Ordering this part of the list was so difficult!  As I said before, I suck at ranking.  I think my top five are interchangeable; and the remaining ten are a close second.  (I was tempted to not rank this part of the list at all, but Keen said that was a cop out.  Booger.) I was also struggling with what to say about my final list.  How do you quantify why something speaks to you?  Subjective preferences are intangible; that’s half the problem.  The other half is I just don’t have the technical knowledge to really talk about music.  My family is full of musicians… but I’m not one of them.  I learned to play some, but it was always by memory not aptitude; I can’t even read music, much less talk theory.  My family often speaks (way) over my head in technical terms about music. (For example, I would say, “Chance really seems to like this song.” And various family members would respond, “Oh, that’s because it’s based on the blah blah blah scale which appeals to many people because it triggers blah harmonic blah resonance blah blah in the brain.”  Me, “Um… yeah, squeeze this teddy bear and it plays!”)

My talents in life are just different. (Yes, being a smartass IS a talent.)

By the way, did I mention we saw Shakira last week?  That girl rocks out!  She’s like a Latina Joan Jett.  I was really impressed. And I wanted to share.

In any case, these are the albums that I go back to again and again, the ones I crave to hear.  For every album that lacks commentary, just assume that my comment would include the words “love it” and “awesome”.  Any questions, just throw ‘em my way.

15. Hole – Live Through This

14. Offspring – Smash

13. Foo Fighters – The Colour & the Shape

I think I’ve liked everything the Foo Fighters have come out with, so I picked this album out of the lot because it had my favorite song.  Now you know.  (It’s “Everlong”.)

12. Everclear – Sparkle and Fade

Is it just me or is that a clear reference to Kate Chopin’s The Awakening in “

Santa Monica


11. Soul Asylum – Grave Dancers


10. Cheap Trick – Greatest Hits

Yes, it’s a hits album, but it’s a damn good one.

9. Better Than Ezra – Deluxe

I saw these guys in a local club, drawn to the show purely by the Pound reference of the band’s name.  (I know. I’m such a nerd.)  They ended up being one of my favorite groups.  I love small club shows.  Interesting things always happen.  (OK, well, they’re the same things that happen whenever you go to a club, but it’s the band members who ask you to check on some poor girl puking in the bathroom instead of some random guy hitting on her.  Hey, wait a minute…)

8. Blues Masters: Vol 1 Urban Blues

One thing I know isn’t apparent by this list is that I am a big blues fan.  However, almost all of my blues collection is made up of compilations or box sets.  I just tend to buy blues that way.  Sometimes there’s nothing better than popping in a CD and hearing a variety of artists – it’s like reading a poetry collection.  Anyway, this particular compilation is just one of my favorites.  It calms me down, cheers me up, and let’s me groove – especially on those hectic days.

7. Beastie Boys – Ill Communication

Ironically, I used to hate the Beastie Boys because my older brother played the Licensed to Ill album over and over and over. Actually, he just played “Brass Monkey” and “Fight for Your Right” over and over again, for what had to be a month solid.  Thankfully my parents got him headphones and I gave the Beastie Boys another listen… but not until a few years later.

6. Toad the Wet Sprocket – Fear

5. Adorable – Against Perfection

This group put out just one album and some singles so I won’t be surprised if no one has heard of them.  But they have a great sound and great lyrics, a dose of crooning balanced against angst and amazing guitar riffs.  I’m a sucker for great lyrics, great songwriting.  (Probably because, unlike music, I could discuss and analyze poetry until my family was bored to tears.) It’s hard to find but I would recommend hunting down a copy of this album to anyone who’s really feeling my list.

4. Violent Femmes – self-titled

3. REM – Eponymous

Overall, REM is one of my all time favorite bands.  They actually are the group that I credit with getting me into alternative rock.  I remember hearing them on the radio for the first time (“It’s the End of the World As We Know It”), the burning need to run out and buy their albums (alas, no money… bootlegs!), and getting teased by other kids for listening to them (dorks).  I think this album might be another compilation (though sometimes it seemed they just shuffled things around with old and new songs to release so… I don’t know, what would you call that?) but I don’t care.  Favorite song on here, “Don’t Go Back to


”. It also has “It’s the End of the World…” so how can you go wrong?

2. Weezer – self-titled, Blue album

Awesome!  Love it!  The songs on here are great and most are much better than “Buddy Holly,” their breakout hit. “My Name is Jonas” rings in my head, so does “Surf Wax America”.

1. Counting Crows – August and Everything After

There are so many good songs on this album; Adam Duritz’s lyrics are amazing (and often metrical if you read them).  Beautiful and melancholy, they are also fantastic in concert.  Like with Foo Fighters, I haven’t been disappointed with an album yet.  I was hard pressed to choose an album but I had to go with this one overall.  (This Desert Life is great too.) 

I’ve been procrastinating posting this because Keen has actually been working on his list.  He sure is being slow about it, though.              – wg