Top 477 Albums | The Bottom 50

Notes about the Bottom 50

If you refer to my overview post, I detailed the system I used to rank all of my albums. The top 150 went through a moderately rigorous process. When you are down past album #225, it’s a matter of it was sorted and I didn’t go after any tiebreakers.

I am sure that on any given day, or after a fresh listen, I would rank these differently. The point is, they made the list.

I tried to provide a link to the specific album I own for each entry. The majority of links are to Amazon or Bandcamp. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. As a music lover, I don’t care where you purchase them from as long as you find something new that you love.

Various Artists
Trojan Instrumentals Box Set

It’s just three discs of instrumental ska. Totally chill and great melodies. I have never been let down by a Trojan box set. When I saw this box set at Amoeba Music in Hollywood I grabbed it without hesitation.

Robert Johnson
The Complete Collection

Everything we know that he ever recorded all available on one disc? Add in the mystique and the lore surrounding his alleged deal and how can you not own a copy of this album from one of the godfathers of the blues?

Reggie Watts
Why $#!+t So Crazy!?

Reggie has a routine where he doesn’t do a parody of other comedians but rather a parody of the cadence, inflections and rhythm of other comedians. That particular riff doesn’t even have many words that make sense. He is satirizing on a deep and rhythmic level. Make sure you get the live DVD as well, that is what pushes this album onto the list.

Kashmere Stage Band
Texas Thunder Soul 1968-1974

Super inspiring to hear what level of musicianship (and funk) could be pulled out of a high school band. Great quality sound all things considered, too.

Johnny Guitar Watson
The Funk Anthology

My friend Todd and I would constantly scavenge for music together. Occasionally we would pool our resources and purchase an album together. One day we were at a Blockbuster Music (yes that existed) and, while going through the imports section, we saw an album called “Booty Ooty” by Johnny Guitar Watson. We couldn’t resist. We bought it. Todd got first dibs and I never saw it again. So when I saw this beautifully illustrated two album set, I splurged and it’s just as good as the reason Todd never let me have it.

Joy Electric
We Are the Music Makers

I don’t know any band that sounds like Joy Electric. If you do, tell me because I will check them out. Not their best but it’s catchy. This album sounds like a soundtrack for a chase scene in a castle.

Buck Owens and His Buckaroos
The Instrumental Hits of Buck Owens and His Buckaroos

I heard, “Buckaroo” in the highly underrated (and eerily prophetic) movie “Idiocracy” and went out and bought this album within a week. It’s good old fashioned country without the lyrics.

Yo-Yo Ma / Ennio Morricone
Yo Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone

Beautiful renditions of Ennio Morricone’s beautiful scores. Some versions of this album have an accompanying DVD which is worth it if you think you’re gonna love it.

Ultra Lounge
Wild Cool and Swingin’

In the late nineties, after the swing revival, some indie artists started incorporating lounge music into their sound. Ultra Lounge capitalized on that trend with cultivated themed discs. This one comprised of classic crooners is fantastic. “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head” occasionally will still get stuck in my head out of the blue.

Tyler Larson
The 8 Bit Hymnal

Eight bit cover albums often miss the mark for me by straying too far from the source material or by not presenting something new and fresh enough. Larson’s albums always find that perfect balance for me. I don’t think the interludes are based on actual game melodies but they feel like they are. (Feel free to correct me if I am wrong about that. It won’t change my fandom of this album though.

Them Crooked Vultures
Them Crooked Vultures

All star lineup with Josh Homme (Queens of the Stoneage), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) and Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters)? Honestly, the expectations were nearly impossible to live up to but this album still is worth a listen. When you’re done go ahead and watch the movie “It Might Get Loud*” for different set of three musical all stars getting together.

The Polyphonic Spree
The Beginning Stages of

I’m pretty sure I first became familiar with this band through the “270 Miles from Graceland**” DVD from the 2003 Bonnaroo. I’m not a big fan of choral music but the Polyphonic Spree does not come off as your typical choir. They always felt more like a band that was recruiting you for their cult. I’m not joining the cult but I am all about the sprawling songs and melodic arrangements on this album.

