We decided to list our Top 10 Albums of music that inspire us or that gave value to us in some way. This is the Album Top 10 of Moniek:
1. Alice in Chains – Dirt
Alice in Chains is by far my favorite (grunge) band. It took a while to choose between their 90’s era albums, because they’re all quite different but equally amazing. I chose Dirt because my guitar hero Jerry Cantrell really shines on this album, his guitar tone is simply amazinga and the overall mix of this album is timeless. Each riff is memorable and singer Layne Staley compliments those riffs perfectly with his vocal lines and grim, honest lyrics. Another special thing are the vocal harmonies between Layne and Jerry. I’ll never get tired of this album.
2. David Bowie – Blackstar
I’m a huge Bowie fan, so choosing between one of his many albums was quite the task, but I ended up with Blackstar. I love how experimental this album is. Bowie never shied away from going in against the grain, and this farewell album is the ultimate example of that. Almost all of the songs are about his imminent demise, it’s hauntingly good.
3. St. Vincent – St. Vincent
I love guitar pedals, but apart from reverbs and delays I was always quite cautious. That was until I heard Strange Mercy by St. Vincent. Am I using too much gain on this pedal? Nah, just engage another one to alter the sound even more. Her work was eye-opening and I’m still learning how to just let go of all the standard guitar rules because of her. I chose the self titled album simply because some of my favorite songs are on it. Songs like Birth in Reverse and Huey Newton really makes me want to experiment more with guitar effects.
4. Chelsea Wolfe – Abyss
This may be the darkest album I’ve ever heard both musically and lyrically. Most of the songs are about sleep paralysis, others about the bleakness of life itself, everything is pitch-black. The guitars are slow and heavy, sometimes overwhelmingly so, while Chelsea’s vocals are very ethereal and calming, almost giving you comfort in this dark musical journey.
5. Grimes – Art Angels
This album is manic, quirky and all over the place. Every song is so detailed with subtle sound effects and samples, some of which you only discover after multiple times of listening. This is one of the most creative pop albums I’ve heard. I also
really like the fact that Grimes did all the producing by herself, that takes skill!
6. Jeff Buckley – Grace
This album is why I picked up the guitar when I was about 16 years old, most people praise Jeff Buckley because of his amazing vocal skill and range, but his guitar work was equally impressive.
7. Mad Season – Above
Mad Season was a short lived supergroup with band members from Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and The Screaming Trees. Layne Staley (again) uses his lyrics to shine light on the problems and regret of drug use, but without all the overdubs and harmonies he usually incorporated. This is an underrated gem where all involved musicians are at their best.
8. Type O Negative – October Rust
Type O Negative was in my opinion one of the most original bands to come out of the 90’s rock scene. Combining gothic rock, doom and Beatles-esque rock in their very own blend of music. Their lyrics span from dark subjects to tongue in cheek, poking fun at themselves. Bassist/vocalist Peter Steele had such a great voice that can’t easily be recreated. Songs like Love You To Death and In Praise of Bacchus remain one of my all time favorites.
9. The Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream
I think this is the album that I’ve listened to the most from this list. Hummer, Soma, Geek USA, Mayonaise, all amazing almost epic songs. Singer/guitarist is far from a great singer, but man, can he write songs. Memorable riffs, teenage angst, this is 90’s rock in a nutshell.
10. Anathema – Weather Systems
Anathema is a band who keeps reinventing themselves, not a single album sounds the same, but you can still easily hear its them. This is the one I’d like to listen to he most. It’s almost like a modern interpretation of Pink Floyd’s Dark side of The Moon structure wise, best to listen to in one go. One of the best modern prog albums in my opinion.
I love so many albums! Here are just a few more albums that also could have been in this list.
Fever Ray – Fever Ray
Chvrches – The Bones of What You Believe
Amenra – Mass IV
Alice in Chains – Jar of Flies (ep)
Massive Attack – 100th Window
Eefje de Visser – Bitterzoet
Opeth – Blackwater Park
The Knife – Shaking The Habitual
Chelsea Wolfe – Pain is Beauty