Saturday, January 23, 2010

34 Albums to Live By (10-6)

10. U2 - Zooropa

With the exception of the songs Babyface and Daddy's Gonna Pay for Your Crashed Car this album has somehow been my companion in every era of my life. Stay (Faraway So Close) and Dirty Day are great songs, but are bested still by The First Time and The Wanderer. Both these songs have unforgettable lines of pilgrimage put to ominously genuine tunes. Lines like: "Stopped outside a church-house / Where the citizens like to sit / They say they want the Kingdom / But they don't want God in it / Yeah I went with nothing / Nothing but the thought of you / I went wandering."

9. Brian Doerksen & Vineyard - Hungry

I admit I have a love-hate relationship with worship music. Probably Brian Doerksen and Stuart Townend are the song-writers in this genre I respect the most, and Vineyard music was pretty instrumental in my early years of Christian adulthood. Delirious had a double album that made some waves in my life at one point too. But this is the only worship CD I ever listen to anymore. Your Name is Holy is my favourite. It and Hungry remind me of a memorable Youth Conference at college as well. But it is songs like Humble King that, instead of being b-side drivel, likely give the album its staying power.

8. Joel Plaskett - In Need of Medical Attention

This album was written largely from a hospital bed. It closes with the songs Goodbye World and Goodbye, Doctor, and begins with the lines: "I'm sorry father, I didn't want to be the one, to tell you about the news of your son, he was a failure, second to none, and that's not all." Can it get more grippingly authentic and pared down to the soul than this? I think the highlight of the album for me is the song Powerful Lights, where he sings his wish "to hear somebody's voice, other than my own" and two other voices close out the song echoing "other than my own" back and forth. Remarkable.

7. Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head

This is epic. This album accompanied us through those first months of parenthood, and is a fantastic piece of work besides. Surely you've heard it.

6. Consider the Ravens

My brother has done some really good stuff with Dave McGregor in The Young Wire Wicks (including an EP that only leaves one begging for more) as well as more of his own stuff since his first few concerts with Nathan Davies as Consider the Ravens. See the links in my sidebar if you want to track that stuff down. But he threw together a CD a few years back which combined one of their shows with some other songs of his own and I just have always sat in amazement of it. The songs really have seeped into me. Ghost at the Window is an eerie epic that gives me the same feeling as a great Dylan song. Alone Together, Lost in Translation, and the live version of I Can't Stand are all gorgeous songs. I can't get over Frankenstein either, from the first lines to the last: "Come to life you wretched no-man / The breath, the ghost of God . . . . Don't come to me for joy / Because I'm lost in the race to be a better man." I suppose it is typical to put your brother in a list like this. But I'd be lying if I didn't put his music high on my list of musical influences.


Dale Harris said...

I'm not sure what it is about zooropa, but i love that album. fav. tracks: zooropa, lemon, numb (esp. the remix on the best of album), first time.

I'm enjoying your top 34 list. I don't think I could name my top 34 albums, though Zooropa would for sure be in the top 10.

Jeff said...

Gee, thanks Jon.

Frankenstein took on a whole new meaning for me after you connected with it so strongly.

Thanks for being a part of my music.

Tony Tanti said...

Jeff is awesome, there is no doubt.

Can't wait for the Young Wire Wicks album to drop.

Stewart said...

Yes Tony...and i can't wait for a live performance!

Matthew A. Wilkinson said...

Zooropa! I haven't listened to it in a while, and I'm pressing 'play' right... now.

I'm really enjoying that you are approaching this in such a personal way.

Jon Coutts said...

The top five will only be the height of my list's subjectivity, which almost seems pointless, in a way, except that it is nice to share oneself with one's friends, and at least tip one's hat in some tiny gesture of thanks to those things which have meant immeasurably much. And it has been a walk down recollection lane. Some of those recollections cause me to re-evalutate, some to re-appreciate, but I'm trying to also just to be honest with my past without re-interpreting it. I'm running out of steam though, so I'm glad it is at least mildly enjoyable to peek in on!

Jeff: Frankenstein. Yeah. Gets me every time. Ghost at the Window too.

Tony and Stewart: Yes, what I've already gathered of what I expect to be the upcoming Wire Wicks album is awesome. Please Jeff and Dave tell me that "Express Post" will be on it.

Dale and Matthew: Zooropa. Yes. For real. Almost can't explain it. Just be sure to skip Babyface.