The Isrealites

This was a local ska band in the Southern California scene. I love their less frenetic style of ska. It’s always fascinating to me to discover the genesis of a song and, ss a faith based band, they list the scriptural inspiration for the majority of the songs on this album which adds additional depth to the songs.

The Doors
The Doors

The setter on my high school volleyball team created a mix tape that we would throw onto the PA system in the gym as we warmed up for matches. “Break on Through to the Other Side” was one of the tracks. Upon graduating I watched “Apocalypse Now” in college and, upon hearing “The End” at (ironically) the beginning of the film I knew I had to pick up this specific Doors album. One thing to add about The Doors… I think their “Collector’s Edition***” DVD is amazing. You get a full concert with band commentary. I think it’s out of print but if you really love the doors, totally worth the splurge

Super Mario Brothers
Super Mario History 1985-2010

Is it cheating to put this in here? Possibly. So this is my up up down down left right left right B A Start moment. This Super Mario collection for the Wii came with a music disc that included the classic versions of many of the earlier Super Mario entries as well as some sound effects from the game.

Six Step Records
The Passion Continues

Unfortunately I believe this EP was only given away at meet & greets before some concerts. I cannot even find an image on the internet for this. It is alternative versions of some classic Passion era worship songs. These are more stripped down acoustic versions and I think that is why this album made the cut while some other songs from Passion from that era haven’t aged as well.

Schoolhouse Rock
The Best of Schoolhouse Rock

I don’t think it is solely nostalgia for Saturday morning cartoons that drives this pick. Bob Dorough wrote some incredible songs that are full on ear worms, which is fantastic when they are educational. Personal favorite: “Three is a Magic Number.”

Sarah McLachlin
Sweet Surrender (Single)

I’m good with just this one song and a remix. Is her full album great? I never went all the way and found out.

Jimmy Smith Trio featuring Kenny Burrell
The Master

The mixture of Jimmy’s grooves with Burrell’s guitar work makes this a supreme jazz album in my collection.

Janelle Monáe
The ArchAndroid

Ambitious and interesting. Love the wild backstory and creativity. And probably worth the purchase just for the album art alone.

Unsung: The Best of Helmet

When I heard the song “Unsung” I had to learn how to play it on guitar. Just a beautiful and crushing riff. Shortly after read an interview with Page Hamilton. He studied at Juliard and is insanely knowledgeable on music theory. So glad he took the heavy route.

Dead Horse Beats

I love this marriage of old gospel and modern beats. I could listen to this all day.


Confession: There isn’t one studio album by this band that I love all the way through. There are usually two songs I love and you can keep the rest. So… The live album it is. Starts off with what I believe is one of the greatest riffs of all time (Thunderstruck) and sprints to the end. It’s missing a couple of their songs that I love so it didn’t make it higher.

Unwritten Law
Unwritten Law

Super catchy pop punk. I admit this was probably their peak but I have a soft spot for “Blue Room” so that one will show up later. It starts off strong with the guitar tuning going directly into the echoing riff for harmonic. “Sorry” hasn’t aged well at all and that, combined with some songs that are more pop than pop punk, probably prevented this album from a more glorious ranking.

The Zombies
The Singles Collection

I was introduced to the Zombies through “The Way I Feel Inside” on a Wes Anderson soundtrack. It’s surprising how many of their songs I recognized and I imagine, if you listen, you will feel the same. “Time of the Season” is incredible. When purchasing, I was deciding between this singles collection and “Odessey and Oracle” but since “The Way I Feel Inside” isn’t on their most acclaimed album sent I wentthe Singles route although “Odessey and Oracle” will probably get purchased one day.

The Corporate Office
Wendy’s Prank Call

This prank call is so hilarious and incredible. The conviction and authority with which the prank caller approaches everything is so high level and is the only way the madness that occurs could ever go down. “I think the problem with that one might be the heating filament is loose…” Perfection.

Image from Download the album at this link.

