Erik’s Top Ten Albums of All-Time

Erik’s Top Ten Albums of All-Time

Pretty obvious, I think you know what you’re getting yourself into here. We here at Mind Inversion want you the reader to better know where all of us writers are coming from, as far as what’s changed our lives musically. So we’ll be running a special once a week for the next month, accompanied by Sound Immersion #2, that will be spotlighting our favorite music. I have the fine pleasure of starting this all off, which is pretty exciting. I’ve always thought about albums as “my favorite” much like I’m sure any person has, but actually having to compile a definitive top ten list seemed daunting. But alas, after many cuts, I finalized a list that I’m extremely happy about.

#1. LCD SOUNDSYSTEM – Lcd Soundsystem.Where would I be today without this album? Well for starters, not on this blog, not listening to music, and quite possibly actually finding lil wayne to be an enjoyable artist. This one album single handedly changed my life… and I know it seems over-stated or played out, but James Murphy and crew really did. From it’s first hook on “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” to the last key on “Yr City’s a Sucker” this album plays front to back as an astonishing musical feat. It was like nothing I had ever heard before. At the time I was knee deep in metal lcdsoundsystemalbummusic, the likes of Chimaira and Devildriver hardly left my cd player, but LCD Soundsystem forever changed the way I thought about and listened to music. As far as anything electronic or vocal, I had never even considered it as an option, it seems so terribly foreign, like it was going to be comical almost. Songs like “I’m Never As Tired As When I’m Waking Up” and “Losing My Edge” were so lyrically driven and hilarious that I found myself playing them over and over. I listen to it now, 4 or 5 years later and I still feel the same way I did about it the first time I turned it on. It feels new, and raw, and exciting no matter how many times I spin any of the tracks. I owe my personality to this album, my endless pessimism and lonely dances, my pretentiousness, and the idea that owning every Niagra record on German import might actually make me cooler. My answer to this question, my favorite album of all time, will never change, because no album will ever again do for me what this album did. Thank you James.

#2. Broken Social Scene – You Forgot It In People. While James Murphy stole the top spot as my sentimental favorite, You Forgot It In People is probably the best album I’ve ever, for it’s beautify, composition, and emotion. It’s the latter, the emotion, thatyouforgotitinpeople1makes me side with this album as my second favorite of all time. I’ve listened to this album while reading, while talking to friends, while doing pretty much anything you can imagine. When I listen to You Forgot It In People now, it brings back so many memories. Sitting in Jules with best friends, or reading about Jay Gatsby for the first time, this album is connected to some of the most fondmemories I have. I’ve listened to this album start to finish more than anything else I own, and it’s an amazing feeling. “Pacific Theme” is a simple track, but places in the middle of this album it became a lot more, it was so inspirational for me, even though it’s just instrumental, I don’t know what it is, but that song just blows me away every time. It takes on a different sound, it hardly feels like music, it just feels like emotion. I have a hard time describing it exactly, but I know one thing for sure, it’s amazing, and it’s definitely my number two album of all time.

#3. Arcade Fire – Funeral. A lot of my list is compiled with albums that I would consider sentimental favorites, albums that aren’t necessarily perfect or mind-blowing, but albums that I have some sort of emotional connection to. This album, more than anything else on the list probably, is able to cover both areas perfectly. Not only is it stunning and revolutionary as an album, butfuneralFuneral is near and dear to my heart for other reasons as well. This album was the first album that I listened to, other than maybe LCD Soundsystem, that would be considered “indie.” Again, for my time it was like nothing I had ever heard. The eclectic mix of instruments, the vocals, the harmony, the beauty. All new. But like I said, this time it’s not just the fact that it was different that it makes it on here. Funeral is certainly one of the most influential albums in a long time, considering it jettisoned indie music into at least some sort of popularity in mainstream culture. Thanks to the “Neighborhood” series of tracks, with their booming vocals and nearly eerie yet gorgeous instrumentals, the album stuns new listeners to this day. I remember listening to “Wake up” for the first time and being completely overwhelmed, the track completely takes you over, the last half of the track is so incredible that if you haven’t heard it before, you need to go out and do so right now. It was hard to decide between this and their EP, but seeing as how this album changed the face of music forever, I had to give funeral the nod at number three.

