Thursday Night Bar Fight #4: Road Trip!

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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar Ethan Gach
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    What is that a picture of?Report

      • Avatar Ethan Gach in reply to Tod Kelly
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        Just being a churlish youth : )Report

        • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Ethan Gach
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          Don’t make me grab my walker and come down there.Report

        • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Ethan Gach
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          Then you shall earn an annoyingly pedantic lecture for your youthful impertinence!

          For Ethan and the other young ‘uns, music used to be sold on physical media. The medium that many of us knew in our youth were called “record albums,” or alternative “LP records,” in which LP stood for “Long Play.” These were discs of black vinyl roughly nine inches in diameter, upon which very precise grooves were engraved on both sides. A mechanical device would spin the disc, typically at a conventional speed of 100 revolutions every three minutes, and a very small needle would be set atop the spinning disc. Other electronic devices amplify the vibrations of the needle on the disc, which were then transferred via wire through more electronic equipment and ultimately to speakers, which would then emit the sound recording.

          “But that’s an analog device, it’s not even digital!” is the protest. Indeed. On the one hand, the media and the device were fragile and required special care to use. The record could warp if exposed to heat, and all manner of mechanical problems could occur with the turntable device, the needle, or the execution of play. On the other hand, many audiophiles insist that, even today, the analog recording produces deeper and richer sounds, with smoother transitions between notes.

          Because of the size and fragility of the discs, they would be sold within large sleeves, typically made of cardboard, and adorned with artwork. Much of this artwork was visually striking for its beauty and creativity. Later generations attempted to replicate the art with sleeves in compact discs but it’s not the same thing. Remember, though, this was before there were music videos — something that they used to show on a cable channel which today broadcasts only terrible reality TV depicting the lives of terrible human beings.

          The medium of a vinyl disc would hold between twenty to thirty minutes of music per side of the album, which means that when you bought one of these “albums,” you would get ten songs (sometimes more, sometimes less) of about three minutes each, which you would listen to in the sequence which they were recorded, stopping about halfway through to flip the disc to the other side. There were techniques for random access of desired songs, which involved picking up the needle and dropping it carefully at the right location on the disc to access the correct song. Which was, I will concede, kind of a pain.

          But, Tod’s question reaches a subsequent generation of music recording-and-playback technology, the compact disc, which bridges the gap between physical media and digital music. Surely even the younger folks around these parts remember what those are. They can still be purchased in brick-and-mortar stores even to this day, and many cars come equipped with devices capable of playing these things.Report

          • Avatar Snarky McSnarkSnark in reply to Burt Likko
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            Oh Grandpa!

            Tell me again about how you used to talk to people in person.Report

          • Avatar zic in reply to Burt Likko
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            You forgot the evil-monster part of the story:

            The ability of people to record their favorite albums and give them to friends who hadn’t purchased those albums or to record songs off the radio drove the Recording Industry of America into a tizzy.

            Then had laws enacted that charged an additional fee on every blank casette tape sold, with the funds going to the Recording Industry of America for royalties. So you bought some blank tapes to record a history lecture, you paid them.

            Another frightening chapter in the story is the switch from tape/LP to CD; much cheaper to produce, the The Recording Industry of America increased prices without increasing any payments to recording artists.

            Artists going direct to audience and peer-to-peer sharing is a karmic debt.Report

          • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Burt Likko
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            I’ll pick a nit with “engraved”. Commercial LPs are molded in a hydraulic press — which could produce any other surface texture equally well. The original master disk is an engraving; the copies are not, at least as I define engraving.

            The LP vs CD arguments always amused me. Particularly when vinyl fanciers argued that the LP was somehow more true to the original. When cutting the master, the signal ran through analog filters to de-emphasize bass and over-emphasize treble to compensate for the limitations of the cutter and medium. On playback, a reverse of that filter restored the signal to an approximation of the original. Most people who claimed to prefer vinyl actually preferred a particular implementation of the RIAA equalization filter. That is, they preferred their music distorted in certain ways. I’ve seen some studies that suggest people who have grown up with low-bit-rate MP3 recordings prefer music with specific high-frequency distortions in blind listening tests.Report

            • Avatar Will H. in reply to Michael Cain
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              I think you’re referring to Dolby, which was used more in tape products.
              The heat from friction reduces the highs over time.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Michael Cain
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              The LP / CD debate was perfectly valid, back when the first CDs were coming out. If it’s less-valid now, it’s because the old tapes have been hauled out and mounted on the old Studers and been remixed for the capabilities of modern amps and speakers.

              Every time I see someone wearing ear buds, I smile grimly. How anyone can tolerate the crappy speakers on those things I’ll never understand.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to BlaiseP
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                If by “ear buds” you just mean the stock white iPod ones, I agree – total crap. But there are some decent in-ear ‘phones out there, even in the <$50 range.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to BlaiseP
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                Over ear or hit the highway.

