10 CDs You've Never Heard...But Should!
as wished for by corey
Once upon a time in Squidoo's past, there was a group called "Lenses We Wish Existed" where people could make lens suggestions. This lens came about due to a wish made by Squidoo's COO Corey Brown.
I don't know whether to say I think these are the best, or greatest, but I do think that most of these are albums that have been never heard by more people than not. You might even think of this group as being ten artists you've never played, or ten albums you've never heard, or ten songs that you've never explored. I hope my suggestions help some music that you've never heard before find you!
For the record, the list is in no particular order (YOU get to vote on it!). A lot of the selections are things where you'd listen to the entire album as a concept, or you could put it on in the background and then go about your business. I like a lot of this music as life soundtrack.
ZIPLESS - Vanessa Daou
I was sitting in a friend's living room just hanging out one day when suddenly in mid-conversation (and mid-sentence even), I stopped and asked her "what IS this music we're listening to?" It turns out the very same line of Erica Jong erotic poetry was the one that caught her attention in a clothing store one day as she was shopping and when she asked the sales help about the music, this was the CD they showed her.
Vanessa Daou has taken a variety of writer Erica Jong's poems and turned them into gentle spoken word pieces or lush dance numbers. I like to listen to this music both to get energized or relax.
My Fave Song On This Album Is "Smoke." For this one piece, the spoken word vocals are done by Erica Jong herself, a sort of fragment of a sense-memory.
THE RICHEST MAN IN BABYLON - The Thievery Corporation
I'd never heard of Thievery Corporation when a friend turned me on to this album. I must have played it over 100 times in a row. If you haven't heard this one, you definitely should!
Two musician/producers work with a changing mix of other musicians and vocalists to produce dance music that draws heavily from world music traditions. I got a chance to see them play live in San Francisco at the Warfield once, and they had a mix of electric instruments and synthesizers backing a rotating mix of five vocalists. Awesome show!
My Fave Song On This Album Is "Heaven's Gonna Burn Your Eyes." It's one of those songs that reminds me of a certain stage of a past relationship in a reflective, good way.
THE GREEN ALBUM - Eddie Jobson
Eddie Jobson has played keyboards and electric violin with bands such as UK, Yes, Roxy Music, Jethro Tull and Frank Zappa. This is one of his solo efforts, when he assembled a band of his own, Zinc.
A strange and futuristic concept album about colors. I think... I saw the video for the single "Turn It Over" off this album once on "Night Flight" back in the pre-MTV days, but it didn't make the concept of the album any more clear. The computer graphics seen in the video seem waaay-primitive today, but remember back then, it was state of the art.
My Fave Song On This Album Is "Turn It Over." It's much more up-tempo than the rest of the album, and clearly the only song that sounds anything like a single but I really like the driving energy.
BLADE RUNNER (soundtrack) - Vangelis
When the movie BLADERUNNER was first released, the soundtrack that came out was the music written for the film by composer Vangelis, but the recording had been performed by an obviously-cheaper, classical orchestra. It was okay, but it completely lacked both the depth and the crispness of the original heavily-electronic score. Finally, a decade later, the CD of Vangelis' original musical score as he recorded it for the film was released.
The music is haunting and ethereal, with fragments of the movie dialog soundtrack interspersed with the instrumentals.
My Fave Song On This Album Is "Blade Runner Blues." This is a wonderful synthetic riff on the noir detective's sad theme song.
JANUARY 07003 | BELL STUDIES FOR THE CLOCK OF THE LONG NOW - Brian Eno
It was my great pleasure to hear Brian Eno speak at the Ft Mason Pier for the Long Now Foundation in San Francisco. The idea of a group working to foster longer-term human thought is simply wonderful in this day and age. And hearing Mr. Eno say "oh, turn that crap off" in reference to his seminal work "Ambient 1: Music for Airports" was just downright funny.
