I am a studio album guy. Playlists are not for me, nor is shuffle. I don’t like compilations either. I generally listen to music by the album and in most cases I listen to the album whole, in one sitting. Below is a list of my favourite studio albums.
The Dark Side of the Moon (1973) – Pink Floyd
There was never any real competition for the first slot in my list of favourite studio albums. I didn’t have to think twice. For me, The Dark Side of the Moon will always be as close to a perfect album that is technically possible. I can listen to this album and zone out with ease.
The only black-mark on this otherwise perfect album? – On the run. Can’t stand it and always have to skip over it. All the other tracks are just perfect in every way.
Highly recommend the Classic Albums episode on this album, narrated by Alan Parsons himself.
Rumours (1977) – Fleetwood Mac
This album is rock bordering on pop. Which is why I was so surprised that I liked it so much. I listened to Dreams for the first time in Kolkata, but the first time I listened to the whole album was during a road-trip from Delhi to Chandigarh. Most of the songs are more or less perfect. My favourites are Dreams, Go your own way, The Chain & You make loving fun.
Even more fascinating is the background behind this album, the breakups, drugs and internal turmoils the band members were going through during recording. Highly recommend the Classic Albums episode on this album.
Animals (1977) – Pink Floyd
This album always reminds me of our first Think Floyd concert.
The Long Run (1979) – Eagles
This is my favourite studio album from Eagles. I really like the tracks The Long Run, In the City, King of Hollywood, Heartache Tonight & The Sad cafe. Additionally, I can’t tell you why is perhaps one of my most favourite songs ever. Beautiful album. So much soul.
Hybrid Theory (2000) – Linkin Park
I am not into the genre that Linkin Park represents. But Linkin park is undoubtedly a big part of my college years and there are hundreds of memories associated with its albums. Out of them, Hybrid theory is perhaps the one that defines Linkin Park for me. My favourite tracks are Papercut, One Step Closer, Crawling, In the End, Pushing me away and My December. The last track only appears on the Japanese version of the album and which I heard through piracy. I probably won’t have been into them if I had heard them for the first time in any other stage of my life.
So what if the instruments are simplistic? They sound good and that’s all that matters.
I still listen to them but only when I go for runs. Transports me back to my college days.
The Division Bell (1994) – Pink Floyd
This album gets a lot of flak for “being terrible”, but even though it is far moved from the 70s and 80s Pink Floyd sound, I still love it. This album is more David Gilmour than any other Pink Floyd album before it. It shows in the soulful long-winded solos. My favourite tracks from this album are Marooned, Wearing the inside out, Coming back to life, Keep talking and High Hopes.
High hopes transports me back to college days to a specific night when Whoreko was staying with us to appear for some exams and he showed me his Sony Walkman series phone. I chose High Hopes to test the music quality and was blown away by the amazing bass.
Coming back to life takes me back to my Kolkata days, going to Someplace Else and listening to The Hip Pocket.
Azadi (1997) – Junoon
This album was my introduction to Rock music. And what an album! And from Pakistan, of all places. Amazing soulful sufi-inspired music with rock riffs.
I remember falling asleep to this album every night listening to it on my Aiwa Walkman. This was when I stayed in Durgapur. I also remember once hooking up my radio antenna to our apartment window and catching FM radio from Kolkata and this was the track playing.
Too bad the band couldn’t continue their success after this album.
Wish you were here (1975) – Pink Floyd
This album is carried by one track and that is Shine on you crazy diamond. At one point of time, I listened to this song every single day. The track starts out slow and soulful, picks up tempo, then goes slow again.
The title song is good, too.
The Man-Machine (1978) – Kraftwerk
I am not into electronic music, but I love Kraftwerk. The Man-machine is an album of epic proportions. Just like Azadi, I listened to it while falling asleep in Durgapur. Every song in this album is great and I will never be tired of listening to it.
After writing this, I realise that 6 out of my 9 favourite studio albums all came out within the 7 years between 1973 and 1979. What a time it must have been to be alive back then!