There are many, many albums that you people should listen to before you die, and a significant sum were released before 1960 (yes, before THE BEATLES, I know!). The Genius of Ray Charles is one of my absolute favorite albums of all time, and chances are that you’ve probably never listened to it. Stop cheating yourself.
It Had To Be You
Continuing in the same train of thought as my recent Ray Charles post, today I’m pushing an album that has been deserving of a post here for far too long: Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs, the second in a trilogy that marked his “breakthrough” wherein he started producing his own records. If you don’t care for this gruff voice and macabre subject matter, have no fear: you can surely find beauty in Waits’ earlier work, and then one day realize how much more awesome Rain Dogs is because of those.
Jockey Full Of Bourbon
If you’re just tuning in, I’ve been going through my own personal list of albums that you absolutely have to listen to before you die. If on your deathbed you don’t know whether or not the Wu-Tang Clan is something to fuck with, then I’m sorry to inform you that you’ve failed in life.
They’re a bit more harsh than other hip-hop acts we’ve featured, sure, but without bright and fresh acts like Wu-Tang, the hip hop world would be a much more dark place today.
You know, music is an interesting form of art in that often times we don’t treat it or consume in the same way one would a painting or prosaic block of text, possibly because it is so available or because it is has roots in more primitive emotional cues than other forms of expression. However, I to this day can’t help but treat the work of David Byrne like a myriad of priceless paintings and sculptures standing alone in their own reserved galleries. To me the post-punk/new wave whatchamacallit that was Byrne’s Talking Heads was not a group of musicians; they were artists, and that says something significant since very few musicians have crossed that line dividing the primeval and the progressive, the music and the art, the emotion and the soul. Talking Heads: 77 is another one of those albums that you should be genuinely embarrassed to not yet have in your collection.
Bob Dylan’s “best” album is always a point of contention between music lovers, but this album is indisputably my personal favourite. The man’s famous for his voice, something a friend of mine once remarked “sounds like cardboard”, and cleverly constructed lyrics which oftentimes tell great stories. Both are on full display on The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, which features two of my all time favourite songs, this one and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”. But this album as a whole stands up, too; track after track is just pure, classic Bob Dylan brilliance. But hey, stop listening to me and go find your favourite Dylan album now. It might not be the same one as mine.
Talkin’ World War III Blues