Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Perfect Albums

The other day I was talking with Shirley and her husband Nate when the topic of the "perfect album" came up. I'm sure we all have some of these in our lives- certain albums that we love from start to finish. No skipping songs, no getting tired of the beginning or end- just a perfect album with an ideal grouping of songs.

I love all kinds of music, but for some reason when Fall hits I always seem to get a little more nostalgic and listen my favorite records more than usual. Maybe it has something to do with that familiar feeling Autumn brings, or remembering going back to school in late August and September, but whatever it is I always seem to gravitate to the music I loved most in high school and college.

And as far as perfect albums, I have a few. Here are the four that came to my mind right away when thinking about it.

1. Jimmy Eat World's Clarity

I can still remember when I first heard this album. I was a freshman in college, dating a guy who was super into J.E.W. He played this album for me one night while we were hanging out and I fell in love with it upon first listen of the song "Table For Glasses." From there it was on my car's CD player and in my Discman (ha!) every single day on the way to class, and every night before I went to bed. I also have a vivid memory of driving home in a blizzard with Shirley, maybe sophomore year up in Flagstaff, listening to "Ten." I can still remember how quiet it was as we drove through all of that white, the music just barely in the background.

2. The Gaslight Anthem's Sink or Swim

This is probably my most favorite album of all time and it's another one of those bands I heard so much about but didn't listen to for one reason or another. One summer before my family and I left for our East Coast trip (I think it was 2007), Erin told me I just had to download some Gaslight Anthem to listen to while traveling.  She had been trying to get me to listen to them for a few months and always told me how much I would love them. From being from New Jersey like me, having meaningful lyrics chock full of literary and Springsteen references, and dreamy vocals, she said this would be my new favorite band. She was right. I downloaded Sink or Swim and turned it on once we got on the plane...and was enthralled for the entire six hours. And I still am today.

3. Jets to Brazil's Orange Rhyming Dictionary

I had been a Jawbreaker fan in high school and really liked them, but they weren't my absolute favorite. I did love Blake's voice though, so when they formed Jets To Brazil it was as if a tiny little musical wish of mine had been answered. When I first heard Orange Rhyming Dictionary I was also in college and hanging out a lot with an old friend of mine who shared similar musical interests. Our main group of choice was Sunny Day Real Estate (The Pink Album is forever a favorite) but when he put on "Sweet Avenue" one afternoon I was sold. That song remains as one of my all-time favorites but the entire album in particular is definitely one of my "perfect album" choices.

4. Modern Life is War's Witness

Oh, Modern Life is War. Such a good band, but this is really the only album from them that I love. It's perfect to me though, and from beginning to end it totally speaks to me. It reminds me of being younger and driving around with Hank- we both just related to this album so much during that time. I still listen to it now and again, and it never fails to make me feel a bit of happy-nostalgia, but at the same time it also makes me incredibly sad. Two years after it was released one of our best friends passed away and this was the album I listened to non-stop during that time. It's a little hard to listen to some days, but it's also therapeutic to me and I'm so appreciative I had it during that time.

Some other albums I love from beginning to end: Dr. Dre's 2001, Broadway Call's self-titled album, and Third Eye Blind's self-titled album.

How about you? I think it's fascinating to see what others call "perfect albums." Feel free to post about it in your blog (be sure to leave me a link so I can check it out), or share a list in the comments! xoxo


  1. Every single Beatles album.
    "Is This It," The Strokes
    "Tiny Music ... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop," STP
    "Summer Teeth," Wilco
    "Girls Can Tell," Spoon
    "Never Trust A Happy Song," Grouplove (this is one I'm loving right now
    "Rumours," Fleetwood Mac

    I'll stop now, but I'm sure I could think of a few more!

  2. Pretty much every John Mayer album... but also, Babel, the new Mumford & Sons album is just so perfect, I can't quite stop listening to it since its release last week. Thank you for telling me to listen to Clarity. Amazing.

  3. give up by the postal service...i went bananas over it in high school and still love it from start to finish. and slippery when wet, by bon jovi. those are my two perfects!

  4. Oh, I love this! Mine include:

    -- Rubber Soul - The Beatles (even though EVERY SINGLE Beatles album is perfection...)
    -- Deja Entendu - Brand New
    -- Sigh No More - Mumford & Sons
    -- Blue - Joni Mitchell
    -- Friendly Fire - Sean Lennon
    -- Bleed American - Jimmy Eat World

  5. Ahh... now I really want to listen to Clarity. Looove. Here's my list:
    "Kid A" by Radiohead - played it non-stop in my college dorm Freshman year, and it brings back so many emotions.
    "Stay What You Are" by Saves The Day - I can probably still sing every word to every song on this album. This was my high school road trip go-to for singing along with friends.
    "Calendar Days" by The Rocket Summer - Another high school staple.
    Oh, there are probably so many more... but this is making me super melancholic and completely unable to work or focus on anything but getting my old music collection back.

