Those albums I’ll always go back to…

This started life as another one of those silly Facebook distractions but then turned out to be a far more pleasant excursion that I’d first imagine.  The basic rule was to write down 15 albums that always stick with you and share them with 15 friends whose 15 albums you’d like to see too.  I automatically picked from what I call my “comfort” albums, ones that I turn to almost unconsciously in times of joy or pain.  With most of these albums, I almost don’t notice them playing because they’re so ingrained in my soul.  There are some, though, that I play entirely because they rock – and when I say ‘rock’, I mean in terms of me being a fey 80s’ indie kid.  It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re my favourite albums (another stipulation of the game was that you spent no more than 15 minutes thinking of your list) but they are all LPs which are almost always on my iPod and absolutely always in my heart.  It was originally 15 albums too, but there were another five I simply couldn’t leave out.  So, in no particular order…

Adam and the Antz – Dirk Wears White Sox

Like most people of my age, then teenyboppers, I got into this album retrospectively, on the back of the band’s second LP, Kings Of The Wild Frontier.  Songs like ‘Dog Eat Dog’ and ‘Antmusic’ already sounded utterly unlike anything that had ever grazed the Top 10 so hearing what Adam released only the year before Kings was, initially, startling.  The Antz, as they were then known, were cultural oddities, art-punk outsiders.  Adam was described as a “born loser” at punk and the music press largely despised The Antz; they simply didn’t fit in to their ‘design’.  The Antz didn’t go in for the archetypal three-chords, the chaos under a blast of expletive-strewn, loosely-political bile (not that there was anything wrong in that), Adam was too clever for his own good.  It was all about art, bondage and rubber with him.  He later said of Dirk: “I tried to challenge structures… when I listen to Dirk and think of what it could have been, it kills me.”  He was being astonishingly hard on himself.  Before he hooked up with Marco to write 3-minute hits “like T-Rex used to”, Adam was a visionary, a songwriter years ahead of his time, in a world of his own creation and, it always seemed to me, never entirely sure what to do with his excess of talent.  Dirk was, and remains, a template for any band who refuses to fall into line with the hipsters of the day and is still the debut album by which I (not always consciously) judge all others.  Needless to say, few ever come up to scratch. Listen to: Cleopatra, Day I Met God, Digital Tenderness, Catholic Day

Associates – Sulk

Scots duo Associates are, I find, a band that few younger listeners appear to enjoy these days.  It’s a shame.  While it’s true that Billy MacKenzie’s is an acquired taste, it remains a mystery to me why more people haven’t acquired it.  Perhaps it’s just a little too ‘out there’.  With their single Party Fears Two, it was a case of once bitten, forever smitten with me.  Not only were the vocals otherwordly, the lyrics took my fledgling pop-picker’s ears to previously unimaginable places; I simply had to hear more.  Sulk is a work of odd, spooky and dangerous genius, with a sound and atmosphere all of its own.  It also had the added bonus of coming in two distinct versions – the UK and US tracklistings were hugely different and yet both are strangely perfect and essential.  The last domestic reissue tied up all the tracks on both versions, meaning that both the single ’18 Carat Love Affair’ and its instrumental version ‘Nothing In Something Particular’ are included – for another wonderful party game, try playing the latter while singing along to the former.  Listen to: Skipping, It’s Better This Way, Party Fears Two, 18 Carat Love Affair

Morrissey – Vauxhall and I

Despite being sandwiched between two rock-monster albums (Your Arsenal and Southpaw Grammar), it’s the tender, dreamy and utterly sublime Vauxhall and I that I always reach for when I need a Morrissey fix – something that happens quite a lot.  For me, it’s the most joined-up of his albums, where the lyrical themes, dreamy melodies and celestial production (by Steve Lillywhite) blend together just about perfectly.  This is where he began to “bear more grudges than lonely High Court judges” but don’t let that put you off.  Normally I have at least one small quibble with Moz albums, but not Vauxhall; I adore every minute, every lyrical nuance and its wonderful artwork.  It came in the finest of sleeves – a beautiful, purple-hued Dean Freeman portrait of Morrissey, vivid-blue eyes and all, in a luxurious gatefold sleeve.  And a lovely homoerotic shot by Jake too – what more could you ever want?   Listen to: Why Don’t You Find Out For Yourself?, Spring-Heeled Jim, I Am Hated For Loving, Speedway

