Thursday, May 14, 2009

Top 5 Albums That Took A While To Grow On Me

I have not done a killer Top 5 in a while, and after I get this one out...I might be saying the same thing. But let's go for it.

The title is simple...these are the top 5 albums that took a while to grow on me...that ended up worthy of placement on my list of personal favorites. The list is complete with explanations and those trailing tangents that sometimes get a hold of me. Chillax and attack, my brothers and sisters...

1)Exile On Main Street- Rolling Stones: I used to see this album lying around my Dad's collection as a kid...never touched it. I came around to the Stones in Jr. High...but only grazing the catalog with Sticky Fingers and Tattoo You. Even later when I became a super Stones fanatic during my drinking 20s..deeply ensconced in their classic 68-72 phase..I lightly grazed Exile....but some lonely soused evening in a Rochester apartment...I put it on and felt completely transported to a dingy French basement, belly deep in smoke, slinky sax and debauchery. with tracks like All Down the Line,Loving Cup or Just Want to See His Face...wanting to blitz through the bars and nod out at the same time...and I realized the magnetic depth of the blues like never before. Now its like a fungus, man. It just keeps growing on me, pulling me back to where I need to be sometimes.....

2)Yankee Hotel Foxtrot- Wilco: This album was my first REAL intro to Tweedy and Co. I had the A.M. Cassette for years and for some reason, it wasn't in heavy rotation. But after a couple hundred spins while painting vacant rooms the beauty of the flow of songs like Jesus, Etc. and Ashes of American Flags pulled me into the realm of this mysterious band of merry risk takers. I could have my classic rock and indie whistles wet with Wilco(say that 3 times fast) and the romance was born.

3)Tonight's the Night- Neil Young...I'd like to start by saying this is my favorite Neil Young album. It is not an easy listen at all..Neil doesn't even like any good Neil Young fan, I was floored by Harvest and After The Gold Rush right away...this album was recorded right after longtime band member and close friend Danny Whitten died of an overdose...and Neil slurs his way through most of it in spilled out despair like a drunk story teller..the piano is slightly off and spooky,guitars slide in and out of tune, the mics are close and the room is dry. But songs like Speakin' Out, Mellow My Mind and Lookout Joe really grabbed me and shook me either into or out of a slump..depending on what was needed at the time. The two standouts for me are the harrowing road song masterpiece Albuquerque and the winter-y crush of Borrowed Tune...a song that hollows me out and paralyzes me to this day..complete with a melody stolen from Lady Jane by the Stones.

4)In Rainbows- Radiohead... Mucho discussiono about this album here, so I'll keep it brief. In my mind, I knew they could not top OK Computer or Kid A...I just felt that the peak had been reached and we were still along for the ride but it would be a short one..this affected the way I listened to In shorted my patience, it erupted my judgement.....but then I let go after the marinating was complete and just fell into the beauty of Weird Fishes, 15 Step, Videotape and the absolute classic House of Cards...which took many listens and the accompaniment of a change of seasons...

5) Mastodon- Crack The Skye: This is Mastodon's new album...I have everything they've ever done, maybe in a forced attempt to grasp on to "modern metal". But I wasn't attached to any of it because of the relentless drum fills and the slightly above Cookie Monster type vocals....but this album is ssssssssssllloooooowwwlyyyy growing on me....three part harmonies! Melodic vocals that are sung!, epic riffage! Drums that slay but do not distract.! Songs about failed time travel, Rasputin and Oblivion! What a welcome change of pace for this Atlanta foursome...all masters of their instruments....I think I'm totally on board now, yes. I'm gonna go get the t-shirt before you know it!

So there's five for you....I expect to see your lists before the weekend hits...I'm not getting enough comments here and I'm getting grumpy about it. Lots of silent readers....I'm coming after you with cyber hugs and kisses, now ante up!


