If you think there has been no good music since the 1980’s, then you have not been looking in the right places. The thrill of beginning an album and listening to every track for a story to unfold does not have to be a thing of the past. Many albums still deserve and call for a congruous listen. Some listeners who shuffle through tracks digitally and have never taken the time to let a band or artist’s entire project progress are missing out on the complete experience. I too skip songs, jump around from album to album of my favorite artists, so much so that I can forget which songs are on an album. Here are ten albums, in no particular order that deserves to be listened to as a complete package, from the first note to the last beat.
1) Lemonade by Beyoncé – (2016) Songs shift from genre to genre flawlessly often with famous guest performers assisting. The strength and power in Bey’s lyrics make this an album for the ages.
2) Meaningless by Jon Brion- (2001) Brion builds songs layer by layer as he plays each instrument on most of the tracks. From haunting to militaristic his sounds are unique and lyrics passionate. He is now known for his works scoring films.
3) Is This It by The Strokes- (2001) Garage rock at its finest, The Strokes have the spunk of The Rolling Stones and the ferocity of The White Stripes. Julian Casablancas sexy, devil-may-care voice bumps and bounds, a perfect compliment for the bass riffs.
4) Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens- (2015) The melodic guitar picking and lilting voice of Sufjan sweep you up and hold you close as you bounce along the waves of Sufjan’s gorgeous melodies.
5) The Rip Tide by Beirut- (2011) Horns from old European nations, a full band of strings and percussion, and harmonies that echo to lands and stories from the days of yore are molded by Zach Condon into unforgettable beauty.
6) The Orchestral Score From Baz Luhrmann’s Film Gatsby by Craig Armstrong- (2013) A mix of contemporary music with romantic piano hits notes that seem unattainable and echo through your mind long after the notes have faded away… “borne back ceaselessly into our past.”
7) Alligator by The National- (2005) Before they became the polished musicians of the albums Boxer and High Violet, The National were sloppy drums, shaky vocals, and the sound was all noise and melancholy irony and angst.
8) The Very Best of Nina Simone- (2006) Each song by Nina Simone drips with the sexy drama of her life. The jazz pulls you in and the timeless beauty of her storytelling makes you want to listen on repeat.
9) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by Phoenix- (2009) This French group broke through to an international audience with this their third album. Bouncy and quick, the songs at first listen seem like light fun but stick with you.
10) Depression Cherry by Beach House– (2015) Hypnotic and relaxing with Victoria Legrand’s glowing voice and floating rhythms this album plays perfectly on vinyl.