The Brilliance
The Road Recordings

This would probably piss off both Gungor brothers but early entries by the Brilliance feel like what a Gungor album would be if Gungor had been a piano based band. Heavy classical influence. Incredible worship. They have done some orchestral collaborations lately that are amazing. I haven’t explored those enough to place them on the list yet. The first track starts with piano, introduces strings, brings in the bass. The piano mellows out and then brings in a frantic violin and drums. It’s a taste of the journey this album takes you on. It’s like a finely crafted pop song and an orchestra had a baby. Totally worth the trip.

Various Artists
Television’s Greatest Hits Volume 6

Why of all things, Volume 6? Well… The Theme to CHiPs is on this. That should be enough. Other highlights are Growing Pains, Family Ties, that sweet bass on Night Court, The Price is Right, the theme to Monday Night Football, and Diff’rent Strokes.

Sonic Youth
Washing Machine

I did a ton of reading to see which Sonic Youth album should have been my entry point. Went with this album and have no idea if I made the right choice although at least it made the list. Should I have started somewhere else?

Loretta Lynn
Van Lear Rose

Great melodies and production. This was the first album I remember being associated with Jack White that didn’t prominently feature Jack White.

Le Meu Le Purr
The Sweet Smell of Asphalt

I worked at a record store with some members of this band. They had a gig at a bar one night and I went to check them out. Always intimidating because: What do I say if they suck? Never had to cross that bridge however because they tore it up. “Pop Rocks & Soda” is one of those songs that makes you think why did some bands make it big and this band didn’t? Definitely my favorite track.

KC and the Sunshine Band
The Best of

I have a friend I text with occasionally and it’s always a rabbit hole of music memories and recommendations. Last time we texted he mentioned that one summer where he only listened to KC and the Sunshine band. Does everyone have that? I think it might be an unwritten rite of passage because I had the same thing. If you haven’t had your summer of KC, you might have to pick this up for next year.

Jimmy Robeson
You Are There

I was teaching at a private school that had chapels every week and this guy walked in to play the music one week and started strumming some open-E and I thought, “This is gonna suck.” Wow did I ever have to repent from that attitude. He killed it and this is one of the most unique and dynamic worship albums I have ever heard. Incredible musicianship. I would have invited him to play every week.

JEFF the Brotherhood
We Are The Champions

Discovered this band through their Tiny Desk Concert and immediately started finding out what album had “Shredder” on it. They do so much with just the two of them and always strike me as a Meat Puppets that went a little more punk. “Hey Friend” always cracks me up but I still find myself pondering the deeper meaning that I think is in the lyrics.

Fiona Apple

This album is so smooth and dark and amazing. The fact that she had such a strong voice (both vision voice and vocal voice) at such a young age and on a debut album is astounding. I linked to the Amazon site but would recommend the Vinyl Me Please record of the month edition if you really want to check this out. It’s criminal that is the first time it was released on vinyl. (See what I did there?)

Erik Satie
The Best of Erik Satie

My top pick for relaxing and beautiful classical music. I am guessing if you don’t think you know this, you know this. It has even received a few unique cover versions.

Ta det Lugnt

Psychedelic pop acid jazz from Sweden? Yes please. Delicious guitar tones. I know Google translate exists but I am fine just letting this wash over me and not know what they are really saying.

Colonel Claypool’s Bucket of Bernie Brains
The Big Eyeball in the Sky

When I worked at a record store the managers had to play certain albums during the day. At night you were at the whims of the manager. One of the managers was obsessed with Les Claypool. After repeated listens I really grew to appreciate this entry. Buckethead is on guitar and Bernie Worrell from Parliament/Funkadelic plays the keyboards. It’s bizarre but it’s got great guitar and I probably like it better than most Primus albums I’ve heard.

Chris Stapleton

The production on this album is so dynamic. There is something about the sound on all of the guitars on this album that is so well done. I am not a producer but I have to imagine this album inspires jealousy in producers around the world. Worth it just to hear the mix alone but the songs are strong and the vibe is perfect on this album.

Washington Phillips
Washington Phillips (Death is Not The End Records)

I love the melodies and arrangements on this album and this album also benefits from the fact that no one is exactly sure what instrument is being played; adding a little mystery to the magic.

Violent Femmes
Violent Femmes

Unplugged before Unplugged, this album has so many catchy and seminal tunes. Raw and impassioned.

