Music is everything - these are some of the albums that I love and cherish. Albums that have probably influenced the music that I make myself - one way or the other.
I recently discovered Conway Twitty. And it's thanks to Family Guy. Lead-character Peter Griffin has a great way of getting out of bad situations. He looks into the camera and presents a real-film clip of Conway Twitty singing one of his +40 number 1 hits. Wow, what a voice. He has the power to heal, and the lyrics to pin-point a broken heart. I have put country-music in the crap-bin, but must apologize for such swagger, as these songs are sung directly from the heart. Lyrics land somewhere banal and tongue-in-cheek on top of those cliché country grooves and that's just fine. Cause' that voice, the delivery, is emotional beyond compare. He started out in the 50s doing rock'n'roll, and he took his vocals power further by adding them to country and became one of that genre's biggest stars. Well, my good friend Peter (from that great band Cock Robin) did a cover of Conway's "It's Only Make Believe" many years back, and I've loved that song ever since. Everything eventually bites it's own tail.
Album of the year for me. I've had it on endless replay since it landed in my CD-player in July! Not often such falling on my knees for an album happens.
Album lacks the big hit, that's maybe why it seems impossible for me to kill it. Style is electronic and groove-based, somewhere between soul and pop. Vocalists have what you might describe as near-weak voices, but the more than make up for this by singing most of the leads in unison while adding a good bit of reverb. Works for me no doubt about that. Furthermore I was lucky enough to catch their concert at Vega, Copenhagen, late 2014. It wasn't one of those wtf-mindblowing gigs, like Damian Marley was, but I felt the music like I haven't felt music for some years. Great!
This guys name was the first thing that caught my attention. I love it when artists come up with clever funny names! - but the music has to match the level, else it doesn't work. "Built on Glass" is one of those occasions where everything is total brilliance. Chet Faker is blue-eyed electronic soul that sounds all it's own, while stealing heavily from the last 40 years of pop.
Great album (yes, albums are still cool!) that I highly recommend. Or check out some of the guy's live-sets on Youtube! He's more that just a big beard.
I loved The Cardigans from day one, though they definitely evolved and matured along the way. Production was always something else, Nina Persson's vocals were always crisp though sweet and the words that came from her mouth are among the most clever pop-lyrics in my book. 'a lady in need is guilty indeed' is a great one-liner, but part of an even greater lyric ('Live and Learn') - The Cardigans had so much more personality than most of their contemporaries - bigger than Volvo, more short-lived than Saab - this album, their last but one, is their best. Grown up but not old, mature but not boring - pop with an attitude!
Mmm Kim wilde, what a big influence she had on the walls of my room in my early teens. I loved those first couple of albums she did. Coolest chick ever and with the songs to match her look and attitude. First album includes 'Kids in Amrica', 'Chequered Love' and 'Water on Glass', pretty damn impressing for a debut-album by a 22 year old. Written and produced by brother Ricky (still guitarist/songwriter-partner after all these years) and daddy Marty, the Wilde's really struck gold with both production and songwriting on this. It's definitely pop, but it's rocking as well, great hooks but not as soft as most other stuff that rode the hit-lists of the early 80's... kinda like Blondie, though harder and more commercial at the same time - wish I had the brains to come up with something as clever yet 'stupid' like this - it's brilliant. Uh and 'You'll Never Be So Wrong' is on this album as well, that's one bloody great song!
This is one of those Bowie-albums that everybody seem to hate - impossible for me to understand as it's a beautiful commercial record packed with great songs, great playing and great production. Nothing wrong with being commercial, not even if you're David Bowie. Story goes DB called up producer Nile Rodgers who first thought that they were going to do something really arty-farty and weird, but DB wanted something for the radio, a hit-record - and that he got. 'Let's Dance' is by far his biggest seller, fueled by singles 'China Girl' and the titel-track this album is as danceable as anything produced by the brilliant Nile Rodgers (yeah, that guy from Chic whom I praise more than once on this page), drums by late-great Chic-drummer Tony Thompson (and current Chic-drummer Omar Hakim), rhythm-guitars by Nile and all those brilliant solos played by a very young Stevie Ray Vaughn, who knew how to let rip for 8 bars. 'Let's Dance' landed on my turn-table when I was 14, the impact it had on my future references - as a music-lover and producer - can't be underestimated. What a great record this is!
