Through and Through

May 8, 2013 by

 

In anticipation for Vampire Weekend’s upcoming May release, titled Modern Vampires of the City, I’ve had their album Contra on steady rotation for the past few weeks.  Plus it is now my unofficial soundtrack for spring.  What struck me most about Contra is not only is it a fun listen but it’s one of those rare albums I can sit through without ever wanting to skip a track.  As my car speakers pumped out the sounds of the opening track, Horchata, it got me thinking…..   

It’s an anomaly to come across albums like Contra.  Each song is likable and the tunes enjoyably flow from start to finish.  I consider it a stroke of luck to stumble upon such albums.  These instances of bliss might only occur a few times within a decade.  So rare in fact, it’s like attending a baseball game when a pitcher throws a no-hitter.  (Maybe that’s too strong a statement since I’ve never been in the stands for a no-hitter.  However, I did see Eric Davis hit for the cycle in 1989.)

I decided to compile a list of albums I enjoy from beginning to end with no impulse to skip tracks. (Not even one song – it narrows things down rather quickly)  I set a couple of rules to help guide me through the process.   

1.      The list will contain only records released from 1989 and forward.  Why 1989?  It was the year of my first summer job.  Every dollar I earned went towards the purchase of pizza buffets and music.  That was also the summer where a great deal of time was spent perusing bins of CD’s at my local record store.  I also made this rule to completely eliminate albums from previous decades to decrease the time actually spent compiling my list. 

2.      No greatest hits compilation albums.  I guess this rule is somewhat obvious but was needed to keep me on point with this exercise.

 I would like to note this: what  you see below is not necessarily a list of my favorite albums of all time.[i] Just a handful of solid albums that fall in this unique category for me. 

 

Vampire-Weekend

Artist:  Vampire Weekend

Album Title:  Contra

Release Date:  January 11, 2010

Track Listing:

  1. “Horchata” – 3:26
  2. “White Sky” – 2:58
  3. “Holiday” – 2:18
  4. “California English” – 2:30
  5.  “Taxi Cab” – 3:55
  6. “Run” – 3:52
  7. “Cousins” – 2:25
  8. “Giving Up the Gun” – 4:46
  9. “Diplomat’s Son” – 6:01
  10. “ I Think Ur a Contra” – 4:29

The Black Crowes 

Artist:  Black Crowes

Album Title:  The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion

Release Date:  May 11, 1992

Track Listing: 

  1. Sting Me” – 4:39
  2. Remedy” – 5:22
  3. “Thorn in My Pride” – 6:03
  4. “Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye” – 6:28
  5. “Sometimes Salvation” – 4:44
  6. “Hotel Illness” – 3:59
  7. “Black Moon Creeping” – 4:54
  8. “No Speak No Slave” – 4:01
  9. “My Morning Song” – 6:15
  10. “Time Will Tell”  – 4:08

 

Dr. Dre

Artist: Dr. Dre

Album Title:  The Chronic[ii]

Release Date:  December 15, 1992

Track Listing:

1. The Chronic (Intro)
2. Fuck Wit Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’)
3. Let Me Ride
4. The Day The Niggaz Took Over
5. Nothin’ But A ‘G’ Thang
6. Deeez Nuuuts
7. Lil’ Ghetto Boy
8. A Nigga Witta Gun

9. Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat
10. The $20 Sack Pyramid
11. Lyrical Gangbang
12. High Powered
13. The Doctor’s Office (Skit)
14. Stranded On Death Row
15. The Roach (The Chronic Outro)
16. Bitches Ain’t Shit!

