There are a few — not many — albums that I can listen to on repeat indefinitely and never get bored with them. For one reason or another, each has a complexity that satisfies the requirements to keep me interested. I have a low tolerance for sub-par, facile music that attempts nothing innovative. Which is to say, I have a low tolerance for about 98% of the music out there.
I don't adhere to any particular genre. The only genres I shun entirely are new country and R&B. Oh, and, I'm sorry, but "contemporary jazz" annoys the shit out of me. In the latter case, my music theory and ability to parse what's going on tries to appreciate modern jazz. I know what they're doing, and I often respect the innovations. But aesthetically it's all a traffic jam on 5th Ave. to me. The song titles of most contemporary jazz might as well be, "Fucking Around in Eb."
The following contain no dud tracks. They're brilliant works of art taken as a whole, and I literally can listen to them on repeat all day.
In absolutely no particular order:
I'm fortunate to know these people. I understand this album was recorded acoustically in a church, in single takes. Their entire opus/career is brilliant, and this stands out amongst the other gems.
ASYLUM STREET SPANKERS: Mercurial
CIBO MATTO: Viva! La Woman!
If I have a favorite band ever, it's this one. I honestly don't think I'd've made it through my Turbulent Twenties without them. And as of 2010 when I had the exquisite pleasure of meeting Kristin Hersh, I consider myself the luckiest sum-bitch in the world to be able to call her a true friend and even collaborator. I've never met anyone kinder.
This early'ish album was my introduction to them and holds a special place in my heart because it opened up worlds to me.
THROWING MUSES: House Tornado
I'm not putting in repeats of bands, but Kristin's punk incarnation I consider wholly different from Throwing Muses, and this album is genius in its own right.
Amazingly, not many people know this band exists. They're a brilliant powerhouse, and every time I play them on the jukebox at The Saint — every time — someone asks me, "WHOA! Who the hell is THIS? It's amazing!"
50 FOOT WAVE: Golden Ocean
I had this on cassette and listened to it until it broke in my walkman in the early ’80s.
CHEAP TRICK: At Budokan
THE CURE: Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
NINE INCH NAILS: The Fragile
I actually dislike "Tainted Love" when played on its own, but in context of the larger, well-plotted story this album tells, it fits, and soars.
SOFT CELL: Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret
Every one of these concertos gives me the goosey bumbies.
(In the case of classical music, these are links to the particular performances I consider definitive.)
CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS: The 5 Piano Concertos
I know everyone's gaga over Glenn Gould's interpretations of Bach, and so am I, but in the WTC books, I prefer the constancy of Keith J.
KEITH JARRETT: J. S. Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier" Book I
DE LA SOUL IS DEAD
ERROLL GARNER: Body & Soul
ROGER MILLER: All Time Greatest Hits