Wow, that was a difficult one, choosing a Slade-album for this list. Ended up with this, the heaviest of them all recorded when Slade returned to the UK after a failed attempt at cracking the United States. The disillusion of failing in the US and being back in a UK that had no room for an 'old' band like Slade, but had turned towards punk and ska, is clearly evident in the groove and the production... well the title says it all doesn't it??? Noddy Holder is the greatest vocalist in rock.. ever!... What an extraordinary set of lungs he had, singing along I can't even reach his full-tone high-notes in falsetto - you won't find more powerful belting anywhere else - Chris Cornell is probably the one who comes closest, but add to the lungs Noddy's cheeky lyrics and cool ad-lib'ing and you will find no-one matches his level of rock'n'roll - this guy goes higher than 11!. WHTS isn't your typical Slade hit-record, it's a tour de force of great songs wrapped in heavy darkness. I wish Slade had had enough balls to do more records like this. Highly recommended.
The more dark, gloomy and far-out Tricky is, the more I love his records - this was his 4th outing (including the one he did under the 'Nearly God'-moniker), and the first one to drift totally away from trip-hop. On first listen this was probably the ugliest record I had ever heard - didn't hurt having PJ Harvey guesting on 'Broken Homes' - second listen and onwards this has grown to be one of the handful of records I would bring to a deserted island, should that weird concept ever come alive. Everything on this is evil: beats are dark and not even remotely danceable, guitars sound like they are played by someone who is really stoned (which was/is the case actually), Tricky's lyrical mumblings are dark, bitter'n'twisted - everything adds up to one hell of a mood-killer, and there's too few records like that out there. This is definitely not Tricky's commercial high-point, but it comes pretty damn close to being his most important artistic mile-stone. Scary cover as well, there's evil in his eyes!
This is a real clever album, but all tracks are damned catchy, so it's ok... Love the production of this, the misters 3rd album. Drums are way up high in the mix and played by one of the true masters, Pat Mastelotto (whom I praise elsewhere on this page). Powerful vocals by Richard Page who definitely deserves much more credit than he's getting. Guitar-parts are a big inspiration for me in my own works. They are heavy metal-attitude and really weird, but beautifully controlled by overlooked string-hero Steve Farris. All-in-all a great groovy album from a band that is mostly remembered for soft-rock classics 'Kyrie' and 'Broken Wings'. This is something else...
Probably the ugliest cover of any album in my huge CD-collection. Man, so much bad taste in 12x12 cm... Do not let that turn you off if you like AOR though. Saga are Canada's second pride (first being Rush of course), still going pretty strong, though for me they peaked on this one, which also is one of their most commercial albums - normally they dish out records in the prog-rock-department, but with this they clearly aimed at radio, though still keeping in touch with their fetish for synchronized guitar/keyboard-runs, high-pitched vocals and great drumming. Actually this is almost chord-less as all harmonies are made from melodies and patterns played by guitar, bass and several keyboards that intertwine and sum up to much more than it's individual parts. Classic 80's album.
Yeah, all the hipsters hate this, the 'serious' mashup-scene despise what Girltalk is doing - well I flip the bird to all of you! Girltalk is music-history made for dancing like mad with a smile on your face, bringing together bits and pieces from the last 20 years of hit-radio without a care for street-cred or anything else from the irrelevant-department. This one's for the feet! I saw him do his magic at Roskilde a few years back.. standing at the back of a 15.000 capacity-tent it was pure pleasure watching the reaction of all these kids dancing their asses of, big smiles on their faces, ants in their pants, not a worry in their minds... Pure powerful pleasure from music. It's not very clever, but it works. Animal instinct courtesy of creative commons.
