In today's online version of the Sydney Morning Herald, there was a story about albums for any occasion.
As per usual, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to something like this. I would like to know what your favourite albums are for the categories they have listed, which were (along with their author's ideal choices):
Party - Off the Wall, Michael Jackson
Sex - Dubnobasswithmyheadman, Underworld
The morning after sex - Dusty in Memphis, Dusty Springfield
Cleaning the house - Zombie, Fela Kuti
Driving - Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen
When you've got the blues - High Violet, the National
Working out - Sound of Silver, LCD Soundsystem
Post breakup - In the Wee Small Hours, Frank Sinatra
Dinner parties - The Complete Blue Note Sixties Sessions, Dexter Gordon
For dancing with the kids - See!, Holly Throsby
They came up with some very interesting choices here. Not all of them I would choose, and neither would you. So what would your choices be?
After a lot of thinking, I'm not sure I have settled on a definitive list. But here's some ideas:
I've never been a big Michael Jackson fan so I'd resist playing much of his music. My mates and I would probably get rowdy to a record with some big grooves like "Blood Sugar Sex Magic" by Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Sex: I'll pass on making a call on this, but I haven't liked any Underworld record since "Underneath The Radar", an album which the band have all but disowned in the years since.
Cleaning the house: The choice of a Fela Kuti album was an inspired one. The title track "Zombie" has such a wicked groove and it lasts around 15 minutes at a stretch - perfect for vaccuuming the house. My cleaning house records are more likely "Greatest Hits" by Sly and the Family Stone or "Funk Power 1970" by James Brown.
Driving: Bruce Springsteen records are cliche driving records. They're a great listen don't get me wrong, but...
A record like "Ramones Mania" by the Ramones, which is a 73+ minute compendium of the finest moments from their first decade as a group will get you from one end of the F3 to the other without changing CDs, but you'll need to stop for a caffiene hit at the end because you'll be exhuasted (trust me, I've tried it!).
Years ago when tapes were de rigeur in the car, the one-two punch of classic albums like "East"/"Circus Animals" by Cold Chisel worked a treat, as did "#1 Record"/"Radio City" by Big Star.
I tend to drum on the steering wheel while I drive, and "Superunknown" by Soundgarden is a great record to do that to.
When you've got the blues: Frank Sinatra adds a bit of class to a sad moment, but it just won't feel right without having a scotch on the rocks along with it. For me, I don't want to stay down too long, so I try and pick myself up quickly, and "All Things Must Pass" by George Harrison works a treat - it always takes me to a better place. "Grace" by Jeff Buckley is achingly beautiful, but it makes me feel worse in times like this.
Working Out: When I work out or do exercise of any form, I'm just happy to be listening to ANY music of any form, but it has to be intense. For a while a few years ago, the album of choice was "St Anger" by Metallica.
Post breakup: Again, "Grace" will get the tears moving, but after that, I go into "He-Man Woman Hater" mode and I get angry. For that, there's nothing better than "F.O.A.D." by Broken Bones. Hardcore agressive metal.
Dinner parties: I reckon you can't go past "Kind of Blue" by Miles Davis. Or even a bit of "Jazz Impressions of New York" by Dave Brubeck, if you want an extra bit of class. For candlelit suppers with your loved one, you can't go past "The Koln Concert" by Keith Jarrett.
For dancing with the kids: I'd let them choose. Best dance session ever with my kids was to Fela Kuti and Africa '70 "Live".
Now, I have a few other categories that I'd like to acknowledge:
Washing the Car: For a long time, the album of choice (or rather, tape, as it was then) was "5150" by Van Halen. Lately it's been "Death By Sexy..." by Eagles of Death Metal.
Driving to the beach for a surf: something fierce, like "Radios Appear" by Radio Birdman or "Among The Living" by Anthrax.
Rainy day music: I love listening to "Veedon Fleece" by Van Morrison on a rainy afternoon.
Music to remove unwanted guests: anything by Captain Beefheart!
Until next time...