  6. Ten - Pearl Jam, straight back to being a teenager, does that make me old!? And of course Hunky Dory by David Bowie, because I love my husband x x

  7. Ooh I totally want to copy the idea for this post! On board with you for Clarity, definitely. A couple years ago I went to one of their stops on the Clarity tour when they played the album beginning to end and it was by far the best concert of my life.

  8. oh my word, so so many, definitely want this to be a post on my blog,

    1. More Adventurous-Rilo Kiley
    2. Bleed America-Jimmy Eat World
    3. Born to Die-Lana Del Rey (please don't judge)
    4. Is This It- The Strokes
    5. Elephant- The White Stripes

  9. Clarity and Orange Rhyming Dictionary are PERFECTION!
    One of my all time favorites from high school is Something to Write Home About by the Get Up Kids. I think I listened to it non-stop my senior year. Others I've come to love since are Wood/Water by the Promise Ring, Beggars by Thrice, and True Devotion by Rocky Votolato. I love finding out about new music!

  10. further seems forever - how to start a fire
    brand new - deja entendu
    copeland - beneath the medicine tree
    thrice - vhiessu

  11. I'm listening to the Sink or Swim album as I write this. It's really good so far. Thanks for the new (to me) music. ;) Oh,here are a few of my favorite albums:
    1. Break the Cycle - Staind
    2. Dookie - Green Day
    3. Ten - Pearl Jam
    4. any Led Zeppelin album
    5. Hysteria - Def Leppard

  12. Love this! :) I definitely know what you mean in regards to a "perfect album". I have a few too!

    1. The Weakerthans "Fallow"
    2. Basia Bulat "Heart of My Own"
    3. Buck 65 "Situation"
    4. Bon Iver "For Emma, Forever Ago"
    5. The Weakerthanks "Left & Leaving"
    6. Gas Light Anthem "59 Sound"
    7. Sarah Harmer "You Were Here"

    And a few others! :)

  13. Jack's Mannequin's Everything in Transit

    There are absolutely no flaws to be found anywhere on that album.

  14. fabulous post! and even more fabulous new blog look. LOVE it, danielle!!!

  15. Apparently I need to get into Jimmy Eat World. (Also: J.E.W.? Lawl.)


    Every Foo Fighters album. To be fair, I only have Foo Fighters, The Colour and the Shape (still one of my all time faves), and Wasting Light in their entirety, but going off of the awesome of those, I'm assuming the others are just as awesome.
    Every Motion City Soundtrack album
    Kanye - The College Dropout
    AFI - Sing the Sorrow. NOT for bad moods or rainy days.
    Head Automatica - Decadence
    Nirvana - Nevermind
    No Doubt - Tragic Kingdom (Return of Saturn at a very close 2nd)
    Pretenders - Pretenders
    The Used - In Love and Death

    I suppose it's obvious I don't know what's been going on in music in the last 5 years...

  16. I love your list. Jimmy Eat World always makes me so nostalgic. I'd add Nick Drake's Pink Moon - perfect fall music. I actually just put together a little fall playlist here:

  17. Radiohead's OK Computer. Guns n Roses Appetite for Destruction. Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers. The Strokes Is this It.

  18. Jimmy Eat World. <3 I will forever love that album! I'm definitely going to give the other three a good listen. :) Thank you for sharing!

  19. "Barton Hollow" - The Civil Wars
    "Morning View" - Incubus
    "Box Car Racer" - Box Car Racer

    Jimmy Eat World also brings back lots of memories for this girl!

  20. I absolutely love your blog! I've been reading your older entries as well but since you've changed I can't seem to find a way to look at older ones!
    Is there a way I can do this or am I just blind?

  21. I did a post on this. Thank you for the inspiration :) You inspire me all the time, along with so many others!

    ♥ Naomi {Starry Eyes + Coffee Cups}

  22. Graceland by Paul Simon and Rubber Soul by the Beatles! They are both 100%, absolutely perfect gems.

  23. I recently did a post like this as well:) I had a hard time and J.E.W was definitely in the running a few times.

    -Modest Mouse: The Lonesome Crowded West
    -Bjork: Post
    -Lauryn Hill: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
    -Weezer: The Blue Album
    -Radiohead: Ok Computer

  24. You're definitely the coolest mama around. Jets to Brazil & Modern Life is War?! Screaming DEADRAMONES while driving around with friends was definitely a favorite pastime of mine.

