The MarkCity Soundtrack

Well, I've done it with books, and I love music just as much, so here's my Top 10 Favourite Albums in the history of the world. Guess what - Phil Collins didn't make the list.

1. Suede/Dog Man Star/Coming Up

Alright, I know - that's two albums, and that makes this a Top 11. But I really can't separate these two. DMS is grand, melodramatic, sumptuous and practically operatic. This is music to swoon, to love, to compose pretentious poetry to. Brett and Bernard's big tiff sounds utterly glorious. CU is Suede's pop album, and every track is a stomping, hand-clapping, glammed-up masterpiece. Suede are my Beatles. Brett Anderson is a genius. What more can I say? No 1 forever in the MarkCity charts.

2. Embrace/The Good Will Out

When Embrace came along they told everyone they were going to be bigger than Oasis. That never happened, but this album is better than anything the Gallaghers ever came up with. Hugely ambitious and grandiose, this album contains the best song of all time (the title track) and is melodic, melancholic and just plain hug-yourself-with-joy brilliant. The only downside is that the rockier tracks are a bit ordinary, but you can skip those. La la la la la la la la laaaa la. It's great up north.

3. Belle and Sebastian/If You're Feeling Sinister

She was into S&M and Bible Studies/Not everybody's cup of tea. The second and best album from the Glaswegian retro-popsters. Some, my girlfriend included, think this album is horribly twee. Sorry, Butter, but you're wrong. This is genius pop. Sad songs that make you feel happy. Happy songs that also make youu feel happy. Even my mum likes it.

4. The Pixies/Surfer Rosa

Again, it's difficult to choose a favourite Pixies album, but this just pips 'Doolittle' because it came first and, as every bore knows, invented grunge. Personally, I don't think that was a good thing, because I hated grunge, but the Pixies were beyond all that. This album has, in no particular order, great guitars, great lyrics, great songs ('Where is my Mind?' has to be the best record of the eighties) and even a nice pair of boobs on the cover. Who could want more?

5. Public Enemy/It Takes a Nation of Millions...

This record explodes into life and doesn't stop - Chuck D's political anger and Flavor Flav's silly clocks and 'yeah boyees' combined to create a rap album that still sounds, ahem, fresh and, indeed, def. Of course, as a white middle-class boy from the garden of England, I realise that these are vicarious thrills. But f*** it - vicarious thrills don't get much better than this.

6. The Strokes/Is This It?

Of all of the new wave of bands coming out of America over the last couple of years, the Strokes are the pack leaders simply because they have the best tunes. And they look incredibly cool too. The reason The Strokes rule is that their songs all stop exactly where they should. There's no fat, no waste. The Strokes were the most recent band to make me think that music is the best thing in the world. Please, God, don't let their second album be crap.

7. The Cure/Disintegration

When I was 18 I was a Robert Smith clone, right down to my haphazardly laced-up Reeboks. Disintegration, on which they re-embraced the miserabilism of their early albums (17 Seconds, Faith and Pornography) and took it to a new level, is their masterpiece. It's lush and long and layered, revealing new depths on every listen. Disintegration was the soundtrack to the Summer of 89, the best summer of my youth. And as Disintegration is an album about growing old and falling apart, that probably says a lot about my youth.

8. The Beloved/Happiness

The most loved-up, blissed-out album of all time. My girlfriend of the time hated it so much she tried to snap my copy in half. This album lasted a lot longer than she did. As the eighties segued into the nineties, the rave thing happened, New Order went to Ibiza, everybody went baggy and we suddenly realised that dancing and actually wearing colours was a lot more fun than dressing in black and hanging around graveyards. The Sun Rising still sounds glorious and Time After Time is such a beautiful song that listening to it still gives me goosebumps now.

9. Placebo/Without You I'm Nothing

The British press are attempting to rewrite history with their current anti-Placebo campaign. But I don't care what they say about Brian Molko - anyone who can make a guitar sound like the one on the title track of this album is alright by me. The first time I saw Placebo live they were so powerful that the boy next to me threw up. The best thing to ever come out of Luxembourg.

10. The Smiths/The Queen is Dead

So I broke into the Palace, with a sponge and rusty spanner/She said 'Oh, I know you and you cannot sing.'/I said, 'That's nothing, you should hear me play pianner'. Morrissey at his wittiest, Marr at his most melodic. This is one of those albums that is so unique that it will never date. And no, The Smiths were not miserable or glum or morose. They were funny and life-affirmingly brilliant. So there.

These are the albums I return to again and again, but I don't think this is truly representative of my musical tastes because 10 (or 11) albums isn't enough... There should be more hip-hop, a bit of early eighties stuff, some dance music... Here are some of the bands who didn't quite make it: New Order, Adam and the Ants, Duran Duran, Blur, Pulp, Eminem, Jay-Z, Pet Shop Boys, The The, the Stone Roses and Beth Orton.

If you have any comments, questions, etc, please Email me.

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