Record Shelf

My Favorite Albums

Lark's Tongue in Aspic
King Crimson, 1972
Due to the unique lineup of King Crimson members at this time, Lark’s Tongue in Aspic ultimately explores musical modes that have never before existed and will never exist again. This was the sixth album of the group but only one original member remained (guitarist/founder Robert Fripp), with the rest bringing something new to the table. Wetton revitalized the band with strong vocal performance, Cross introduced violin and viola to the ensemble, and Bruford and Muir both played percussions. The reason why I discuss each member by name is because of the nature of this album- the eclectic mix of members creates a correspondingly eclectic sound (symphonic/progressive rock/metal/jazz fusion?). Truly, the approach in this album is jazz at heart. The opening title track starts off with soft melodic percussion that rises and falls, and in a quiet state of tension, the strings build their soft and tense melody accompanied by the deep hum of the bass guitar, until erupting into harmony. The musical chemistry of this group can’t be understated (that, or I’m just melodramatic). Favorite Songs: Lark’s Tongue in Aspic (Part I), Book of Saturday, Easy Money

Joanna Newsom, 2006
YS is a fantastical epic, with lyrics that are riddled with stories, allegory, and emotion. The articulately crafted scenes, flooding with movement, pull you into the intricately crafted world. The lyrics of Newsom’s masterpiece are enough to stand on their own, but every word seems to be caught ablaze by her raw, cutting voice and the baroque strums of her harp. I must admit, this album does require a few listens, but it rewards patience. From the rugged and majestic backdrop of Emily to the allegorical fable told in Monkey & Bear to the symphonic and emotional apex in Only Skin, this album has a depth and mystery comparable to the night sky.

Another Green World
Brian Eno, 1975
Another Green World is an ethereal masterpiece, merging together ambient instrumentals with deliberate melody and whimsical lyrics. I recommend listening to this album from beginning to end, as each track develops a surreal atmosphere that blends into the next. The first time that I listened to this track I found myself drifting into the impressionistic dreamworld as a quiet passenger, watching the waxing and waning of vague scenes that resemble the track names. (Plus, Robert Fripp, founder of my favorite band King Crimson was the lead guitarist 😊). Favorite Track: Golden Hours

Albums That I Love

In the Court of the Crimson King
King Crimson, 1969
This was the first ever album of King Crimson, and a good first album to listen to if you want to get into the band. Epitaph is still one of the most beautiful songs that I've ever heard.

In The Wake of Poseidon
King Crimson, 1970

I love the opening track, 'Pictures of a City'. This album is very similar in structure to In the Court of the Crimson King, but sounds a bit more jazzy. The title track is spectacular.

King Crimson, 1970

I don't care that Robert Fripp declared this album unlistenable, it is charming and beautiful to me. If you like earlier, more classic prog rock, like Genesis and Caravan, you'll like this. My favorite track is the title track, perfect for laying outside in the early afternoon.

King Crimson, 1982
This album is the first of the KC trio developed in the 80s, as part of the New Wave music movement. This can certainly be heard in the opening track, Frame-by-frame, with a sound resembling that of Talking Heads. One of the most interesting tracks has to be 'Indiscipline'.

King Crimson, 1995
Last KC album that I'll talk about. Honestly, I find the song 'Dinosaur' a bit annoying, but the other songs really make up for it. 'One Time', 'Inner Garden I&II', 'People', are some personal highlights of this album. What's really fascinating about King Crimson is that they have been around for so long, dozens of band members come and go, yet their style is always in-sync with the musici scene while also evolving and contributing something new to music. Cutting-edge innovation and an improvisational approach to music (and Fripp) seem to be the only constants in this band.

Before and After Science
Brian Eno, 1977

A wonderful blend of exciting, eccentric pop tracks and hauntingly beautiful atmospheric pieces. The catchier songs, such as ‘Backwater’, ‘Kurt’s Rejoiner’, and ‘Kings Lead Hat’, are arranged in the beginning, showing direct influence of the art rock and new wave scenes in this time period. I also recommend the second half, which are more atmospheric, melancholy, and blissful in nature: ‘Julie With’ and ‘Through Hollow Lands’ are my favorites. While Eno attributed Another Green World to sounding like the sky, he attributed the atmospheric pieces on Before and After Science to sounding of the sea.

Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
Brian Eno, 1974
The atmosphere of this album is really charming. My favorite tracks are 'Third Uncle' for its musicality, 'The Great Pretender' for the atmosphere/chord progression, and 'The Fat Lady of Limbourg' for the lyrics/storybuilding.

Wish You Were Here
Pink Floyd, 1975

The Dark Side of the Moon
Pink Floyd, 1973
Ah, I will never forget the first time that I fully listened to this in middle school and had an existensial crisis listening to 'Time'. Still listen to this occassionally, with some of my favorite tracks being (of course) Time, Money, and Any Colour You Like.