                The big part of the LP/CD debate was that a lot of the early CDs weren’t reprocessed. And truly, a bunch of those AAD discs sound worse than the AAA LP that was pressed from the same analog mixing.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                It depends. The best pair of headphones I have ever owned are wrap-around buds made by Bang & Olufsen. Like, no other pair is even close. They’re so good I don’t even bother taking my over-ear made-for-airplanes BOSE phones on airplanes anymore.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to Glyph
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                If stupid rich is the goal, I suggest dropping the headphones altogether and buying a pair of these…

                http://www.magnepan.com/model_MG_37Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph
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                Heh. I have already determined that the next speakers I buy will be Maggies. They have a “first taste is cheap” model, the MMGW’s, that are $325 a pair and go on-wall. I will go with these (particularly since I will probably need to upgrade my amp to drive them).Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to Glyph
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                Once you try Maggies you will never go back. They require gobs of power though. I bought a pair 26 years ago and they still sound amazing. There is something special to music projected by a dipole without that box sound.

                Oh, and move them way out from the back wall. This allows you to tune the bass reinforcement and minimize midrange smearing.

                I usually surf the Internet in my music room listening to my old maggies. Just finished playing Mozart and switched to Sonny Rollins on Way Out West.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Glyph
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                I use the Crate MX120R for playback.
                Makes that little mp3 player kick.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph
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                Yeah, I’ve heard the bigger free-standing models, and they are amazing, but they are so expensive and require so much space. The reviews I read on the MMGW’s lead me to believe they’ll be good enough for my purposes, they fold flat against the wall when not in use, and $325/pair is VERY reasonable for speakers.

                Of course, Magnepan is counting on me later getting richer and upgrading, but joke’s on them. I’ll never be any richer.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to Glyph
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                The other thing of course is to buy used. I wouldnt recommend going too old, but you can get a 5 or 6 year old pair of 1.6′ s for under a grand. Older and they will be even less.

                If you don’t have a high powered, high current amp, the cheap way to drive Maggies is with Emotiva amps. The best bang for the buck in amps. They sound phenomenal on Maggies.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to Glyph
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                Speaking of MP3 playback…

                The amazing thing is how many people allow their ITunes library to ruin their music with compression technology. The default setting is compressed to save space on MP3 players. Everyone neglects to reset it to Apple Lossless or FLAC.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph
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                Any new freestanding speakers are far off in my future. I have little ones and space is at a premium, plus I don’t need them sticking a lightsaber through them (which is why wall-mounted, flat-folding speakers that are reasonably-priced seem a better bet).

                When I have a music room, one happy day, things will be different. Until then I may content myself with some decent headphones – there are some planar models out there (same basic idea as Magnepans).Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph
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                Does iTunes handle FLAC native? It didn’t use to.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Glyph
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                When I ripped all mine, I picked .mp3 format because it was more ubiquitous, and I did ’em at 256 because I needed to save disk space, and 384 vs. 256 is noticeable only on the occasional track.

                Now, admittedly my ears are starting to go, so maybe this is a “good enough for me, not for thee” thing.

                Yes, I know, uncompressed Ogg or FLAC is the One True Way.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to Glyph
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                I believe you have to use Apple Lossless.

                If the quality doesn’t matter, it does save a lot of space to compress. And like Michael said, a lot of people are starting to prefer the sound. It sounds really smooth and liquid.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Glyph
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                I can barely tell the difference between 128 and 192. I finally upgraded my rips to 192 simply so that it plays at the same volume as the stuff I download from Amazon.

                I can’t tell the difference between 192 and 256. 384? Forget it. There are advantages to being hard-of-hearing.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Glyph
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                My digital software is old, and doesn’t allow me to edit FLAC.

                The other day, I was listening to an old demo cassette from ’97 of yours truly, amazed at how some of that stuff still holds up.
                Then I popped in a mp3 cd of the Presidents, and it made the crappy production value of the demo sound fairly good.
                It really shows in the brightness of the cymbals.

                The thing is, I typically hard shelf everything above 16k for recordings purposes.
                Most of what you hear above that is noise, which is generated naturally by the action of the speakers in playback.
                Where that’s missing, you can always add air back in with an exciter.Report

              • Avatar Pat Cahalan in reply to Glyph
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                My hearing loss is in the upper range. I bet I can’t get anything above 16k anyway.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Glyph
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                Most people can hear up to 20 – 22.5k, but the drivers don’t go that far up.
                If you take a look at the Renkus-Heinz drivers and compare the cost of those that go to 16k with the ones that go to 20, you’ll see why 16k is an effective limit.

                I also hard shelf everything below 28Hz.
                That’s the rating limit for the 18″ JBLs. They produce tones lower than that, but those tomes aren’t rated for the same drive.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                I’m a Bose over the ear man, myself, though not the noise-cancelling variety. I swear by my AE2 headphones. I used to be a Sony MDR-V700DJ fan but they were just Hobnorkshus Heavy.