Raphael Saadiq does the coolest soul. No sugar dripping from the walls on his records - just powerful grooves, meaningful lyrics, frikken fantastic bass-lines and some of the sexiest attitudes recorded without turning to using cheap tricks. As a solo-artist he's got 4 albums under his belt, but on this he teamed up with En Vogue-vocalist Dawn Robinson and A tribe Called Quest's Ali Shaheed Muhammad to create a monster of a record.. 12 years old it still sounds fresh and vibrant. Every single track on this is a hit - I did a mashup of the track 'Dance Tonight' for my Locobrigida-project and couldn't believe the intensity of the original vocal-track I build the mashup around. Never mind Prince, Raphael Saadiq is the real deal, and 'Lucy Pearl' is second to none.
This album has the best drum-sound ever recorded! Imagine a bag of potatoes emptied down a metal staircase and you will get the picture. The drummer is the late great Tony Thompson, drummer for Chic as well as session-man with anybody big. Vocals by Robert Palmer, guitars by Andy Taylor and bass by John Taylor. Produced by Bernard Edwards, another late-great, bassist and songwriter (w. Nile Rodgers) in Chic. Great!
Third album from Seattle's finest. Pretty weird here and there - did take quite many spins before I got it - but mostly it's much energy and determination. Everything seems to fall into place for PJ on this one. Songs are hard and fast or soft (but not too soft) and deep, lyrics are delivered with all of Mr. Wedder's attitude, he sounds really at home on an album that marked PJ's departure from grunge and all the media-hype. For me this is their last great album.
Neil Finn is a brilliant singer and songwriter (just check any Crowded House-album for proof). On this album he teamed up with big-brother Tim for a 17-day recording-session of two handfuls of co-written tracks on which all instruments are played by the Finn's - making this album analog, rough and under-produced in the best way possible. Whenever I need a bit of courage to go for a really rough and dusty production-sound I put on this album for inspiration.
British duo (well a trio now) that excels in naive and urban dance-orientated pop. Personally I think they are so camp you can put them in a field and call them a tent. Assumed tight-lipped almost spoken vocals on top of no chords at all played by really sick synths - so cool. Visually Client is under-played and over the top at the same time. Russian military uniforms and far beyond the beginners guide to throwing r'n'r poses. 'Client' is their best album.
These Swedish guys are insane - brilliant! Starting out as a grindcore-band, the trio of teddybears have progressed and evolved into a hardcore rock/dance/electronica-kinda-band, mixing influences from anything and anywhere, but always with their focus on a great hook and/or riff. My reaction when hearing this for the first time was "is this legal? how daring". A (rather) unknown secret that will blow your speakers.
Probably the best thing that 'trip-hop' had to offer. Apart from the utterly brilliant single 'Teardrop' (sung by Elizabeth Fraser) this album offers an insight to the darker side of a band that, in ten years time, will be considered a great band with a huge influence on those that followed. Daddy G has one of the coolest voices ever, beats are frikken brilliant and the overall sound is dark and raw but still hard-hitting and see-though. Goose-bumps!
My favorite air-drumming-album of all time. 30 years old and still as vibrant as when it was first released, which was merely 8 months after the death or original lead-singer Bon Scott. 'Back in Black' has it all: great songs, great solos, hard-grooving drums and a production that doesn't sound the least outdated (courtesy of Mutt Lange). This is a great album for banging your head as well as vacuum-cleaning and it's the album that got me hooked on hard-rock.
Probably one of the best albums of all time. Released 25 years ago, but it still sounds up to date. The marriage of acoustic guitars and percussives to programmed beats and filter-drenched 70's keys and weird guitars never worked this well. Singer Mark Hollis belts out every tune as though his life depended on it. On their next 2 albums Talk Talk continued the journey they started with this album, still with great results though topping this one proved impossible.
First solo-album from the Cock Robin frontman. Recorded and produced by Peter in association with great drummer Pat Mastelotto (currently with King Crimson and NU, ex-drummer for Mr. Mister). This album is one of the albums that shifted my own focus from my navel to the groove - that was nice. Great songs, brilliant frikken singing and the coolest grooves. Track 'What You Are' are among my favorite lyrics ever. Love that album!
James Murphy at his best. I'm still trying to figure out why this guy can do 6 min+ songs based on one chord, with endless repeating of the same vocal-lines, and not bore me. But it's not too big a mystery actually, cause every track on this album grooves like nothing else. Garage-sound, 4 on the floor-drums and great hooks sung by a guy with not much voice at all. It's never boring and always daring and that's what makes it a great album.
