My list of perfect albums


Ok I probably need to preface what I mean by “perfect album”. When I say that it’s in reference to an album that I think is a complete and cohesive set of tracks… written perfectly, recorded perfectly, and arranged perfectly to form a single piece of art. These aren’t just what I consider generally good albums to own or the best album from an artist I like, not at all. For instance, I LOVE Sufjan Stevens, however I wouldn’t say that he has any perfect albums… pains me to say it but it’s true, Seven Swans may be close but it still doesn’t make the cut of “perfect”.

These aren’t necessarily underground indie artist or obscure albums, they’re albums I think should be played from start to finish pretty much any time or place.

Of course there are many classic albums like Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, Phil Collins’s No Jacket required, Billy Joel’s Glass Houses, etc. that I think fit the criteria of being perfect albums, and that’s partly why they’re classics right? But for the sake of keeping this post to a readable length I’ll limit myself to albums within the last decade… or decade-ish.

Ok here’s my list:

Coldplay’s Parachutes – Released in July of 2000 it just barely makes it into my category music in the last decade, but I’d have put it on here no matter what. For me this is the perfect album that made me even consider the idea of ‘perfect album’ in the first place. The only thing I could think to change would be to make the track ‘Parachutes’ more than a 46 seconds long. And saying that the thing I want more from it is more of it is a good indication that it’s a pretty fly set of tracks.

Ryan Adams’s Easy Tiger – I know a lot of people may not be able to appreciate the Nashville country vibe his work has, and if that’s you then I’m sorry, but you’re missing out… majorly. Because this is an amazing album. I know you probably saw it on the counter of Starbucks when it came out but don’t write it off as commercialized crud like I did because at some point you may be looking back wondering how you ever thought your CD collection was complete without it.

City & Colour’s Bring Me Your Love – I hesitate to list this one because it really hasn’t stood the test of time but so far so good. And to be honest even the other albums I’ve listed, as much as I love them, don’t boast a full track listing that doesn’t have a single rating below 4 stars. Most of them have a 3 thrown in there at least once, but Mr. Green really nocked it out of the park with this one.

John Mayer’s Continuum – I know this album doesn’t contain as many of his radio hits like “Your Body Is A Wonderland” and “Georgia” but it’s great start to finish. All the tracks feel like they go together yet they’re different enough not to get boring. A++ Johnny boy… A+++++

Damien Rice’s O – mmmm yes. Any time, any place…

Eisley’s Combinations – yeah yeah yeah… i know I’ll get teased for listing this one but I legitimately would list it as a perfectly constructed album. Just because they’re family doesn’t mean I’m biased, I’m allowed to be a fan too! I love all of the songs but more than just that I love the order of the tracks, you just can’t be in the right emotional state to fully appreciate ‘If You Were Wondering’ if you don’t listen to the album from the beginning… it’s like a musical journey. Ok i’m going to stop there before I embarrass myself further.

Dave Matthews’s Live At Radio City Music Hall – I know this isn’t a studio album, but it makes the list. I’m not the biggest Dave Matthews fan ever… great musician but the saxophones often irk me just a bit, but this whole show is a masterpiece. Enough said… check out the DVD too, it’s splendid.

Kent’s Hagnesta Hill – Their music may not be your style but I certainly love it… not just on a song by song basis, but as an album. These Swedes really know how to get you going with tracks like ‘Music Non-stop’ but can also get you into the chill vibe by the time you get to ‘Protection’. You can dance to it, you can cry to it, with music like this the options are endless.

Feist’s The Reminder – Low key for the most part but beautifully done through and through… no other comments needed.

I don’t know what the secret ingredient for creating these alums… maybe it’s writing it all at the same time or maybe it’s having one primary writer in the band or maybe each album was blessed by a saint and dipped in unicorn blood, who knows? But I do know that just because a band goes into the studio to record a set of songs, it doesn’t mean they’ll come out with an album… if you do, then you know you have something special.

What are your ‘perfect albums’ ?

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  1. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals- III / IV « Predictably Me - January 22, 2011

    […] these tracks were recorded in 2006 during the same session that birthed Easy Tiger, which is on my perfect albums list, so it’s a bit shocking that I don’t love this one more than I […]

  2. Mew – Frengers « Predictably Me - February 1, 2011

    […] album was also on my Perfect Albums list a while back so I don’t think I can claim any favorites… it would be like picking […]

  3. Happy Birthday iPod… aka The Death of the Album | Predictably Me - October 23, 2012

    […] through and through. This reminds me of my “List of Perfect Albums” which you can read HERE. This was written over two years ago so in honor of loving as a whole instead of their singles […]

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