Pauline Andrès and Five Albums That Helped Shape the Singer-songwriter

Pauline Andrès – “Loneliest Girl in Nashville” avalable on iTunes.

Pauline Andrès

by Pauline Andrès

 

It’s tough to choose only 5 albums when all your life basically revolves around listening to songs you love deeply. This list is leaving an awful lot of these songs out and is leaving out some of my favorites artists too. But I think it’s an honest reflection of music and records that have been with me for a long time, and records I’m sure I’ll still love in twenty years. I can’t say they necessarily influenced me more than others, but they certainly played a big part in my musical and/or private life at some point.

 

PJ Harvey: To Bring You My Love

This record is really one of the greatest LPs made in the past 25 or 30 years. It’s crafted with such talent and intelligence. PJ was kinda at the peak of her career, she was huge, and she released something that really measured with the reputation she had built for herself. Her writing, her vocals, her world. It’s amazing as this record feels more than just a record. It’s movies and books and paintings. It’s colourful and dark and smooth. It should be celebrated more. Just like her entire work. She is one of the geniuses of our times and yet still often reduced to poor cliches (crazy, feminist) rather than just being celebrated as one of the best vocalists, musicians, and songwriters we’ve ever had.

 

Eels: Blinking Lights and Other Revelations

I have a really deep tenderness for the work of Mark Everett. His songs are amazingly simple but they are never lazy or boring. They are pure honesty turned to melody and rhymes and that’s probably why they resonate with so many people. Listening to the Eels, especially to this record (it was a close call with Useless Trinkets) brings the same kinda feeling you get after a good talk with a really good friend. Someone gets it. Someone who’s been there too. It’s a nice, rare feeling. It’s just real good, honest music.

 

Bruce Springsteen: Born in the USA

I often listen to Bruce Springsteen when I drive. I have a box set a friend once gave me with 5 Springsteen albums. It’s some of the few CDs I still own today. So when I drive in a car that has no Bluetooth (and it happens a lot) I usually play Born in the USA because there is everything on that record. Huge catchy bulldozer hits but also smaller, beautiful intimate songs that really make Springsteen so essential like “Downbound Train” or “My Hometown”. And there is my all time favorite Springsteen song on it: Bobby Jean. As for the title track, I I guess everything’s been said about it. But I still prefer the acoustic version on Tracks.

 

Alabama 3: La Peste

Alabama 3 has given me the best night ever (no, not dirty.) Well. That the Brixton Jamm was awfully dirty, these walls literally sweat. But when Alabama 3 is on stage, you don’t care. You love everything. This band is pure rock & roll. Beyond enjoying the Outlaw nights when I lived in Brixton, I also always loved how A3 managed to mix country with pop (without making any pop country!), house (a genre I normally absolutely despise), hip-hop and what not. Their cover of Amos Moses is one of the best things ever released. And this record is probably their best. It’s got depth, it’s fun, catchy, well written and the production just doesn’t get old. Just like Robert and D. Wayne Love’s amazing performances.

 

Dwight Yoakam: Guitars, Cadillacs, etc. etc.

This is without a doubt one of the best country records ever made. And since I couldn’t choose between Patsy Cline, Merle Haggard or Guy Clark, I went for the guy who’s still recording. And even though I’m in Nashville right now, I always related more and preferred the Bakersfield sound anyway.

What to say about this cult album that hasn’t been said? It’s just essential, it’s perfectly executed and Yoakam’s vocals are just to die for. If this record can’t make you like country, then nothing will. You’re just not a country music person. Or a music person for that matter. It’s the record I turn to when I want some big, HiFi, quality twang.

 

 

 

Pauline Andrès

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