                I only ask of recorded music and playback systems to be clear, with full dynamic range and no sweeteners, please. The engineer went to a great deal of trouble at mixdown: don’t mess with what he did. He had his reasons. Those old Supremes records? All that Motown stuff? Berry Gordy would have it mixed down using a pair of car speakers so it would sound right, coming out crappy sound systems. When Bob Ludwig was mastering all that wonderful music, he knew the limitations of his machinery: the early square-wave synths would wreak hell on disc masters.

                Steely Dan tried using some of the early Dolby compression technology. Screwed up a whole album. Katy Lied.

                Don’t rely on compression or sweeteners or buy Dr. Dre’s Beats headphones. Such things will not improve the music. They always make it worse.

                Well, now we’re modern and lucky. We’ve sampled many of those old tapes. Hopefully future generations will keep those bits transferred forward onto media which can be played back. The tape won’t be there.Report

              • Avatar Roger in reply to BlaiseP
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                I just attended the Chicago Audio show this last weekend and the rooms were about 75% vinyl. I would say the rest were primarily computer audio, with a couple CDs and one reel to reel.

                My preference is record dependent, though I have been starting to really appreciate digital lately. It is definitely easier to start inexpensive with digital.Report

              • Avatar Will H. in reply to Roger
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                There are a few things that attracted me to digital.
                Splicing is a lot easier. And the glue never pops off.
                Application of effects is typically faster than spinning a tape in real-time.

                But I love my Tascam 4-track.
                Especially when I can expand it to 16 so easily with Cakewalk.Report

            • Avatar Roger in reply to Michael Cain
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              “I’ve seen some studies that suggest people who have grown up with low-bit-rate MP3 recordings prefer music with specific high-frequency distortions in blind listening.”

              This is the sad state of affairs in pop music today. People are growing up listening to massively compressed, low bit rate music with a smoothed out top end and the dynamics squeezed out to result in maximal average loudness. So producers are mastering records with this sound. Most current pop is becoming unlistenable on a system designed to play accurately recorded music.

              Recent mixes of old classics, like Rush’s 2112 or Dire Straights Brothers in Arms are even being ruined o give the ear bid crowd what they love.

              Luckily classical, jazz, blues and such are not yet ruined. I have heard a backlash is starting to form on pop. Heck, there is no expense in recording it right and then selling a shitty version for more. We need some capitalist to save the day.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Burt Likko
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            Most excellent Burt. I think oldsters had a love affair with vinyl, and albums!, and all the wonderful rituals that were part of playing music. Kids Today just won’t ever experience that. Well, maybe ironically.Report

  2. Avatar Ethan Gach
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    Doolittle – Pixies

    By the Way – Chili Peppers

    Guero – BeckReport

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Ethan Gach
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      +1 on Doolittle, except can we use a burned CD on which we have substituted “Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf)” for the album version? It would have broken up the album flow so much better.Report

  3. Avatar Kim
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    The Note of SatanismReport

  4. Avatar NewDealer
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    I am confused by the first and second rules. Should the first one be ten songs?

    My choices based on the ambiguity of the rules:

    1. Different Class-Pulp

    2. This is Hardcore-Pulp

    3. Chet in Paris-Chet Baker

    4. 69 Love Songs-The Magnetic Fields

    5.The White Album-The Beatles.

    6-Live at the Village Vanguard-Sonny Rollins

    7.The Kids are Alight-The Who

    8. If You are Feeling Sinister-Belle and Sebastian

    9. Dig Me Out-Sleater-KenneyReport

  5. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist
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    Golden Earring – Big Game (for Radar Love)
    The Sweet – Little Willy & Ballroom Blitz
    Trooper – Raise a Little Hell
    Kiss – Destroyer
    Joe Satriani – Surfing With The Alien & Flying in a Blue DreamReport

    • Avatar zic in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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      This is not a vote for Radar Love, it’s a suggestion for a future bar fight:

      Radar Love was the soundtrack for my first serious boyfriend. Just the one song, not the album. That would make a good future bar fight; the soundtrack, the romance, and the outcome; or as much as one feels comfortably revealing.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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      I’d rather have Surfing with the Alien than Flying in a Blue Dream. Two Joe is 1/5 of the music. One thumbs up on SwtA (Satch Boogie!) and one down on FiaBD.Report

    • Avatar Will H. in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
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      I really like Desolation Boulevard. It’s one of the classics of rock ‘n roll.
      This was the first album where the Sweet were permitted to play their own songs. Side One is the songwriting duo the label signed them to sell for (with studio musicians playing the instruments). I think “Hellraiser” (released as a single) was the first one they were allowed to play their own instruments.
      If you listen to the difference in the British & American versions of “Fox on the Run,” you’ll see quite a difference.
      They didn’t do so well at the live shows, because the kids were expecting something more like the Archies, and they got a band that was pretty heavy for the time.

      I like about every song from Side 2, but only a couple from Side 1. Side 2 is all the stuff written by the Sweet.

