A Top 13…? Sure, why not.

In a recent promotion involving the release of the L.E.O. album, Bleu provided folks who purchased the record through Not Lame Records with his top 13 essential albums of all time. The list was posted to an E-mail list I’m on, and, predictably, it spurred everyone to start sending out their own top 13 lists…so here’s mine, and feel free to submit your own as well:

1. The Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour: I know I’m supposed to pick Revolver or Sgt. Pepper, but over the years, I’ve come to realize that any album which contains “I Am the Walrus,” “Penny Lane,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Your Mother Should Know,” and “All You Need Is Love” is really the Beatles album that I’ll listen to more often than any other, “Blue Jay Way” be damned.
2. The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead. If only because of “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.” Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to include it, since I love every song, but that one song is ultimately the reason it’s essential for me.
3. Jellyfish, Spilt Milk. So is it true that you’re either a Bellybutton man or a Split Milk man, and that you can’t be both…?
4. The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds. It didn’t hit me like a ton of bricks, as it did others, but when it did hit me, WOW.
5. a-ha, Hunting High and Low. I didn’t even listen to this album until after their time on the US charts had come and gone, but once it did, I wondered why the hell I’d never paid any attention to them before.
6. Pet Shop Boys, Very. It was officially the point where Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe stopped mattering in the States, but it was also when I realized that I rather preferred it that way.

7. R.E.M., Lifes Rich Pageant. Seeing these guys at William and Mary Hall when they were touring behind Document was a formative moment in my appreciation of alternative music, and of all their albums, this remains my favorite.
8. The Merrymakers, No Sleep ‘Til Famous. This was the album that convinced me that there was something in the water in Sweden that gave its residents the ability to write incredibly catchy pop hooks.
9. Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians, Globe of Frogs. I could list any number of Hitchcock albums here, but this is one I’m forever returning to.
10. Squeeze, Frank. A dark horse in the Squeeze discography, to be sure, but when I worked at a record store, my manager said, “You must listen to this album.” I continue to thank her for that to this day.
11. Johnny Cash, Live at Folsom Prison. Because I can still remember listening to it on 8-track while riding in my dad’s Ford pick-up.
12. XTC, Skylarking. Andy Partridge may still grimace at the memory of working with Todd Rundgren, but even he can’t fault the end result.
13. Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. Because it fucking rocks. Period.


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