As promised, part two is here. For part one, click here.
5. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars by David Bowie.
Okay, so this time I am being predictable to the point of being banal. But, I promise you, I am not one of those Bowie “fans” who claim to be so, but have listened to only this and “Heroes”. Or worse, one of those fans who won’t allow Bowie to be anything other than Ziggy. What can I say? I am just drawn to this one the most. I love several of the others (massive intellectual name-dropping alert) like Low, Hunky Dory etc., but this one is the most fun. And Bowie is just incredibly hot in his Hammersmith Odeon performance of “Ziggy Stardust”.
6. Velvet Goldmine OST by Various Artists.
Bowie was the first artist I went in “search” for, having the means to via the burgeoning YouTube and MySpace (kids, MySpace was like Facebook, except it was meant for young people and music, and people like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift first took off thanks to them). I watched a film called Velvet Goldmine which was based on him, and took its title from one of his songs. However, because he didn’t approve of it, he didn’t give permission to use any of his own songs. The solution? An out-of-this-world compilation of other glam rock artists, and a few re-worked songs, my favourites being Thom Yorke’s singing Roxy Music (who are the band that play with him, though Ferry original “Virginia Plain” is on the album) classics like “Ladytron” and “2 HB”. I went to find Bowie, I found a cultural movement instead that changed my inner world.
7. Horses by Patti Smith.
Intellectual name-dropping continues with this one, as well as a massive amount of obviousness. If Barry from High Fidelity was reading this, he would say, “Really, what next? The Velvet Underground and Nico? Philip Glass?” However, I do adore Patti Smith. She combines the poetic capability of Bob Dylan and the abandon of Mick Jagger, while being most thoroughly authentic. I could have taken any of her other albums, like Easter, which I also listen to a lot, but if you want a composite album experience – i.e., an album that should be listened to as an album to be appreciated, Horses it is for you. She also conflicts me a little like Pet Shop Boys – to think, to feel and to move along in a rock and roll trance. Horses is an experience that should be had at least once.
8. Blue by Joni Mitchell.
I am scared of Joni Mitchell. I cannot say I love her, because I am too much in awe of her. Her emotional colour scheme is so vast (with blue being only one of the primary colours), her command of words and musical composition so acute, her ability to access human behaviour is so unnerving in its depth and detail, I won’t even dare to presume I understand her. I include this album, another obvious one, for the opening track “All I Want”, which effectively encapsulates the adult female psyche in 3:32 minutes. Yes, that is possible, psychologists.
9. London Calling by The Clash.
Okay, I don’t know how to begin talking about this one, or say something new. The criteria for my autobiographical list so far has been, “fun and thought-provoking”, and this one is no different. I often feel double albums aren’t done right, except this, and Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde, are some of the exceptions and answers to the question of why the format was necessary. There is such variety in this, and being a social critique, it is still relevant, in a way that crosses cultures and age-groups. “Lost in the Supermarket” is personally relevant to me, as besides its fun-ness, it says a lot with effective irony. Sample : “I came in here for that special offer – guaranteed personality”
10. Tommy by The Who.
Among all the artists that will be mentioned here, including The Beatles, it is The Who who’ve stayed with me the longest. They are the ones who taught me what a rock band can, and should be. Expectations were raised very high at a young age, and I still unconsciously measure others against them. Since this is an albums list, where I’ve tried to include representative albums that are bonafide album experiences, it was only befitting I include Tommy, widely recognised as the first rock opera, in it. I highly recommend Tina Turner’s cover of “The Acid Queen”, whom she portrays herself in Tommy, the movie.
Final part will be up tomorrow, folks! Thank you so much for tuning in!