I was going to do this as a quick little thing. “No big deal, Reed, just pick your five favorite albums at this point in time. C’mon. Reed. Seriously. It’s not that hard.”
An hour later, I had a list, and then I started writing. It was when I hit 1000 words that I noticed this would be way too long for anyone to read in one sitting, so I’ve decided I’m going to split this up between two days.
It’s tough to pick your five favorite albums, isn’t it? The albums that make you feel things that other don’t. The five albums that you could really just sit with on a desert island and listen to until you die. Well, I did it, even if it is much longer than I’d’ve liked. So lets just jump right in.
Note: These aren’t in any particular order. God no. There’s no… No. Just no. No way could I do that. It took me long enough to pick five, let alone order them.
Lola Versus Powerman and the Money-Go-Round: Part I
This is an amazing album. No ifs, ands, or buts. Each and every song plays with the next in such a beautiful way, and it tells the story of how shitty the music business is perfectly. It contains some of The Kink’s best work, I think, and is the epitome of the changing British invasion scene of the late 1960s.
Nobody paid any attention to The Kinks for a while. After Village Green, they were thought to be out of their element with the changing vibes in the late ’60s, but that all changed with Lola Versus Powerman. You probably know a lot of these songs from Wes Anderson movies. I had heard almost this entire album before, but all in broken little bits throughout hipster movies. When I first heard it in full, I went on a frantic search for it on vinyl and finally found two copies at the same vendor after searching for about four months. I bought them both, and you should buy it, too.
The Velvet Underground
This is my favorite quote about The Velvet Underground:
“Only a handful of people listened to The Velvet Underground in the ‘60s, but every one of them started a band.”
This is their best album. Shush to all you who say Velvet Underground is the best. You only like it because Andy Warhol did the cover. Andy Warhol did The Velvet Underground period. It’s just a banana. Get over it.
Loaded has the best rhythm, the best rock, the best vocals, and the best beat. It’s really sad that Lou Reed left only about a month after this album was recorded. John Cale takes vocals on this one, too, which is really where his career started taking off. They tried to keep The Velvet Underground going without Lou, but nothing they did could top Loaded. And I’m glad. ‘Sweet Jane,’ ‘Who Loves the Sun,’ ‘Rock and Roll,’ ‘Oh Sweet Nothin’,’ ‘Lonesome Cowboy Bill,’… If you like The Velvet Underground because of their self-titled album, check out Loaded. No song could ever top ‘Heroin,’ but this album as a whole does a pretty damn good job of trying.
This is another one I went on a frantic search for. Eventually found it in an Earth Bound Trading Company in Fredericksburg, Texas. It’s always in the last place you look, right?
The Rolling Stones
Let It Bleed
This is the second album from 1969 on my list, and there’s a good reason for it. ’69 was a magical time for music and the world as a whole. A lot of bands who were popular in the early to mid ‘60s were trying to make comebacks: The Kinks, The Stones, The Who, the list could go on and on. And Zeppelin came out with two, count ‘em, two albums. But the Rolling Stones Let It Bleed is one of those albums that just draws you in and keeps you on the edge of your seat.
There are a lot of notable songs and little bits on this album: ‘Gimme Shelter’ is the quintessential song of the sixties. Name a movie about the late ‘60s that doesn’t have this song in it and I’ll give you a dollar. ‘Love in Vain’ is one of, if not the most heartbreaking blues songs ever. I know it’s by Robert Johnson, but the Stones do such an amazing job with it. Mick’s vocals make my heart actually hurt when I hear it. ‘Country Honk’ actually starts out with a honk. Bet you never noticed that, huh? The slide guitar on ‘You’ve Got the Silver’ is about as bluesy as you can get. And, as much as I hate that this will forever be associated with Donald Trump, ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ is one of the greatest songs ever written.
This is The Rolling Stones album to end all Stones albums. I know a lot of their stuff after this is considered their best, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street, but I like the bluesy Stones, and this is as bluesy as the Stones get.
Check back tomorrow for Part II of ‘The Island Five’