      And if you listen to “Love Is Like Oxygen,” you’ll see that there was a tremendous difference after the band got control of the recording of material.
      Those guys actually rock.Report

  6. Avatar Sam
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    10 albums is way too many.Report

  7. Avatar Russell Saunders
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    1) “Comfort Eagle” by Cake. Because the songs are awesome to drive to, especially “Love You Madly.”

    2) “The Globe Sessions” by Sheryl Crow. Because not only is it a legitimately great album in its own right (my favorite of hers, and I’m a fan), but it was the absolute best break-up album during a particularly bad break-up of mine and listening to it would give me a perfect excuse to gripe to everyone in the car about what an asshole that guy was. Also, all of my other ex-boyfriends.

    3) “The Immaculate Collection” by Madonna. Because screw your “greatest hits” prohibition, it has almost all of my favorite songs of hers in one place, and I like the version of “Express Yourself” on that album better than the original in “Like a Prayer.”

    4) “Pink Moon” by Nick Drake. Because we will need something lovely and peaceful to listen to in the background when we’re having more thoughtful conversations.

    5) “Extraordinary Machine” by Fiona Apple. Because Fiona is one hell of a songwriter and lyricist and “Red Red Red” is hauntingly beautiful. Also because I think the title song and “Waltz (Better Than Fine)” are as close as she ever gets to “cheerful.”

    6) The movie soundtrack to “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Because I can sing the entire score from memory, and I want dibs on Judas when we pick parts.

    7) Beethoven’s 9th symphony. I refuse to stoop to justifying this one.

    8) “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by the Beatles. Because we obviously need an album by the Beatles and this seems the one most likely to get everyone’s vote.

    9) “MobySongs” by Moby. I think it’s also a greatest hits album, but since I had no compunction about ignoring the rules with Madonna why should I now? (Maybe an exception can be made for one-named recording artists whose names start with “M”?) Because I like these songs a lot.

    10) “Warm Sounds” by zero7. Because the songs are really beautiful and I think people will like them.

    Edited (because I can): Sorry, Moby. I was apparently high on crack when I composed this list, and left off “Graceland” by Paul Simon. Someone has to go, my friend, and it’s you. Because “Graceland” is perfection in audible form.Report

  8. Avatar Kim
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    I’m rather irritated that no game soundtracks are allowed. Guess I’ll have to settle for actually getting something in the mixtape (so far, no ones actually recommending something someone else has recommended, so I guess I win that bet… so far).Report

  9. Avatar Ethan Gach
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    Royal Scam – Steely DanReport

  10. Avatar Patrick Cahalan
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    Okay, I could easily nominate about a hundred candidates.

    But with this crowd? On this site? With all the haterade?

    There is only one thing I can do.

    I will pick one album, ensuring at least three votes.

    Rush, “Moving Pictures”.Report

  11. Avatar Patrick Cahalan
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    Point of order/clarification:

    Live albums do not count as compilations or greatest hits albums, if they are single session live recordings. Yes, or no?Report

  12. Avatar zic
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    Native Dancer Wayne Shorter.
    Bitches Brew, Miles Davis
    Heavy Weather Weather Report
    Birds of Fire Mahavishnu Orchestra
    Return to Forever Return to Forever/Chick Corea
    Ah Um Charles Mingus
    Monk’s Dream Thelonius Monk
    My Favorite Things John Coltrane
    Houses of the Holy Led Zeppelin
    Zap Mama Zap MamaReport

  13. Avatar MikeSchilling
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    Abbey Road — Beatles

    Collected Harpsichord Concerti — Bach (Academy of Ancient Music, Christopher Hogwood)

    Who’s Next — The Who

    Aja — Steely Dan

    Piano Rags by Scott Joplin (Joshua Rifkin)

    Blonde on Blonde — Bob Dylan

    To The Bone — The Kinks

    Symphonies 35,39-41 — Mozart (Cleveland Orchestra, George Szell)

    The Wild, The Innocent, and The E-Street Shuffle — Springsteen

    Water Music — Handel (Bath Chamber Orchestra, Yehudi Menuhin)Report

  14. Avatar Pinky
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    Jethro Tull – A Little Light Music
    Dave Matthews / Tim Reynolds – Live at Luther College
    Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
    Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young – 4-Way Street
    Barenaked Ladies – Rock Spectacle
    Rush – Moving Pictures (I may have gone with Exit…Stage Left, but I’ve got to throw some support Patrick’s way.)
    Eric Clapton Unplugged
    soundtrack from The Commitments
    Beethoven’s 7th
    Tchaikovsky’s 4thReport

  15. Avatar Trina Voss
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    Weird Al’s Dare to be Stupid. Gotta stick with the classics.Report

  16. Avatar Roger
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    A lot of the above recommendations are great musical choices, but not all are necessarily great road trip selections.

