Twenty albums that rocked my world

I am off work at the moment – which gives me the opportunity to have a look at the blog and ponder life’s great curiosities. Which brings me to the subsequent list; the 20 albums that have had the biggest impact on my musical listening habits. It’s a kind of chronology and they’re not necessarily my favourite albums – but many would be near that collection, too.

  • Nik Kershaw – Human Racing: ‘The Riddle’ was my first album but ‘Human Racing’ is better; ‘Wouldn’t it be good’ still sounds fantastic.
  • Jane Wiedlin – Fur: The sound of travelling around Birmingham in the late 80s. Wonderful and melancholic dub pop.
  • Pet Shop Boys – Please: Just fantastic. Consistent pop crafters for 20-odd years, ‘Please’ remains their finest moment. Some of the electronics sound amazing; MGMT but two decades earlier.
  • The Human League – Dare: As above, amazing electronics. ‘Reproduction’ – with its pretentious art pop – introduced me to the The League. Then I fell in love with ‘Dare’, whose Casio-led notes sound mega cool today.
  • Prefab Sprout – From Langley Park To Memphis: ‘Steve McQueen’ is peerless but ‘Langley Park’ sucked me in. Lovely and lilting.
  • New Order – Technique: I bought ‘Technique’ on my 15th birthday. For about three years, I was obsessed with New Order and Joy Division.
  • Cocteau Twins – Heaven Or Las Vegas: Just an amazing sound; a wonderful blend of pop and discordant guitar.
  • Slowdive – Just For A Day: I borrowed the album on cassette from someone at school and played it on my Walkman. I can remember thinking it was pretty special.
  • My Bloody Valentine – Loveless: Alternate tunings and a fabulous wall of sound. Still listen to ‘Loveless’; still finding something new buried in the noise.
  • Bark Psychosis – Hex: Incredible, jazz-tinted post-rock. The soundtrack to my years as a postgraduate time-waster.
  • Global Communication – 76:14: I liked Aphex Twin, too. But Global Communication’s epic ambience spent more time on my stereo.
  • Dubstar – Disgraceful: A kind of mixed-up pop version of all of the above; pop, dub, shoegaze – sweet and under-rated.
  • Red House Painters – Red House Painters (Rollercoaster): Sadcore at its finest. Being sad has never sounded better.
  • Sigur Ros – Ágætis Byrjun: The first convincing shoegaze album since Slowdive’s mid-90s demise; Sigur Ros’ subsequent global success was surprising and marvellous.
  • Brian Eno – Music For Airports: Nothing and everything happens. It just builds and builds, slowly and repetitively.
  • Thomas Newman – American Beauty: I love Thomas Newman. His scores are off-kilter and intriguing.
  • Mahogany – The Dream of a Modern Day: Like a shoegaze Stereolab, with layers of effects-laden guitars.
  • M83 – Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts: French nu-gaze from ultra hip Euro stars.
  • Ulrich Schnauss – A Strangely Isolated Place: The sound is both familiar and different. Layered like the shoegaze and post-rock albums of the 1990s, but with an electronic twist.
  • Stars of The Lid – And Their Refinement Of The Decline: Slow, droney and unbelievably elegant.

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