The King of Limbs

When my wife and I started having kids we got really in tune with what music and sounds would mellow our kids out. For some reason, this album never failed so it got lots of play in the car back in the day.

No Doubt
The Singles 1992-2003

This is my wife’s favorite band so we have quite a few of their albums as well as their box set. This set of all the singles they released is all the hits and perfect.

The Royal Tenenbaums

Wes Anderson puts out the most incredible soundtracks. Mark Mothersbaugh has such a beautiful, accessible and recognizable style that he brought to all of his work with Anderson.

Various Artists
Ennio Morricone Remixes Volume 1 & 2

(Two soundtracks in a row!) If you don’t think you are familiar with Ennio Morricone I bet you would instantly recognize the whistling, theme from dueling from “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.” These albums have a massive number of remixes of movie themes from the award winning composer.


This album was my introduction to Coldplay. Yes, I have read the scathing Pitchfork reviews. Oh well. I still think this album has fantastic

Pronounced toe-nay

I love that this album is broken up into sections to display the artists range of talents. He went on to be a producer and you can see the genesis of his abilities here.

Various Artists
The Sopranos Music from the HBO Original Series

The remix of the theme from this album came on shuffle play the other day as I was pulling up to my house and I sat in the driveway for a while to keep listening. It’s so good.

The Ongoing Concept

The opening song is such a beautiful collision of a variety of styles. It doesn’t carry throughout the whole album but I would definitely be down for a new genre: Saloon Punk.

Various Artists
The Masters of Sacred Steel:None But The Righteous

When I read somewhere that Aubrey Ghent played the steel guitar and made it sound like it was singing I bought this album. Great instrumental gospel slide guitar.

* ** ***

Top 477 Albums | An Overview

The Purpose

I occasionally break out an album, listen to it and think: “This is one of my favorite albums of all time.” That leads me to think: “What actually is my favorite album of all time? What would happen if I ranked all of the albums I know?”

For years I have wondered, “How everything would shake out if I took the time to rank all of my albums?” so I finally sat down and did it.

The Criteria

I tried to keep this very simple and with as few rules as possible. So, the criteria for consideration is this: An album that I own.

Some singles I purchased back in the day slipped their way in even though it might be considered a single or an EP. Also, there are some albums my family loves but we stream them. Since I haven’t purchased the album, It wasn’t eligible for consideration.

The Methodology

I opened up my file explorer and went to my music directory and read through every folder. It is organized by artist name followed by albums in the sub-folders.

I looked at the title of the albums and thought, is this a great album and/or an album I loved? If so, I put the artist name and the album title into a spreadsheet.

While most of my music has been digitized at this point, there are a few vinyls I have not ripped to my computer so I went through that collection as well with the same mindset and added a few more titles to the spreadsheet.

Once that was completed I had a spreadsheet with 477 albums.

To narrow things down a little I read through the entire list of 477 albums and, if I thought an album could be considered one of the best of the best, I put an X in a new column. Once I completed that I sorted my spreadsheet and discovered that I had marked 152 albums. I quickly decided to delete two and have a top 150.

Once I had the top 150, I wanted to find a quick way to rank them without just “thinking about it” for a while so some web searching led me to the website That site allows you to create tournaments.

I batch added the 150 albums into a double elimination tournament. I went through each match-up in the winner’s bracket and thought, “Which album is better?” and selected that album as the winner. There were some fun match-ups (two live albums going head to head for example) but I was surprised at how little I had to deliberate. Having a double elimination tournament helped with this because I knew any album that lost initially would still receive another chance to win in the loser’s bracket.

Once I finished the winner’s bracket I completed the losers bracket and had a winner. The site ranks the top 5 finishers and then, due to math, has groups of ties for the rest. For the tie for fifth place, it was just two albums so I hand picked those. I did the same for the next few ties. Once I got to the tie for 17th place, which involved eight albums, I started running mini tournaments to sort out those ties.

Therefore, once you read the top 150 you will know that every album on that list was ranked through multiple tournaments.