    This is the perfect road tip collection:
    Frankie Goes To Hollywood — Welcome to the Pleasure-dome
    The Clash — London Calling
    Liz Phair — Exhile in Guyville
    Elvis Costello — My Aim is True
    Jack Johnson — Brushfire Faireytales
    Damian Marley — Welcome to Jamrock
    Stevie Wonder — Innervisions
    The Wailers — Burnin’
    Led Zepelin — How The West Was Won
    The final choice is either Live at Leeds or Abbey Road, whichever I can find firstReport

  17. Avatar Burt Likko
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    Based on the rules it seems to me what we’re looking for are albums to listen to all the way through and repeatedly for a long period of time. They should be fun and engaging and consistently entertaining for all the songs, not just the popular tracks (we’re listening to the whole album, not cherry-picking individual songs). So my nominees are:

    Beatles: Rubber Soul (but I’m good with Sgt. Pepper or the White Album too).
    Fleetwood Mac: Rumours
    Boston: Boston
    Sarah McLachlan: Fumbling Towards Ecstasy
    Journey: Escape
    Garbage: Garbage (Version 2.0 equally acceptable)
    Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon
    Adele: 21
    Delerium: Karma
    Eric Clapton: UnpluggedReport

  18. Avatar Jason Kuznicki
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    The Beatles – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

    The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

    David Bowie – Diamond Dogs

    Fiery Furnaces – Blueberry Boat

    Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works vol. 2 (Note: This is NOT an anthology or a boxed set. It’s an album.)

    Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion

    R.E.M. – Life’s Rich Pageant

    The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses

    Belle and Sebastian – If You’re Feeling Sinister

    They Might Be Giants – John Henry, although I’ll change my vote to their self-titled album or to Flood if anyone backs me up on those.Report

  19. Avatar Pinky
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    I’d love to see a final round on this game. There’s got to be some vote-splitting, like with Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here.Report

  20. Avatar Glyph
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    CCR – Cosmo’s Factory (really, it was hard not just to fill this list out with CCR)

    REM – Life’s Rich Pagaeant (REM is great roadtrip music, CCR’s spiritual heir in the 80s)

    Guided by Voices – Under the Bushes, Under the Stars (and GbV were in some ways REM’s 90’s heir; fidelity-wise this one should be more palatable to my fellow passengers than Bee Thousand or Alien Lanes)

    Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream (guitars enough for both the Boston AND MBV camps; bonkers drumming for the Rush fans; angsty enough for the kids and musically-ambitious enough for the adults; lots of little psychedelic nooks and corners to get lost in – a mixed group listened to almost nothing BUT this on one 36-hour road trip)

    Stone Roses – s/t (and THIS was on the other side of that tape)

    Yo La Tengo – I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One (long & there’s something for everyone; this one PLAYS like a mixtape).

    Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers (maybe their most varied record)

    The Cure – Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (again, long and varied)

    LCD Soundsystem – s/t (to get that dance party started, plus it’s long, plus it helps make up for the fact there’s not a good way to get New Order on this list due to the unevenness of their albums)

    T. Rex – The Slider (needs no justification)Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Glyph
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      Siamese Dream is a really good album. Sticky Fingers is good.

      I’ll upvote Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, but… oh, wait, I can’t make other suggestions.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph
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      +1 on Siamese DreamReport

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris
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        Also, Smashing Pumpkins were one of the top 5 worst concerts I’ve ever seen (saw them in ’94).Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris
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          I was lucky to see them at a medium-sized club right as Siamese Dream was coming out – I was working at the radio station so I was able to get into the (way-over-sold-out-and-frankly-trampling-death-dangerous) show.

          They were on FIRE. Hungry enough to want the world, and confident because they had just made the record that would do it.

          To this day I don’t know if I have ever seen a more gonzo drum performance than “Geek USA” (and Chamberlin made it look EASY).Report

          • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph
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            I think by the time I saw them Chamberlin was so messed up that he wasn’t that good. None of them were. And Corgan’s voice was shot.Report

            • Avatar Russell Saunders in reply to Chris
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              I’m not down voting anything (seems churlish to me), but I will simply note that I find Corgan’s voice… unlovely.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Russell Saunders
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                Tod – I move that despite Russel’s decorum, this counts as a downvote against Siamese Dream; it’s only fair, since I tried to throw out his Pink Moon.

                Doc, if it helps at all – on SD Butch Vig had the eminent good sense to mix his voice way down, so it’s not nearly so nasal. It’s one reason why SD is great, and later albums (when Corgan pushed his own voice high up in the mix) are not so great.Report

              • Avatar Russell Saunders in reply to Glyph
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                says:

                It’s been a jillion years since I listened to that album, so perhaps I’d like it better now. I just remember that musical era seemingly saturated with Smashing Pumpkins, and the vocals always set my teeth on edge.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph
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                says:

                Ugh, Mellon Folly and the Infinite Badness…Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris
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                says:

                There’s one good album, in that two-disc set.

                But that one album is still improperly produced, w/r/t his voice.

                “1979” is the only song I bothered to rip into my library.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph
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                says:

                It’s the only song I have from that album too. It is a very good song.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Chris
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                says:

                Interesting note about MC&tIB:

                My friend who discovered Siamese Dream was the one who told me, “Take it back” when I told him I’d picked up Mellon Collie. I hadn’t opened it yet.

