Whole Album Listens

By schneidan schneidan
updated 5 months ago

A list of some albums that I continue to play end-to-end, year after year. Prepared with special care for readers of The Denver Post's Mile High Roundup newsletter as I leave The Post, July, 2018. These are presented in the order I added them to the list, and not in any other way ranked. They are all essentially equal for the purposes of this presentation.

  1. Noisettes - Wild Young Hearts

    12 For Sale from $1.12

    Lots to unpack with this album, but a lot of good makeup and breakup tunes with tons of musicality and that killer voice that could've been Ronnie Specter 50 years later.

  2. The Strokes - Is This It

    All about the vocals, again. Crazy compression gives them something that would be signatory for The Strokes, but over the top of their tight garage sound it's one for the ages.

  3. The Gaslight Anthem - The ’59 Sound

    A little bit rockabilly and a little bit punk, this hard-rocking album is full of strong feelings about the ways things used to be as a young man looks back on the transition to adulthood. Great voice, great tempos, great themes.

  4. The Beatles - Abbey Road

    Side 1 is good an all, but Side 2 is where it's at. I'll play the whole album without complaint, but then I'll usually restart Side 2 another time because who can stop grooving to this massive medley and the brilliant finale?

  5. AFI - Crash Love

    Yeah, this is kind of the completion of AFI's slow transition to commercialization, but if you can overlook that for a moment it's an intensely coherent collection full of brilliant lines and catchy hooks, and doesn't spare on the angst and emotion that got the band noticed in the first place.

  6. The Airborne Toxic Event - The Airborne Toxic Event

    It's crazy that this was such a one-shot; catapulted to super-stardom briefly with this brilliantly produced puddle of mixed feelings, these guys haven't come close to matching it since.

  7. Alphaville - Forever Young

    Forget that the big hit here was in Napoleon Dynamite and just roll through this omnibus of all that that early-80s electropop scene was capable of producing.

  8. Cocteau Twins - Milk & Kisses

    Devoid of any evidence of the strife that marred the band's relationships and performances this late in their career, this is still the epitome of all their work up to that point. DO NOT MISS "rilkean Heart."

  9. GUNSHIP - GUNSHIP

    It's a concept album -- that each and every track would fit perfectly behind a trope-y 80s movie montage or scene is exactly what you're supposed to feel. that in no way diminishes the evident craftsmanship with which each track was conceived and brought to life.

  10. George Harrison - All Things Must Pass

    Harrison did a lot of great work, in the studio and out of it, after The Beatles ended, but this one album -- the first 3 sides, especially -- eclipses it all for me. "Run of the Mill" is among the most beautiful single songs associated with the Fab Four.

  11. Interpol - Antics

    Just let it roll, man. every single song could've been a successful single if I were a radio listener. Brilliant from end to end.

  12. Jenny Lewis With The Watson Twins - Rabbit Fur Coat

    Rootsy without lacking modern twists, this union of voices is beyond special, and the musicianship shows through in every arrangement.

  13. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II

    "Everyone adds a Zep album," you're thinking. But there's a reason for that. They're freaking good. What they did with their blues roots and rock sensibilities, crazy musicianship and boundless energy has rarely been matched. And while I can only think of a few songs in Zep's entire catalog I'd skip track on, II is the least cherrypickable.

  14. Peter Murphy - Alive Just For Love

    I'm not usually a big fan of live albums, but this semi-acoustic, stripped-down performance tour was amazing and the album captured it in uncanny detail. Listen with the lights low.

  15. Concrete Blonde - Bloodletting

    A friend introduced me to this album when it was fairly new still and I spent many night sitting in front of my turntable with headphones on listening to every single nuance of Mankey's solos and Johnette's voice, alternately anguished and immovable. The fact that "Joey" was among the biggest splashes the band ever made is no accident; it's a brilliantly crafted song, concise and catchy, with no shortage of emotional impact and one of the best 8-bar solos I think I've ever heard.

  16. Eva Cassidy - Live At Blues Alley

    Forget the tragedy of this life cut short and voice too soon silenced, just appreciate the craftsmanship of every note she sang. This is, without doubt, the best rendition of "Cheek to Cheek" I've ever heard, and it's easy to just let the album flow until it repeats.

  17. Thin Lizzy - Jailbreak

    I trust no explanation is really needed here. Just turn it up a little and let it go.

  18. The Misfits* - Static Age

    The original lineup at its absolute best, angry and wound up on old sci-fi movies.

  19. Placebo - Sleeping With Ghosts

    Everything Placebo did before and after this was studded with gems, but this album is solid brilliance from start to finish. If only their cover of "Johnny and Mary" (from the Covers album) had been packaged right on this disc it would've been perfect.

  20. Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks Here's The Sex Pistols

    What more can I say about one of the all-time classic punk albums?

  21. David Bowie - Hunky Dory

    I could add most of Bowie's catalog to this list, but the juxtaposition between "Kooks" and "Queen Bitch," "Life on Mars?" and "Oh! You Pretty Things" shows in a single disc a broad swath of his versatility and range — not to mention that endless font of talent.

  22. Elton John - Elton John

    The worst song on this album is probably "The Cage," but I actually even like it. The rest is incredibly predictive of all the places Elton John would go with his music in the years following, but his talented piano/vox pairing, so strongly present here, and those powerfully effective strings, are what got him the start he needed.

  23. Dire Straits - Making Movies

    Screw Brothers in Arms. This is by far the best work Dire Straits ever did. Sure, you know "Romeo & Juliet" (hopefully not just because of some cover version, but "Skateaway" and "Tunnel of Love" are some of the most passionate and listenable pieces the band ever put on tape.

  24. Crosby, Stills & Nash - Crosby, Stills & Nash

    There's nothing here to tempt you to lift the needle except the break between sides A and B. Witness here again and again the formation of one of the first, and still among the best, supergroups in rock history.

  25. Boston - Third Stage

    Alright, I admit, sometimes I skip "My Destination," because it's an uninventive rehashing of "Amanda," which was just fine the way it was. But "Third Stage Separation" and the transition into "Cool The Engines" remains one of my favorite non-break song breaks ever.