This is part 64 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.
Chris Phillips, Editor in Chief, Backstreets
Bruce Springsteen, Tunnel of Love
Born to Run is Springsteen’s perfect rock ‘n’ roll masterpiece, and Nebraska is damn near perfect too, all the more so for being such a bold left turn at that point in his career. But Tunnel of Love is where my heart is. Some of the best writing about adult relationships outside of country music or Raymond Carver, a buoyant and brutal 12-faceted examination of love and marriage, loaded with thrills and chills. It floored me when I was 16 and it came out, and it still does, for different reasons, almost 30 years later.
Baron Lane, Twang Nation
Uncle Tupelo, No Depression
No Depression was my soundtrack for nearly 5 years while riding the subway and walking the streets of New York City, and it was pivotal in my decision to start my blog. Few bands are able to create a great album with their first release. Fewer still have spearhead an entire movement. Belleville, Illinois’ Uncle Tupelo fused punk heat, bluegrass dexterity and folk sincerity to become the textbook definition of alternative country.
Marcus Hathcock, Executive Editor, NewReleaseToday.com
Lifehouse – No Name Face
I found this album, like many people, because of the song “Hanging By A Moment,” which was playing well at radio in the early 2000s. But that song was only the tip of the iceberg. From incredible, gut wrenching songs of doubt and discouragement like “Sick Cycle Carousel” and “Trying” to the incredibly powerful closer, “Everything,” which stayed underground until folks like Colton Dixon and some YouTubers brought it to the forefront–No Name Face was the best album of its time, and definitely still the best by Lifehouse with its original lineup and coming-of-age broodings. At a time when pop music quickly died out, this was a welcome alternative that touched the heart as much as it did the ears.
Glen Casebeer, Editor-In-Chief, NorthWest Music Scene
Van Halen, Van Halen I
For me it has to be Van Halen’s self-titled debut. Not only was it was the first album I bought with my own money, it was quite a bit different from anything my ears were hearing at the time. I could make arguments for Dark Side of The Moon and probably a half dozen others, but VH’s first has always been one of the albums where I’d never dream of skipping over any tracks while listening to it.
Jess Casebeer, Reviews Editor, NorthWest Music Scene
Vampire Weekend, Contra
Even if it may not be from that usual 1967-1999 grace period for “classic,” “game-changing” albums, I don’t want to even think about a world where Contra doesn’t exist. It’s simply a flawless, endlessly charming and creative pop record; likely the finest indie pop record we’ll ever see. Catchy without ever dumbing itself down, beautiful and romantic without ever resorting to cliché lovey-dovey piffle, eccentric without being annoying and trying too hard, Contra is an album I know I can put on for the millionth time and still come away from it still just as in love with it as my first listens through it, regardless of my mood. I wasn’t quite the same person after I first heard songs like the lovestruck “Horchata,” the loose and wild “Cousins,” and the heart-wrenching tearjerker “Taxi Cab.” Every song on Contra is great and worth sitting through, there’s no filler, and it never overstays its welcome at a tight ten tracks and 36 minutes. I can only hope future generations look back on Contra and have it change their lives for the better, as the record has with me.