Favourite Album for Every Year of My Life


1 Jun 2011, 14:39

Right, saw a lot of people do this. Seemed fun, here it goes:

Jane's Addiction - Ritual de lo Habitual

Jane's Addiction have been called the uncrowned kings of alternative rock, paving the way for bands like Nirvana etc. On this album they create a same sort of mixture of funk and hard rock as the Red Hot Chili Peppers did in their early years.It's the build up of the album (the first five songs are fast funky rock songs, the last four are long slow ballads) that makes this record unique. One day I want to write a song with the same build-up as Then She Did..., that song is just epic in every way. Definitely their best album. Oh and Eric Avery is one of my favourite bassists ever.

Honorary mentions: People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, 13 Songs

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik

1991 seems to have been a very fertile year for music. To think that such classics as Nevermind and The Low End Theory (two of my definite all-time favourite albums) didn't make it shows you how good a year this was. What makes Blood Sugar Sex Magik stand out is the unique and incredible harmony between the bass and the guitar here. If you would tell me Flea and John Frusciante were somehow telepathically connected when writing this album, I would believe you. You'd sure think so, listening to the outro of Funky Monks for example. Funk rock at it's very, very best. Hell, music at it's very best too.

Honorary mentions: Nevermind, The Low End Theory, Energy

Dr. Dre - The Chronic

Dr. Dre was the first hip hop artist I ever got into, when I was 9 years old or so. I dare say The Chronic is one of the most influential albums of the last twenty years. Dre already added the gangster element to hip hop with the boys in N.W.A., but on this album he gave it a fixed sound. Where on Straight Outta Compton he kept the sound more or less confined to the old-school hip hop paradigm, on this album he created a whole new sound which came to be known as G-Funk. Deep and bass heavy, nothing which was ever heard before in hip hop. It would continue to influence rappers (for better or for worse) in years to come. On top of that this album contains one of my favourite hip hop songs of all time (Nuthin' But a "G" Thang).

Honorary mentions: The Longest Line, Generator, Kerplunk

Nirvana - In Utero

It's funny actually how my favourite Nirvana album (Nevermind) didn't make it to this list, but In Utero did. Being alot more grungy than it's predecessor, it took me a little longer to get into this album (as I'm not really a grunge fan). But it's still a very good album. I guess only Kurt Cobain could decide to write an alternative hard-to-get-into album after breaking through massively two years earlier. This man didn't want to be famous and he didn't want this record to be popular. But it did become popular and he killed himself a year later. Kurt seems to scream: 'stop loving me, goddammit!', on this album. This is especially visible on the track fittingly titled Radio Friendly Unit Shifter, which is anything but a radio friendly unit shifter. Instead it's a chaotic mix of heavily distorted guitars. Illustrative for this album's mindset.

Honorary mentions: Midnight Marauders, Recipe for Hate

Green Day - Dookie

Ah, 1994, the year of pop punk. Bad Religion, NOFX and The Offspring all got into mainstream attention here, but it was Green Day's Dookie that really gave a boost to the punk rock revival. It must've been quite a shock for all the hardcore punk fans to suddenly see the whole world get into their beloved genre. Why people in all of sudden liked punk rock seems obvious. Instead of rants about politics, government and society, these songs on Dookie were about girls, teenage crushes and masturbation. It's obvious what interests the masses more. I like both forms of punk rock.

Honorary mentions: Punk in Drublic, Stranger Than Fiction, Smash, Cheshire Cat, Let's Go, Illmatic, MTV Unplugged in New York

Rancid - ...And Out Come the Wolves

Everything is great on this album. The songwriting, the bass playing, the album cover, everything. Rancid showoff their ability to take ska and punk rock and mix it into a sound that's full of energy and passion. And ofcourse there's always the astonishing bass playing by mr. Matt Freeman (my second favourite bass player after Flea). Dude, he can play fast! Just listen to Maxwell Murder. This album could well be my favourite album of all time although I always hate when people ask me about that, I hate choosing. 19 songs and I like each and everyone of them from start to finish. Here we have Rancid's magnum opus, they never wrote anything like it and I'm afraid they won't ever write something quite like it again.

Honorary mentions: The Bends, Insomniac, One Hot Minute

Belle and Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister

I only just recently got into this band and I like it. They have something of The Smiths about them mixed with... I don't know Bob Dylan? Anyway, they're considered leaders of modern day indie pop. A genre which in itself is a bit of contradictionary. How can you make independent underground pop music? Well, I don't know, but these guys sure found out on this album. Favourite track is Me and the Major because it is a happy light pop song based on an almost metal/punk rockish guitar riff. Intriguing.

Honorary mentions: Beats, Rhymes and Life, Sublime

Green Day - Nimrod

The second entry of Green Day on this list. I've often wondered which Green Day album is my favourite of theirs: Nimrod or Dookie? My preference tends to shift, but if I would have to choose I'd say Nimrod, simply because it's a little bit more ambitious than Dookie. Billie Joe, Mike and Tre are still very much the punk rock brats they were on their previous three albums but they show signs of exploring the world of music outside of pop punk. Favourite track is Uptight because well it sounds good especially when you're uptight.