 

Neutral Milk Hotel

Artist: Neutral Milk Hotel[iii]

Album Title:  In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

Release Date:  February 10, 1998

Track Listing:

  1. “The King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 1” – 2:00
  2. “The King of Carrot Flowers, Pts. 2 & 3 – 3:06
  3.  “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” – 3:22
  4. “Two-Headed Boy” – 4:26
  5. “The Fool” – 1:53
  6. “Holland, 1945” – 3:15
  7. “Communist Daughter” – 1:57
  8. “Oh Comely” – 8:18
  9. “Ghost” – 4:08
  10. “Untitled” – 2:16
  11. “Two-Headed Boy, Pt. 2” – 5:13

 

The Avett Brothers

Artist:  The Avett Brothers

Album Title:  Emotionalism

Release Date:  May 15, 2007

Track Listing:

  1. “Die Die Die” – 2:50
  2. “Shame” – 3:53
  3. “Paranoia in B-Flat Major” – 3:37
  4. “The Weight of Lies” – 4:29
  5. “Will You Return?” – 2:46
  6. “The Ballad of Love and Hate” – 5:20
  7. “Salina” – 4:44
  8. “Pretty Girl from Chile” – 5:42
  9. “All My Mistakes” – 5:07
  10. “Living of Love” – 4:31
  11. “I Would Be Sad” – 3:44
  12. “Pretty Girl from San Diego” – 3:50
  13. “Go to Sleep” – 4:04
  14. “Hand-Me-Down Tune” – 4:07
  15. “In the Curve”  – 3:44
  16. “Tales of Coming News”  – 5:20 [iv]

 

nirvana unplugged in new yorkHIGH RESOLUTION COVER ART

Artist:  Nirvana

Album Title:  Unplugged In New York[v]

Release Date:  November 1, 1994

Track Listing:

  1. About a Girl” – 3:37
  2. Come as You Are” – 4:13
  3. Jesus Doesn’t Want Me for a Sunbeam” (Eugene Kelly, Frances McKee) – 4:37
  4. The Man Who Sold the World” (David Bowie) – 4:20
  5. Pennyroyal Tea” – 3:40
  6. “Dumb” – 2:52
  7. Polly” – 3:16
  8. On a Plain” – 3:44
  9. Something in the Way” – 4:01
  10. Plateau” (Curt Kirkwood) – 3:37
  11. “Oh, Me” (Kirkwood) – 3:26
  12. Lake of Fire” (Kirkwood) – 2:56
  13. All Apologies” – 4:23
  14. Where Did You Sleep Last Night” (Traditional; arranged by Lead Belly) – 5:08

 

 

John Coltrane

Artist:  John Coltrane

Album Title:  Blue Train

Release Date:  1957[vi]

Track Listing:

  1. “Blue Train” – 10:43
  2.  “Moment’s Notice” – 9:10
  3. “Locomotion” – 7:14
  4.  “I’m Old Fashioned” – 7:58
  5. “Lazy Bird” – 7:00

 

In Rainbows


Album Title:  In Rainbows[vii]

Artist:  Radiohead

Release Date:  October 10, 2007

Track Listing:

  1. “15 Step” – 3:58
  2. “Bodysnatchers” – 4:02
  3. “Nude” – 4:15
  4. “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” – 5:18
  5. “All I Need” – 3:48
  6. “Faust Arp” – 2:09
  7. “Reckoner” – 4:50
  8. “House of Cards” – 5:28
  9. “Jigsaw Falling into Place” – 4:09
  10. “Videotape” – 4:42

[i] Southern Harmony and the Musical Companion is indeed one of my favorite albums of all time.  This CD was stuck in my car stereo for most of 1992 and all of 1993.  (It was literally stuck.  It just wouldn’t pop out no matter how many times I pushed the eject button.  I did not mind too much.)

[ii] I don’t attempt to pass over the skits.  Who doesn’t like the mock game show, The $20 Sack Pyramid?!

[iii] Holy shit!  Heading to Asheville in October.   http://pitchfork.com/news/47783-neutral-milk-hotel-reunite-for-tour/

[iv] Those brothers write some outstanding songs but this particular one stands alone at the top for me.  Only available as a bonus track through ITunes

[v] Kurt Cobain’s parting gift to us.

[vi] So goes my first rule.  I had to make the exception  for the following two reasons: 

·         This was the album that led to my foray into Jazz.  So with that I thank you, Mr. Coltrane.

·         My infant son falls asleep to this every night.

[vii] My third favorite Radiohead album.

468 ad

Leave a Comment