Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Full-album-repeat Status

A couple weeks ago, maybe a few now, I gave Ben Howard's new album a full, attentive listen. Then I listened to it again. And again. A few days later, I was confident it had become one of complete albums I will likely listen to for years and years to come—something that doesn't often happen. Usually an album has just a couple songs that I love. Or even if it is a majority of the songs, maybe the album just doesn't sing right.

When I realized Ben Howard's album had achieved full-album-repeat status, I also realized I had I think five of these albums. And because I want to get it on paper, here they are, more or less in the order of longevity of company.

1. Coldplay Parachutes (2000)
Go to song: "We Never Change"
This is the classic. Rush of Blood to the Head and X & Y are essentially also full-album-repeat status, but Parachutes has them beat by just. I have specific memories that go with these old Coldplay albums. You will never learn them.

2. Sigur Rós Valtari (2013)
Go to song: hard for me to distinguish, but I think I like "Varúo" a lot
Did someone introduce me to this album? I don't remember. I think I finally realized it existed while I was working in Washington. It takes me to other worlds in my heart.

3. Daughter Wild Youth EP (2012) and If You Leave (2013)
Go to song: again, tough, but I do like "Human"
Also, this is a mix. I have a playlist that includes these two albums and they're indistinguishable for me. She stirs me to another place.

4. Ben Howard I Forget Where We Were (2014)
Go to songs: "Small Things" and "Conrad"
He just jams, and so good. Made miles better when Spotify introduced the lyrics option around the same time I was digging these heroics. A beautiful experience. I found out Jones loves his other album. I don't. The exact opposite, I love it. We're all so different.

5. Ólafur Arnalds Living Room Songs (2011)
Go to song: No idea. They're all the same to me so far.
I had one of his songs on a playlist I would return to now and then and finally listened to the whole album. I have to confess: it feels unsettled on the list for me. I think it deserves to be here and think it will stay, but it's best for even more specific moods than the other albums. I don't do this one during the day. Maybe it will fade... just like what happens to me when I listen... shhh... hush now. rest.

And now that I've put these on paper, I see they're mostly from recent years. Valtari and Daughter both feel like they've been with me a while, but it really hasn't been that long. Ben Howard still feels pretty fresh, but this album especially. I just really dig it. And Ólafur, well... I didn't love his other albums, and am not sure about this one. But there's something special about it, nonetheless.

So there they are, my full-album-repeat status albums. The albums I put on when I don't know what else to listen to. Or when I need to hurt and soar and scream in the stillness of my room. Or when I just want to sit with someone familiar. What are yours?


  1. I liked seeing these on paper/screen after hearing them. The ones that come most readily to mind for me:

    Ben Howard: Every Kingdom
    Noah Gundersen: Ledges and Family (two albums that I would be just as happy if they were on one)
    Mumford and Sons: Sigh No More
    Gregory Alan Isakov: The Empty Northern Hemisphere
    Coldplay: A Rush of Blood to the Head

  2. This is a good list AND a good idea. I've been listening to Daughter ever since that car ride. Oh I love her.

    Bon Iver's self titled album is the only one I can think of off the top of my head. But yours and Jones' lists are really good. I love having friends who are kindred-music-spirits. It's nice.