#4. Beck – Odelay. We all heard “Where It’s At” a million times growing up, but who really listened to Beck outside of that capacity? Well, not me at least. It wasn’t until iI really started listening to music that I caught onto the Beck sensation. Odelay was one of the first albums I bough ton my own, aside from the blogs and friends telling me to listen to something. I remember hearing “Devil’sodelayHaircut” for the first time and thought it was something out of this world. I think it was this album that lead me down the path of remixes and mash-ups because what Beck was able to do transcended an incredible amount of genres. Take my favorite off that album for example, “High 5 (Rock the Catskills)” was extremely electronically charged, but it featured classic hip-hop samples and muffled vocal hooks. The lyrics were outlandish at best (like any Beck I suppose), but the whole song moved in conjunction to one theme while still changing verse to verse, and that was that I fell in love with. Not to mention the fact that an entire summer of my childhood was spent listening to this and driving around the town with my best friend, honestly some of the best memories I have, forever linked to Beck and Odelay, earning a a bid for my number four album of all time.

#5 Daft Punk – Homework. Here is another one of those albums that not only changed the way I view music, but also changed the entire landscape of the music scene altogether. Homework is Daft Punk’s masterpiece, though certain singles from their other albums may have gained them more attention as time went on, tracks like “Phoenix”, “Around the World”, and “Burnin” give Homework the dp-homeworklasting impression that any great album should have. If you had asked me in middle school and early high school, when I loved music, just not anything like this, I would have laughed at you if you told me I’d be listening to Daft Punk. Truth be told though, these two Frenchmen are geniuses. What they did in 1997 with Homework was truly ahead of its time. Groups like Justice, Simian Mobile Disco, and Digitalism owe their recent success to albums like this. If ti wasn’t for the revolutionary (909) vision that Daft Punk had, the electro scene might be dead and gone, but with the resurgence of that genre comes the resurgence of Daft Punk as well, their recent 2007 tour was the ticket to have, showing now, more than ever, that Homework and Daft Punk’s subsequent work was legendary stuff, appreciated if not thoroughly enjoyed by most people.

#6 Led Zeppelin – II. So this whole list could have been straight Led Zeppelin albums, but I tried to narrow them all down to my favorite. Zeppelin II won, though it’s probably not their technical masterpiece, it’s just such a fun and exciting album. And there is a certain bond that I have with Zeppelin, seeing as my best friend’s dad’s license plate read “Zeppelin” and I was subjected to it all of my life, this band, and especially this album will forever be engraved into the back of my mind. I still to this day go over to my friendszep2 house, grab Zeppelin II, turn it to “Heartbreaker” and turn it up so loud the entire Valley and La Crescent southside edition can hear it. I honestly get goosebumps listening to this album and thinking about all of the moments in my life that went on while Zeppelin played in the background. “Ramble On” gets me all emotional after I saw the strongest man I know cry while it played, and I can’t thank my friends enough for the memories that they have provided for me. Well, anyway you shape it, Led Zeppelin is an all out super-group of supremely talented musicians, and whether or not you like their music you have to recognize Zeppelin II as one of the finest albums of all time, and as my sixth favorite cut.

#7. Hercules and Love Affair – Classique #2 12″. This review will be a little shorter, considering it’s just about a Single and not about a full fledged album. But its importance to me as a music lover is not any less influential. I don’t exactly remember when or how I classique-2ever stumbled these two tracks, “Classique #2” and “Roar”, but I know for sure that the first time I heard Andy Butler and his musical stylings that I was completely caught off guard. “Classique #2” stats off just pulsing with energy and those eerie vocals, the track was so far beyond anything I had ever heard for the time and I clung to to it. I listened to those two tracks for close to two years before ever hearing more from Hercules. The wait was well worth it, seeing as his debut full album was incredible, but the importance of this single can’t be over-stated. At first it was impossible for me to call it disco, because disco seemed to foreign, or even extinct for that matter. But this new-age progressive disco turned me on to so much other music, and I’m incredibly grateful for that. I’m in huge debt to Hercules and Love Affair, but I couldn’t feel better about my number seven album of all time.

#8. The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour. Same deal as Zeppelin, I feel like this entire list could be made up of Beatles albums, but I did my best job of narrowing it down to my favorite. While The White Album is arguably their technical masterpiece, and that Abbey Road is the most iconic album of all time, Magical Mystery Tour is still the one Beatles album I can sit down and listen to over andmagical_mystery_tour over. With tracks from “Blue Jay Way” to “Your Mother Should Know”, Magical Mystery Tour shows of the scope of the entire Beatles repertoire, from the experimental to the pop masterpiece. “Strawberry Fields Forever” is my favorite Beatle’s best track (Ringo) thanks to the drum solo and awkwardly driven lyrics. I feel like the album plays through like an album should a little better than any other Beatles work. It’s consistent, yet there is room for experimentation and discovery. “I am the Walrus” is so crazy and trippy, while “All You Need Is Love” is reminiscent of their old singles. It simply an amazing album, riddled with stellar hits and well deserving of the slot of number eight all time most influential album.

