now hear this

Here's a list of my favorite albums ever, in alphabetical order. You should buy all of them right now, so you could be like me. (I've split the list into two.)


The Beatles


(EMI, 1966)

An extremely difficult choice: how can one even choose among their creations? The amazing songcraft of Rubber Soul, the ambition of The Beatles (the White Album), the exuberance of Beatles for Sale, the experience of Let It Be? But Revolver has all these and more: the cynicism of "Taxman," the agony of "For No One" and "Eleanor Rigby," the goofiness of "Yellow Submarine," the world-weariness of "I'm Only Sleeping." And one of their finest songs ever -- stuck at the end of the album, "Tomorrow Never Knows," instantly ushering in a new era of modern rock. With this album the Beatles left everyone behind, and never looked back.

a love supreme

John Coltrane

A Love Supreme

(impulse!, 1964)

Perhaps the most-heralded jazz album ever, Coltrane's masterpiece is truly a magnificent work of art. Beginning with the four most famous bass notes in (jazz) history, this album will transport you.




(Musiko, 1995)

The entire Philippine archipelago finally tumbles into the sea, and amidst the roaring of the ocean waves and the angry seething of volcanic lava, one record album will rise to the surface, and it will be this one. Probably the very apotheosis of Pinoy pop music to this date.

amplified heart

Everything But The Girl

Amplified Heart

(Blanco y Negro, 1994)

EBTG's long career has ranged from poppy lounge-jazz to drum-and-bass, but the common thread is Ben Watt's aching, lovelorn ballads and Tracey Thorn's equally aching, expressive voice. This album finds them at their absolute peak of gorgeousness: songs to listen to in your bedroom with the covers over your head.

bee thousand

Guided By Voices

Bee Thousand

(Scat, 1994)

Pure pop genius through and through.


My Bloody Valentine


(Creation, 1991)

The cover says it all: smeared, feedback-laden guitar from Kevin Shields; riding on top are Bilinda Butcher's vocals, alternately flying and drowning in the beautiful whirlpool of noise.


New Order


(Factory, 1987)

Singles that would utterly destroy the template of synth-pop and dance music as we know it.

slanted and enchanted


Slanted and Enchanted

(Matador, 1992)

It's not easy to choose between this album and Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain, their kind-of remake of R.E.M.'s Lifes Rich Pageant. But this album -- full of disjointed melodies and surreal lyrics ("Lies and betrayals / Fruit-covered nails") -- contains the Holy Grail of college rock, "In the Mouth a Desert," so I guess I'll pick this one instead.


Pink Floyd


(Capitol, 1971)

Pink Floyd at their greatest. Still years away from the bombast of The Wall, Meddle had unforgettable melodies in "Fearless" and "San Tropez" (the latter completely unlike anything they'd ever done before), goofy blues in "Seamus," psychedelic folk-rock in "A Pillow of Winds," and the interstellar overdrive of the epic "Echoes." And don't forget "One of These Days": I still get the chills just listening to it.

reggatta de blanc

The Police

Reggatta de Blanc

(A and M, 1978)

Sting turned into an old boring codger, and Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland pretty much dropped out of sight. But Reggatta de Blanc combined Sting's snaking bass lines and scrappy, frenetic drumming from Copeland -- and most important, a kind of youthful, exuberant musicianship that would later be inflated, leading to their downfall -- into an album chock-full of wiry, offbeat pop songs.

sign 'o' the times


Sign o' the Times

(Paisley Park, 1987)

With this album the Purple One proved he was a musician and songwriter of extraordinary talent: from gospel ("The Cross"), radically stripped-down funk (the title track), Beatlesque tales ("Starfish and Coffee"), dirty soul ("If I Was Your Girlfriend"), torch songs ("Slow Love"), disco ("U Got the Look"), funk epics ("It's Gonna Be A Beautiful Night") and squirrely weirdness ("The Ballad of Dorothy Parker"), this album had all the bases covered.

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