22 April 2010

Oh, Lists... How You Entrance Me!

I cannot deny that I have a serious obsession with obsessive lists. All my life I have been making lists, lists, lists, to no particular end. Just for the joy of lists. I have, for example, had the same list of top-ten favourite trees since I was thirteen:

10. tulip trees
9. redwoods
8. hawthornes
7. apples
6. cedars
5. aspens
4. birches
3. willows
2. sycamores
1. dogwoods, of course

(A brief note: when my darling and I first met, I naturally asked him right off the bat what his favourite tree was, knowing full well that if he chose something incompatible with my trees I could write him off. However, he not only did not think me strange for asking, but also answered that his favourites were cedars, which just happen to grow quite symbiotically with mine, dogwoods. Sigh!)

So anyhow, I did not write this post because of trees, but because of an entirely new list altogether! After spending so much time with Jónsi's Go, I have made a list of my favourite albums of all time which I should like to share with the "blogosphere." Note, though, that this is "favourites," not necessarily "bests."

12. Gulag Orkestar by the band Beirut. A beautifully cinematic, lo-fi, Eastern-European-influenced experience. Best on vinyl on a yellow summer evening, in the trees, with smoke in the air and dark red lipstick.

11. Louder Than Bombs by the Smiths. Has most of their best melancholy hits, including "Asleep" and "London," and "Unloveable." I listened to this album continuously in the spring I was fifteen, and hearing brings me right back to that feeling of filtered light the colour of bougainvillea, incense smoke, and spring showers.

10. Kurr by Amiina. Oh, those Icelanders know how to do it! This is a new addition to my list, but watching the first snow fall in New York to this album is something I will never forget. This album is snow music, perfect, gentle, magical snow music.

9. Blue by Joni Mitchell. I hesitate to put this album so low on this list, but I admit to being a new true Joni convert. I've grown up around her songs, and this album helped me survive leaving California. Spring mornings, headphones, new flowers for this one.

8. Speak for Yourself by Imogen Heap. I love these songs best when performed by a marching band, in the middle of woods that I am exploring like the little elf I am in petticoats and stockings and oodles of scarves. Or in the car, at night, driving fast. Constant Comment tea.

7. Give Up by the Postal Service. Ever so slightly melancholy, but being in love with that melancholy. For grey days on trains and buses going away from places and between places, but only for a little while. California in February, when the hills are very green and all else is grey.

6. Crane Wife by the Decemberists. Listened to this the first time after reading Cold Mountain and loving the Civil War, and it fit right in. It's wonderful for knapsack lunches in the sun, and wearing white cotton sundresses with scuffed, chunky brown boots.

5. Oh, Inverted World by the Shins. I have a love-hate relationship with this album because, although it's their best in my opinion, I feel the songs are out of order and for that reason it is wholly disappointing on vinyl. nevertheless, still brilliant, bright, and Natalie-Portman-y.

4. Go by Jónsi. Yes, it is new, but it's already beat out favourites from my early adolescence, which is saying something. It's bright and bird-y, fully textured, and variant. It's music for building up towards a summer of "Go Do." This may end up at number 2 or 3 eventually.

3. Transatlanticism by Death Cab for Cutie. I know it's an indie standard, but it's still a damn good album. Even if the first song weren't titled "The New Year," it's still an album for the new year, dark and delicately brooding. Their masterpiece, to be sure, with brilliant cover art to boot.

2. Come on Feel the Illinoise! by Sufjan Stevens. My first copy of this album was vinyl, and it was truly meant to be listened to that way. Each side (their are two discs) is like a perfect vignette of a masterfully rich whole. It is heartbreaking and goofy, deeply innocent and thoughtful. This album is for a whole summer spent looking out of windows.

1. Rubber Soul by the Beatles. I know, I know again, you're thinking, "she couldn't get more creative than putting the Beatles as number one?!" I don't care. This album is golden. Not too psychedelic yet, with just a hint of folksy hippie goodness. "Norwegian Wood," "I've Just Seen a Face," "Michelle," "in My Life"... nearly every song is worth mentioning. My first copy was a UK version cassette that my parents had, and I love the UK one so much more. And the crinkly sound at the end of each side. This is for nights lit by paper lanterns and campfires, with a guitar and everyone you love around you.

I reserve the right to change this at any whim. God knows it will.

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