August 2, 2010

The perfect Sunday afternoon album?

When you're recovering from whatever you were doing over the weekend, you're in the mood for music that is more low-key and reflective as you try to make sense of what all just happened, wistful enough to pay respect to what a great time you had and how much you now miss it, yet upbeat and carefree enough to help you move on and get ready for the week ahead.

On this basis, and choosing only from albums that I actually own and have tried out in this context, I nominate Starfish by The Church, best known for its hits "Under the Milky Way" and "Reptile," although the whole thing flows wonderfully.

In general, I've found that albums with a late '80s "college rock" sound (or similar) are all very good in this way. During that time, it's as though they could sense that the past 20 to 30 years -- their entire lives -- had been a single long weekend, and that they were on the edge of a major social shift from greatness to triviality. They were grateful and happy to at least be living through a twilight period, still safe from the worries and numbing routine of the coming weekday decades.

On that note, here are some runner-up albums that work pretty well but that I find myself skipping through parts of: Full Moon Fever by Tom Petty, She Hangs Brightly by Mazzy Star, The Joshua Tree by U2, Listen Like Thieves by INXS, Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart by Camper Van Beethoven, and All Over the Place by The Bangles. I'm sure there are a bunch more among those I don't have -- something from REM's pre-crybaby period should definitely be in there -- but this is just what comes to mind.


  1. B-52s album from 1989 "Cosmic Thing" is a good mellow listen. It's got the well-known "Love Shack," but also the dreamy "Topaz" and "Roam" and a few other chill-out songs.

  2. Pete Yorn, "Music for the Morning After" (and not because of the title)

    Silver Jews, "American Water"

  3. Hey, no need to restrict to Sunday afternoon... Starfish is one of the best albums ever, *in general*! The last track, Hotel Womb, is particularly amazing.


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