Wednesday, September 19, 2007

iPod Favorites

Last winter I finally got myself an iPod, and I've got to say I'm having a lot of fun with it. What's great is I get to take my albums, download the songs that I really enjoy, and leave the filler material sitting on the shelf. Or even better yet only purchase the songs I like from a place like iTunes and not even bother with the rest. So if I should feel a strange yearning to listen to the song "99 Luftballoons," in German I might add, I need not shell out $15 for the one track I want.

Don't get me wrong, though, there are some albums that are worth having the whole thing in your MP3 player. It's a pretty rare thing to find such an album. Even some of the greatest records of all time have their weak spots. I mean come on, you can't tell me that you haven't ever skipped over "Within You, Without You" when spinning Sgt. Peppers.

So, here are a few favorites I keep tucked away in my iPod in their entirety.

This is the final Genesis album to feature the five piece lineup of Tony Banks (Keyboard), Mike Rutherford (Bass), Phil Collins (Drums), Steve Hackett (Guitar), and Peter Gabriel (Vocals). It's a concept album that tells the story of a street kid named Rael and his adventures in subterranean New York City. The story is weird, disturbing, and you won't have a clue what is going on unless you read the synopsis in the album's jacket. Some true Genesis classics are featured here, including the title track, "The Carpet Crawlers," and "In the Cage"...a song which had an even better incarnation in the live portion of the "Three Sides Live" album. Some of the band's most unique compositions appear on this album as well, such as the instrumental piece "The Waiting Room." Even though there are some elements of the story I don't care for, I find "The Lamb" to be one of the best examples of the progressive rock genre.

Abbey Road - The Beatles

If there's any band who's entire body of work deserves a spot in your iPod, it's The Beatles, but if I had to single out one album, I'd have to go with "Abbey Road." I enjoy the entire album, but there are four songs in particular that jump out for me..."Come Together" written primarily by John, "Oh, Darling" written primarily by Paul, "Here comes the Sun" written by George, and "Octopus' Garden" written by Ringo. In these four songs, I think the listener gets and interesting picture of the personalities of the four Beatles at a time when their partnership was reaching it's end.

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots - The Flaming Lips

I've heard that the band claims this is not a concept album, however, apparently there are plans in the works to turn this into a Broadway musical. Even if there is no story line, the more I listened to this psychedelic/alternative/prog album, the more a story began to form in my head. Favorite tracks include "Fight Test," "Do You Realize??," and the instrumental "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 2."

Testimony - Neal Morse

I've blogged about Neal Morse's awesome double album "Testimony" before. It is, I feel, the best Christian rock album ever, and ranks up there in the list of all-time great Prog albums as well. Morse was one of the driving forces of Spock's Beard before God moved his life in a new direction. This album tells the story of Morse's coming to the faith. It's an extremely original and moving work that is best enjoyed when listened to in it's entirety.

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