Side Streets Staff Six Pack — Perfect Albums

There are a lot of great albums out there. Our team shares the six albums that never require the ‘skip’ button.

We wrote yesterday about an album we love, Darkness on the Edge of Town, on its 40th anniversary. We’ve been thinking a lot about albums that we love lately, prompted by this tweet we found, with the gif that is alternately hypnotizing and confusing.

These aren’t necessarily our favorite albums. They’re the ones we are always happy to play back.

The Renaissance — Q-Tip

Akil Sharperson

“That album works, because you get a Q-Tip unconstrained by the influences of the Tribe. You hear all of his inspirations and the flow is consistent.”

The ’59 Sound — The Gaslight Anthem

Dave McKellar

“This album is literally my desert island album. Every single second of it is perfect to me. No album has ever felt so new and so familiar at the same time. My father’s Bruce Springsteen combined with my brother’s Green Day. It captured everything I was feeling heading into the world on my own for the first time. It’s perfect. (Bonus points because it’s the lead in to the Bruins radio broadcast.) (Double bonus points because the Mighty Mighty Bosstones snuck onto it uncredited.)”

The Weight of These Wings— Miranda Lambert

Liz Merino

“Hard to pick one — but if I have to, this is it. It just reminds me that no matter where I am in life — heartbreak or happiness — I always have me. She released the album a year after her divorce with Blake Shelton. It’s sad, and raw, but also, like, uplifting? She perfectly weaves together loss and new beginnings. Everyone knows Vice, but in my opinion, Runnin’ Just In Case is the one to listen to. ‘Happiness ain’t prison, but there’s freedom in a broken heart.’”

You Forgot It In People — Broken Social Scene

Paul Davenport

“It almost feels like a cheat considering they made this album at their Canadian-Super-Groupiest, with Feist and Peaches and all manner of great solo artists contributing what could be considered solo works here. But start to finish, this album narrated all of my great teenage car rides in my rebuilt El Camino, and was maybe the first album that I discovered on my own that actually gave me feels (I’m omitting Rumors, for instance, since clearly I was raised to love Fleetwood Mac).”

The Stranger — Billy Joel

Lou Cimaglia

“Billy Joel occupies such a bizarre space in pop culture. At times, he seems like a punching bag and a punchline. But he fills up stadiums and arenas year after year, with no new music.

As a middle school, pimply, gold-wire-glasses-wearing geek, Billy was my buddy. I played this album all the way through on more occasions than I care to admit. The older I’ve gotten, the less of a damn I give about people’s criticisms of Joel’s catalog. So what if his later stuff was lame? This album is stacked. Scenes from an Italian Restaurant belongs on music’s Mount Olympus. Some of his best ballads are on this album. Movin’ Out and the title track still go. Every track is a greatest hit.

Billy isn’t for snobs or the avant-garde. It doesn’t matter. It’s music you can grow up with, like an old friend you can call any time.”

24K Magic — Bruno Mars

Alex Lane

“I toil over these types of prompts for days. Weeks, sometimes. There are so many albums that fall into this category for me, and music means a lot, so definitively saying “this one” is usually hard.

But, I have absolutely no shame in saying that 24k Magic is a perfect album. I played it so much, for so long, that I had a whole birthday dedicated to it.

In just nine songs, Bruno takes you from pre-game, to party, to late-night hookup. He left it all on the table (and a little Versace on the Floor) with this one. It’s an album that leaves nothing to be desired, but it’s not pretentious — just fun. Any one of those songs comes on and you end up, three minutes later, dripping in sweat (or finesse, if you’re not me) in the middle of your kitchen from dancing your ass off. I don’t know about you, but That’s What I Like.”