  1. I love the first four albums. I'll have to get Mastadon's disc now.

    My five:

    The Band- Northern Lights, Southern Cross-"Acadian Driftwood" is phenomenal. The last great Band album. I used to ignore it in favor of the first two.
    Joni Mitchell- The Hissing of Summer Lawns-"Don't Interrupt the Sorrow" is worth the whole LP. This one always gets lost in the Joni discography.
    The Kinks- Muswell Hillbillies-Brilliant, though I used to confuse it with some of Davies lesser works in the mid 70s
    Led Zeppelin- Presence-"Achilles Last Stand" is Page's finest hour and his most original composition. I used to skip much of the rest when I was younger. Not anymore.
    The Byrds-Notorious Byrd Brothers-The underrated masterpiece and only takes a half hour of your time. Never listened past Younger Than Yesterday in my teens. Found this one in my twenties. Great.

    The new Wilco album is streaming here:

    I really like it. You can detect early 70s George Harrison on two tracks.

  2. Anonymous10:03 AM

    Ok so here I go with trying to make a list because you asked me to...this is tough though because I am having a hard time coming up with albums that I love but that had to grow on some of these may not fit 100% into your category but I'll do my best.

    1. OK Computer - Radiohead
    It's not so much that this had to grow on me just that all of the sudden one day I realized that every time I listened to it I listened to the whole thing straight through - and that I was doing that a LOT. The highs and lows that run through the storyline are astounding; when you realize you're in love as Thom Yorke screams "I lost myself" at the end of Karma Police...and then you realize you're only halfway through the album! That's epic.

    2. Greatest Hits - Cat Stevens
    Ok I know you look down on GH albums but bear with me. When I got to George Washington University I brought with me a huge love of music and a pretty decently large album library but Cat Stevens had never passed my radar. And EVERYONE was listening to him. Which kind of made me not want to get on the bandwagon. I don't know which song first sucked me in. "Can't Keep It In" was so overly earnest but the joyfulness of the music kinda got me. Then there was "Two Fine People" which to a 20 year old in the throes of puppy love seemed oh so relevant. Basically by November I was listening to that album around the clock just like all of my GWU brethren. Popping that CD in now instantly takes me back to my early 20s - which is kind of a cool thing.

    3. Some Girls - Rolling Stones
    I've gone in and out of Rolling Stones phases since discovering them via Tattoo You which was the first album of theirs that I ever owned and one that I listened to a lot but then I went all the way back to Sticky Fingers b/c my mom liked the song Brown Sugar (maybe it was her album? Don't remember) and then sort of didn't listen to them at all for awhile. Then fast forward once again to GWU (oh how those people apparently influenced me) and my good friend Steve Caraluzzi who had Some Girls and listened to it incessantly to the point where eventually all of us new every word to every song and anytime we were out all it would take was for one of us to say (apropos of nothing) "I was driving home early Sunday morning through Bakersfield" and then everyone else would launch right in.

    I think I can only come up with 3. If something occurs to me I'll be back!


  3. Seano, I answered your post on my own blog at

    In terms of your list, we really need to get together and trade record collections for a while. It was like looking into a flipping mirror (with the exception of Exile, which I loved right out of the gate. I was young and I thought "you got to scrape that shit right off your shoe" was the best song lyric ever).

    In a Rolling Stone interview about Tonight's The Night, Neil once said the album was totally depressing and when you wake up in the morning, "don't put on Tonight's The Night. Put on the Doobie Brothers." Ha!

    I have to agree with Sean C about Presence. That took a while to grow on me but Tea For One is one of my favorite Zep tunes. And Acadian Driftwood? Does not get much better than that!

    Wifey, Some Girls is for sure seminal Stones! And Tattoo You is probably their last great album. But I heard the song Mixed Emotions on the radio the other day and I still really like the groove on that tune. It has great energy and Charlie Watts drumming. Check it.

  4. This is why I love when people comment! I learn so much..especially about the gaps in my collection just from my peers.....Sean C....Thanks.I have a huge hole where some Kinks should a matter of fact, I have NONE of their albums except Kinks Collection....The Band is another gaping omission...although I have recently acquired the first three albums and The Last Waltz...

    Wifey...I know very little about Yusuf(Cat)Stevens...except Moonshadow, Oh Very Young and morning Has Broken..I will revisit....

    Isorski, we should set up a server and you steal from me and I'll steal from the meantime....another run through of Exile will can never have enough....

    I will be taking your top 5 suggestion seriously and will get to it soon enough....thanks guys......

    To everyone else...its never too late to comment.....please keep the talking smack and giving back going for a while.......seano