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Friday open thread: Standbys

FYF Fest 2012 - Day 1 Photo by Katie Stratton/Getty Images

It’s Friday! For those of us who work or school M-F, that’s a good thing; the week is over, a couple days off await. If you don’t work the traditional schedule, I hope your weekend starts soon.

Anyway, this is, as we know, a Premier League-free weekend, which means there’s other things to watch, read, listen to, or do. Tangential to this, the fact that I’ve been extremely busy at work for the last month or so has also gotten me into...I’m not sure it’s a rut, really, but I don’t have the time or patience right now to aggressively seek out new music to listen to at work, nor do I have the time to plumb the depths of my collection to find something I haven’t listened to in a long time.

What that tends to mean, then, is that I go back to the same few albums - not daily, necessarily, but when the “what should I listen to now” question hits my brain, instead of the aforementioned depth-plumbing or looking around for something new, I go to one of the same four or five albums, throw one of them on, and that gets me moving again until something else inspires me. These are all albums I know as well as I know anything in my life, they’re indelibly printed on my psyche, and most importantly, I never get tired of listening to them.

For me, when I’m at work, those albums are:

  1. Prince - Purple Rain. If I need a kick in the butt and to get my brain moving, I throw this album on. Prince did a ton of unequivocally amazing stuff, but Purple Rain is a pretty freaking stellar record that holds up almost completely, with very few dead spots or dated songs, despite it being recorded in the 80’s (I’m looking at you, Computer Blue).
  2. David Bowie - The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars. This one’s more of a thinker. If I’m needing to concentrate and don’t want to listen to something instrumental, Ziggy gets the job done, and it’s great because while it functions as background noise, it’s got so much depth and power to it that I feel like I get something out of it with every listen, even if I’m not able to focus on it.
  3. Beastie Boys - Paul’s Boutique. If I really need to hammer out the work, Paul’s Boutique gets the nod. I can turn it up and have it pour into my head, and it blocks out absolutely everything so I can just keep my head down and get stuff done. Plus, every once in a while, a line or two gets through the wall of work and makes me laugh, and you can’t really put a price on that. (By the way, have you seen this? It’s a track-by-track list of all the samples on Paul’s Boutique, and it’s jawdropping in its depth and thoroughness.)
  4. Supersuckers - Live At the Magic Bag. I’m usually not a giant fan of live albums, nor would I necessarily recommend them to people who have never heard of a band. But I go back a long, long ways with the Supersuckers - they were one of the first bands I saw when I turned 21, I’ve seen them a dozen or more times, and this live set pretty much encapsulates all their punk rawk awesomeness and just puts me in my happy place. Like Paul’s Boutique, if I need to block out the world, this album does the job. Plus it contains a kick-ass cover of That Is Rock And Roll, one of the best songs about rock and roll ever.
  5. Redd Kross - Third Eye. Redd Kross put out a bunch of really good albums, but Third Eye is probably my favorite for listening at work. It’s got varying tempos so you can kind of surf up and down with it, it’s easy to get into, and it never, ever wears thin.

So those are my go-tos, and that’s just records - there’s also a bunch of books, movies, and TV shows as well that I return to with some regularity, although I’m not a big re-watcher of TV most times there’s a bunch that I would re-watch at some point.

Tell us about your favorites. What are some things that you love that, when you can’t think of anything else, you keep going back to because it’s awesome, and not just because it’s there?