Monday, May 4, 2015

I Seriously Need Your Help (Musically Speaking)

I am a child of the iTunes generation.

I have rarely purchased an entire album in the past 10 years. There have been some, but mostly I buy songs here and there, sampling music as I go. Not only do I rarely purchase an entire album, I rarely listen straight through to an entire album. I must admit, I’m not proud of this. I just have a really short attention span at times. I understand that listening through an entire album for a while is the best way to absorb the music and appreciate the artist. So, I am beginning a 20 week quest to right my wrongs. I am going to choose an album each week to listen to for the entire week. I have 10 possible albums in mind right now. These are artists I enjoy or albums I’ve wanted to spend more time with. I still need 10 albums, and this is where you come in. I would love to get recommendations of albums that you have fallen in love with. I hope to get 25 -30 different recommendations total if possible. I am not as interested in the “greatest” or most “essential” albums of all time, but the stuff that's had an impact of you and that you really enjoy. From the recommendations, I will make my final list of 20 and get started. I’ll keep you posted as we go and maybe you can find a new album to love in the process. So, leave your recommendations here. If you haven’t become a “follower” of the blog, now is a good time! If you are unable to leave your recommendations here, feel free to leave them on Facebook or Twitter. The ten albums that I’ve chosen for now are listed below. Thank you in advance!

The Smashing Pumpkins – “Siamese Dream”
The National – “The Boxer”
Lyle Lovett – “The Road To Ensanada”
Ryan Adams – “Heartbreaker”
Punch Brothers – “The Phosphorescent Blues”
Jack White – “Blunderbuss”
Bjork – “Post”
Robert Johnson – “The Complete Recordings”
Rodrigo y Gabriela – “Rodrigo y Gabriela”
Beck – “Morning Phase”

Let the recommendations begin!!!!

Photo Courtesy of Death To Stock Photo


  1. Very cool idea Michael Ramsey. I'm glad to see The Smashing Pumpkins made your list. Now I must resist the urge to recommend another album by them :). I recommend Nevermind by Nirvana, Dookie by Green Day (if you'd like a little Punk Rock in the mix), and The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails. Yeah, I grew up in the 90's.

  2. Any John Mayer (born and raised is the newest i have, room for squares is probably still my favorite, Battle studies is the edgiest and interesting just because it was a departure for him) California 37 by train (any of theirs would be good too). Brave By Nichole Nordeman.

  3. Ok, so I will only recommend one. Well, I will recommend 2. But one is a Live album and doesn't probably count for this experiment.

    Wailin' Jennys: 40 Days

    If Live Albums count, then I would recommend their Live at the Mauch Chunk Opera House album.

  4. I'll throw out a couple:

    Johnny Cash - I Walk the Line
    Willie Nelson - Honeysuckle Rose
    Lightnin' Hopkins - The Complete Aladdin Recordings
    Reverend Peyton's Big Dang Band - The Wages
    Rush - 2112

    And if live albums count:

    Cheap Trick - Live at Budokan

  5. Ok, sorry for the slow response, but I wanted to get this right. I've listed what I believe are my 10 favorite albums currently. Each of these offers something different and while they are all recent (last 10 years approximately) I feel that they have defined me in some manner. Some harken back to specific moments, days, weeks, months, seasons, or years, but all have provided an excellent foundation for exploring new music and growing into who I've become. Additionally, I own all of these in a physical, tangible format (8 of which on vinyl—I'll get to that later) and listening to them straight though, as intended, provides an entirely different experience than singling (pun intended) specific songs out to create a mood. These albums may have underlying, unifying themes, but each song progresses the story and reveals the individuality and uniqueness of each chapter of that story. I'll pick up my chin and stop drooling over music, something I'm very passionate about and leave you with a closing thought:

    I recently bought a turntable, yes those outdated machines that spin vinyl and produce sound using a needle (how archaic?!), and I rediscovered my intense love for music. Not because of the cracks and pop of vinyl nor because of the large artwork or the nostalgic feeling of collecting something that'll last forever—no, it was because for the first time in a long time I couldn't skip tracks all willy nilly and "single" out the ones I liked the best. Vinyl doesn't operate by our instant gratification rules in this digital age, it encourages patience and the appreciation of experiencing something in full, something that is complete. This revelation, which I'm embarrassed to admit to me several years to see, has completely changed the way I look at music and albums in particular. I still try to separate tracks from albums, but now I do it with the knowledge that the tracks are arranged in a particular order for an intended effect. And because of this revelation I make the best effort possible to experience music in its intended form, the album.

    On that note, here is the list of my top 10 albums with my all time favorite saved for last:

    10. Menos el Oso by Minus the Bear
    9. The Suburbs by Arcade Fire
    8. Illinois by Sufjan Stevens
    7. The Information by Beck
    6. Kill the Moonlight by Spoon
    5. Suck it and See by Arctic Monkeys
    4. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix by Phoenix
    3. Vampire Weekend by Vampire Weekend
    2. Give Up by The Postal Service
    1. Transatlanticism by Death Cab for Cutie