SWAG FEATURE: MY ESSENTIAL ALBUMS BY MICHAEL BUGEJA
My friend Colin Fitz from SWAG asked me to pick 10 essential albums, which is certainly a tasking exercise given the list of my must-have/must-listen albums is far longer than that. With much effort I finally managed to come up with the following list that is certainly indicative but by no means exhaustive or definitive (so expect more lists in the future)... meanwhile look them up and have a listen for yourselves! Here is the feature as reported online:
One of Malta’s best-known music journalists reveals his 10 favourite albums, in no particular order, to SWAG. Michael presents ROCKNA on Radio 101 and runs his own website as well as contributing music news and articles to the general press.
1. U2: THE UNFORGETTABLE FIRE (1984)
Regardless of all the much bigger hits they enjoyed later on in their career, I believe the band’s finest moment is to be found on this amazing early record of profound, intricate and engulfing songs.
2. AL STEWART: YEAR OF THE CAT (1976)
The album that has been with me since I was nine years old – I own five copies of it in different formats - whose lyrics I know inside out. The man may not have scored lots of hits, but this album just gets me with every note, every word.
3. JAMES: LAID (1993) Of all the James' albums I own, i.e. all of them, this is the one I keep turning to time and again. Produced by Brian Eno, it unveils a deeper side to the band that truly underlines why they are such indie pop gods.
4. THE WATERBOYS: THIS IS THE SEA (1985) Alongside A Pagan Place , this is my favourite work by Mike Scott – two albums’ worth of songs that touch the soul and lift the spirit.
5. THE CURE: DISINTEGRATION (1989)
Dark, wistful and brooding from the hands of the one and only Robert Smith. Need I say more?
6. LABRADFORD: MI MEDIA NARANJA (1997)
An amazing record that has been in my MP3 player since the day I got it and (along with The Cure’s Disintegration ) remains my go-to album when travelling, especially during a flight. A masterpiece, no less.
7. THE SPECIALS: THE SPECIALS (1979) An important part of the soundtrack to my teenage years that has remained ever present to this day. Ska rules!
8. BRIKKUNI: KUNTRABANDA (2008)
Naturally I had to include a local release and what better than Brikkuni’s debut, which was one of the catalysts behind a significant renewed interest in Maltese pop. Listen once and be hooked forever!
9. PINK FLOYD: THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON (1973)
A predictable choice perhaps, but magnificent nonetheless! No need for words, just listen!
10. SOFT CELL: NON-STOP EROTIC CABARET (1981)
In line with my eclectic musical tastes, an album not many would’ve expected me to include – brilliant from start to finish despite all its flaws.