Following a 10 year sabbath, Dio (and Vinnie Appice) re-joined Iommi/Butler for yet another album as Black Sabbath. 'Dehumanizer' is produced by German wonder-kid Mack and it's one evil mf! Heavy drum-sound (as in really heavy), Iommi's guitar has more edge than on most other BS-records and Dio.. well the sadly missed little guy wrote his best lyrics ever for this and his singing is way over the top as usual. Don't be fooled by the cover, this is BS's best album.
Pål Waaktaar writes great songs. On this, A-ha's 4th album, they transformed from a 'serious boy-band' to a great band with their very own sound. Morten Harket sings his very best (and amazingly wears a shirt on the front-cover!) and most of Magne's synths have been locked away, thus focusing on Pål's underrated guitar-playing and great songs. A-ha never recovered from the disappointing sales of this. Great record though.
Phil Lynott was a great song-writer, lyricist and vocalist. Choosing a Lizzy-album for this list was hard, but I ended up with one from the classic line-up of Lynott, Downey, Gorham and Robertson. 1977 and Thin Lizzy were at their very prime, Lynott's great songs are played by a band that knew how to kick ass. Brian Downey's drumming is hard and heavy but grooving at the same time. If you haven't met Lizzy yet, this one's a good starter.
This is a real emotional album. 4th album with 'new' vocalist Hogarth (who's been with the band for 22 years now), and the best of them all. Lyrically songs are about hero's losing it, angst and decay of the beautiful. Every song on this album is a master-piece. Production is warm and deep and it leads the songs down their rightful paths. Great drumming, great guitar-playing, great lyrics, great everything really. Could have wished for a better cover though.
I know, 'Best Of''s are normally no good, but this one is a great introduction for those who think B-52's were nothing more than 'Love Shack'. The early incarnation of the band, with gutarist Ricky Wilson, produced a couple of albums of really far-out pop-songs about dogs that left without saying goodbye and lobsters enjoying r'n'r. Not exactly a contender for the Nobél-prize in litterature, but great fun for your feet and mind. Still going strong by the way.
Yeah, Eddie Van Halen! Excessing in drugs and alcohol probably didn't help Eddie's status in the guitarist's Hall of Fame, but to me he's the greatest. All that tapping and weird noizes and get-out-of-my-face-kinda-playing - Eddie invented it. 'OU812' doesn't hold the best songs Van Halen ever recorded and the vocalist isn't David Lee Roth, but the guitar on this.. wow.. name a sound and Eddie can make his guitar wail it.
One of a couple of handfuls of legend Bob's children following in their dad's footsteps. And thank you very much for doing so! One would probably expect a collecting of retro-reggae-tracks, but Damian went far beyond that. This is reggae, hip-hop, toasting and plenty of programmed beats all in one album and done with style and well-underplayed self-conscious. The result is an album I consider among the very best of the last decade. Great songs as well.
The best disco-record ever made. Produced by Giogio Moroder and Pete Belotto. Originally a double-album, thus creating 4 sides of 4 sequenced tracks: 2 uptempo, one for the ladies and then one with more grooving than most things that dare call themselves danceable. Donna Summer sings like someone who really means every single word. Powerful! And the songs, well there's 'Hot Stuff' for starters, what more can one need...
Polly Jean Harvey is probably the most important female songwriter of the last 15 years. At least 4 albums of frikken great songs delivered with pure energy and determination has escaped the lady's obviously great mind. Her guitar sounds like it's just about to die and the production is rough and edgy. What makes PJ so great is that she never seems to go all Tinkerbell and 'this song came to me in a dream'-like, always on the right side of going soft.
Wow, this one hit me straight between the eyes when I was 14. Danceable but still rocking, hard but still soft enough for the girls. Linn-drums and bluesy guitar-solos are brought together in a way that hadn't been done before. Great move from a band that obviously were tired of dishing out the same 12-bar boogie again and again. On this one everything works for me - it's so frikken cool though still cheesy as hell. 'She's got legs and she knows how to use them'....