100 Favorite Albums of All-Time (60-51)


Part five of my top 100 albums of all time.

Previously:

60. The Remix Album…Diamonds Are Forever by Shirley Bassey (2000)

If this list of favorite albums confirms anything it’s that my musical interests are diverse.  I like electronic music.  I like loungey pop songs sung by a Welsh chanteuse.  And dang it, I like them mixed together.  The best thing about this album is how the remixes emphasize rather than overwhelm Bassey’s vocals.  Bassey’s famed for singing the theme songs to three James Bond films (Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, and Moonraker, all represented here) but I’m particularly fond of her take on “(Where Do I Begin) Love Story” and “Big Spender.”

59. Songs In The Attic by  Billy Joel (1981)

Billy Joel is a divisive figure.  Many people pan him as schmaltzy and derivative.  Millions more  love him.  I was in the later category from the age of 7 until my college days.  Glass Houses was the first non-kiddy album I ever owned (co-owned with my sister) and remains a sentimental favorite.  While I’m not that into Joel these days, Songs in the  Attic remains on my iPod.  It’s a collection of songs Joel recorded early in his career with session musicians re-recorded with his band after he became famous.  The energy of such songs as “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out On Broadway)” capture Joel at his best.

58. Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night by Stereolab (1999)

Stereolab’s music is hard to describe.  Electronic – lounge – fuzz – experimental – free jazz  – and all tres Euro.  Kind of like Shirley Bassey remixed but planned that way from the start.  This album is probably an enabler to my ability to enjoy dissonance.  Standout tracks include “Fuses,” “Italian Shoes Continuum,” and “Infinity Girl.”

57. Truth and Soul by Fishbone (1988)

This ska/funk/hardcore/et al band performed at the first “real” concert I ever attended supporting their excellent album Reality of My Surroundings in 1991.  This earlier album though is the strongest and most cohesive album Fishbone ever released.  It mixes a strong social message with a fun party vibe.  Highlights include “Bonin’ in the Boneyard,” “Change,” and the Curtis Mayfield cover “Freddie’s Dead.”

56. Homegenic by Björk (1997)

This is the second and highest ranked Björk album in this list although I was sorely tempted to include them all, not to mention her work with the Sugarcubes Life’s Too Good.  But Homogenic is Björk at her best – lush and rhythmic, emotional and experimental.  Favorite tracks include “Jóga,” “Bachelorette,” and “All is Full of Love.”

55. The Beatles [White Album] by The Beatles (1968)

The first two Beatles cassettes I bought were their 1962-66 compilation and The White Album  They were both double albums so I thought I was getting a good deal.  I also didn’t know what I was getting into.  The music on The White Album was nothing like The Beatles music I’d heard on the radio growing up.  This album is The Beatles at their most experimental, venturing into country, folk, blues, vaudeville, heavy metal, and whatever “Revolution No. 9” is.  The sad side of this album is that it documents the band at a time of squabling and “artistic difference” with members of The Beatles playing with guest musicians more than with one another.  Still though, it’s all pretty good, intriguing stuff.  Favorites include “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Happiness is a Warm Gun,” “Blackbird,” and “Long, Long, Long.”

54. Portable EFO Show by  Eddie From Ohio (1998)

Eddie from Ohio are always best in concert and this is the best of there many live albums capturing them at a time when I think they were at their peak.  I actually picked up this album at the concert when it was first released and the song banter on the album was still topical.  Highlights include “Cleo & Tony Medley,” “The Three Fine Daughters of Farmer Brown,” “This My Town,” and Eddie Hartness’ drum solo on “Very Short Fuse.”

53.  Last Splash by  The Breeders (1993)

The oscillating bass line of “Cannonball” provided the backing track to my Junior year of college.  Last Splash is 90’s indie rock as I want to remember it best.  Other highlights include “Divine Hammer,” “Drivin’ on 9,” and “Saints.”

52. Ágætis byrjun by Sigur Rós (1999)

Can music be both soothing and unsettling at the same time? Sigur Rós made it so.  I was late to the Sigur Rós bandwagon but after hearing this album I hopped on for the dreamy, ambient, and cinematic beauty of their music.  Highlights include “Svefn-g-englar,” “Starálfur,” and “Ný batterí,”

51. Crosby, Stills, & Nash by Crosby, Stills, & Nash (1969)

Like The Doors, Crosby, Stills & Nash are a band whose entire reputation relies on a brilliant debut album standing out like a diamond in the rough among their later smooth rock and hippie self-parody. Let’s ignore that though and enjoy the brilliant lyrics and beautiful harmonies of songs such as “You Don’t Have to Cry,” “Long Time Gone,” and “Wooden Ships.”


Book Review: Rex Libris: I, Librarian


Author: James Turner
Title: Rex Libris: I, Librarian
Publication Info: San Jose, Calif. : SLG Pub., [2007]
ISBN: 9781593620622

Summary/Review:

Rex Libris is a tough-as-nail librarian now several eons old fighting to protect knowledge and make sure books are returned on time, even when they’re held by intergalactic space creatures.  This comic book/graphic novel is funny and intelligent and lets you on what life is really like for a librarian.  I just wish Turner didn’t give away so many of our secrets.

Rex Libris succeeds at being witty whereas the Noah Wyle Librarian movies are just goofy (although the latter has Bob Newhart, so a point scored to them). I found the writing to be similar to the creative vein of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next novels.
Recommended books: Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde, Five Fists Of Science by Matt Fraction, andVandals in the Stacks? by Richard J. Cox.
Rating: ****