This is the album he produced to benefit the Long Now Foundation and their project, the Clock of the Long Now.
My Fave Song On This Album Is "deep glass bells (with harmonic clouds)." In this bell experiment, Eno works with really deep bell tones which I find especially soothing and great for meditation.
This lens was selected by the SquidTeam as the Lens of the Day on December 12, 2006!
Rock on, and thanks!
You can check out more great LOTD picks at the LOTD HQ.
ESQUIRE - Esquire
The band Esquire is like a little overlooked prog-rock gem. It was a project fronted by Yes bass player Chris Squire's wife, Nikki. The two other members of the band were musicians related to her, cousins or something. Her famous hubby handled production and other contributions on the album. I still remember seeing music videos from this album at a YES convention on the East Coast many years ago.
My Fave Song On This Album Is "To The Rescue." This one track on the album was produced by European super producer Trevor Horn and still sounds fresh and energetic after 20 years.
100TH WINDOW - Massive Attack
When you talk about the band Massive Attack what you really have is a pair of studio musician/producers who work with different artists from album to album. This album strayed more towards ambient and less towards dance. This was one that I picked on a lark, having only heard a few singles from others release before. I was totally bowled over by how much I fell in love with this album.
My Fave Song On This Album Is "What Your Soul Sings." The lyrics contain such a strong and potent message of self-confidence, worth and love, I play this one when I have to get myself back on course.
NIGHT SONG - Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn & Michael Brook
Nusrat Fateh Ali Kahn was the most famous Qawwali singer of the modern age. This was his second experimental recording done with Canadian guitarist Brook. This album is soaked in ambient electronic guitar noises and some of Khan's most out-of-the-tradition singing.
My Fave Song On This Album Is "Crest." There is a light and fluid quality to the combination of voice and guitar on this piece that I find especially beautiful.
See How Some Of This Music Sounds
Here is a sampling of some of the albums listed on this lens. For the movie soundtracks, it's probably best to watch the whole films.
SLIVER (soundtrack) - Various Artists
I got this album from a former co-worker of mine. She came into the office one day and put a CD into the communal boom box. She handed me the case, knowing I liked to read such things, remarking "dreadful movie, don't ever bother, but damn... the music is actually good." I looked at what I was holding. It was the soundtrack to Sliver. I admit I was pleasantly surprised by this collection. And no, I've still never seen the movie.
A fascinating collection of songs by artists including Massive Attack, Enigma, Lords of Acids, Neneh Cherry and Fluke. In fact, it was this collection that first introduced me to Massive Attack.
My Fave Song On This Album Is "Slid." I have to say, other than this piece and the instrumental they did for the Matrix Reloaded (the rave/sex scene has their music), I've never heard anything else by this band. But this tune just rocks as far as dance songs go.
REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAS - Jonathan Elias and Various Artists
A star-studded benefit for Native American causes. Producer Jonathan Elias's most famous musical composition is the musical riff that is the theme for MTV. He wasn't going to perform on this effort, but after U2 frontman Bono had to drop out, Elias sang all the parts that Bono was supposed to have sung.
Jon Anderson (Yes), John Waite (Babys), Simon Le Bon (Duran Duran), Grace Jones, and father-son duo Charlie and Martin Sheen are among the contributors. It also features never-before-released poetry from Doors singer Jim Morrison. The late singer's spoken word recordings were incorporated to create some of the songs.
My Fave Song On This Album Is "The Chant Movement." This was one of the pieces that featured a "lead spoken word vocal" by Morrison. Grace Jones' chanting incorporates as a rhythmic element as Elias does his best Bono imitation. A rare album totally worth tracking down.
How Would You Rank These Albums?
How do you think the recordings I recommended rank up? I didn't specify a top ten order, so here's where YOU get to vote and tell me!
Please let me know what you think about my musical suggestions!
Did you find some new music here that you liked? Is one of these albums a special favorite of yours too? Let us know what you think about this music!