Rainy Day Favorite Albums
My friend Jim Dyar over at A News Cafe recently posted his favorite rainy day films and I thought I’d steal his idea, switch it up a little, and list some of my favorite rainy day albums. What’s the criteria? Little more than just listing those recordings that I listen to the most when I have a little time to sit alone and absorb an entire album. Which doesn’t happen very much anymore, I’m afraid. There are quite a few that should have been on this list but for some reason or another didn’t make it. Such as: Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, The Who’s Quadrophenia, Spiritualized Ladies And Gentlemen…, The The’s Soul Mining, etc. So forgive me, and once you’ve read the list, tell me yours! Enquiring minds, you know. ANd hey! If you’re feeling cheeky go ahead and list your favorite rainy day films as well.
Deserter’s Songs/Mercury Rev: The day I bought this album it was raining and I have associated it’s weird, otherworldly soundscapes to all things gloomy. This is a sister album to The Flaming Lips’ Soft Bulletin. Both are emotionally naked albums and the instrumentation and arrangements are quite symphonic. I never would have imagined prior to this album that a bow saw could be used to such great affect in a rock album, but here it works.
Dubnobasswithmyheadman/Underworld: These guys are most fondly remembered for the track “Born Slippy NUXX” in the excellent film Trainspotting, but this epic album brings it all together. Every song is a slow burn which leads to a climax of epic proportions and the pressure never once lets up. The song “Spoonman”, in particular, is awesome.
The Village Green Preservation Society/The Kinks: This album just oozes English wetness, and Ray Davies character sketches are in top form. Top notch album, and never bettered by the band, only fairly recently reassessed to classic status among the rock critic glitterati. The fans always knew.
The Wall/Pink Floyd: Bloated, operatic and deeply personal to it’s primary architect Roger Waters, The Wall was the sound of a band dissolving. Shorter, more concise tunes took the place of side long epics, but the double LP length demands your total attention and immersion.
Sandinista!/ The Clash: Like The Wall, this album is universally perceived as a bloated mess, and at three albums (6 sides!) it very well be just that. However, perhaps because of it’s massiveness, this is the one Clash album I come back to most often. I contend that track for track this is a better album than London Calling. Commence with the booing.
The Soft Bulletin/The Flaming Lips: This album took me longer to get into than Yoshimi, but like most albums that get better after repeated plays I find this one the most rewarding. It’s too short, though, at only a little over 45 minutes. It’s a real testament to this album’s power that such a personal song about a friends’ heroin addiction (The Spiderbite Song) can sit snugly beside one about two scientists searching for a cure to some unnamed disease.
Blood On The Tracks/Bob Dylan: This is just a really, really good album that I need to listen to more. Not a rainy day album per se, but if John Wesley Harding is my fall album, and Hwy 61 is for summer fun then this is the one I pull out when things start to cool down.
Giant Steps/ Boo Radleys: For those of you who know me personally or through the musings of this here blog you won’t be surprised that this album is on the list. It’s one of my top 5 of all time, partly because it sounds like the Beatles meet My Bloody Valentine (still sounds unique and hasn’t aged a day) but mostly because the tunes are so bloody fantastic! Their next album Wake Up! Would garner massive success, but Giant Steps just set the bar too damn high and the band dissolved a few years later.
Vanishing Point/ Primal Scream: Screamadelica was the soundtrack of a rave, the follow up (Give Out But Don’t Give Up) was the sound of a band trying too hard to be the Black Crowes (bad idea, for the most part), and Vanishing Point sound tracked the day after the rave. It was the Scream’s hangover album, dark and brooding through and through. Like myself, most fans consider this the true follow up to Screamadelica.
XTC/Skylarking: Like The Village Green Preservation Society, Skylarking is a quintessentially English recording. Pastoral and thematically linked throughout with some of the best songs XTC ever recorded. It works on so many different levels, but the best way to experience it is as a whole, in one sitting, with no interruptions.
At My Age/Nick Lowe: I came late to the game, and At My Age was the second Lowe album I purchased (Jesus Of Cool was the first). For some reason this album really struck a chord with me and I find myself listening to this just as much as I do his undisputed masterpiece (JOC). Allmusic states: “It takes time to make music as effortless and elegant as this, to construct songs this finely detailed. It takes work to sound this comfortable, so it’s only appropriate that At My Age may seem unassuming upon first listen — but only seems better and deeper with each spin.”
The White Album/The Beatles: Because of it’s eclectic nature and a couple of dud tracks this is my second favorite Beatles album(next to Revolver); because of it’s length and variety it remains my favorite Beatles album to listen to on a rainy day.