Hallo, everyone! It has been a little while since my last post, and so I thought I might write something about a few of my favorite music albums. I’ve done a post about favorite songs before, but seeing as I rarely ever listen to individual songs (except on Pandora Radio) and typically only listen to full albums straight through from beginning to end, I feel that it makes more sense now to do a post with ten of my favorite albums. I don’t know that I can say these are my top ten, because I have too many favorites and they change based on my mood, but here are some which I pretty consistently like and enjoy. I’m not going to post YouTube links, although you can probably find all or most of these on there if you want to preview them. But support the artists if you like their music! And so, onward, in no particular order.
Faces in the Rocks by Mariee Sioux
This album is just beautiful. With fairly simple instrumentation consisting mostly of guitar and America Indian style flute, and lovely female vocals, it sets the most enticing, haunting tone. The imagery used in this album is very strange (and heavily American Indian influenced), and yet it has a quality about it which sets it just on the edge of familiarity. It is an enigma, yet when I listen to it I always feel that I am just on the edge of understanding what it means. This album contains a good deal of wonder, especially in the song “Bravitslana Rubakalva,” and also a good deal of melancholy. It’s the sort of thing that always leaves behind it this exquisite feeling of sadness, beauty, and mystery. I listen to it whenever I want to set a haunting mood or to remember things that I’ve never quite known.
Nightfall in Middle-Earth by Blind Guardian
And here we have one of my old favorites. I love the band Blind Guardian–their music is fantastic and they’re very nerdy to boot. This particular album is a retelling, in fantasy/power metal form, of Tolkien’s Silmarillion. It’s brilliant. Very intricate, very well done, and it perfectly captures the sweeping feeling of Tolkien’s works. This is one album that always leaves me metaphorically speechless by the time I’ve reached the end, and I have to sit for moments in silence and let it sink in. Just beautiful.
Osforras by The Moon and the Night-Spirit
Like Faces in the Rocks, this is another haunting and melancholy album, but it is haunting and melancholy in a completely different way. This album seems primal, timeless, wild. It is sung entirely in Hungarian, by a husband/wife team (I believe, although I’m not completely certain that they’re actually married), and uses a lot of flutes and drums. This album makes me think of dancing through an ancient forest. It’s full of a peculiar sort of joy, mingled with an underlying sadness, an almost alien feeling. Magnificent in its own way.
Ghost by Radical Face
Completely different in style from the previous three albums, this one has sort of an indie rock feel. I think the best way for me to describe it is to call it poetry. Because that’s what it is; the lyrics in this album are incredibly poetic. It’s a concept album of sorts, exploring a variety of stories from the point of view of a house, and it is brilliantly done, full of emotion and an odd, underlying joy, even in the songs which are outwardly darkest. This album is very moving, at times devastating, and always filled with a striking poetry in its words.
Dol Guldur by Summoning
And here we have one of my favorite atmospheric black metal albums. This, like Nightfall in Middle-Earth, is inspired by Tolkien’s works and sometimes takes direct quotations from them (and in fact every one of this band’s albums is that way). This album is absolutely majestic. Long songs with highly repetitive beats that somehow never get boring, growled vocals and instrumentation blending in a melancholy and epic tableau, and sounds that match perfectly to clouded skies.
This Will Destroy You by This Will Destroy You
This is the only non-vocal album on my list, although I listen to lots of non-vocal music (and Summoning, honestly, hardly counts as vocal music, because most of their lyrics are virtually unintelligible). This Will Destroy You is a Post Rock band, somewhat similar to the better known Explosions In the Sky. I adore Post Rock, because it is so deeply emotional–and this is one of the most deeply emotional Post Rock albums I’ve ever heard. It’s hard to really describe, but I connect with it on an extremely deep personal level, so much so that I feel like this album describes my personality in musical form.
Phoenix by The Classic Crime
And this is probably the most emotional album on my list. It’s about a journey, from choosing to stand on your own to choosing not to. That sounds rather simple and perhaps not worth making an entire album about, but this album is so beautiful and full of truth. This is another one that leaves me metaphorically speechless every time I finish listening to it, and that moves me nearly to tears. Very deep. At times devastating. But in the end, hopeful.
Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes
This is a somewhat folky, indie-ish sounding album. I love the feeling of it–melancholy, contemplative, and yet cheerful. This one also has some good poetry in it, though not quite up to the par of Ghost. When I listen to it, I almost feel that it’s transporting me to some exotic land full of spices and bright colors. I can’t say precisely why, but I love that feeling.
Falconer by Falconer
Out of all the albums on this list, Falconer is perhaps the least musically impressive. It’s fairly standard metal (though the singer has a pretty unique and very enjoyable voice), but what makes this album special is the large amount of creativity in the song lyrics. Every song on this album could be the seed for an epic fantasy novel. Taken all together, they create something truly impressive. To describe why I like this album so much would be to describe why I like high/epic fantasy so much, and that’s probably something to leave for another post, so suffice to say that this album is a rollicking good time for anyone who likes extremely nerdy metal.
Picaresque by The Decemberists
And finally, the Decemberists. The Decemberists have long been one of my favorite bands, and this album one of my favorites of their albums. It doesn’t have the unifying concept of a couple of the others, but the individual songs on this album are so strong that I can’t help but make it my favorite. The lyrics are poetic and use plenty of big words, the songs are delightfully dark and melancholy, and throughout it all is a sort of ironic sense of humor. Very excellent.
There you have it, a few of my favorite albums. But I have a lot more favorites. If anyone actually listens to all of those and tells me what they think, they will earn gratitude and virtual cookies.