Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

10 Favorite Albums of All-Time

I already know this was a bad idea. The other day I found myself saying to a friend that the CD we were listening to was one of my favorite albums. Then, I remembered that I had said that just a few days earlier about a different CD. This is a great opportunity to create a Top 10 List, I foolishly thought to myself. It will be fun!

Wrong. How in the world do you reduce hundreds of albums and years of experiences into just 10 choices? You don't, at least not very successfully. The list below doesn't even include a single album by the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, or Phish, and only one from Elvis Costello and U2. And yet, I continue! I am smart enough to know one thing though, these are not the 10 Best Albums of All-Time. My collection is too small and my exposure too limited to claim that.

These are the albums that I love every single time I listen to them. I hope you enjoy the list, including links to iTunes. Be sure to post your favorites!

Top 10 Favorite Albums of All-Time

10. Chris Isaac, San Francisco Days

I'm always amazed at how much I love this album. It's just so perfectly sweet and enjoyable. I think it has to do with the fact that I used to listen to it while putting Ben to sleep.

9. Moby, Play

I think I listened to this at least once a week for about two years. So much good stuff.

8. Paul Simon, Graceland

A great novel set to music. He says more in a verse that most people manage in a hundred pages.

7. Ben Folds Five, Whatever and Ever Amen

From beginning to end, just a fantastic record, with an incredible range of emotion, including a healthy dose of bitterness and sarcasm.

6. Elvis Costello, Imperial Bedroom

The hardest part was choosing which album, but you can't go wrong with Imperial Bedrooom.

5. The Who, Who's Next

It feels like you're listening to a greatest hits album. Just perfect rock n' roll.

4. The Clash, London Calling

Punk never sounded so good, in music or lyrics.

3. U2, All That You Can't Leave Behind

This is when I knew this was a fool's errand. I could do a Top 10 list made up entirely of U2 albums. Everybody has one band that feels like they're part of your soul - that's U2 for me.

2. The Who, Quadrophenia

This has always been my favorite Who album, from the first time I heard it when I was 15. Nobody has better captured the conflicted emotions of a young man.

1. Leonard Cohen, The Future

So much of music is written for kids about being a kid, and I'm thankful for that. But there's something so powerful about this music and the lyrics that go with it. The songs are written and performed by an adult for adults. The songs are about ideas, politics, spirituality, and love that takes longer than four minutes to figure out. I get something new out of it every time.