For the remaining 327 albums I took a similar approach. The largest tournament you can hold on the site and have even brackets (my 150 album tournament was a little funky) is a tournament with 128 entrants. I decided to hold three more tournaments: Two with 128 entrants and one with the remaining 72.

Once I completed those I had three groups that had been ranked. Since this was getting a little out of hand (although it was quite an enjoyable process) I took the top 25 from each of those three categories and held another tournament so that the next 75 albums would be ranked as well. Once I reached that plateau I simply copied and pasted the remaining albums in the order provided from the tournament website with no further ranking or sorting.

The Criticism

I can imagine a few issues people might take with my rankings, my methodology, any omissions, etc. Let me address a few of those.

First of all, this is obviously just built on my experience and preference. I started learning to play guitar in the eighth grade and I noticed that albums I was listening to from that era (and figuring out how to play) somehow seemed to have received a subconscious and sentimental boost.

I know sometimes “Best of” albums are considered out of bounds for lists like this but I included them since my criteria was simply “albums that I own.” In addition, sometimes I will go through a phase where I know there is an artist beloved by many and I make an attempt to discover what the fuss is all about*. In my efforts to discover I will sometimes purchase what seems to be their most critically acclaimed album or I will purchase a best of if it contains a specific song I am seeking out.

Box sets and deluxe editions were included and occasionally that gave an album a boost. For example, when the deluxe edition adds a bonus live concert, that occasionally was a tiebreaker. Also, in this vein, when exploring certain artists I was able to purchase a set of “Five Essential” albums for the price of one slightly expensive album. In that case I counted them all as one entry since they were purchased as one entity.

Some albums have one of my favorite songs on the track-list but didn’t make the cut because that song is also the only song on the album I think is great.

You might read my entries and wonder why a certain album didn’t make the list. I don’t know! Probably I just don’t own it or I might not like it. I have listened to a ton of music but I haven’t explored every artist!

The Goal

I have no goal for this. I’ve been wanting to make a list of my top albums and I did.

The Hopes

While I have no goals for this project I would hope that at least one person reads at least one entry and goes down a joyous musical rabbit hole much like the many I have been on that led to this list.

*Current quests: Why do people love Bruce Springsteen and what is so great about the Talking Heads? So far I have purchased “Born to Run” and two live shows (one from the 80s and one from 1979) to figure out Bruce Springsteen. For the Talking Heads I purchased “Remain in Light.” The jury, for me, is still out on both.

Top 12 Christmas Albums Part 4: The Top Four!

I took my 64 Christmas albums and separated them into the two categories of “This might be in my top 12” and “Nah” and then ranked them all.

Welcome to the top 4:



Artist: Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra

Album: A Very Ping Pong Christmas

I can’t remember how I came across this album but I know for a fact that it was the drums that initially drew me in. The percussion on this album is so strong not only in the groove but the tone.  Every song is essentially a break beat.

This album is all over the map but it remains cohesive and touches on so many elements that I can hardly resist when it comes to music: Funky bass, schloopy beats and even a vox-box solo.

I’m just going to lay out some highlights for this one:

  • The organ on “Do You Hear What I Hear?”
  • The horns throughout the album
  • The bass throughout the album
  • The sax meltdown at the end of “Do You Hear What I Hear”
  • The fuzzed out guitar solo on “Deck The Halls”
  • Guitar solo interplaying with the flute on “Carol of the Bells”
  • The staccato rhythm guitar on Silent Night pairs perfectly with the saxophone and evokes an old doo wop feel
  • The talk-box solo on “O Little Town of Bethlehem”
  • At the end of Carol of the Bells there is a guitar solo that for just a moment sounds like it’s going to reference the melody of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” but instead ascends into a complete psyc-out.

This instrumental album (except for a few vocals on God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen) sounds like a soundtrack to a movie. I say it would be a perfect soundtrack for every groovy moment you have this Christmas season.



Artist: Vince Guaraldi Trio

Album: A Charlie Brown Christmas

My parents have a Christmas decoration that is Snoopy and Woodstock with a little piano resting on some fake snow.  When you press a button it cycles through three short samples from this album. As soon as this decoration makes its appearance during the holidays it is irresistible to children. Every child that walks by has to press it until it plays “Linus and Lucy” and, once it starts, they spontaneously start laughing and dancing. I don’t know a better way to describe the timeless joy, energy, appeal and beauty of this album.

