Andare, Partire, Tornare

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Albums good from start to finish

Now, a Completely Random List: Albums I Love Wholeheartedly from Start to Finish:

Spin Doctors – Pocket full of Kryptonite: It’s truly sad that this awesome album is only known for its poppy, fun songs, because there is a lot going on in it. The songs that became the radio hits are sprinkled in between other, funkier, more groove-and-get-down songs, like “What Time is It?,” “Shinbone Alley” and “How Can you Want Him (When you Know You Could Have Me?).” These songs are tight – if the Spin Doctors are primarily known as a loosey-goosey jam band, they tightened things down for the actual recording of this album. Their second album blew goats, and apparently the lead singer can’t sing anymore (I don’t know if the vocal paralysis I read about him having was physical or psychological) but this album deserves to stand tall.

Presidents of the United States of America – Eponymous: I can’t remember if this album came out in the vicinity of the Spin Doctors’ first, but I mentally link them. Again, this is a fantastic first album that would be followed by something worse than mediocre. But this is a wacky, weird, sing along loudly in the car album that is just plain stupid fun from start to finish.

Paul Simon – Graceland: Actually, I don’t even need to say much about this album, do I? But then, I haven’t yet met a Paul Simon album that I didn’t like, except for “Capeman,” which I respected but didn’t bond with. Lyrically and melodically, this is Paul Simon at the top of his game.

Mr. Big – Bump Ahead: Every single one of these band members has stood on their own as key musicians in other bands or highly respected studio musicians. Listening to the guitar and bass work layered under the lead singer’s flexible and powerful voice is a pure pleasure both for musicians and for more casual fans. These guys are woefully underrespected and dismissed as ballad writers, meaning that people haven’t heard their beefier, driving songs that make you want to run around the room playing air guitar.

King’s X – Gretchen Goes to Nebraska: Their second album, and probably their greatest. This band never fails to put out quality music – music that is brilliantly written with interesting lyrics – but it all came together in some sort of supernova of genius in this album. Fan-fucking-tastic.

John Wesley Harding – Confessions of St. Ace: A fantastically well-done album, lyrically and musically. It’s fun, quirky, meaningful, and intelligent, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Carbon Leaf – Echo, Echo: One of the worst stretches of my life was when my little sister was holding this album hostage. I got it back and immediately put it back in the cd player, so I could sing along again. The lead singer works the Celtic-thing, but they’re not a bad rehash of either Enya or the Cranberries – they’re their own fabulous, melodically superior selves, with clever-ass lyrics to boot.

Prince – Purple Rain: Damn. Oh, yeah. Uh, uh. I didn’t want to cheat by naming The Hits 1 and 2, so we’ll go with this one.

That's all I could come up with for now, although doubtless I could find more. Anybody else have favorites they want to reccommend?

On, and on a completely unrelated note, squee! Guy Gavriel Kay's next book, The Last Light of the Sun comes out March 2.

12:34 a.m. - 2004-02-08

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