So instead, I’ll introduce you to my ten all-time favourite albums. Thing is, I am a huge music lover, even though I rarely talk about it here. Music was my first love, and it will probably be my last 😉 I keep an archive of all the shows I’ve seen over the years here for anyone interested. Much of it is Japanese music, but there is some western rock and symphonic metal around too.
Picking ten favourite albums, all-time favourite albums, is like forcing me to chose which body part I’d most like to chop off. It may possibly be even worse than picking ten all-time favourite books haha. So I cheated, badly 😛 Anyway, all these albums are available on Spotify, and I’ll give alternative recommendations when they aren’t!
Ten Favourite Albums
- Heart by L’Arc~en~Ciel (JP)
Words cannot describe how much I love L’Arc~en~Ciel, a Japanese band. They kindled my love for music and for Japan, and I literally wouldn’t be here without them. I’ve literally loved them for over half my life (15 years and counting!). And this blog is actually named after one of their songs (click for 90s goodness). Each of their albums is genius (at least, up until their break in 2004, not head over heels with their stuff after that) and incredibly timeless. Technically I could fill this whole top 10 just with albums by them, but I’ll stick to one: Heart, an album from 1998, is by far my favourite, although perhaps not the most representative. Other mention-worthy albums for first-time listeners are Real (2000) and Ark (1999).
Stupidly, none of these albums appear on Spotify, but Clicked Singles Best 13 (2001) and Awake (2005) are decently representative.
- Vulgar by Dir en grey (JP)
Warning for the faint-hearted: heavy stuff! I used to be very much into into Dir en grey but the love has gone. However, many of their old albums are really amazing and I will never stop listening to them. Vulgar (2003) is definitely one of my favourite albums of all bands of all time, but I also must give an honourable mention to Withering to death (2005).
- Roentgen by Hyde (JP)
This one’s the complete opposite of the previous album! Hyde is the vocalist for L’Arc~en~Ciel, and this is his first solo album (available both in Japanese and in English, I recommend the Japanese one). Roentgen (2002) is not perfect, it’s very far from perfect, but I adore it. It’s a very quiet album, one to enjoy in peace.
Again, not on Spotify, big fat sigh. Only one album by HYDE (capitalised) is available, Faith, and it is entirely different from Roentgen, alas. But here’s two songs on YouTube!
- Secrets Of The Beehive by David Sylvian (UK)
I actually found this album through the previous one on this list, Roentgen. Hyde was inspired by Secrets of the Beehive (1987) (which is obvious when you listen to Roentgen) and so I decided to check out David Sylvian. And fell in love. His music gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it. Not so flattering confession: also perfect when you’re trying to fall asleep (be it at home, or in an air plane, or wherever..)
- Shion by MUCC (JP)
This album perfectly represents the kind of music I love: kinda rough (but no worries if you are not into heavy stuff, it doesn’t go ‘all the way’, although the vocalist’s voice requires some getting used to). Shion (2008) is a gem. I was lucky enough to see MUCC when they performed in Germany a while ago, and they played a lot off this album. One of my favourite concerts ever!
For some mysterious reason Shion isn’t on Spotify, but Gokusai (2006) and Kyuutai (2009) are, among others.(
- Mother Earth and The Silent Force by Within Temptation (NL)
Wow, it was hard picking a favourite album for them, and as such, I failed and literally picked two without even bothering to disguise it! But truth is, this is one of my favourite bands, and definitely one of my favourite bands to see live (it helps that, since they are from The Netherlands, I can actually see them live fairly regularly). Mother Earth (2000) was my introduction to gothic..everything. I’ll leave the mental picture of me as a 13 year old up to you 😉 The Silent Force (2004) is technically probably better, but eh. Both are great.
- Hours by David Bowie (UK)
Confession: I was too late. For years upon years I was only faintly interested in David Bowie, until I heard about his new album Blackstar (2016) and decided to check it out right away. I loved it, so much. And just two days later, Bowie passed away 🙁 Anyway, Hours (1999) I love possibly even more than Blackstar.
- Once by Nightwish (FI)
Once (2004) is of my favourite symphonic metal albums out there. So strong, and those guitars omg <3 I still miss their old vocalist, Tarja, for the music, and the vocalist after that was downright crap. Fun fact: for a while I kept wishing against all hope that they would just go ahead and take the vocalist from another one of my favourite (Dutch) symphonic metal bands, After Forever. But what were the odds, right? Well… guess what 😀 Needless to say their recent albums are fantastic!
- Renai by SID (JP)
Renai (2004) is another album that is far from perfect, and technically speaking their album Hoshi no Miyako (2005) is much better (and it’s another one of my favourites). But it’s so jazzy and sassy and I love it.
- Gentlemen Take Polaroids by Japan (UK)
I don’t know what it is about this album, but I adore it. Must be the 80s vibe?