Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My favorite albums for every year of my life

There's an internet thingy making the rounds where you list your favorite album released in each year of your life. Sounds simple, doesn't it? No, it is agonizing. As you can see below, I had to make some tough calls*. But I did the best I could (ask me to do this again in a week from now and you'll likely get an almost entirely different list).

1975: Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here
1976: Boston, Boston
1977: Elvis Costello, My Aim Is True
1978: Elvis Costello and the Attractions, This Year's Model
1979: The Clash, London Calling
1980: AC/DC, Back In Black
1981: The Police, Ghost in the Machine
1982: Michael Jackson, Thriller

This year was the first toughie for me, with Yaz's Upstairs at Eric's, Def Leppard's Pyromania, and Listen by A Flock of Seagulls. Femmes for the win. Due to the many strong albums from here on out, I provide a runner up for every year.

1983: Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes (runner up: The Police, Synchronicity)
1984: Prince, Purple Rain (runner up: Van Halen, 1984)
1985: The Dead Milkmen, Big Lizard in my Backyard (runner up: LL Cool J, Radio)

Okay, 1986 is the next big year full of classics: Graceland, So, Life's Rich Pageant, Skylarking, Candy Apple Grey. Yikes!

1986: The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead (runner up: Run-DMC, Raising Hell)
1987: The Cure, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (runner up: the Replacements, Pleased to Meet Me)
1988: Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (runner up: R.E.M., Green)
1989: The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses (runner up: The Cure, Disintegration)
1990: Depeche Mode, Violator (runner up: The Sundays, Reading, Writing And Arithmetic)
1991: Matthew Sweet, Girlfriend (runner up: A Tribe Called Quest, The Low End Theory)
1992: Basehead, Play With Toys (runner up: The Beastie Boys, Check Your Head)
1993: A Tribe Called Quest, Midnight Marauders (runner up: Depeche Mode, Songs of Faith and Devotion)
1994: Johnny Cash, American Recordings (runner up: Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral)
1995: Pulp, Different Class (runner up: Ben Folds Five, Ben Folds Five)
1996: Weezer, Pinkerton (runner up: Fountains of Wayne, Fountains of Wayne)
1997: Buena Vista Social Club, Buena Vista Social Club (runner up: Wyclef Jean, The Carnival)
1998: Pulp, This Is Hardcore (runner up: Steve Poltz, One Left Shoe)
1999: The Roots, Things Fall Apart (runner up: Ben & Jason, Emoticons)
2000: Flogging Molly, Swagger (runner up: Jack Johnson, Brushfire Fairytales)
2001: Ben Folds, Rockin' the Suburbs (runner up: Jude, King of Yesterday)
2002: Eminem, The Eminem Show (runner up: Mary Prankster, Tell Your Friends)

And now we come to the last year of very hard choices: Elvis Costello's North, Steve Poltz's Chinese Vacation, The Postal Service's Give Up, Snow Patrol's Final Straw, and Pigeon John's Is Dating Your Sister were all contenders. I had to go with a recent discovery of Clem Snide, though.

2003: Clem Snide, Soft Spot (runner up: Fountains of Wayne, Welcome Interstate Managers)
2004: John Wesley Harding, Adam's Apple (runner up: Say Anything, ...Is a Real Boy)
2005: Anya Marina, Miss Halfway (runner up: Clem Snide, End of Love)
2006: Amy Winehouse, Back to Black (runner up: Jarvis Cocker, Jarvis)
2007: The National, Boxer (runner up: Lily Allen, Alright, Still)
2008: Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend (runner up: Neon Neon, Stainless Style)

So, what's your list?

*I have omitted compilations from contention. Sorry, Bob Marley and Squeeze.


Anonymous said...

"Couldn´t you be any more obvious
than that, Rob? How about, uh,
l don´t know, the Beatles? How about f*cking... f*cking Beethoven?
Track one, side one of the Fifth Symphony. How can someone who has no interest in music own a record store?"

Actually, nice list. TOO nice.

Micah said...

Ha ha. Yeah, a lot of these are painfully obvious. But some albums are considered classics for a reason, right?

But I do have a healthy dash of the obscure (Anya Marina, Mary Prankster, Ben & Jason) and hipster cred-killing (Jack Johnson, Boston, Wyclef) among my favorite ablums.

Anonymous said...

buckner and garcia's "pacman fever"????
ode to a centipede? do the donkey kong? froggys lament? my god, man, how could you forget these classics??!!

awesome list, a thoroughly enjoying read.

Anonymous said...

Here’s my list, just in case you’re wondering…

1980 - Christopher Cross (Christopher Cross)
1981 - Street Songs (Rick James)
1982 – Thriller (Michael Jackson)
1983 – Synchronicity (The Police)
1984 – 1984 (Van Halen)
1985 – Brothers in Arms (Dire Straits)
1986 – Who Made Who? (ACDC)
1987 – Appetite for Destruction (GNR)
1988 – Don’t Be Cruel (Bobby Brown)
1989 – In step (Stevie Ray Vaughn)
1990 - Shake Your Money Maker (Black Crowes)
1991 – Ten (Pearl Jam)
1992 – Core (Stone Temple Pilots)
1993 – Everybody Else is Doing So Why Can’t We? (Cranberries)
1994 – Grace (Jeff Buckley)
1995 - The Bends (Radiohead)
1996 – Crash (Dave Matthews Band)
1997 – OK Computer (Radiohead)
1998 – Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too (The New Radicals)
1999 – The Man Who (Travis)
2000 – Parachutes (Coldplay)
2001 – Is This It? (The Strokes)
2002 – A Rush of Blood to the Head (Coldplay)
2003 – Heavier Things (John Mayer)
2004 – Feels Like Home (Norah Jones)
2005 – Room Noises (Eisley)
2006 – Trials of Van Occupanther (Midlake)
2007 – Wincing the Night Away (The Shins)
2008 – In Rainbows (Radiohead)…so far

SBN1 said...

2008: Bon Iver > Vampire Weakend

Micah said...

CW - Nice. I actually reviewed the Buckner & Garcia album when I made this list, thinking I'd make some passing joke about. Good to see that you actually did.

dr. zeius - Good list. I have a feeling that other people in our age group would have Radiohead-centric lists. I just can't do it, man.

SBN1 - I've only given the Bon Iver disc one listen, but it didn't immediately grab me like Vampire Weekend's album did. As we approach winter, though, I'll re-evaluate it.