As readers, obviously, we like stories. Music is basically A Story + A Sick Beat, so maybe that’s why so many readers are also into music. I’m doing my first ever Top Ten Tuesday post today, a feature from The Broke and the Bookish. The topic happens to be All About Audio, so I get to branch out a bit and spread the love for some of my favorite albums. Picking favorites is hard enough as it is, so this is definitely not in any particular order.
- Hozier’s eponymous album (Hozier. And there’s your vocab word for the day.)
Bluesy, rhythmic, and melancholy. As a disclaimer, the way Hozier sees the world is pretty different from the way I see it. Lots of his songs talk about redemption via human relationships, whereas I don’t think any human relationship, no matter how special, can save you. But he sings about pain and love and life in a real, raw way, and I appreciate that.
Some of my favorites on the album are “Work Song”, “To Be Alone”, and “Jackie and Wilson”.
We tried the world, good God, it wasn’t for us.
– from “Jackie and Wilson”
2. Wrecking Ball, by Emmylou Harris
Her voice gives me goosebumps. My parents played this album when we went on car trips as I grew up, so it has a nostalgic twang to it for me. Haunting and melancholy.
So I ran with the moon and I ran with the night
And the three of us were a terrible sight
Nipple to the bottle to the gun to the cell
To the bottom of a hole of a deeper well
*shivers* This is from “Deeper Well”.
3. Teatro, by Willie Nelson
Another album I heard growing up. (Thanks Mom and Dad!) Some songs are amazingly sweet, and some are amazingly creepy. I love ’em all. I’ve teared up while listening to this song (below), by the way.
I could not see
For the fog in my eyes
I could not feel
For the fear in my life
From across the great divide
In the distance, I saw a light
I saw Jean Baptiste
Walking to me
With the Maker
– from “The Maker”
4. Born in the U.S.A., by Bruce Springsteen
With one of the most iconic album openings ever (in my opinion), Born in the U.S.A. starts out loud and proud. Later in the album, though, it shifts to softer, more personal songs, ending quietly with “My Hometown”. Obviously I had to include at least one Bruce Springsteen album, the only challenge was deciding which one. (Please forgive me, Tunnel of Love.)
Now I think I’m going down to the well tonight
And I’m gonna drink ’til I get my fill
And I hope when I get old I don’t sit around thinking about it
But I probably will
– from “Glory Days”
5. Handel’s Messiah
The whole beautiful story: mankind’s brokenness, Christ’s perfect life and death to pay the price of sin, and His triumphant resurrection. Now grace is ours.
The kingdom of this world is become
The kingdom of our Lord
And of His Christ
And of His Christ
And He shall reign for ever and ever
– from “Hallelujah”
I like the 2002 album recorded by the Orchestra of the Antipodes.
6. Johnny Cash’s American IV: The Man Comes Around
Johnny Cash is one of my favorite artists: sometimes joyful, sometimes bitter, sometimes grieving, but always real.
And you’re all alone
Flesh and bone
By the telephone
Lift up the receiver
I’ll make you a believer
– from “Personal Jesus”
7. Graceland, by Paul Simon
After the implosions of several relationships, including his marriage, Paul Simon traveled to South Africa and dove into the local music scene. He collaborated with South African musicians on this album, and the resulting sound is rhythmic and upbeat, despite some of the heavy topics that the songs cover.
It was a slow day
And the sun was beating
On the soldiers by the side of the road
There was a bright light
A shattering of shop windows
The bomb in the baby carriage
Was wired to the radio
– from “The Boy in the Bubble”
8. Sigh No More, by Mumford & Sons
Honestly, trying to choose between the Mumford & Sons albums was almost as hard as choosing between Bruce Springsteen albums. Don’t read too much into my choosing Sigh No More, I could’ve gone with any of them. But the title being a Shakespeare quote was a nice plus.
I say all my bridges have been burnt
You say that’s exactly how this grace thing works
– from “Roll Away Your Stone”
9. Taranta Project, Ludovico Einaudi
An exciting, rhythmic mixture of Italian, Turkish, and North African music. Some songs are loud, some are soft, some sound like folk dances and some sound like a muezzin’s call to prayer. Check it out!
10. Barton Hollow, by The Civil Wars
These two (Joy Williams and John Paul White) had some of the most amazing, haunting harmonies I’ve ever heard. Unfortunately, they split in 2014. I guess that name was a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You only know what I want you to
I know everything you don’t want me to
Oh your mouth is poison, your mouth is wine
You think your dreams are the same as mine
Oh I don’t love you but I always will
– from “Poison & Wine”
Well! Wasn’t that fun! Have you heard of/listened to any of these? Let me know in the comments!