This is part 66 of an ongoing series where the kind folk of the music business reveal their favourite album of all time.
Ask people in the music industry the seemingly simple and straightforward question, “What is your favourite album of all time?” and you’ll find that it’s not always easy. After all, my industry peers listen to hundreds of albums a month and thousands of songs during that time. Because the question isn’t the best album of all time or the one that’s made them the most money in sales, or the most clicked-on review, but the one release they personally can’t live without, that one title they have two copies of in several formats, in case one breaks. It’s also about that album that for them has the best back stories and the one that has the most meaning in their lives.
Melany Wynn Berger, MelanysGuydlines
Tesla, Five Man Acoustical Jam
I bleed rock n’ roll. Music is truly the soundtrack of our lives and I remember every concert I have been to, what song was playing in good times and bad. It has helped me through tough times and is always there for me when I need it. I shared many evenings with my sister who passed away listening to Tesla and the band has a truly special place in my heart. Every song reminds of her. Rock on.
Seth Werkheiser, Skulltoaster
Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction
I was about 11, and appreciated all sorts of music on MTV in the mid 80s. I started to really love hair-metal, but then Guns N Roses came into my world with ‘Appetite for Destruction’ and rattled my bones. A band like Poison, with CC Deville and his bright guitars and big smile – I really liked that stuff, but then I saw ‘Paradise City,’ with Slash and Duff “Rose” McKagan walking the streets of NYC, visiting Manny’s Music Store (RIP), and they weren’t smiling, and I loved that! And though I wasn’t allowed to stay up to watch it, their live performance at The Ritz on MTV in 1988 blew me away, too (mom taped it for me). Again, their live performance was menacing, and that attitude made listening to ‘Appetite for Destruction’ that much more vital to me growing up. Having just turned 40 in May this album is still a part of my regular rotation.
Jeff Weiss, Passion Of The Weiss blog
Most rap albums are rooted in some mixture of the present and the past. ATLiens hovers over both—with one eye wired to the future. It explores catacomb thoughts at 3 a.m.: mortality, exclusion, spirituality, consequences, and the desire to transcend. It’s mournful and ethereal, but still street. It expanded what rappers could talk about and how it could sound. If OutKast were going to take the pulpit, they needed a church to preach in.
Joseph Kyle, Editor, The Recoup
Tripping Daisy, Jesus Hits Like The Atom Bomb
It’s a pity, what happened to Tripping Daisy’s third album, Jesus Hits Like The Atom Bomb. Released in 1998, hot on the heels of the music industry massacre that was the Seagram-Polygram merger, the band was dropped the day the album was released. But the suits missed out one of the best albums of the decade. Sure, Dallas’ Tripping Daisy had built a reputation on their fun shows and cute psychedelic bubble-grunge songs like “I Got A Girl” and “My Umbrella.” Yet by 1997, they’d tired of that, and decided to get introspective and experimental, thanks in part to the addition of musical wunderkind Philip Karnats and the teenaged Bonham-rivaling Benjamin Curtis, who wonderfully enhanced the already brilliant minds of Tim DeLaughter and musical wizard Wes Berggren. Jesus Hits Like The Atom Bomb was a mature psychedelic masterpiece, one that didn’t require drugs or intoxication to appreciate. Aimed straight at the heart of the human heart, it’s an album full of grandiose ideas, powerful epics with extended instrumental jams, and its highlight, “Sonic Bloom,” is the greatest love song “alternative rock” ever produced, while “side two” (start at track nine) is the heartfelt journey of DeLaughter into the soul of love and recreated lovingly with a sound that lets you in and makes you feel what love and life and joy and happiness is supposed to feel like. Try listening to “Our Drive To The Sun,” “Waited A Light Year,” and “Human Contact” just once. You can’t do it; you’ll find yourself hitting repeat, and you’ll be all the better for it. Best of all, this head trip didn’t require intoxicants to fully appreciate—all you need is love, as some jerk said once. Too bad you didn’t get the chance to properly hear it; it’s a solid album that doesn’t demand you listen to it all in one sitting, because you’ll be doing it on your own volition…and then you’ll hit repeat, just to listen to see what you missed the first time around. Unfortunately, their luck wouldn’t improve, and sadly a year later, multi instrumentalist Berggren would pass away, leaving the promise of Jesus Hits Like The Atom Bomb to go unfulfilled. The Flaming Lips and Grandaddy would pick up the soft, progressive psych-pop banner and carry it on, while in 2000, DeLaughter returned with The Polyphonic Spree. As is proudly proclaimed at the beginning of the album in an unapologetically Texan accent, ‘Let’s do it!”
Rashod Ollison, Blogger
Esther Phillips, From A Whisper To A Scream
It’s a slick and streetwise merger of urban soul circa the early ’70s and the jazz and blues that had long been part of Esther’s background. The album also is an ideal juxtaposition of Southern soul sensibilities and citified gloss. It’s so good, in fact, that when it lost to Aretha Franklin’s “Young, Gifted and Black” at the 1972 Grammy Awards, the Queen of Soul gave her gleaming gramophone to Esther.