                On his recommendation, I took it back. It’s the only musical purchase I’ve ever returned.

                (except for an independent label band called “Freaky Fukin’ Weirdoz” who had an EP called “Bitch Make Sandwich”, which I bought because I was drunk and an idiot roomate egged me into it in the first place.)Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                says:

                God I wish you had kept that last album.

                Remember that in the post-Nirvana major-label-WTF-is-going-on era, a band called “Butt Trumpet” could somehow release an album called “Primitive Enema” and get it into stores?

                Good times, good times.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                says:

                Glyph, I think you have a new Wednesday music post theme.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                says:

                I almost kept it, just as a conversation piece.

                But while you get both good and bad conversations about an EP titled “Bitch Make Sandwich”, you also get a small percentage of very, very bad conversations, and no very, very good conversations to make up for it.

                I already have to explain Stormtroopers of Death’s “Speak English or Die”.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                says:

                DUDE. I used to have that SOD. They wouldn’t be topped for song titles until AC (no, I won’t type out their name) came along.

                I kept an EP by a band called Cheeseburger because it has THE WORST cover art you have ever seen (the music isn’t bad, it’s just sort of AC/DC party rock). The only way I will link an image here is if I can somehow rot13 it.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Patrick Cahalan
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                says:

                The version of “Chromatic Death” on “Speak English or Die” is like, a thousand times faster than the version of “Chromatic Death” on Anthrax’s “Attack of the Killer B’s”.

                I didn’t even think that was possible.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Russell Saunders
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                says:

                I join the Doc in this opinion. Great ideas in the Pumpkins’ music but Corgan is even whinier than Michael Stipe, and in a way that does not engender affection and sympathy the way Stipe’s voice does.Report

    • Avatar Michelle in reply to Glyph
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      says:

      +1 for Sticky Fingers.Report

    • Avatar Maribou in reply to Glyph
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      says:

      I heartily second (well, more than second but I lost count) both Kiss Me (etc) and Yo La Tengo (another band I only really appreciate on the road).Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph
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      says:

      Can I swap one of mine out (maybe GbV, since it appears no one here would ever second it, you uncultured rubes) for The Velvet Underground & Nico (though the s/t third record would also be acceptable – I like White Light, but that one could be a bit abrasive for some)?

      How has no one (including my own idiotic self) chosen the Velvets?Report

  21. Avatar mark boggs
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    says:

    Not sure if anyone has mentioned this, and maybe I’m the only one gleefully taking advantage of this fact, but I can game the system by waiting for others to suggest the albums I like and then I go and +1 them, therefore allowing myself to give more weight to more albums than the 10 choices I’m supposed to receive. I’m hoping this will not cause hard feelings during our time on the island together.Report

  22. Avatar Kazzy
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    says:

    My Dark and Twisted Fantasy – Kanye WestReport

  23. Avatar Chris
    Ignored
    says:

    1. Kind of Blue – Miles
    2. Blue Trane – Coltrane
    3. The Band – The Band
    4. Highway 61 Revisited – Dylan
    5. Doolittle – Pixies
    6. Illmatic – Nas
    7. Pastel Blues – Nina Simone
    8. Complete Brandenburg Concertos – Bach
    9. Rubber Soul – The Beatles
    10.The Boatman’s Call – Nick Cave and the Bad SeedsReport

  24. Avatar crash
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    says:

    For road trips you gotta go heavy on the rock and country. The rock helps you stay awake, the country gets you thinking about dirt roads and honkytonks and beer. Some jazz to mix things up. Nothing too mellow or sad, otherwise you find yourself crying and thinking about exes and the poor choices you’ve made and all that.

    The Clash–The Clash.
    not gonna fall asleep during this one

    Stones–Exile on Main Street
    the best Stones album

    Johnny Cash–Live at Folsom Prison
    helps keep the speed up. turn it down if you get pulled over

    Lucinda Williams–Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
    greasy

    Joe Ely–Joe Ely
    a lotta traveling in this one. Also “Suckin’ a Big Bottle of Gin” which is a great driving song

    Mingus–Ah Um
    essential

    Bruce–Born in the USA
    maybe not his best but “Darlington County” is a great road song, album is solid top to bottom

    Pogues–Rum Sodomy and the Lash
    for the backseat drinkers

    Rod Stewart–Every Picture Tells a Story
    footloose and fancy free

    Joan Jett–GH
    total cheat on the rules, sorryReport

  25. Avatar Michelle
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    says:

    Fun topic, Tod!

