A friend recently wanted to “refurbish” her library on her iPod and asked me for some suggestions. Our tastes in music have a large degree of overlap, so I set out enthusiastically, only to realize how difficult it was to come up with a finite list for great listening. At a time when not a lot of contemporary popular music seems to have a chance of surviving beyond a few years, here is a list of albums that should restore your faith in music.
1. Surprise – Paul Simon
You know the Live at Central Park Concert by heart, you use their lyrics to help you deal with daily strife, and you still hang on to the Wednesday Morning, 3 a.m. cassette that no longer plays. You will be surprised by the urban contemporary tone (without losing out on the lyricism or the wit of the older songs) of this one from Paul Simon.
2. Mercury Falling – Sting
I love everything by Sting. Almost. This album is his maturest best, balancing musical ideas with sentimentality, technology with originality, and middle age cynicism with hopeless romanticism. Two other good but relatively less popular/known listens from Sting would be All This Time which he was recording while 9/11 happened and Live at The Perugia Jazz Festival which sees him freewheeling and improvising like never before.
3. My Rock – Walk Off the Earth
New India band that I found thanks to youtube! Nice and original sound, neat covers. They only have two albums out so far, and they make for good listening. They do not strictly fall into the category of serious music, but they bring a freshness that takes you back to the time when The Beach Boys and The Beatles were putting out there initial music. Their music videos are a visual treat unlike anything you have seen before.