Saturday, March 01, 2014

my all time favorite albums... 71 to 60

Starting March with another #500Words per day goal... now, its impossible for me to write every single day, so I try to just average it out... and like January, my goal is #20KWords for the month. I missed my 15K goal in February, ending up with only around 10,616. So yeah, I kinda failed. But its a good failure, one that really doesn't mean much to anyone but me, and drives me to not fail again. So there. 

And what to write about tonight? While watching "A Few Good Men", which is a nearly flawless movie, I remembered that I was doing a little series last summer, a series I started when I got my new love for blogging... my Favorite 100 Albums of All Time... I only got three parts into it, but hey, there's no time to pick it up like now, huh?

The Introduction
My 100th to 91st favorite albums
My 90th to 81st favorite albums
My 80th to 71st favorite albums

"Fairweather Johnson" by Hootie & the Blowfish (1998)... To say I'm a Hootie fan is an understatement... I love Darius Rucker and the guys, and their sound.  It would be silly to put all of their albums, including later releases like "Musical Chairs", "Looking for Lucky" and "Scattered, Covered, Smothered" on this list, because while all good, none catch my fancy like the first two.  We'll get to the other one later, but for now, "Fairweather Johnson" is a worthy follow up to their first major release... even though it went 2x platinum, its often considered a failure because their first CD was marginally better.  You know, it was 16x platinum and is the 16th best selling album of all time.  But "Fairweather Johnson" is just splendid... "Old Man & Me(when I get to Heaven)" is the lead off single, but "Silly Little Pop Song" is great, "Sad Caper" is solid, and the uncomfortably titled "Honeyscrew" is fun and my favorite, "Tucker's Town" is awesome.

"Speechless" by Steven Curtis Chapman (1999)... Its hard to be a Christ Follower and not respect Steven Curtis Chapman.  He's released over 20 studio albums in his time, had nearly 50 #1 hits in Christian radio, and has boo-koodles of awards lining his shelf.  It starts off with a bang, with the rollicking "Dive", getting you in the Spirit, then continues to the title track, "Speechless", a song that wonders and awes at God's amazing creation.  The challenges continue, with "The Change"... "The Invitation"... "Be Still and Know"... and a great song, perhaps my favorite, that honors those around you who are fellow Christ Followers, "Fingerprints of God".  Its worthy to note that there was a 3+ year separation between this, and his previous studio album, "Signs of Life"... after Signs, he took a sabbatical, and "Speechless" was the result of a 3 year prayer.  And it was worth it.  Title track is my favorite.

"Underdog" by Audio Adrenaline (1999)... Sometimes when I was doing research for this list, I stumble across other albums I forgot ("Hysteria" by Def Leppard was the final album added)... and one in particular is "Some Kind of Zombie", the hard rockin' CD from AA that preceded "Underdog".  In an interview with bassist Will McGinness, he mentioned the "Bloom", their 3rd album, was one that the studios kinda wanted them to do... the rock out style of "Some Kind of Zombie" was the band taking it to the far extreme... and "Underdog" was exactly how they wanted to sound.  And oh, it sounds so great.  "A Mighty Good Leader" is great to kick off, with the title track, then "Get Down", the lead-off single from the CD.  Its great all the way through, never too heavy, but meaningful enough to be meaningful (yes, I meant to say that)... my favorite, though, is this incredible version of "It Is Well With My Soul", feature accompanying vocals from Jennifer Knapp... so, so good.

"Tuesday Night Music Club" by Sheryl Crow (1993)... So, yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the release date of Sheryl's debut.  Twenty years?  Holy crap.  The name is derived from the group of musicians that would meet on Tuesdays to work on this album, and though it was released in 1993, it was the second single, "All I Want To Do" that catapulted Sheryl into the limelight. Even though this came in 1993, it was Spring '94 that I really caught onto Sheryl Crow's awesomeness... sitting in SAGA (the dining hall) with Erin and Kate Gates and Alison and Jared and whatshisname that always wore the plaid hat, jamming to "All I Want to Do" or "Leaving Las Vegas"... fun times.  My favorite tracks are probably "Can't Cry Anymore" or the unreleased "The Na-Na Song"

"One Day Live" by Passion (2000)... here's what I love about this CD... I was there.  For a whole day, 50,000 of my closest Christ Following friends all jammed together in a field on a farm in Tennessee, to hear the sounds of Chris Tomlin and Christy Nockel and Matt Redman and Candi Pearson all sing worship, and to hear the likes of Voddie Bochum and John Piper and Beth Moore and Louie Giglio all speak their thoughts of praise and knowledge of The Sword.  It was one of the Top 10 or 15 most memorable, most meaningful days of my entire life.  And its funny to run across someone that I know now that was there, when I didn't know them.  I love Christy Nockels, the cute part of the duo Watermark, but Candi Pearson's "One Pure and Holy Passion" takes my breath away.

