This is part 23 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 – thousands of songs during that time. Because the question isn’t the best album of all time – the one that’s made them the most money in sales – 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.
Peter Richards, Editor, Pete Hates Music
OK Computer, Radiohead
When it came out in 1997, I was a teenager, still grasping to the fading alternative and grunge music scene. I was discovering more music, but didn’t really have a favourite album apart from pretty much anything by the Beatles. Then along came OK Computer, blowing me (and many critics) away. 16 years later, it’s still influential and has stood the test of time.
My OK Computer album was almost lost, when I was pulled over and searched at the Canada-U.S. border on the way to a Radiohead concert in New York City back in 2003. When asked what I was doing in the United States, I foolishly said “rock concert”. I had no money on me, so the border guards assumed I was planning on selling drugs (?!). This led to a mini tear down of my car, drug sniffing dogs everywhere in my car, and an interrogation. However, as I was driving away, shaking my head at the experience, I realized that the guards failed to re-pack my bags, including my Radiohead tickets and my precious OK Computer album! I made search to do (an illegal) U-turn to retrieve those items. Because of OK Computer, I’ve become a lifelong Radiohead fan, seeing them twice on their OK Computer tour and over 10 more times in 5 countries across 3 continents to date.
Amy Sciarretto, Writer, Author, Publicist. Have scribbled for Kerrang!, Revolver, SPIN.com, TeenPeople, Noisecreep, Loudwire, PopCrush, Taste of Country, Decibel, ARTISTdirect, Outburn, Alternative Press + worked for Roadrunner for 11 years.
Water + Solutions, Far
Can’t live without it, so I don’t. Have lyrics from “Wear It So Well” –track 9– factored into a tattoo on my back. “You’re up here with angels, but you look like hell.” I carry it with me everywhere. Everything from the running order to the quiet-loud dynamic to the (sonic and personal) tension between frontman Jonah Matranga and guitarist Shaun Lopez makes this flawless. It was so much more polished but still as impactful as its predecessor Tin Cans With Strings to You. There is not one skippable or filler song on this record. It launches with ‘Bury White,” which is a “rager” for Far, and cycles through to a slower, deliberate track like “Man Overboard.” I still have the setlist from their November 1998 show at Coney Island High during CMJ. In 2008, I also cashed in 50,000 frequent flyer miles, flew to California during the Phillies run to the World Series — missing the game where they wiped out the Dodgers to go on to the World Series– to see their first U.S. reunion show. Got picked up by my dude at the time, got a drink, drove to Pomona, saw the show and flew home the next day. I needed to hear those songs by the band again, despite Jonah covering himself during his Onelinedrawing stints, and it was a whirlwind and worth it. I used to “rescue” copies from used record store that had it for sale for .99. It was like an abandoned dog in a shelter that I could not leave behind. I would give them to friends as gifts. They needed it. For the first of May, for the last days of autumn. For the few weeks when you said I should feel lucky. Yeah, I’m lucky. Oh, and I wrote the bio for At Night We Live, their much-underappreciated comeback album. Water & Solutions will have greater impact in 20 years. If people are smart enough to find it.
John Wenzel, Music Writer, The Denver Post
Bee Thousand, Guided By Voices
Unlike a lot of this Dayton, Ohio lo-fi pioneers’ catalog, Bee Thousand didn’t hit me as either brilliant or life-changing the first few times I heard it. But nearly 20 years and 2,000 listens later, songs like “The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory,” “I Am a Scientist,” and “Yours To Keep” effortlessly stand as some of my favorite pop and rock music ever recorded, regardless of context or production values. Robert Pollard’s songwriting is an ever-evolving beast, but on Bee Thousand the world glimpsed it at its most muscular, gorgeous and gloriously strange.
Adam Weissler, Music Correspondent for Extra TV
In My Tribe, 10,000 Maniacs
This album just hit me at the right time.. first summer driving, soundtrack along with R.E.M., fIREHOSE and Thelonious Monster to my best teenage summer. Was already a fan the band, and when In My Tribe came out, it just floored me because it was SO accomplished.. the writing from Natalie and the band was beyond what I could have expected.. very poppy, but with songs about Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg (that started my and probably many others, education on the Beats), and other heady topics that spoke to the young bookstore employee I was.. but also rocked in a very cool way. Natalie Merchant was only 24 (!) when this came out.. and her voice, and phrasing is, and was, so underrated. Not the most macho of records, I know.. I have plenty of those.. but I had crush on that Natalie, and her singing of the Painted Desert and the ‘stars .. so many that they seem to overlap’ , the same summer I was sick with Mono and visited the Painted Desert in a dreamy haze of youth – kind of sealed the deal. I never tire of this album.