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The 10 Album challenge

OK, it’s not really a challenge, but there’s a tag running round Facebook at the moment, where you list the 10 albums that have most stayed with you.

The ensuing discussions led to a very nostalgic weekend listening to music from the 80s and 90s!  Also,my friend James mentioned Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds.  I put this on at work and it was so popular!  We had a kind of mass hum and nod along this afternoon. 

It also got me thinking about my musical history.  My albums are as follows.

1) Little Earthquakes – Tori Amos.  First album I ever bought!  I have enjoyed all Tori’s subsequent albums, but to me, her first is her most meaningful, because the lyrics are the most direct (even though they are very poetic and dreamy.)  

2) Do You Like My Tight Sweater – Moloko.  As with Tori, I discovered Moloko through reading the Channel 4 teletext music ‘zine!  That was a fine ‘zine and it was inevitable, but a real shame when teletext died a death…

3) Blur – Blur.  I liked the fact that they could write and perform many different types of music.

4) Mezzanine – Massive Attack.  When I was a teenager, I bought this for the soulfully beautiful track Teardrop.  The rest of the album was a bit heavy and scary.  Then in my twenties, I used to put it on if I wanted something to challenge me.  But now I have grown into it and just love to sink into its heavy beats.

5) Over Fly Over – Kathryn Williams.  Very sensitive and sincere in her music, funny and irreverent on TV.


6) Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Part. Spare and magic.

I didn’t listen to much music between leaving University and last year.  I got quite out of touch with the world when the kids were young.  More to the point, we didn’t have much money to spare for buying music, and there just wasn’t the same access to so many different types of music that we have with the internet now.  And then in my late twenties, I went out with someone who really didn’t like my taste in music.  He found it… I suppose… intrusive.  I often like my music quite edgy and unusual.  He liked jazz.  He had problems with my Penguin Cafe Orchestra, my McAlmont and Butler, my Paula Cole, and especially with my Massive Attack.

During this period, I bought a Moby CD and a Norah Jones CD.  

7) Les Revenants – Mogwai;  My first purchase as I emerged into the real world.  Loved the television series, so many sad moments.

8) Tales of Us – Goldfrapp;

9) The Bones of What We Believe – Chvrches;

10) Reflektor – Arcade Fire. 

The last 3 I have reviewed here and still love them!

Have you been “10 album challenged”?  What would you choose?



  1. Ah you’re so young, Denise – or is it that I’m so old? I don’t recognise any of your albums although I’ve heard of Blur and Arcade Fire. I wrote a desert island disc post when I first started my blog and I’m thinking of revisiting it with a re-write, so I think you may have just inspired me to do so. 10 albums? Without cogitating too much, I could suggest 5: Sgt Pepper (Beatles), LA Woman (Doors), Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon and Garfunkel), Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd), Gasoline Alley (Rod Stewart). The other five would include The Stones, Bob Dylan and DIre Straits. Happy Days – must go and get my playlist up to date ….

    • Simon and Garfunkel make beautiful music. Their lyrics are so clear and poignant. My favourite song of theirs is The Boxer.

  2. I’m with Jenny. I have much earlier favorites. I always liked Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan, The Paul McCartney album with the cherries on it. I liked Michael Jackson’s Thriller, The Police (their first one), Yes, Peter Frampton. Debbie Harry. The Strawbs, Fairport Convention.

    My husband also loves jazz and he hated my taste in music. But jazz is linear and my favorites are textural. Jazz is like an ant crawling across a page. When our daughter developed her own music tastes and my husband didn’t like hers either, and I liked hers (don’t ask me what her faves are and she’s not here to ask) I decided my husband is a linear guy. No two ways about it! 🙂

    • When I was having my nostalgia day, I went for some Blondie.

      Isn’t it weird how musical tastes can be so difficult to reconcile. It speaks to something so deep inside and it’s difficult to pretend. The thing I found difficult about jazz was distinguishing one tune from another… I like a story behind my songs, a lyric, but also a beat that makes me feel myself dissolving in something that is more than the sum of its parts. I wonder if that is what you mean by textural?

    • I met Debbie Harry. We took a yacht around Manhattan for the crew and cast and publicity folks for “Married To The Mob” and she was on the boat. It was a lovely trip. At night. With Manhattan sparkling like jewels, reflecting in the water…….Anyway, she was on the boat and was staring at me. (or so my anxious self would believe) for quite some time. She was not in the movie. I regret not talking to her. She looked lonely from my perspective now.

  3. Rachael

    I’m going to do a post on this – but you won’t have heard of any of them! Well, maybe …… but only in the way my son heard of them …….. as ancient history!

  4. I don’t listen to any of those and haven’t heard of most of them. Thanks! I’ll give them a try. I’m always looking for new music.

  5. Little earthquakes would be on my list too! I don’t have any in depth knowledge of the rest but I love reading things like this, it’s very interesting.

    • Go, Tori! I got The Unrepentant Geraldines recently and while I do think it’s one of her best, I’d be interested to see whether Tori could go back to the arresting simplicity of Little Earthquakes by taking away some of the production/smoothness.

  6. I love the Tori Amos and the Arvo Part too! I’m not sure what else I would have on there. I tend to love music too much and then over play it and use up its power. I’m very keen on Sara Bareilles at the moment – the woman who sang ‘Brave’, if that helps!

    • I do like ‘Brave’… Goldfrapp ‘Tales of…’ is quite similar to Tori, dreamy and lyrical, different from some of the more rhythmic, provocative Goldfrapp of earlier years.

  7. Loving your eclectic music taste Denise, such a diverse mixture going on here… and some of my faves too. Love Blur and Tori Amos, Norah Jones and Moby are musts also. I’d have to have Coldplay’s ‘Parachutes’ and Beth Orton’s ‘Central Reservation’ among others in my Top Ten. Might have to do this on my blog, it’ll be fun 🙂

  8. Well I can see why he had to go…not liking Massive Attack? Goodness, that’s unacceptable in my book haha! As for War of the Worlds, oh Denise. I recently wrote about that very album in my memoir and the part it played in my life at that time. We used to put the album on the record player, turn off all the lights and sit in total darkness (which was possible living in deepest Suffolk) and listen to the entire story.. Brilliant..still have the album…still hear the rich, incomparable tones of Richard Burton narrating throughout to the fantastic musical score. Great memories. Have a wonderful weekend 🙂

    • There was a new version made in 2009, but I can’t imagine it without Richard Burton. It’s so atmospheric, isn’t it? Multi layered – with a 70s vibe but the original story going back to HG Wells’ time.

      I hope you had a good weekend too. xx

  9. kateatthekeyboard

    Goldfrapp and Arcade Fire are two of my favourite “current” bands. Of course you know I love Tori. Little Earthquakes is my favourite album ever probably.

  10. Chris Sullivan

    I loved the series and the soundtrack of Les Revenants by Mogwai which I recently bought. My ten albums would be;

    David Bowie – Station to Station
    David Sylvian – Secrets of the Beehive
    Philip Glass -Koyaanisqatsi
    Kate Bush – Hounds of Love
    The Smiths – The Queen is Dead
    Human League – Dare
    Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure
    Queen – Sheer Heart Attack
    Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
    Portishead – Portishead

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