In honor of his continuing life, I though it would be touching to round up his ten best albums. It beats writing a blog about Michael Bolton!
As always, the order could be thrown together differently in another hour. Certain choices could be moved for others at another time of year. I avoided live albums. And if you're wondering what got cut at the last minute: Respect (1993).
10) Underwater Moonlight (1980) -- The Soft Boys: With his band The Soft Boys he recorded several interesting albums, including the 2002 reunion album Tomorrowland. Due to my particular age (too young to be seeking out obscure groups in 1980), Underwater Moonlight means slightly less to me than to folks slightly older who heard this album in real time. My theory on Robyn Hitchcock fans is that the first album of his that you hear is the one you like best, because all of his albums have something worth hearing and it's quite the splash in the face when you first hear it, a splash that becomes slightly less refreshing the second and third and fifth and tenth times around. Slightly!
Choice Cuts: "I Wanna Destroy You," "Kingdom of Love," "Queen of Eyes"
"Sinister But She Was Happy," "The Devil's Radio," "You and Oblivion"
8) A Star For Bram (2000): OK, here I actually take the cousin. Jewels For Sophia is a great album, opening with the essential "Mexican God," but for some reason I was more entranced by this album of outtakes released on Hitchcock's private label. You really think I could resist a song called "I Saw Nick Drake"? No, it isn't possible.
"I Saw Nick Drake," "1974," "Nietzsche's Way"
"(A Man's Gotta Know His Limitations) Briggs," "N.Y. Doll," "Red Locust Frenzy," "Cause It's Love (Saint Parallelogram)"
6) Spooked (2004): This is an odd collaboration. Gillian Welch and David Rawlings might be a bit tight on their own with their period restoration pieces, but they do a lovely job here adding the right touches to Hitchcock's frequent meditations on death. Not sure Hitchcock needed to do a blues album but we'll let it slide. He even picks a recent Dylan song also concerned with premature door closings in the big room.
"Television," "Tryin' To Get To Heaven Before They Close The Door," "Creeped Out," "Full Moon In My Soul"
"The Man Who Invented Himself," "Brenda's Iron Sledge," "Love"
4) Eye (1990): Despite his great way with a band, I confess to preferring ever so slightly the man stripped down just enough to let the lyrics be heard and to allow the melodies to soar. Or maybe it was the 1980s and you could make fewer stylistic 'oopsies' with a smaller sound.
"Cynthia Mask," "Queen Elvis," "Raining Twilight Coast"
"My Wife and My Dead Wife," "Another Bubble," "Heaven"
2) I Often Dream of Trains (1984): People forget how tight the emerging alternative scene could be. Punk quickly embraced rules of conduct. New Wave was slightly freer, but both demanded a purity pledge so ridiculous no one could uphold it. Money? What is that? This acoustic album, a sort of Nebraska for people with weirder inclinations, caught something beautiful in Hitchcock's freaky hallucinations. Sure, "Uncorrected Personality Traits" is fun, but who knew he could be so poignant?
"Sometimes I Wish I Was A Pretty Girl," "Flavour of Light," "Autumn Is Your Last Chance," "I Used To Say I Love You"
"If You Were A Priest," "Winchester," "Raymond Chandler Evening," "Airscape"
- Arts & Entertainment
- Robyn Hitchcock
- The Soft Boys