Honorary mentions: OK Computer, Baduizm, Dude Ranch

Life Won't Wait

And here we have the second entry of Rancid on this list as well. As I said above nothing can quite match ...And Out Come The Wolves, but this record is definitely my second favourite Rancid album. It has a wide variety of songs, but still contains the characteristic energy that every Rancid album has. Only thing that keeps it from becoming a classic like 'Wolves' is that it contains too many songs. 22 is just too much and the songs get a little bit lost on this album. Anyway it still contains great tracks like Leicester Square, Backslide, Hoover Street and is therefore well worth listening.

Honorary mentions: The Love Movement, Moon Safari, Buddha (CD re-release)

blink-182 - Enema of the State

It's actually surprising that nine years into this list, this is the first album here by my favourite band blink-182. And it's their best known album too. Anyway, in this short space I can't possibly describe what this album has meant for me through all these years. It suffices to say that Mark, Tom and Travis have often pulled me through difficult moments in all phases of my life with their music. Whenever I feel frustrated, angry or upset I listen to this album to get a little easy. It's not so much the hit songs here but songs like Dumpweed, Dysentery Gary, Mutt, Anthem that really get me everytime.

Honorary mentions: Californication, 2001

Kurt Rosenwinkel - The Next Step

It's not surprising that the only jazz album in this list is by my favourite contemporary jazz musician and guitarist: Kurt Rosenwinkel. I discovered his music thanks to his collaborations with Q-Tip (the rapper of A Tribe Called Quest) and I'm happy I did. It's fascinating to hear what a non-jazz instrument like an electric guitar can add to such an already rich genre as jazz. Rosenwinkel demonstrates this very well on this album, particularly on songs like A Shifting Design and Use Of Light.

Honorary mentions: Kid A, The Marshall Mathers LP, Like Water for Chocolate

Sugarcult - Start Static

This album might for me personally be the most important music album in history. I say this because before I listened to this album I was into the occasional pop or rock song on the radio. Than Sugarcult came and changed everything. They're the first band that I really got into and started following. They were my first favourite band. This album is also largely responsible for getting me into punk rock, or maybe even rock music as a whole. I owe so much to this album. And they're are still one of my favourite bands, a shame they haven't released anything new for so long. I'm still hoping for a new album of theirs.

Honorary mentions: Take Off Your Pants and Jacket, Is This It

Bowling for Soup - Drunk Enough to Dance

Bowling for Soup often gets made fun of as some sort of wannabe pop punk band. Sometimes rightly so, I think. But that doesn't change that this album was once my favourite album (in my teenage years) and for that it still gets mentioned here. Any teenager will always be able to identify themselves and their feelings with this music. And instead of rejecting it as too immature after you grow up, you should embrace it. I still respect Bowling for Soup and I will always love them because they once were my favourite band. Rock on, my Texan friends!

Honorary mentions: Up the Bracket, Box Car Racer, By the Way, Transplants

blink-182 - blink-182

This was the first album I ever owned of blink-182. The first Blink song I ever heard was Feeling This, the lead single of this record. It was also the album that made me fall in love with them. Of course the most remarkable thing of this album is it's maturity. 'Blink grew up', is a much heard remark concerning this album. And it's true, but as this was the first bit of Blink I ever heard I always wondered why people called them infantile and immature. That was until I started listening to their earlier records.

Honorary mentions: Room on Fire, Heart, A Rush of Blood to the Head, Everything You Need

Chin Up Chin Up - We Should Have Never Lived Like We Were Skyscrapers

Chin Up Chin Up is my favourite underground indie band. Their music has something unique about it thanks to the intelligent use of harmonics and a very talented drummer. Their songs are unlike anything you'll ever hear. We Should Have Never Lived Like We Were Skyscrapers is despite it's long title my favourite album of theirs. Chin Up Chin Up are one of my favourite bands. I remember being as happy as a little kid when I got to see them live a few years ago. I never thought I would and it was awesome.

Honorary mentions: Palm Trees and Powerlines, The Libertines, Rubber Factory, A Hangover You Don't Deserve, American Idiot

Slightly Stoopid - Closer To The Sun

Slightly Stoopid, together with The Clash, might be the most eclectic band in my music taste. Reggae, dub, ska, punk rock, metal, they do it all. They demonstrate this on Closer To The Sun, I think my favourite album of theirs. It's impossible to count the amount of joints I smoked while listening to this album. Songs like Bandelero and This Joint (fitting title) just crave it. Oh and I also like to play air guitar in my room to Nothing Over Me when nobody's watching.

