It is my pleasure to introduce Gabe Berman, author of Live Like A Fruit Fly, to readers of A Writer’s Life Blog — nourishing our creative muses is paramount. Music helps in the process. I couldn’t live without a tune playing in the background. Animal Collective is taking me on a journey through Merriweather Post Pavilion at the moment and I hope more people discover this band (I know many have). Gabe is the first author to choose an album by The Beatles. Sacrilegious how the rest of us who have filled out our favorite albums list passed over any of their gems, but now Gabe has inspired me to give another listen to Abbey Road. Please welcome Gabe into your reading life:
I’ve literally been waiting my entire life for someone to ask me about my top ten favorite albums of all time. But no offense Justin, I was hoping it was going to be some exotic princess. She’d say in her sultry accent, “Please tell me you love Jeff Buckley. Please, I beg of you.”
(Okay, Gabe, I am not going to disappoint you in too many ways beyond not being an exotic princess. I love Jeff Buckley, and he was an iconoclastic performer. For anyone who may not know this since the song has been covered by everyone in recent memory, Jeff Buckley was one of the first to cover Leonard Cohen’s gorgeous song Hallelujah. Rufus Wainright probably sung the most recognizable version, and only because it was used in the film Shrek.)
Regardless, here’s the list. Not in order.
Radiohead — OK Computer
Remember the moment in The Wizard Of Oz when it switched from black & white to color? That’s the way I felt when I heard OK Computer for the first time. It was like I never heard music before.
Paul Simon — Graceland
Although I dig Dylan, he’s not the greatest lyricist of our time. Paul Simon is.
“And she said losing love is like a window in your heart. Everybody sees you’re blown apart. Everybody sees the wind blow.”
Paul Simon — Rhythm Of The Saints
“Hard times, I’m used to them. The speeding planet burns, I’m used to that. My life’s so common it disappears. And sometimes even music cannot substitute for tears.”
I’ve heard nothing that captures despair so perfectly.
And the South American rhythms of Rhythm Of The Saints are so hypnotic they’ll stick to the sides of your soul forever.
Bruce Springsteen — Born To Run
This album is a time machine to my youth but the timeless cuts Thunder Road, Born To Run, Meeting Across The River and Jungleland mean more to me now than ever.
Dave Brubeck — Time Out
This is the only album in the world that sounds the way the album cover looks.
My dad introduced me to Brubeck and I love thinking about how his face lights up from the opening measure of Take Five. Thankfully my dad is still around to listen to it with.
Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue (Eden Baylee also chose Kind of Blue as one of her top 10 albums and you can read her list by clicking here)
By far the best jazz album of all time. Nothing even comes close.
I put it on in the background while I’m writing but invariably, the background becomes the foreground and I just sit there listening without writing a word. It’s that good.
Pat Metheny — Secret Story
Classifying Metheny as a guitarist is akin to classifying Beethoven as a piano player. They’re infinitely more.
This album was recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra and it makes you feel as if you’re living in movie filled with love, heartbreak and triumph.
Sting — Bring On The Night
“Stars will fall from dark skies as ancient rocks are turning. Quiet fills the room and your love flows through me. Though I lie here so still, I burn for you, I burn for you. I burn.”
Jeff Buckley — Grace
Cut open my heart and you’ll find this album inside of it. If you aren’t in love with Grace, we have nothing in common.
The Beatles — Abbey Road
“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
Let the music play,
An epiphany, a passion, and a trail of breadcrumbs led him out of Corporate America and into a writing career.
His columns appear regularly for Alan.com.
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