Best Of My Years: Dave

25 Nov

The ‘Best Of My Years’ series is a collection of lists from friends and family. An aggregation of ‘Top 10’ definitive lifetime albums.

Songs are often manifest within experience, and as a result, some albums have become definitive of certain memories. These are the albums that can evoke nostalgia or induce emotion; the albums that have given definition to our lives.

I told everyone else to make a list of 10, but it was too hard, and I write the blog, so I have 15.

For me, these aren’t necessarily the records that recall a certain memory. Instead, they are the albums that will forever accompany me.

So enjoy. And check back next Friday for Nada Alic’s ‘BOMY’.

15. The Thrills – So Much For The City (2003)

Hockey games, tournaments, and the car trips that accompanied: The Thrills were there. Back when my dad, my brother and I would get excited about making mix CD’s – ‘So Much For The City’ sits prominently in my memory. CD 1, track 7, the first song to get skipped to when the car stereo got turned on.

Don’t Steal Our Sun:

14. Daft Punk – Discovery (2001)

It’s hard to pinpoint my love of Discovery – because it’s been omnipresent. I guess its impact lies mainly in its influence. Daft Punk acted as a foray into dance music for me, and has subsequently influenced a large chunk of my music library.

Also, their persona is definition swag.

Digital Love:

13. Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006)

How can any teenager not get into this? Lyrically it sums up the emotion of adolescence, and does so in such a genuinely poetic manner that most of us only wish we could describe.

From The Ritz To The Rubble:

12. Friendly Fires – Friendly Fires (2008)

The more I listen, the better it gets. An illustration of how one song (Paris) can merit the rest a chance.

Also, Ed Macfarlane’s dance moves


11. Gorillaz – Demon Days (2005)

This is the first album that I ever listened to front to back; and front to back it is an amazing record. A false chronology, a collection of guests, and the quirkiness of spoken word. The first album that I ever got lost in.

Feel Good Inc.:

10. John Mayer – Continuum (2006)

Once a fan, always a fan – regardless of his public manifestation. I could have chosen any one of his albums, because they’ve all done the same thing: evoked emotion with simplicity. Continuum just seems to be on another level; and I think it’s because of ‘Stop This Train’.

Stop This Train:

9. Keane – Under The Iron Sea (2006)

It’s dark and it’s beautiful.

Piano pop has never been separate from criticism, and Keane seem to be at the forefront. But how can you not respect what these guys have produced? Great pop music centered around the voice of an overgrown cherub.

While ‘Hopes and Fears’ is obviously a great record, once again UTIS fully enveloped me.

The Frog Prince:

8. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago (2007)

Reclusion, sometimes you need it. For Emma, Forever Ago serves as the soundtrack. But for me it’s more.

I remember visiting a best friends cottage one winter. A modest shack with the essentials (i.e. beers and a frozen pond). It was everything we needed. Spotlights over the ice, hikes into the woods, toboggans onto the streets. The kind of memories where sound plays no part – and so visuals demand accompaniment. Bon Iver seems fitting.

While I know the driving emotion of the album is solitude, I can’t help but be reminded of that weekend. It triggers an unrivaled nostalgia.


7. Radiohead – In Rainbows (2007)

The defining record.

In retrospect, ‘In Rainbows’ is Radiohead’s most accessible, but I guess that’s what I needed. The Bends, OK Computer, Kid A, etc. etc. – a floodgate opened by my love for this record.

Jigsaw Falling Into Place:

6. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009)

The record I always wanted from Phoenix.

“Long Distance Call”: the offbeat synth stabs that made it so special. It was a song that showed promise. But on a record that didn’t match suit. While ‘It’s Never Been Like That’ had some amazing songs, it was never perfect.

‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’ is.


5. Coldplay – Parachutes (2000)

This is where sentiment and quality start sharing a role. There’s something about this record that takes me where no other can. There’s an intimacy in the distance of the songs (i.e. Spies).

Showmanship can ruin things for me, and when focus shifts, the music is often affected. That being said, Coldplay’s made some great pop music since ‘Parachutes’, some amazing pop music, but this album always seems to have something extra.

There’s a beauty in it’s modesty.


4. Josh Rouse – Nashville (2005)

It’s impossible to describe how I feel about this album.

My Love Has Gone:

3. Stars – Set Yourself On Fire (2004)

The first concert I ever went to, the first frontman I ever envied. Every song on this album is perfect.

I think it has gained such importance to me as a whole simply because it has always been there. It’s an album that seems fitting no matter what the mood or occasion. Which says something about its significance.


Your Ex-Lover Is Dead:

2. Death Cab For Cutie – Plans (2005)

I still get goosebumps.

Soul Meets Body:

1. Guster – Lost And Gone Forever/Keep It Together/Ganging Up On The Sun(1999/2003/2006)

It was hard to imagine any other band taking first place. To narrow Guster down to one album would be impossible. I think I speak for my whole family when I say these guys have played a large role. They embody everything I want music to be.

I understand music is art, but it’s mainly meant to distract us. Sure, there’s value in striving towards making experimental music that pushes the boundaries – but I don’t think a band that prides themselves on that could ever define me. If it did, I’d be a different person every day.

And so a band like Guster seems perfect. They don’t take themselves too seriously, and they make great music. Simple.


6 Responses to “Best Of My Years: Dave”

  1. Dixon Cordell (@dixoncordell) November 25, 2011 at 12:06 am #

    Fantastic idea. A compelling read and some great albums.

    Also, that new header is a real killer!

  2. El Sandercron November 25, 2011 at 12:34 am #

    Sup bahd

    i believe you forgot to include Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle on your list so just a heads up.

  3. Dave Hayes November 25, 2011 at 12:35 am #

    Thank you, sir. Would love to get your list up here. Vampire Weekend? The Drums?

  4. maxamillion17 November 29, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    This is really great Dave. I enjoy reading the blog as much as I do listening to it.


  1. BOMY: Nada Alic « - December 2, 2011

    […] Check back next week for more BOMY, and if you haven’t already here is last weeks list. […]

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