    1. Leonard Cohen, Live in London
    2. Jackson Browne, Late for the Sky
    3. The Eagles, Hotel California
    4. Van Morrison, It’s Too Late To Stop Now
    5. Joni Mitchell, Shadows and Light
    6. Graham Parker, Squeezing Out The Sparks
    7. John Hiatt, Slow Turning
    8. Warren Zevon, Life’ll Kill Ya
    9. Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run
    10. Red Elvises, Drinking With JesusReport

  26. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    Loveless by My Bloody Valentine
    The Sensual World by Kate Bush
    Blue Bell Knoll by Cocteau Twins
    Mezzanine by Massive Attack
    Protection by Massive Attack
    Pre-Millennium Tension by Tricky
    Homogenic by Bjork
    Kid A by Radiohead (maybe The Bends or OK Computer, if you want to argue about that)
    Boys for Pele by Tori Amos
    No Cure For Cancer by Denis LearyReport

  27. Avatar Brian Houser
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    says:

    In the age of having an entire music library on hand at all times, it’s really tough to narrow it down to just ten albums. I chose based on my song ratings and play vs. skip ratio in iTunes. The winners have at least one five-star track each, and an average score above 4 stars. Unfortunately, some of my favorite tunes are left behind because they appear on an otherwise weak album.

    ABC: The Lexicon of Love
    Bill Hicks: Queen’s Theater Late Show ’92 (bootleg)
    Brian Culbertson: Long Night Out
    Chic: C’est Chic
    Larry Carlton: Fingerprints
    Michael Jackson: Thriller
    The Rippingtons: Weekend in Monaco
    Rush: Power Windows
    Steely Dan: Aja
    Steely Dan: GauchoReport

  28. Avatar Jeff No-Last-Name
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    says:

    New:
    Beethoven — 3rd Symphony.
    George Thorough[ly]good — any album (just look at his name!), but I’ll go with “Rockin’ My Life Away”
    Tom Petty — Largely same as George, but I’ll go with “Into the Great Wide Open”

    +1 for “Wish You Were Here” For an album with only 4.5 songs, it’s pretty awesome.Report

  29. Avatar Tod Kelly
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    says:

    I’m going to list off my ten nominations, but since I am the entire committee of judges no points will be awarded by my doing so. If people second them, however, I will count those as points.

    I will also note that I agree entirely with Burt’s musings above. If you’re planning an extended time limited to ten albums, you have to consider the entire album; you also have to think of the entire list of ten as a kind of meta-album that will take you different places. So not only are these my ten choices, I’m listing them in the order I’d place them in the carrousel.

    1. I love Everybody, Lyle Lovett. A perfect album to listen to as you settle into your seat, drift through the Starbucks drive-thru, and make your way onto the highway. (Most of the songs feel like a nice relaxed cup of joe on a breezy, sunny day anyway.) By the time we get to the track Penguins, we’re just about ready to start singing along out loud.

    2. Cosmic Thing, The B-52s. It’s time to rev up those engines and cover some ground. Cosmic Thing is one of those albums I would never put on at home, but as part of a long car drive it somehow feels essential. I defy you do so and not dance in your seat!

    3. Revolver, The Beatles. We need a Beatles album everyone can sing along with, and for me Revolver narrowly beats out Abbey Road for two reasons: One, it’s a little bit more upbeat and foot-tappy, which is good for a car trip (I may well get a speeding ticket when listening to And Your Bird Can Sing), and two, I Want You (She’s So Heavy) is so damn hypnotic that I could see myself driving off the road when the music shuts off unexpectedly.

    4. Punch the Clock, Elvis Costello. This is still my favorite total album from a man that’s made so many amazing ones. It also includes my favorite E.C. lyric of all time: Since nights were long and days were olden, woman to man has been beholden/She sends back his tribute of a rose and says this ring is better suited for the nose/he’s always fingering.

    5. Narrow Stairs, Death Cab for Cutie. Pretty much guaranteed to not only not make the cut, but to not get a single vote from that gallery. But I still wants me some Death Cab.

    6. Making Movies, Dire Straits. Not the perfect album, but for those that still remember vinyl Making Movies might well have boasted the perfect “Side One.” My opinion of this album grows with each passing year.

    7. Rhapsody In Blue/An American In Paris/Suite for Porgy & Bess, George Gershwin, Oscar Levant – Piano. We need some kind of orchestral music; if we’re traveling through America, why not choose the most American orchestral piece of all time? Besides, the middle section of Rhapsody sounds like it was made to be listened to while driving.

    8. Exile on Main St, The Rolling Stones. Greatest Stones album ever, and a great album for driving.

    9. Quadrophenia, The Who. It’s been a long day, it’s already getting dark, and it’s time to get a wee bit quiet, circumspect and maudlin. Quadrophenia is a perfect soundtrack for all of that.

    10. Blue Train, John Coltrane. Considered by many to be the last of the classic hard-bop albums. It may well be the perfect album to sip whiskey to; it’s a great listen when driving long stretches by starlight.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Tod Kelly
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      says:

      I’ll upvote Revolver and Narrow Stairs. I’d rather have Who’s Next than Quadrophenia, though.