    My list is over on Dishguts

  25. Ahhh I always have so much trouble narrowing down to my 'favorites'! Most of my favorites are all music I listened to back in high school. I'm just not good at keeping up on new music and like what I like. :)

    Brand New- Deja Entendu (Looooove, especially for Fall)
    Alkaline Trio- Good Mourning (This was the album that made me love them)
    Snow Patrol- How To Be Dead
    Underoath- They're Only Chasing Safety (This was my jam back in high school and I love the entire album)

    I also love some super embarrassing albums but I'll keep those ones to myself. :)

  26. The Avett Brothers- Emotionalism
    Jawbreaker - Dear You
    Kind of Like Spitting - 100 Dollar Room
    Otis Redding - ANYTHING (The Very Best... however)

  27. Esthero - Breath From Another
    Cold - 13 Ways To Bleed On Stage
    Wakey! Wakey! - Almost Everything I Wish I'd Said The Last Time I Saw You...
    Coheed & Cambria - Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Vol. 1 - From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness

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  29. Metric- Fantasies
    The Beatles- Abbey Road
    Fleetwood Mac- Rumors
    John Mayer- Continuum
    Mumford and Sons- Sigh No More
    City and Colour- Bring Me Your Love
    David Gray- White Ladder
    Death Cab for Cutie- Plans
    Florence and the Machine- Lungs
    Jack Johnson- In Between Dreams

    And right now I'm loving

    Metric- Synthetica
    Two Door Cinema Club- Beacon
    Kanye West- Cruel Summer
    Of Monsters and Men- My Head is an Animal

  30. Coming out of lurk mode for this one! Great post - I love finding out about new music :)

    Gotye - Like Drawing Blood
    Radiohead - OK Computer
    The Cure - Disintegration
    Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
    Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - And No More Shall We Part
    Massive Attack - Mezzanine

    Also, the new blog design is gorgeous.

  31. Thank you so much for introducing me to this music!

    My "perfect albums":

    Coldplay - Viva la Vida
    Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars
    First Aid Kit - The Big Black & The Blue

  32. Love the new look of your blog! :)

  33. I love this post! My list would include:

    - Porcupine Tree - Deadwing. I love the whole atmosphere of the album. The music and the lyrics never get old and it's such a well balanced album.
    - AFI - Sing The Sorrow. The first album of AFI I listened to. Amazing!
    - Dream Theater - Scenes From a Memory. I love concept albums and this one is the best. DT is the best.
    - System of a Down - Toxicity. Energy booster.
    - Sonata Arctica - Winterheart's Guild. I rediscovered this album today. I listened a lot to this in high school.
    - Sonata Arctica - Unia. Different from their other albums.
    - Porcupine Tree - In Absentia. So many good songs, especially Trains.

  34. Lol. I am also coming out of the woodwork to chime in about Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds' No More Shall We Part! *waves to Cinders*

    It's such a perfectly gorgeous album. I remember when it came out I actually heard it played on the classical music radio station of the New York Times and was so proud and blown away by this artist whom I'd admired since forever.

    Also, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds' Let Love In is pretty close to perfection, too.

    Honorable Mentions for me go to:

    Radiohead - Kid A
    Dead Kennedys - Fresh Fruit
    Inxs - The Swing (not kidding)

  35. My husband and I have been listening to the Clarity album since it came out and we call it our winter music album. I adore it. Great choice. I love that Jets to Brazil album too, but prefer "Perfecting Loneliness" out of their releases. I agree though that Clarity is the perfect album that I can listen to from beginning to end no problem, no skipping songs, etc. Other ones like that for me would be:
    -The Cranberries' No Need to Argue album
    -Random Task (local NJ band that you can't find) "Dividing Line" album
    -Bjork's "Post"
    -Bob Dylan's "Freewheelin'"
    -Saves The Day's "Through Being Cool"
    -The Beatles' Rubber Soul (I'd say SGT Peppers, but I always skip the boring George Harrison song)
    -OC Supertones' "Supertones Strike Back"
    -Hopesfall's "The Frailty of Words"
    -The Postal Service's "Give Up"
    -Queen's "Night at the Opera"
    -Lisa Loeb's "Tails" album
    -Paper Route's "We Are All Forgotten"
    -The Doors' "The Soft Parade"
    -The Police's "Rgatta De Blanc"
    -Midtown's "Save the World, Lose the Girl"
    -This Day Forward's "The Transient Effects of Light on Water"

    . . .I am sure I could think of more too. haha.

  36. haha I am so glad I am not alone in loving Dr. Dre 2001!

    A few of my perfect albums:

    Brand New - Deja Entendu
    Sublime - Robbin' the Hood
    Jack Johnson - To the Sea
    and its a bit soon, but Mumford and Sons - Babel. To me that album is flawless.

  37. Clarity is so good. So so so very good.

    I finally started listening to the Gaslight Anthem recently after years of ignoring them and I'm now a huge fan. So good!

