Putting together a top album list is all the rage nowadays. Convince others of your good taste! Grab some online street cred! Present yourself as knowledgeable, trendy and discerning! Or, in some cases, not at all.
Music magazines love such lists, the web is flooded with them, while Facebookers seem to knock em’ out for fun, encouraging you to do the same, quick quick! For me though the task had always been too daunting, so I kept putting it off. But in the summer of 2014 I realized I’d been a record collector for 20 years, which seemed the perfect time to pull my finger out and get to work.
It’s been a really tough task! Initially hoping to construct a top 10, I found the endeavour next to impossible, extending my lineup to 20. Still arduous, but more manageable. The process involved going through my entire collection, every album I’d ever heard, picking off nominees along the way. It was during this months-long procedure that I understood the need for some rules. No more than one album per artist. It would be all too easy to have my list dominated by three or four Beatles albums, a couple from Radiohead, multiple nods to this and that artist. Kind of disrespectful to how much fantastic music there is, not to mention a misrepresentation of myself as a music fan.
I also had to decide what the concept of top, best or favorite actually meant to me. In the end I simply opted for the records that have made the biggest impact. Long players that, song for song, towered head and shoulders above the rest and have stood the test of time. For this very reason, it dawned on me that certain albums just couldn’t qualify, despite my intense love for them. If only David Bowie’s brilliant Low didn’t descend into side two’s underwhelming instrumental noodling. What a pity Damon Albarn’s sublime Everyday Robots is only five minutes old. Then there’s the countless albums I deeply admire rather than truly love, such as The Holy Bible by Manic Street Preachers. And why exactly didn’t I love Nirvana’s Nevermind as much as I used to?
After a long but admittedly enjoyable period of rediscovery, my list is now complete and ready to be shared. The reviews will be released weekly and are ranked in no particular order.