      Although Death Cab intro album was Jack’s “ZOMG he still won’t freakin’ fall asleep drive around for 30 minutes in the car album” for a good reason, and might deserve rejection on the safety concern for just that reason.Report

    • Avatar Russell Saunders in reply to Tod Kelly
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      says:

      OHMYGOD!!! What is WRONG with me that I left off “Cosmic Thing”!?!?!? (Unlike you, I would [and do] totally play it at home.)

      I’ve already edited my list once, so I’m not gonna do it again. But consider this a massive 1+ for “Cosmic Thing.” It is one of my all-time favorite albums ever, and I did listen to it (back in the high and far-off times of the Walkman) on family road trips, over and over and over.Report

    • Avatar Michelle in reply to Tod Kelly
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      says:

      I’ll up vote Gershwin, although I can’t sing to it (a benefit to any fellow passengers as, or so I’ve been told, my voice can crack rocks).Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Tod Kelly
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      says:

      This is not a downvote – I like the album OK, and I know it’s the consensus “best Stones” – but I’ll never understand why people prefer Exile to Fingers.

      Exile‘s production and songwriting are so samey/monotonous in comparison – I get tired of it.

      Fingers has great/varied songs, AND varied production/arrangement touches. I never get tired of it.Report

    • Avatar Brian Houser in reply to Tod Kelly
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      says:

      +1 for Cosmic Thing. It’s not one of my all-time favorites, but it’s definitely a great road trip album.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Tod Kelly
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      says:

      How many different Beatles albums can I downvote and still have them counted? -1 on Revolver, if you’ll allow it.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Tod Kelly
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      says:

      Cosmic Thing is indeed a whole lot of fun. I can +1 it.

      Making Movies is good for that time of the drive just before sunset when a bit of self-hypnosis and alpha state in the brain is good for driving focus. And the guitar solos are ionospherically good. +1 there.

      I have a hard time picking between Exile on Main Street and Sticky Fingers if we’re going to rock out with Mick and Keef. Beggars Banquet is worth it for “Sympathy for the Devil” all on its own. Exile is a double album — what are the rules on that, does that count for one or two albums? In any event, I am totally down with the Stones for our road trip.Report

    • Avatar MikeSchilling in reply to Tod Kelly
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      says:

      Perfect side 1 is right. You’re doing something very right when a song as cool as Skateaway is the weak one.

      +1 for Quadrophenia. What’s better for a night drive past the water than Sea and Sand. (We’ll roll down the windows to get the sea breeze and picture being on our GS scooters.)Report

    • Avatar Maribou in reply to Tod Kelly
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      says:

      Upvotes for Revolver, Making Movies, and Quadrophenia from here. More of my neutral whining for Blue Train (one of my favorite albums of all time that would likely lead to mass death by the 10th time through).

      And a very BIG upvote for Lyle Lovett, who is basically the best dude to play on any roadtrip ever.Report

    • Avatar Will H. in reply to Tod Kelly
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      says:

      +1 for I Love EverybodyReport

    • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Tod Kelly
      Ignored
      says:

      Definitely upvoting Revolver, although Beatles 1 is even more sing-able.Report

    • Avatar Anne in reply to Tod Kelly
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      says:

      +1 Cosmic ThingReport

  30. Avatar James Hanley
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    says:

    Which ten albums should we bring on our two month road trip?

    Oh, the photo album of my most adorable children, surely.Report

  31. Avatar Patrick Cahalan
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    says:

    By the way, Tod, I hate you for giving me the three vote option.

    Because I really, really, want to post a list.Report

  32. Avatar Raymond Nacorda
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    says:

    Fairly wide mix, some already mentioned.

    Israel Kamakawiwo’ole – Facing Future
    Jethro Tull – Thick as a Brick
    The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s
    Cake – Comfort Eagle
    Metallica – S&M
    Paul Simon – Graceland
    Fountains of Wayne – Welcome Interstate Managers
    Mussorgsky / Ravel – Pictures at an Exhibition

    My thinking: wider mix helps keep it a little more interesting for longer. Yeah, there’s some modern pop in there, but I find the clever lyrics of FoW to be entertaining enough to overrule my classic rock preference (ditto with the funk baselines of Cake.). Also why I chose S&M over Metallica’s black album or Justice. And Iz… his take on Somewhere Over the Rainbow is one of my go-to songs for relaxation, I’m assuming needed at some point on the road trip, so I’ll bargain my ass off to keep that album, just for that one song (though it’s a great album overall.)Report

  33. Avatar James Hanley
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    says:

    In no particular order.

    1. Dead Kennedys: Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
    2. Lucinda Williams: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
    3. The Damned: Phantasmagoria
    4. Jefferson Airplane: Surrealistic Pillow
    5. The Cult: Love
    6. Guns n’ Roses: Appetite for Destruction
    7. Talking Heads: Speaking in Tongues
    8. Robert Johnson: King of the Delta Blues Singers (I don’t care if it’s an anthology, your “no greatest hits” album doesn’t apply in the case of lost gone blues musicians who didn’t record actual albums.)
    9. Mississippi John Hurt: 1928 Sessions.
    10. Fleetwood Mac: RumoursReport