Write Now: Music And Lyrics Stand Out On Classic Gems
I didn’t start off by thinking what albums I would need if I were stranded on a desert island.
But then I thought, for the past year, during the pandemic, I have been stranded, to a degree, on an island. So I have chosen, at random, my favorite albums by some of my favorite bands. I say albums because when I was growing up, vinyl albums were the main source of delivery for music. Next was compact discs, and then digital downloads with digital artwork. All mediums worked because it was the music that held one’s interest.
For some bands, there is more than one favorite because of the music and lyrics. I intentionally left out any live albums or greatest hits packages.
Alan Parsons Project
Eye In The Sky — To me this album was smooth, polished progressive rock. I also like the message the lyrics are sending.
Asia — One the best supergroups ever formed, in my opinion, and the lineup on its first album included Geoff Downes, keyboards; Carl Palmer, drums; John Weston, bass, vocals; and Steve Howe, guitars. All of the members were in prog rock bands before Asia. This album’s music is paired with soulful lyrics.
Pet Sounds — Listen to it just for the harmonies and you will know why this band was so popular.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Band — What can I say. It was the album that changed the way music was produced and changed attitudes about making music.
Abbey Road — This album I listened to constantly when I was about 19. I would fall asleep to it, and think how I could I lower my time in the 400 Meters as I was on the track team at Jamestown Community College. By listening to this album, I visualized myself getting faster. It worked.
Boston — This album is a polished gem. Guitarist Tom Scholz’s production is second to none. Listen to the album with headphones.
The Cars — To me this album bridges the gap between pop and new wave. These guys could rock and the lyrics were very different, but tangible.
Machine Head — Hard rock at its finest. Listen to it for one of the most recognized and famous guitar intro riffs of all time for “Smoke on the water.”
Rio — I liked this band immediately when I first saw the title track video on MTV, and I haven’t stopped. The videos, to me, are a very good representation of the band.
Electric Light Orchestra
Discovery and A New World Record — This band took baroque rock to a new level. The genre, first introduced by The Beatles, gave ELO’s founder Jeff Lynne an avenue to expand his musical palette.
Rumours — This album was made during a tumultuous time in the band’s history. It was during the recording of this album that the band almost fell a part because of personnel issues, but was held together by the music.
Escape, Frontiers — These two albums catapulted this band into stardom. Steve Perry’s voice is immaculate as well as the rest of the musicians. I never grow tired of these two releases.
In Through The Out Door, IV or Runes — Many people would not consider In Through the Out Door a good Zep album, but it was what got me interested in Zep. I love the marketing gimmick of six different covers covered by a paper bag. John Bonham is one of my favorite drummers. Zeppelin IV also has great songs.
Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall — You need Pink Floyd in your collection, and these two albums will cover nicely. I remember hearing Another Brick In The Wall Part 2. Some people were having a party and it was playing. I thought people at the party were singing. I was walking by of course.
Ghost In The Machine, Synchronicity — Ghost is what got me interested and Synchronicity is just a masterpiece both musically and lyrically. Also it had a gimmick similar to Led Zip. According to genius.com “The cover of Synchronicity features three strips of photos, one strip for each band member. In that strip is a collage of photos spliced together from the collection each member had taken with famed photographer Duane Michals. Each strip also has a band of color laid on top. Each band is a primary color (blue, yellow, red) which, more than likely, was done on purpose as they are completely separated in the color wheel, representing the detached personalities in the band.” Depending what album one purchased, the photo strips and bands of color were in different positions.
Hi Infidelity — I wore out the grooves on this album in 10th grade.
Moving Pictures, Signals — Although I was interested in Rush in junior high school, this album helped me begin high school. Who could forget Neil Peart’s awesome drum work on Tom Sawyer. Also the artwork is awesome. On the front is a movie sound stage and on the back are some people actually moving paintings or pictures across the same movie sound stage. Simulacra at its best. Signals was a followup to Pictures, and I am drawn to the lyrics.
The Dream Of the Blue Turtles — His first solo album away from being the front man of The Police. He mixed jazz with pop music and sprinkled on top some insightful lyrics. Another album I don’t tire of.
Aja — The musicianship and lyrics on this release are awesome. Donald Fagen and Walter Becker really got the most out their chosen studio musicians.
90210, Fragile — Another album, 90210, that I wore out by listening to it. I love everything about this album — great musicians, intelligent lyrics and great production. It, like Abbey Road, helped me with my races. Fragile is like the predecessor to 90210 because of the music.
Our Time In Eden, Blind Man’s Zoo — I like the music and the lyrics because they tell great stories.
If you have any favorites, please don’t hesitate to email me what they are.