Pink Floyd, 1971
If you've listened to and enjoyed 'Dark Side of the Moon', this album is a great bridge into the more psychedelic and experimental roots of Pink Floyd. I recommend lying down and closing your eyes while listening to the moody and dreamy atmosphere of this album- I swear it feels as though you are in a lucid dream. I love the sense of looseness and meandering in this album, especially the title track which takes over half of the album.

Black Midi, 2019

Intense, feverish, and even jarring at some points, Schlagenheim contributes to music in cutting-edge ways and it still shocks me that this is their first album. Honestly, the only other band that I know of that took such huge calculated risks with great execution in their first album is King Crimson. Really love Near DT, MI, Western, and Of Schlaganheim.

In the Land of Grey & Pink
Caravan, 1971

I think that the album art of this album does a better job describing this album than anything I can write here. My favorite tracks are 'Winter Wine' and 'Nine Feet Underground'.

Die Mensch-Maschine
Kraftwerk, 1978

Kraftwerk, 1981
Unrelated, but I got a physical CD of this and I would listen to it a lot while driving. I like the transitions between the tracks, great classic techno. Something about singing 'Pocket Calculator' with an accent is pretty fun. Kraftwerk's lyrics in this album make me feel as though I am living in the future, as they have predicted it so well.

Remain in Light
Talking Heads, 1980
Out of all of my favorite albums, this one is probably the best one to dance to. The percussion and the layering is immaculate, and the lyrics are fun.

Speaking in Tongues
Talking Heads, 1983

While Remain in Light is one of the most danceable albums, I also really love this album, particularly for its lyricism. I never liked love songs, but something about 'This Must Be The Place' makes me remember what genuine, non-contrived love looks like, that intimate and complete comfort you can get from just the presence of someone you love. Watch 'Stop Making Sense' if you have the chance, it is a film of the group while they were touring this album's debut.

Station to Station
David Bowie, 1976
Detatched and cynical, this album really showed how David Bowie was not only an excellent actor and a master character creator, but how dedicated he was to his characters. Station to Station stars the Thin White Duke, a fascinating character that I suggest you look into among his other characters. My favorite track in this one is 'Station to Station'

David Bowie, 1977
Fun fact: Brian Eno collaborated with Bowie in the creation of Low. The soundscape of this album very much reminds me of the Bowie of Pan's Labyrinth. While the instrumentals are dreamy and warm, there is a sense of loneliness in the lyricism ("So deep in your room/ You never leave your room/ Something deep inside of me/ Yearning deep inside of me").

Hounds of Love
Kate Bush, 1985
Sounds like velvet. Kate Bush's vocals are really something else, and while heavy 80s synth doesn't always age well, the end result with this album is timeless in my opinion. I always like listening to this album during particularly pink sunsets.

The Stranger
Billy Joel, 1977
This album is a classic, reminds me of the time that we went to his concert with my mom. Favorite songs: The Stranger, Just the Way you Are

Louder Than Bombs
The Smiths, 1983-1986
(Note: collection, not album)
Best album to memorize and sing along to! Favorite Songs: Girl Afraid, Sweet and Tender Hooligan.

OK Computer
Radiohead, 1997

Would listen to this album almost every day for a lot of junior year in high school. The promise of blasting ‘Paranoid Android’ alone in my car was often what helped me find the courage to go to school. ‘Subterranean Homesick Alien’ made me feel less alone.

Kid A
Radiohead, 2000

Probably my favorite Radiohead album, in which they steped out of grunge and plunged more into electronica. Jarringly dissonant at some points and softly somber at others, this album can represent anxieties in a technological apocalypse, and many of these fears can even resonate with us 20 years later. Favorite Songs: Idioteque, How To Disappear Completely, In Limbo

Radiohead, 2001
For Radiohead, I recommend listening to OK Computer and Kid A- if you liked Kid A, you will like Amnesiac. Perfect for 3 am, as the album title might suggest. This album develops a hauntingly beautiful ambience. Favorite Songs: Life in a Glass House, Pyramid Song, You and Whose Army?, Like Spinning Plates

In Rainbows
Radiohead, 2007
One of the more refined and mellow albums of Radiohead, perfect for driving at night. Favorite Songs: 15 Step, Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, Faust Arp

Colour Green
Sibylle Baier, 2006

Note: Was recorded 1970-1973
I love her soft, stoic voice. Her music can be best described as a deep fog set over rolling hills; gentle and unassuming, yet enchanting.

Middle School/Early High School

Demon Days by Gorillaz

System of a Down by System of a Down

Toxicity by System of a Down

Deathconsciousness by Have a Nice Life

Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective