My favorite 100 albums of all time: #21 ("Queen Elvis")

Album cover "Queen Elvis" by Robyn HitchcockWatching "alternative" bands like The Cure, R.E.M., and U2 punch through to mainstream success, I had high hopes that Robyn Hitchcock would break through with Queen Elvis.

Released in March 1989, Hitchcock was opening for R.E.M. on the Green tour. Queen Elvis, by Robyn Hitchcock 'n the Egyptians, was on a major label and they were putting money into videos for MTV. It seemed to me that the rest of the world would surely notice what they'd been missing so far.

By rights, Queen Elvis should have garnered more attention than it did. Musically, it's phenomenal, and it's one of Hitchcock's most accessible (read: there are no songs about "furry green atom bowls," or men with lightbulb heads) albums.

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My favorite 100 albums of all time: #66 ("Your Arsenal")

Album cover "Your Arsenal" Morrissey When I first got my hands on Your Arsenal back in 1992, I knew from the first few notes of "You're Gonna Need Someone on Your Side" that it'd be a winner.

No disrespect to Moz, but it's tough to carry a band with vocals and lyrics alone. Johnny Marr's guitar playing and musical contributions (as well as from Andy Rourke and Mike Joyce, but Marr in particular) were essential to the band's sound. The folks Morrissey gathered for Your Arsenal were up to the task.

Your Arsenal has a harder edge to it than Morrissey's solo work immediately after leaving The Smiths. I might even argue that it's a bit harder than most of The Smiths' albums, but there are probably a few Smiths tracks where Marr and company match the band here.

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My favorite 100 albums of all time: #90 ("The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss")

Album cover: "The Fate of the World Depends on this Kiss" by Whitehorse Not only do The Barenaked Ladies put on one hell of a live show, they also have impeccable taste in opening bands. I've seen BNL live four times in the past five or six years, and they haven't missed yet. The past two years, they've had legends like Colin Hay, OMD, Howard Jones, and the Violent Femmes, but in 2013 it was a little-known Canadian duo by the name of Whitehorse.

Whitehorse is Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet, who have also had solo careers before getting together as Whitehorse.

It took about, oh, maybe thirty seconds before I was completely hooked by the band. When playing live, they make extensive use of loops and multiple instruments to get a full sound. It's fascinating to watch them perform, building the layers to their songs — while at the same time, their songs are completely irresistible. Continue reading "My favorite 100 albums of all time: #90 ("The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss")"

My favorite 100 albums of all time: #96 ("Lungs")

Album Cover for "Lungs" by Florence and the Machine Yesterday I said that we'd be getting into some newer music, and I do like to keep my promises. Coming in at 96 on the list is Florence and the Machine's Lungs released in 2009.

Not sure where I first heard about Florence and the Machine, but (according to the first time I checked it out was in 2011. It's been a staple ever since.

Lungs seems an appropriate title for Florence and the Machine's first outing. Vocalist Florence Welch has a hugely powerful, and beautiful, voice, She expertly moves between delicate passages and a soaring and almost operatic delivery. Continue reading "My favorite 100 albums of all time: #96 ("Lungs")"