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Albums That Make Me Happy

It’s another, and another day means hours spent in front of the computer doing work I want to do and work I’m getting paid for. Someday, I hope the work I’m getting paid for is also the work I want to do, but in the meantime I’ll keep trucking. And really, I can’t complain. I have a nice life and, when the going gets tough, I have music to help me along and Spotify to play it on.

When I work, I usually listen to playlists, but I occassionally also put on an album. Here are some of my favorites:

Could it be Stabat Mater is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written? I saw the piece performed last year at Konzerthaus Berlin, with the fabulous Nathalie Stutzmann both singing and conducting. Amazing. When I listen to Stabat Mater, I wonder sometimes how many thousands of times this piece has been performed over the centuries, and how many of those times were by candlelight.

Another classical album I like to listen to is this “Greatest Hits” album of the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos. How can they play the guitar like that? Jesus…

I saw Tim Fischer in San Francisco a few months before I moved to Berlin, and I loved his performance even though I couldn’t speak German yet. This is one of my favorite albums, filled with many songs by the fabulous Georg Kreisler, among others (Please, Shoot Your Husband and Sex is a Wonderful Habit are both pieces he wrote in English. That man was seriously a genius of satire.)

When my older daughter was a baby, we put on Bill Evan’s You Must Believe In Spring every night when we put her to bed, and listening to it reminds me of those early mom days, which were magical as well as exhausting. I don’t think I could ever get sick of this album. There are plenty of amazing jazz pianists I love, but nobody plays quite like Bill Evans. Sad that he also struggled so much with drug addiction and died (fairly) young.

I listen to Björk’s debut album because, well, it’s fucking awesome. What else is there to say?

Everyone who takes classical singing lessons starts with the Italian song book, which means these poor pieces are mostly sung terribly. But so many of them are truly beautiful when sung right, like a young Cecilia Bartoli does on this album.

Love Chilly Gonzales’ solo piano works. They remind me a lot of Satie, but they still have their own flair.

When I first became a Laurie Anderson fan, I wasn’t really into her iconic album Big Science (from 1982), but now I think I must have been crazy, because Big Science is a fucking masterpiece. O Superman even made it onto the charts back in the day; the song predicts September 11, which is very spooky.

When I was a teenager, I used to put on my Violent Femmes record and scream the lyrics into my pillow. I still play it sometimes and scream along. 😉

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