It has incredible nostalgia factor. It’s mostly peaceful, sit-in-front-of-the-Christmas-tree and enjoy life music with some upbeat tunes mixed in. The interplay between the trio is so dynamic.

Personal favorite track: “Skating.”



Artist: Bad Religion

Album: Christmas Songs

Really the only downside to Christmas music is I like the majority of my music fast and heavy. Punk, metal, etc. Unfortunately those genres are simply anemic when it comes to holiday music.

Imagine my joy and surprise when Bad Religion released a Christmas album.

Things got even crazier when I bought it and realized 1. It’s completely un-ironic and 2. It has one of the highest Christ centered songs to “holiday” songs ratios of any of my Christmas albums. Literally every song is a carol except for their spin on the Ramones version of “White Christmas” and the last track, “American Jesus.”

This album has received the most play time of all Christmas albums in my home since it came out. If we get bored with a Christmas album, we switch to Bad Religion. If the music is too slow, we switch to Bad Religion.

Greg Graffin, one of the greatest voices in punk rock, starts the album with an a cappella chorus of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” the band rages in immediately after and the album never lets up. They stay faithful to the melodies but slip in some great guitar solos (see the end of “O Come, O Come Emanuel” for a blazing, to the point example).

In Ephesians 3:20 it says “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…” and this album was literally something I could have never imagined would have happened but I’m so glad it did.


Artist: Sufjan Stevens

Album: Songs for Christmas, Silver & Gold

It was really close between Sufjan Stevens and Bad Religion but Sufjan wins due to sheer volume and variety. Each of these albums is a 5 EP box set that comes with scores of added goodies. Between the two sets you’ll find extras such as a fold-it-yourself paper star ornament, stickers, temporary tattoos, a poster, essays, a short story by Stevens, chord charts, lyrics, a comic strip, a family portrait poster, photos, and an animated video. “Songs for Christmas” has a 42-page booklet with an original Christmas essay by acclaimed American novelist Ricky Moody and “Silver & Gold” has an 80 page booklet.

Schizophrenically switching from stripped down, beautiful, delicate melodies and organic instrumentation to glitchy, electronic madness these albums genre bend and the listener is the winner.

Like a perfectly balanced mix-tape, the energy levels and instrumentation provide the listener with a holiday music roller coaster.

I love the variety of Christmas music that is out there from traditional to original tunes; from classic to modern arrangements and, I suppose, what makes these two albums top my list is that you can find all of that variety encapsulated in each one.

Happy listening and Merry Christmas!

All images from the Cover Art Archive except Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Christmas from Discogs.

Top 12 Christmas Albums Part 3: Eight Through Five

I took my 64 Christmas albums and separated them into the two categories of “This might be in my top 12” and “Nah” and then ranked them all. Seventeen made the cut. I ranked those 17 and came up with my top twelve. The last post started the top 12. Here are albums eight through five…



Artist: David Crowder Band

Album: Oh For Joy

I like the blend of musical genres including the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) country influence that you hear so strongly in Crowder’s solo work. This album is one that the whole family loves and it has a nice live version of a heavy “Carol of the Bells.” (Extra credit for their Nutcracker cover.)



Artist: Dave Brubeck

Album: A Dave Brubeck Christmas

There was this strange period of time a few years back where I found out about Dave Brubeck and subsequently bought 7 of his albums over the course of about two weeks. I just couldn’t stop! (Now five of them came together in an excellent “Classic Albums” pack so don’t think I went too crazy.) I honestly can’t recall how I heard about him but I bought one album and loved it: the interplay between him and his band and their propensity towards odd time signatures. When I found out there was a Dave Brubeck Christmas album, that had to be bought as well. This album is just him solo and there is a certain peace and calm that comes with that. This album is perfect for sitting in front of the Christmas tree with only the Christmas lights on.



