cordwainerbird
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Last Active 10-25-17 5:10 pm
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 Lists
10.11.17 All-time Favorite Albums

All-time Favorite Albums

Just to help me keep track in case someone asks. Somewhat in order.
1Oppenheimer Analysis
New Mexico


To this day this album never got its much-deserved recognition. It flew under every radar when it was originally released in 1982, but it's hard to see why. Wonderfully dancable, yet melancholy tracks not unlike many synthpop acts of the time, but New Mexico is set apart largely due to its unique, atmospheric and sweeping quirkiness, managing to be both warm and cold, easygoing yet detached. To this day I've never heard anything like it. It's widely hailed as the very best of the extremely niche "minimal wave" genre, and for very good reason.
2Rational Youth
Cold War Night Life


Another totally unknown coldwave album from the strange, faraway land of Canada. Like New Mexico, it doesn't skip a beat. Every song is delightful, catchy, and defines and captures the ethereal nightlife.
3Depeche Mode
Music for the Masses


Doesn't need much introduction. My favorite Depeche Mode album overall, in which they fully defined their sound and style. They are in their element here.
4Depeche Mode
A Broken Frame


I concede Broken Frame has horrid lyrics and constant, blistering immaturity, but there's just something about it I absolutely adore. The sound is wonderful, flowy, dreamlike. I find its shortcomings endearing, more than anything. For some reason, I get a very dadaist vibe from it, in which its overt innocence is so pure that it actually seems intentional.
5Depeche Mode
Ultra


This is definitely one of DM's unrecognized masterpieces. It's one of the most intense, emotional, and intimate albums I've ever heard. Sister of Night in particular is a highlight. It does sometimes fall into some weird grunge-y pitfalls, but they're rare, and doesn't take away from the experience. Be sure to listen to "Surrender", which for some reason is a B-side, but is one of my favorite songs of all-time.
6Savage
Tonight


Italo-disco is a weird genre. Most of it all sounds the same, isn't distinctive, and is rather bland. Tonight, the 1984 album by Savage, is anything but that. It's Italo Disco as it should be - soothing, sleek, and extremely polished. It chugs along at a steady pace, and every song is excellent. It's easy to drift off into daydreams. "Only You" is especially memorable.
7Information Society
Information Society


A masterpiece of dancable synthpop. Melodic, delightful tracks that all hold up extremely well. Coming out in '89, the quirkiness of both the late 80s and early 90s mesh seamlessly.
8Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
Crush


Usually not regarded as one of OMD's best, but I found it mesmerizing. It has an indescribable lonesome air to it, and reminds me a lot of Ed Hopper's Nighthawks (not just because the album's cover art, I promise). The title track in particular is strikingly depressing.
9Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
Architecture & Morality


This, on the other hand, *is* often regarded as OMD's best. For good reason, of course. Classic melancholic early 80s synthpop, with Souvenir (one of my all-time favorite songs) alone being worth the price of admission.
10Grace Jones
Nightclubbing


I've never heard another album like this. It effortlessly weaves funk, R&B, new wave, and synthpop together in a surrealist casing, with Jones on top being some mystical, otherworldly and demanding force. Jones herself is like art, using her androgyny as some kind of intense framework.
11Strapping Young Lad
City


Wow. This is a heavy, HEAVY industrial-metal album. Oppressive walls of clutter that still manage to be melodic, it feels brutally honest, and honestly brutal. The raw insides of Devin Townsend gorged out into noise.
12Ministry
The Land of Rape and Honey


By far Ministry's best effort. Their art of industrial music is perfected here, Stigmata in particular being a staple of the genre. Their anger and fury is captivating and shockingly effective.
13David Bowie
Low


My favorite Bowie. Again, means no introduction. It's a classic in every sense of the word, and if it weren't already so widely-recognized as the masterpiece it is I'd probably put it higher.
14Brian Eno
Another Green World


Same as Bowie's Low. To me, it's Eno's best. It took a few listens to grow on me, but as soon as it did I was hooked.
15Autumn
Synthesize


Virtually unknown album. It's another classic of the unknown "minimal-wave" genre, Charming, innocent coldwave, truly original and inventive.
16John Foxx
Metamatic


I never understood why Gary Numan is often hailed as a pioneer of new wave music while John Foxx went completely ignored. Numan did it first, sure, but I find his wok doesn't hit as hard or as well as Metamatic. Foxx, being fresh off a then-punk new romantic Ultravox, redefines his sound as bleak, cold, robotic, emotionless. Short of it is, if you like Numan, you'll love this.
17Lou Reed
Transformer


Wonderfully intimate, subversive and just plain quaint. Makes you want to kill yourself, but also smile because everything's so damn weird and dandy at the same.
18Alphaville
Forever Young


After listening to this I found Forever Young to be the dud of the album. That's how good it is. It's light, extremely enjoyable synthpop. Victory of Love, something that could almost pass as a Bowie hit, is my favorite track on here.
19Soft Cell
Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret


Calling Soft Cell's "Tainted Love" as a tip of an iceberg is a huge understatement. This album reeks of sleaze, seediness, urban decay. Nightlife resembling purgatory more than any actual fun.
20 Notchnoi Prospekt
Democracy and Discipline


This is not a casual listening album. This is the kind of album you put on at 4 AM and let seep into your soul. I wasn't sure which album to give the number 20 spot to (I deliberated between FLA's Tactical Neural Implant, Nitzer Ebb's That Total Age, and Ultravox's Vienna). I ultimately chose Democracy and Discipline because I just find it downright interesting. It's nightmarish, absurdist post-punk that instilled a kind of palpable existential dread in me that I could not only vividly picture, but also talk to.
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