#9. El-P – I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead. I feel like I’m under a lot of pressure trying to write a review for this album, seeing as Tim from the blog is such a huge fan, but I’ll do my best to serve this masterpiece justice. This trip-hip, hip-hop, whatever you want to call it album was certainly the first in any line of work related to this genre that I had ever heard. I remember Tim giving this to me at work illsleepwhenyouredeadone day, and telling me to listen to it, much like anything him and I exchange, blindly suggesting it to each other. But this one stuck, I mean it really stuck. I listened to this album non-stop for a few months straight, and find myself visiting my favorite track “No Kings” on a regular basis. This didn’t feel like rap at all, but it didn’t feel like what hip-hop I had previously heard either. El-P rips through beats and come up with some of the most entertaining lyrics I’ve ever heard. But above and beyond his talent, the production on this album, and the time and effort put into it is so clearly above and beyond what any normal record gets that I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead shines as one of modern day hip-hops masterpieces. I changed what music I listen to completely, exposing me to hip-hop new and old (thanks Timmy), and thus earns the number nine spot.

10. Fleet Foxes – Sun Giant EP. Rounding out my top ten most influential albums is the melodic stylings of Fleet Foxes. Their debut album, Sun Giant, is an amazing piece of songwriting, acoustics, and melodies, all coming together to create a piece of music that is transcendent of time and people’s preferences in music. It doesn’t really matter who you are or what music you listen to, everybodysungiantepappreciates Fleet Foxes. And why not, it’s such a great album. So soft, so expansive, so breathtaking. I remember stumbling upon this on iTunes not knowing what the hell it was at all, but hey, iTunes really knew what to suggest to me for once, ha. Before this album I was never a big fan of acoustic and slower stuff like this, whether it was Elliot Smith or Iron & Wine, I just never got into this genre. But Fleet Foxes broke down all of those barriers for me. Tracks like “Drops in the River” and “Mykonos” were spectacles, starting off slow and building to a beautiful crescendo. I never get tired of hearing these guys, and there debut full-length has transformed the indie scene for over a year now, gaining attention from all angles.

So yeah, there it is, the ten albums that changed the way I think about and listen to music. This kind of took me way to long to write, ha, so I really hope that at least one person gets some good entertainment out of this. It was an emotional piece too, all these albums are tied to the most visceral memories I have, so I had a hard time staying sane while I dug through these. Enjoy friends!

And oh yeah, here is a mixtape of my favorite track from each album in case you don’t know who any of these artists are.

Erik’s top ten albums mixtape


9 Responses to “Erik’s Top Ten Albums of All-Time”

  1. Nice list. Nice post.

    As far as Beatles albums go, I think Revolver is, far and away, their best.

    Just my opinion.

  2. Well done

  3. Like I stated, the Beatles definitely have more impressive albums, but I think this was the first album that I really got into and have a real connection too. sorry. And might I add that the guy in that picture is mighty handsome, lol.

  4. yeah nice list man! it’s seems pretty personal to you.. i’m looking forward to putting together the mix and seeing timmay’s. how do you like the headphones i worked in around your neck? hahaha

  5. i’m digging the headphones for sure, ha.

  6. Awesome. I admire the courage of throwing a Beatles album other than Revolver on the list. My only real comment is that every album you put on here is exactly as you put it, essential. It defined a time or genre or scene and will probably never happen again. There’s bands you listen to, to get a feeling, and then beyond that there’s albums that have no substitute and you hit it right on the head.

  7. Erik,
    This is a really great top ten list, really like your taste in music. You can post this to our site and then link back to your site. We are looking for top ten lists and our users can track back to your site. The coolest feature is you can let other people vote on the rankings of your list.

  8. Yeah, that’s my house, my dad, and my brother he’s talking about

  9. […] debut compilation of the most recent modern sounds they’ve been loving; this month we’re continuing our a journey through our collective pasts. On Sound Immersion 03/09 (Vol 2.), we’ve decided […]

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