Artist: Joy Electric

Album: The Magic of Christmas

I have never heard another band that sounds like Joy Electric. If there is 1. Tell me about them so I can buy all of their albums too and 2. I doubt the band you are mentioning played most of their shows opening for punk bands like Joy Electric did. (That’s another story… Explained in the documentary “The Joy Electric Picture Book.”)

This album is sweet. I was walking in Trader Joe’s the other day and remembering just how much freakin’ treats and candy they sell during this time of year. This album is, like, all of that sugar personified in song. But better. I love the version of “Winter Wonderland” and it’s also one of my favorite versions of “Frosty the Snowman” because this album really brings the thumpetity-thump-thump.



Artist: Tyler Larson

Album: The 8bit Hymnal 2 (Christmas)

This album is so fantastic. Larson did an amazing job programming these 8-bit songs. I love that he honored and kept the melody of the Christmas songs during all the choruses and verses but he slips in other melodies for the interludes. (Side note: Why do so many people insist on singing “Angels We Have Heard On High” and omitting the “Glo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ria” part? I’m not a fan of that trend.) This album is so fun. The kids love it because they think it’s a Super Mario Christmas album.

The best thing is… This album is free. Head over to this page on  NoiseTrade and for giving them your email and zip code, it’s yours to download.

Coming up… The top four!

All album cover images from The Cover Art Archive except Tyler Larson from Noise Trade and David Crowder from Amazon| Featured Image includes Ornament Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash and 45-Record-Adapter by Sean Russell on flickr

Top 12 Christmas Albums Part 2: Twelve Through Nine

I took my 64 Christmas albums and separated them into the two categories of “This might be in my top 12” and “Nah” and then ranked them all. Seventeen made the cut. I ranked those 17 and came up with my top twelve. The last post was the “almost made it” albums but…

Now we are into the top 12! Here are albums 12-9!



Artist: The Beach Boys

Album: Christmas With The Beach Boys

Most of the time my opinion is: The less original content you put onto your Christmas album the more I like it. But this album is one of the exceptions. There are so many great original songs on this album. It starts off with an incredible strong streak of originals, many of which have become classics.

Right from the top with “Little Saint Nick” the harmonies are, as expected, so catchy and tight. We put this album on last week and my wife started singing the “Bop”s during “The Man With All The Toys” and she said, “I was waiting for that!” You know it’s something special when even the background vocals are something you look forward to.

Even one of my least favorite tracks (“Christmas Day”) has a redemptive & groovy organ solo.



Artist: Family Force 5

Album: Christmas Pageant

This album has a great blending of newer production (read: autotune) and classic songs. It’s one of the albums that has something for the kids and the parents like it too.



Artist: Ultra Lounge (Various Artists)

Album: Christmas Cocktails

In the mid-nineties I picked up the album “Life” by the Cardigans. I had never heard songs like that before. It was touted as kind of a lounge-concept-album so I promptly went back to the record store and started buying “lounge” albums. When I saw there was a Christmas one, I had to go for it.

Track highlights for me include one of my favorite versions of “Winter Wonderland”, “Cha Cha all the Way” and the swinging version of “The Nutcracker Suite.” It feels like a hipper version of the classic Christmas tunes you hear during this time of year.



Artist: Elvis Presley

Album: Christmas Peace

This specific album makes it on the list riding two great benefits: Sentiment & Value.

This album is sentimental as the vinyl copy of Elvis’ Christmas album was always resting right below my grandmother’s turntable. So it always got played during Thanksgiving and Christmas thus cementing its connection with family and the holidays.

While my grandmother had “It’s Christmas Time” I’m picking this specific album because of the value. Now that my grandmother is in a home and the holidays have become decentralized from her residence I had to get my own copy and I ended up buying Christmas Peace because you get one disc with every Elvis Christmas song (the “Christmas” disc) and you get a second disc with all of his gospel tunes (the “Peace” disc). So you can listen to “Blue Christmas” when it’s the holidays and then “Amazing Grace” the rest of the year.

Coming up, albums #8-5.

All album cover images from The Cover Art Archive except Family Force 5 from Amazon| Featured Image includes Ornament Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash and 45-Record-Adapter by Sean Russell on flickr