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  My 100 Greatest Albums

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My 100 Greatest Albums

raineropen-1

After suffering a seizure while riding his bike to work in February 1996, Rainer Ptacek was diagnosed with a brain tumor in February 1996. He described his frustrating symptoms to his friend, Fred Mills:

You know, these” — Rainer held up his hands and nodded at them — “know where they want to go. They remember the chords, the notes. The problem is that I still can’t remember all of those chords and notes.”

rainerfarm-1

Rainer THE FARM. Glitterhouse. 2002

I’ve recently been considering my choice of best ever albums and partly because over many years there’s been a paucity of great quality music. How many times have you heard the adjectives ‘incredible’, ’stunning’ and ‘amazing’ used to describe albums being TV advertised? Try every time. I often wonder if people actually believe the hype backed by shed loads of radio airplay and media coverage. In short, I believe the art of music has been degraded to the lowest levels ever and by some artists who survive and prosper through hype rather than great talent.

So I felt it was time to (and with the greatest difficulty) to select albums that for me represent the very best and meaningful popular musical art. At first I planned for a list my top ten albums but that was impracticable and ultimately impossible. However, it did mean that some real favourites would have to be discarded and kept for a possible second future list .

I opened by providing a quote from Rainer Ptacek because his last album, THE FARM, was recorded days before his death in 1997 and is a truly emotional and beautiful piece of work which moves me more than most albums I have ever heard. One can hear and feel, the struggle, and the love and impending loss of family. It hits harder than you can imagine.

Virtually every album I’ve selected has a personal back-story that adds to their musical attraction. My most recent selection includes Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds SKELETON TREE which revolves around the accidental death of Cave’s twin son. For me all these albums have a special place in my heart and head not only for their musical brilliance but because they emerged at a time of a time of personal discovery, sadness and happiness. Several represent my first and best introduction to the acts.  I have avoided the temptation of picking more than one album from each act.

But above all these albums for me represent the finest music in fifty years of listening. The list is not in any particular order. Soon to follow will be My Best Soundtrack and Best Live Albums.

andrea-11

Andrea Bocelli SOGNO. Polydor. 2002

ani-15

Ani DiFranco LITTLE PLASTIC CASTLE. Righteous Babe. 1998

arcade-11

Arcade Fire FUNERAL. Sony. 2004

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Patricia Barber MODERN COOL. Premonition. 1998

barbra-11

Barbra Streisand JE M’APPELLE BARBRA. Columbia. 1966

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Beatles SGT PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND. Apple Corps. 1967

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Ben Folds Five THE UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY OF REINHOLD MESSNER. Sony Music. 1999

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Jeff Buckley GRACE. Columbia. 1994

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Ry Cooder and Vishwa Mohan Batt A MEETING BY THE RIVER. Waterlilly Acoustics. 1993

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