumbling towards ecstasy. Best named album ever. I don't know what to say...I couldn't love this album more, from start to finish.
portishead // dummy -- A pioneer in the trip-hop genre, this album is indispensable to my life. Without the soundtrack within the sleeve, if you will, I would not be who I am today. I have a black and white music video of me and my Xine doing "sour times" on VHS if you ever want to see it. It's pretty cool, if I do say so myself. One of the requirements of my top twenty is that I have to be able to listen to the entire album almost without tiring of it, and this one stands the test, for sure. I could probably listen to this album on repeat for a week.
cibo matto // viva! la woman -- One of my most vivid memories of this album was listening to it, Garbage's s/t, and Frente!'s "shape" on shuffle on my three disc CD changer (later when I had a 5-discer, Fiona Apple's Tidal and Tori Amos' Boys for Pele won the other two spots). I can barely remember a time before this album was on my top ten, at least. These first few albums really have become a part of me at this point, knowing them for so long...each at least 15 years. Another album I've NEVER gotten tired of listening to...that's pretty freakin' serious, man!
pj harvey // to bring you my love -- This is one of those serendipitous albums. I saw it at Hastings, having never heard of PJ Harvey, and fell in love with the cover, took it home, and loved it, obviously. This is one of those singular experiences, hardly ever duplicated (happened with Ani DiFranco's Dilate, too) in my whole history of listening to music. These days, listening to something on Google or Spotify is just a momentary click, but back in the '90s living in a small Midwest town, you had to shell out the bucks to experience an album with an intriguing cover, and often, VERY often, they sucked. PJ Harvey does not suck, and I still think this is her best album, bluesy, emotional, and dark.
tori amos // boys for pele -- Pele is a Hawaiian volcano goddess, and she requires boys to be sacrificed to her, like Tom Hanks maybe, in order to calm her lava rage. Yes, my Pele (the cat) is named after her. This is my #1 breakup album ("I shaved every place where you been, boy"). Despite my more recent disillusionment with Amos, this album holds up and was the album that started my scary-intense obsession with her. It's so angry and demonic and dark and scary. Love the harpsichord.
garbage // garbage -- Garbage never really moved past how amazing their debut album truly was. It's legendary, in my mind, at least. It's just good rock. I also have many music videos of me emulating Shirley Manson. Manson (Shirley, not Marilyn, though I sooooo had a crush on him too) and Geena Davis from "The Long Kiss Goodnight" inspired my emergence into goth at 14, and I never looked back. This album is partially responsible for me becoming ME.
grimes // visions -- This is the newest album on the list (though I briefly considered Lana Del Rey's Born to Die), only from last year, so I wasn't sure if it counted as one of my top twenty, but I think it does because according to my last.fm profile I've listened to Grimes 1,182 times since I discovered this enchanting songstress in February of last year. That's almost three songs a day every day since I discovered her. Yeah. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Grimes is what my brainwaves sound like. Her and her bf have really insightful posts on their tumblrs too.
cure // pornography -- This album was made the year I was born (1982). #1 bathtub album of all time. It was hard not to have at least three Cure albums on this list, but I decided I only get one per artist. I can get sucked into a Cure-hole easily. I could spend an entire evening listening to this, Faith, and Disintegration. Disintegration is the #1 driving-around-in-the-rain album of all time, in case you were wondering. I just can't get enough of the wall of sound of The Cure, the dark and twisted vocals of Robert Smith, and the atmosphere. I could get lost in The Cure for days...
depeche mode // violator -- Depeche Mode is another artist I can get lost inside. If you want to know what MixtressRae considers a love song, it's Depeche Mode. Their lyrics are honest love songs. I get the impression that the songwriters (Gahan and Gore are kind of indistinguishable to me) are kind of dicks, but if I'm directing a love song at someone, I'm a little bit of a dick too, so I empathize, I guess is what I'm saying. I'd like to be more like Sarah McLachlan, but I'm more like Dave Gahan. I feel like Depeche Mode is my "cosmic" connection to my dad too, because he was kind of a dick too. He he.
brian eno // here come the warm jets -- Glam. '70s rock. Androgyny. Hot men in eyeliner. Most of the time people think of Bowie, I think of Eno. The Eno in my head based on the sound of his resonant voice, because his face isn't that attractive, but that VOICE. Why did he stop singing? Why? This is the first record I go to when I listen to LPs. Every song is an island.