Honorary mentions: Silent Alarm, Set Yourself on Fire, Demon Days

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium

Stadium Arcadium has often been criticized by hardcore Peppers fans for containing only weak pop songs and no funk tracks. Whereas I agree with this critique if it would be applied to their 2002 album By The Way, 'cause Can't Stop is practically the only funk song there, I disagree when this is said about Stadium Arcadium. The album contains a lot of funk driven songs (Hump de Bump being the most obvious). On top of that the passion for music still shines through in every song on this record. After Blood Sugar Sex Magik (which is beyond any comparison) this might well be my favourite Peppers album. This album is almost solemnly based on John's creative genious as a guitar player and even more so as a musician. On top of that Flea has some cool bass lines on offer and that put together with the general vibe of the album makes this a real classic which is right up there in the legacy of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Honorary mentions: Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, This Harness Can't Ride Anything, Continuum, When Your Heart Stops Beating, Lights Out

Radiohead - In Rainbows

OK Computer is probably my favourite album of Radiohead, but In Rainbows is a good second. I think it's their best effort since they decided to turn experimental and electronic somewhere at the beginning of the century. Like all albums since that turn, it's been hard for me to get into immediatly (I'm still trying for their latest release). But once it struck me I couldn't stop listening. Radiohead are probably the most innovative band of the last 10 - 15 years and that gets my admiration. And probably also the most influential to the modern day alternative and electronic music scene.

Honorary mentions: The Destruction of Small Ideas, A Poet's Life, Chronchitis, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace, I-Empire, Tussen Licht En Lucht

The Black Keys - Attack & Release

Some people have criticized The Black Keys for becoming less hard with their latest two releases (from which Attack & Release is one). Whereas once they were a two-piece garage blues rock band, playing one muddy blues riff after another, they play a more wider scale of songs now. They even added a bassist for their live shows. How dare they? To me it's no problem. In fact Attack & Release is my favourite album of theirs and also the one that sparked my interest in the band. Dan Auerbach is a beast on the guitar. Seeing him live about a year ago was quite a blast.

Honorary mentions: Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, 19, Vampire Weekend, The Renaissance

John Frusciante - The Empyrean

It took me quite a while to appreciate John Frusciante not only as the guitarist and creative mind behind the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but also as a respected solo artist of his own. The Empyrean helped with that. In what is probably one of the most innovative rock records of recent times, John sketches a story which takes place solemnly in the head of a young man. The album is a real trip, every song starts of slow and finishes fast. According to John, he did this to illustrate how everyone starts off and slowly starts reaching for a high point (The Empyrean) before falling back and trying again. An inspiring album in every sense of the word.

Honorary mentions: Swoon, Humbug, Them Crooked Vultures, 21st Century Breakdown, Let the Dominoes Fall, Never Be Scared / Don't Be A Hero, xx, Keep It Hid

Gorillaz - Plastic Beach

I wasn't very impressed with new music released last year. Gorillaz' Plastic Beach was an exception, to an otherwise rather grey year of music. It was a nice comeback from the fictional pop assemble. The list of guest artists is very impressive. Damon Albarn definitely knows his way around the music business. Most appreciative I am of him getting The Clash legends Mick Jones and Paul Simonon to play together again for the first time since 1982 and even tour live. I'm still kind of bummed I didn't get to see them when they came to Amsterdam last November. Favourites from the album are Some Kind of Nature, On Melancholy Hill and To Binge.

Honorary mentions: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, LOVE, My Dinosaur Life, Brothers

2011 (up until June)
Arctic Monkeys - Suck It and See

Now I have to be careful here to already select a favourite album half way through the year. Certainly seeing as my two favourite still active bands Red Hot Chili Peppers and blink-182 are both set to release their latest effort later this year (both in August as it seems). Still I included 2011 in this list because I just had to show my love for Arctic Monkeys newest disc Suck It and See. Ever since it leaked two weeks I've been hooked and have been listening to it almost non-stop. In fact I'm listening to it as I write this. Some have been critical of the new album because it's not as quick and fast as their first two albums. But you can't expect them to write the same songs as when they were teenagers. They've grown up and you can hear it in their music. Thumbs up for not repeating the same trick that got you all the success over and over, but actually trying something new. Be careful people, this album is a real grower. Once you pop, you can't stop.

Honorary mentions: MIRRORS, Wasting Light


  • AlexLukeLevy

    Interesting list as my favourite band is Blink-182 as well... although I would probably say that their self-titled album is my least favourite album of theirs.

    10 Jul 2011, 12:06
  • Langungon

    Cool list dude. We are born in the same year. My list: 1990: Depeche Mode - Violator 1991: Nirvana - Nevermind 1992: Rage Against the Machine - Rage Against The Machine 1993: Nirvana - In Utero 1994: Oasis - Definitely Maybe / Nas - Illmatic 1995: Oasis - (What's the Story) Morning Glory? 1996: 2Pac - All Eyez on Me 1997: Radiohead - OK Computer 1998: Pulp – This Is Hardcore / Massive Attack - Mezzanine 1999: Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication 2000: Radiohead - Kid A 2001: The Strokes - Is This It 2002: Red Hot Chili Peppers - By The Way 2003: The White Stripes - Elephant 2004: Arcade Fire - Funeral 2005: Bloc Party - Silent Alarm 2006: Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not 2007: Radiohead - In Rainbows 2008: Kings Of Leon - Only By The Night 2009: Kasabian - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum 2010: Arcade Fire - The Suburbs 2011: Radiohead - The King of Limbs

    12 Oct 2011, 22:06
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