    Pulp "His and Hers" is on my list, Fever Ray and the Knife (really, anything karin dreijer andersson is involved in...), Lykke Li's first album, Bouncing Souls "Hopeless Romantic" and "How I Spent My Summer Vacation", Neil Young's "Harvest" is so close to perfect except for "A Man Needs a Maid". I could go on for a while but these are some particular favorites.

  38. Definitely agree on J.E.W.

    Top picks for me include:
    Boxer by The National
    Transatlanticism by Death Cab for Cutie
    Give Up by The Postal Service
    Tidal by Fiona Apple
    Sixteen Stone by Bush

  39. For me it's anything by Elliott Smith or
    I'm Wide Awake It's Morning by Bright Eyes (especially in Fall).
    Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon by Devendra Banhart (also What Will We Be by Devendra Banhart but I can't choose between the two at the moment).
    Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan
    Doolittle by Pixies

    Love the new blog layout by the way!

  40. The Ataris - Blue Skies Broken Hearts...
    I can NEVER get tired of The Ataris. Especially this album. Not sure what it is...

  41. I love this post! I love your choices, but I'm going to have to go with...

    Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco
    Furr by Blitzen Trapper
    3 Rounds and a Sound by Blind Pilot
    Fate by Dr. Dog

  42. Flags by Brooke Fraser. She is my absolute hero, my favourite artist, and I'm lucky enough to be able to say she is my friend too.
    This CD is getting me through the hardest season of my life thus far, and Im sure it will still be encouraging me every single day of my life.

    The title track, Flags, thats my song :).

  43. Jimmy Eat World is one of my all time favorite bands. LOVE all their work. I think my personal fave of theirs might be Futures which is the one that came out when I was in high school, but I must admit that I have some fond memories of Bleed American. You've totally got me in the mood for Clarity right now!

    Gaslight Anthem is one of those bands I have a ton of their music but haven't given them a proper listen. I actually interviewed the drummer about a month ago and he was one of the most down to earth musicians I've met in a long time. It made me want to listen to their stuff more, I really should get to that!

    Excellent list. I love how much you love music :)

  44. Witness is seriously is perfect album start to finish. My husband just created a MLIW flash sheet for this album. It's in regular rotation in our house. My list is super short.

    Ceremony- Rohnert Park has become my new favorite album ever. It's seriously punk rock perfection and makes me want to jump around like a 16 year old. It's like Ceremony took everything i love about punk and hardcore and made this album for me.

    H2O- FTTW used to be my all time favorite album ever. Until Rohnert Park came along. My husband knows that if I'm in a bad mood all he has to do is put on some h2o, they are still my favorite band and I'm physically incapable of NOT singing when I hear their music.

    The Get Up Kids- 4 Minute Mile always has and always will be the best fall album ever. This album is also what launched my career in audio. I wanted to replicate the totally analog hissy terrible sound quality so bad with my own band because it just made it feel that much more personal.

    lastly, but def not least...

    Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins- Rabbit Fur Coat came when I grew out of Rilo Kiley (ok, i really didn't, we danced to Rilo Kiley at my wedding, but I feel like I grew up with Jenny when she released this). Every song on this album speaks to me. It's sad, it's happy, it's dark and the title track always makes me cry.

  45. Oh my, it's so hard to pick favourites. My list would probably be:

    Plans - Death Cab for Cutie
    Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness - The Smashing Pumpkins
    White Pony - Deftones
    Lost in the Sound of Separation - Underoath
    Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge - MCR
    High Violet - The National

  46. Clarity is an amazing album - instantly transports me to being 16 and being in love with a boy in a band :)

    Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
    Death Cab for Cutie - We Have the Facts and We're Voting Yes
    The xx - xx
    Cults - Cults
    Tina Dico - Count to Ten
    Weezer - The Blue Album

  47. Oh, LOVE THIS.

    Neutral Milk Hotel-In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
    Modest Mouse- The Moon & Antarctica
    The Postal Service- Give Up
    Circa Survive- Juturna & Violent Waves
    Brand New-Deja Entendu
    Anthony Green-Avalon
    Balance and Composure-Seperation

    So many more...

  48. John Mayer's Room for Squares gets me every time. Love it. You've been talking about The Gaslight Anthem for a while now on the blog, I think it's time to take your advice and finally listen! :]

  49. i too was a freshman in college when clarity came out. i was so in love with that album...start to finish. i miss old j.e.w. going to have to revisit this one. thanks for the memories ;)

  50. You and I could def. be music friends. My picks:

    1. Background Music - American Nightmare
    2. The Queen is Dead - The Smiths
    3. More Modern Short Stories... -Hello Saferide
    4. Diary - Sunny Day

    Runners-up: Black Sails - AFI, Live Through This - Hole, The Suburbs - Arcade Fire, A Place Called Home –Ignite

  51. Jimmy Eat World's Clarity was the soundtrack to my college days! So many good memories associated with that album!

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