talking heads // fear of music -- Produced by Brian Eno. The Talking Heads' most atmospheric album. Kind of psychedelic, even, in that world music/punk/new wave way. Contains two of my favorite Talking Heads songs; Air and Animals.
fiona apple // tidal -- Listening to Fiona Apple has always been like reading my diary, if my diary were incredibly, ingeniously lyrical. Again, every song here is an island. So perfectly singular, yet fits within the whole seamlessly. Sullen Girl is my theme song. This is one case in which the critics are right. She really is everything they say she is. My initial music crush on Ms. Apple started in 1996 and it still feels as fresh as it did then. Somewhere in a landfill (or an undisclosed location chosen by weather) is a scrap of sketchbook paper wherein a 15-yr old girl drew Fiona as an angel. I'd never call ANYONE an angel but you, dear sweet Fiona. Incidentally, my best music video ever was my lipsync to Sleep to Dream. I nailed it!
roxy music // country life -- Another album that feels like a world you step into for an hour. I keep characterizing albums as "atmospheric" and this is what I mean. I like fantasy worlds, and albums create that for me if they're worth their salt as ALBUMS. Some songs do it by themselves and I aim to make my mixes sound like worlds unto themselves, but nothing does it like a well-constructed album. Country Life is my #1 ennui-in-the-bedroom-at-2am album ("I'll find myself if it takes all night").
queens of the stone age // lullabies to paralyze -- #1 summer album of all time. Reminds me of drinking bad beer and canoeing, of general sun-soaked drunken debauchery, of long sweaty drives with my hands catching the wind out the open window. Love it. Just good fun rock with a pretty ginger boy on vocals. Honey voice, that one. I'd drink a summer shandy with Homme any July.
sneaker pimps // becoming x -- Another trip-hop essential that was on constant repeat back in the days of frente!, Fiona, and Cibo Matto. Never get tired of this album. Sad they didn't keep this lead singer longer than one album. She was just too wild to tame, baby.
kate bush // the dreaming -- Kate Bush is way more important than most people know. I can't tell you why (because you have to feel it), and most people I know can't handle her voice (she uses it as a weapon, and most people are just too scared to embrace the hammer), but she's creative and interesting and goddamnit, she's amazing. This album was made in 1982, my birth year. If you ever need to exorcise a demon, play Get Out Of My House and that sucker will leave screaming. Kate Bush is a witch and she's crazy empowering. "Can I have it all now?"
metric // live it out -- When rock and electronic meet. You have the headbanging, all the headbanging, but also the synthesizers. This is the #1 I'm-better-than-the-asshole-I'm-dating-and-he's-never-going-to-understand-me-and-neither-does-society album. And that's all I have to say about that.
cake // fashion nugget -- I have sooooo many stories about this album. The first time I heard it I was cuddling with one of my first boyfriends, so that's a pleasant memory. He also later used Friend is a Four Letter Word as a fuck-you break-up song to me over the phone, so that's a little less pleasant memory. Nugget was playing when my mom told me "fuck" was her favorite word. Frank Sinatra is the name of my iPad with lyrics engraved on the back, not because of the person Frank Sinatra, but the song, you see. All Cake albums are created (mostly) equal, but this is THE Cake album for me. The Distance still brings the house down when I sing it karaoke. I suppose this album is a story of each individual song, and I like it for nostalgia.
nirvana // unplugged in new york -- It was hard for me to pick a live album (because I hate applause), though this is the ONLY live album I listen to in its entirety often, and it's my favorite Nirvana album, so I had to choose it. Every song breaks my soul in half, and I'm into that. "I cannot see the end of me. My whole expanse, I cannot see." What a lot of people don't remember is that Kurt was a feminist and a really spiritual, intuitive, NICE person. I say this like I knew him, but look into those eyes, man. Those Pisces eyes...how can you not know him? I once wrote a pornographic poem about Kurt Cobain. Not because of his face, but his delicate Pisces soul. I love a delicate Pisces soul, for sho.
bjork // post -- Electronic pioneer, she is. Army of Me is the most perfect "buck up" song. I named a mixtape Army of Me once. So many great songs on this one. I don't even know what to say about this one. I like its isolation. It feels like a girl sitting in a beautiful landscape of circuit boards hacking her way through someone's mainframe just to dance on the 1s and 0s. There's a childlike destruction in the joy of Post.
Too tired to proofread! so there it is.