Thursday, May 02, 2013

10 Albums That Never Get Old

In addition to the podcasts I listen to while driving, I have a lot of music on my iPod that keeps me going through the night.  Playlists are usually made up of the individual songs, the one or two from an album that otherwise was just "eh", but I have entire albums that I never tire of.  I listen to every song, almost every time, rarely skipping over any of them. 

Here are my top ten.


August & Everything After
The Counting Crows
I love this album.  Every song.  I discovered it when the tape (cassette tape!) was lent to me by a guy who was my trainer at the gym I went to in 1993.  Yes, I had a trainer.  No, I didn't get buff.  We had similar taste in R&B music, so when he told me about this, I was skeptical.  I said, "Nah, that's not my kind of music."  He said, "Just take it.  Listen to it.  They're new.  You'll like it, I promise."  I didn't want to insult him, so I took it.  And I LOVED it.  Still do.
Favorite Track:  Anna Begins


The Broadway Album
Barbra Streisand
I've been a Barbra Streisand fan since the womb, but never really knew a lot about Broadway show tunes.  Actually, I think it was that I didn't really know much about Broadway shows, because over the years I'd hear songs and know songs, but had no idea they came from Broadway.  In fact, Ed and I were once watching the version of Sweeney Todd that stars Johnny Depp, and I was singing "Not While I'm Around" while it was playing in the movie.  Ed said, "You know this song??".  Uh, yeah.  Anyway, I love this album.  I know every word to every song.  And I sing it like I'm on a Broadway stage.
Favorite Track:  Being Alive


The Stranger
Billy Joel
This album was released on September 29, 1977.  I had just turned 10 years old.  I don't know how a 10-year-old knew anything about Billy Joel, but even at that time, my brother and I knew all the words to all the songs.  It was actually his album.  We both loved it.  I recently listened to Alec Baldwin interview him on Baldwin's podcast show, Here's The Thing and found out that Billy Joel is the third best-selling solo artist of all time in the United States. He's sold more records than The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and Madonna.  What I found even more interesting, is that he said he he can't read music anymore; he used to, but he forgot how. He said if someone put a piece music in front of him that he didn't know, it'd be Chinese to him, he wouldn't be able to play it.  It doesn't matter if he can read music or not, because his playing it created one of the earliest soundtracks of my life.
Favorite Track:  Just The Way You Are


Eliane Elias Play Jobim
Eliane Elias
I have listened to this brilliant Brazilian jazz pianist play the music of another brilliant Brazilian, Antonio Carlos Jobim, so many times I can probably play it myself if you put a piano in front of me.  It's great background music, party music, dinner music, driving music, any-freaking-time music.  When this album is playing, you'll feel like you need a cigarette and a drink to properly embrace the vibe.
Favorite Track:  Desafiado


I’m Not Dead
Pink
Ed introduced me to this album.  I didn't know anything about Pink, and this was the first time I'd ever heard her music.  This album is the only entire one of hers I have on my iPod.  When asked about the title of the album, she said she titled the album I'm Not Dead because "it's about being alive and feisty and not sitting down and shutting up even though people would like you to"  Holy shit.  This was the perfect album to introduce me to Pink.  And that's how I feel when I listen to it, especially while driving - alive.
Favorite Track:  Who Knew


Unforgettable...With Love
Natalie Cole
In this album, Natalie Cole covers songs that had been performed by her father, Nat King Cole.  Since I grew up listening to his music, I knew every song.  There are twenty-two tracks on this CD, which is a lot for a single album.  And it makes it hard to pick a favorite.  "Route 66" is iconic and catchy.  "Thou Swell" is so jaunty and happy.  And I love how she sings a duet with her father on "Unforgettable", where they digitally manipulate his voice (since he had already passed away) with hers to sound like they're singing together at the time it was recorded.  It's beautiful.  But the song I love the most is the one that preserves that one moment in your life that you will never forget.
Favorite Track:  That Sunday, That Summer


Capitol Collectors Series
Louis Prima
Another group of artists I grew up with - Louis Prima, Keely Smith and Sam Butera.  I knew the words to "Just a Gigolo" before it was a twinkle in David Lee Roth's eye.  My friends thought it was an awesome new song, I knew it was an old one.  And how can you not love a song with a title like "The Lip", which describes the secret of how a trumpet player hits the high notes.  Or "Banana Split For My Baby" which tells about a guy who on a date with his girl, asks the guy behind the counter for "a banana split for my baby, a glass of plain water for me" because he has no money to pay for anything but water - and then he sticks her with the bill for the banana split.  The whole album is just great fun.
Favorite Track:  There'll Be No Next Time


Mi Tierra 
Gloria Estefan
An album completely sung in Spanish and widely regarded as her most successful, the Latin rhythms and Cuban beats on this record demand you to move.  And when you hear yourself singing in Spanish, you'll realize just how much the songs affect you.  You can't help but pick up the language.  If only my Rosetta Stone Italian lessons were set to music...I'd be much further along in my learning right now.
Favorite Track: 
Con los a├▒os que me quedan

Afterdark New York City
Various Artists
I bought this album in the Chicago airport in 2005 when we flew to Austin, Texas for the graduation of Ed's neice.  It just looked like something I would like - probably because it had the words "New York City" in the title.  Turns out it's one of my favorite CDs.  I listen to it often and if I were ever to have a restaurant, a club, or even a dinner party, this would be on the CD-changer.  This is club music.  This is my New York City.  And if I were on a desert island, or forced to pick only one album to walk on a treadmill to, this would be it.  You can't stop wiggling your hips as you listen.  I think that's a good thing. 
Favorite Track:  If You Leave Now


Live Concert at the Forum
Barbra Streisand
When I was a kid we went on vacation to Lake Placid, New York.  It was a four hour drive from our house.  We had this with us, in the form of an 8-track tape.  My parents were big Streisand (and Johnny Mathis) fans, so this played on an almost continous loop for the entire eight hours we were in the car.  You'd think I'd hate it because of that but it's just the opposite.  It conjures up such memories, that if I think hard enough, I can probably tell you where we were when a particular song was playing.  I lived for Barbra.
Favorite Track:  Sing/Happy Days Are Here Again


What are some of your favorites?


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2012: The Rest Of Us
2011: Change Of Plans. Another Lazy Day Is In Order.
2010: First R2-D2 And C-3PO And Now, Ed’s Phone
2009: Droppings Might Be Too Delicate A Word
2008: Eddie’s Bedtime Snack Friday
2007: Activities I Need To Participate In
2006: Unwarranted Annoyance
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!

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