"The End of the Innocence" by Don Henley (1989)...  There are three songs that this album is built upon--"The Heart of the Matter", "The Last Worthless Evening" and the title song--but all around, its a great set of Don Henley jams.  The Eagles drummer rocks out with "I Will Not Go Quietly" (featuring Axl Rose) and mellows out in "A New York Minute", but its those three that I mentioned that make this whole ride worth it. 

I remember working overnights at WKMX in Enterprise, Alabama, and I'd be the only person in the entire building from about 11pm to about 5 or 6am.  This is before the practice of setting your playlist on computer, then letting it run all night--called Voicetracking--this is back when you had actual DJs in the studio.  And when one needed a bathroom run, you could play "The Heart of the Matter", "The Last Worthless Evening" or "The End of the Innocence", and it would give you a good 6 minutes of time for whatever. 

And for the record, I was the guy who played the full version of "The Heart of the Matter", not the radio-friendly shortened version.  Just so that's clear.

"Alanis Unplugged" by Alanis Morissette (1999)... Alanis is a great example of an artist I loved loved loved early, and we just kinda... well, broke up.  It happens.  It happened with me and Nirvana.  Me and Pearl Jam.  Me and Big Head Todd & the  Monsters.  And me and Alanis.

It happens.

But with "Unplugged", our musical love affair returned, however briefly.  In this live, acoustic set, she pours over her big hits, "Ironic" and "Head over Feet" and "You Learn" from Jagged Little Pill... she tosses in a few from her 2nd effort, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, like "That Would Be Good"... but its the drastic turn in "You Oughta Know" that should get you to this CD.  It slows down, yet is still just as powerful.  She does a cover of The Police's "King of Pain" which is outstanding (heresy, but I prefer this over the original) and she has an incredible ending song to the set, from the movie "City of Angels", a ditty called "Uninvited".  Its my favorite track, though "King of Pain" is right up there.

Still, there are a few unreleased gems on here, like "No Pressure Over Cappuccino", which is fun.  The whole album is like having Alanis perform in your living room, and in some ways, with MTV's Unplugged style, that's exactly what it is.  I love this record. 

"You've Got Mail Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" (1998)... Anyone who knows me knows how near and dear to my heart this movie is.  My little sister Ashley says, "You only like that movie because you at those places in the movie", and I reply, "Well... yeah."  But its such a good, good film... and like "Sleepless in Seattle", the music plays a big part of this.  From "Dreams" by The Cranberries to Nilsson's "Remember" (the scene where Kathleen shuts the shop down for good... sniff...) to Roy Orbison's "Dream Baby", its all wonderful.  A bit more modern than "Seattle", but only by a few decades. 

"Emotions" by Mariah Carey (1991)... Oh Mariah.  Where are you, my talented diva from the early 90s?  So good, so, so good.  This is the second album from Ms Carey, and she was just beginning to hit her stride (a stride she would hit in just a few short years)... the album starts right off with the powerful "Emotions", then ramps up the ballads with "And You Don't Remember" and then the powerful, heart wrenching "Can't Let Go", a song I would later put on a college mixtape cassette called "You Lost the One You Love and You Need an Excuse for Suicide" (also featuring Brian McKnight's "One Last Cry" and Gloria Estefan's "Can't Let Go", an emotional, soul ripping 1-2-3 gut punch).  The rest of "Emotions" goes on an up and down ride of love and pain and happiness in couplehood.

"Greatest Hits" by Martina McBride (2001)... Talk about your country power ballad.  Boom.  Martina McBride is one of my personal Hall of Famer and Top 20 artists of all time, and this compilation is magnificent.  Be it "Where Would You Be" to "Broken Wing", her voice is strong and when it comes to her signature song, "Independence Day", there is none better. 

I love practically every song on this album, and its actually hard to really find a favorite... there are a few songs I'm not a huge fan of, like "Love's the Only House" or "Concrete Angel", but everything else makes up for it.  Love Martina and just about everything she does.

Coming up next... a little Sixpence... some Goo Goo... and some Eddie Murphy... and later on, how about a little Smooth Love Jams.

(1758 Words in #20KWords for March... 18,242 words to go)

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