I'm joining in with the '15 albums' meme. (I saw at it Duncan Stott's blog.) Simple rules - 15 albums that will always stick with you; don't think about it too much, just write it down.
So here we go. 15 albums that I've played to death. You may gain some kind of insight into my strangeness from these selections.
Blue Lines - Massive Attack The album I've got says 'Massive' on the CD rather than Massive Attack. I can't remember if this was because it was released during the first Gulf War and things like 'Attack' were censored, or self-censored, or whether that was just some kind of rumour doing the rounds. I played this one to death during 1993-4, though I don't really listen to it too much nowadays.
The Boy With the Arab Strap - Belle & Sebastian I only recently rediscovered this little gem, having played it to death a few years back. I could listen to stuff like Dirty Dream No 2 or the title track for ever.
Different Class - Pulp This album is the summer of 1996 for me though I think it came out before then. But this was a time when I was living in London and did used to end up in Bar Italia watching the wage slaves going to work, while I was still a smug student. "The crowd gasp at Cocker's masterful control of the bicycle, skilfully avoiding the dog turd outside the corner shop..." - beautiful.
Electric Ladyland - Jimi Hendrix Experience This was probably the first album I really played to death, when I was about 16-17 and had it on a battered old cassette. The first time I heard Voodoo Chile I was like, what the fuck is this? This is terrific!
Harvest - Neil Young There's a legendary BBC performance that gets aired on BBC4 every now and then of a very callow and shy Neil Young doing some acoustic stuff. As soon as I heard A Man Needs A Maid I had to find the album.
The Heart of Saturday Night - Tom Waits The bartenders all know my name, and they catch me when I'm pulling up lame... this is more of a Sunday morning after the Saturday night before album, I think, a comedown record, and a marvellous one at that.
Hunky Dory - David Bowie Is there life on Mars? Are the Bewley Brothers really that scary? Why does he want them for his gravy? What the hell is that Bombers song all about? One of the finest albums ever to have the word 'cobblers' in it.
Madman Across the Water - Elton John I've only recently found this album, it's tremendous early Elton. Long, luxurious arrangements. The one about the geezer in his teepee makes you wince a bit, but the rest is finely crafted stuff from when Reg and Bernie were churning out about 500 albums a year - which is probably why this little gem got lost in all the excitement.
Nixon - Lambchop Up With People is spectacular, and the rest of the album is like soaking in a warm bath of faint misery.
Now I'm a Cowboy - The Auteurs I played everything by the Auteurs to death after seeing them at the Reading Festival in 1994. This was a lovely album, snarling class war and anger.
Pink Moon - Nick Drake I can't really listen to this very much nowadays, but there was a time when I really did play it all the time. Surprised that I made it out of the other end.
Rio - Duran Duran Now we're talking. Quality DD here, with the magnificent The Chauffeur to top it off.
Spirit of Eden - Talk Talk The first track alone is astonishing, the pebbles rubbed together, the bicycle wheel turning round. It's not the Talk Talk you know, as someone once described it to me.
Tindersticks (second album) - Tindersticks When you've only got 40 Marlboro to help get you through the night of frustration and heartbreak, you're going to need help. This album is that help. The one about the cherry blossoms is pretty much the gloomiest thing I've ever heard. Brilliant.
Up to Our Hips - Charlatans I still love this album from start to finish, the funky Get Carter theme tune and everything.