If I’m home when my apartment starts burning, I don’t believe I’d bother rescuing any records. I’m not that much of a nut. Well, probably not. I hope I don’t have to find out.
A couple friends just added turntables to their home stereo and asked about building their collection. So, I made a playlist of the top 50 records on my shelf and pulled the Top 10 (+1 for luck) which you can find here and embedded below the brief run through of the list.
- Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. I can transport myself to the couch cushion I sat upon when first hearing this record on vinyl. This is what taught me the power and richness of listening to vinyl. These songs that I thought I knew through and through suddenly expressed details and sounds that I had never picked up on before.
- David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. It felt impossible to choose which Bowie record would be the first on my shelf. Everytime I hear the methodical build of “Five Years” I feel content with this choice.
- OutKast, Aquemini. If you favor another OutKast album, I’m not mad at ya, but this is the one for me. Like many hip hop records, this is pressed for DJs, which can be frustrating when you just wanna listen to the whole thing, but it’s great for party listening cuz there are so many 3-track sides that simply go.
- Makaya McCraven x Gil Scott-Heron, We’re New Again. The most recent release to make the list and a modern classic that’s born from another modern classic. With up to nine instruments on any given track it’s essential to have the depth of sound vinyl delivers.
- Fugees, The Score. This classic debut sounds so lush and raw on vinyl. Fantastic to check out production credits and all the knowledge nuggets in the jacket and booklet.
- Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Deja Vu. If I were to sell turntables, this record plus rolling papers would come with every purchase.
- Van Morrison, Astral Weeks. This record is a meditation on wax. Set the needle down and let it take you away to the Emerald Isle and the endless possibilities of young love.
- Madlib, Shades of Blue: Madlib Invades Blue Note. A great example of why vinyl is still relevant “today.” Get a genius producer+DJ in perhaps the greatest jazz vaults and let em cook with all those analog recordings.
- D’Angelo, Black Messiah. A powerful record with a depth of sound that streaming just does not fully capture. Plus, it’s really cool to see the various musicians in the song credits and try to imagine yourself in the studio with them.
- Califone, All My Friends Are Funeral Singers. Califone makes analog music with an emphasis on rich, textured sound and gorgeous art to go along with it. This album soundtracks an art house movie of the same tite, but also splits up into perfect album sides—a justifiably often overlooked element in contemporary releases.
- Talking Heads, Speaking in Tongues. Two sides totaling 47 minutes of energy. If one judges a record by the first and last song, then this is damn hard to top.