Orange Juice – You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever

The post-punk era was just about the most creative period popular music has ever had, at least in my lifetime.  Back then, though, I was too young to appreciate or analyse it – I just liked great pop music.  Enter Orange Juice, the first band to really rattle my musical cage since Adam Ant came along.  I didn’t appreciate how wonderfully this band combined slick soul, punk and disco, I didn’t fully twig just what a witty, self-deprecating lyricist Edwyn Collins was, nor how his soulful vocals would actually revolutionise the music I listened to for the following two decades.  Back in 1982, I knew only two Orange Juice songs – ‘Poor Old Soul’ and their cover of Al Green’s ‘L.O.V.E.’  – both of which I’d taped off the radio and the latter of which I’d no idea was a cover version.  I was initially disappointed that ‘Poor Old Soul’ wasn’t on You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever but it didn’t take me long to fall head over heels in love with the 12 tracks I hadn’t heard before.  This glistering gem of a debut album will be reissued as part of the forthcoming box set Coals To Newcastle but, really, it should never, ever be out of circulation or your record collection. Listen to: Falling And Laughing, Wan Light, In A Nutshell, Felicity

Aztec Camera – High Land, Hard Rain

“Wee” Roddy Frame of East Kilbride was a musical prodigy who was too unassuming to realise it.  Just a teenager when he released the first Aztec Camera single ‘Just Like Gold’ on Postcard Records of Scotland in 1981, he was compared to all sorts of artists he’d either never heard of or hadn’t been knowingly influenced by.  He was obviously a magnificent guitarist, obsessed with clean, beautiful (i.e. non-wanky) solos and gorgeous jazz chords.  This was way before he came to my attention, though; that happened when I first heard the magical ‘Oblivious’.  There’s still something about that song that reminds me why I had daft notions about writing songs myself; it was breezy guitar pop, written by the young, for the young, entirely uplifting, full of youthful love, exuberance and nebulous, unfulfillable ambition.  The debut album, High Land, Hard Rain is full of such songs.  Playing it now transports me there again and, while I still don’t understand what I was supposed to do with those emotions other than leave town, I still love the feeling. Listen to: Oblivious, The Boy Wonders, Release, Lost Outside The Tunnel

The Jesus and Mary ChainPsychocandy

Like Roddy Frame, The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Jim and William Reid were from East Kilbride, but that’s just about all they had in common.  Granted, JAMC thoroughly believed in melody but they also believed in mayhem.  Notoriously, they would play 20-minute gigs, usually with their backs to the audience, guitars and mics pointed at amps for optimum feedback, thereby upsetting and alienating their (entirely complicit) fans.  They were brilliant live.  The Reid brothers insisted too that they weren’t an indie band – meaning they wanted a large audience and not end up “playing to 20 people”.  Naturally, a lot of people (some of my less-than-impressed contemporaries included) felt that it had ‘all been done before’ during the punk era but this was the mid-1980s, an all-too-clean period for pop, and their existence made some quarters of the media distinctly uncomfortable.  Good thing too.  In my sincere opinion, Psychocandy is their best album and best enjoyed without the subsequent single Some Candy Talking, which simply doesn’t belong amongst the 14 original tracks. Listen to: In A Hole, Never Understand, Just Like Honey, The Living End

The Smiths – The Smiths

The release of the first Smiths album was one of those moments I felt my life had been leading up to.  I really can’t overstate this.  Morrissey had often said that the album would be “a landmark” in British recording history but the wisdom out there is that it was nothing of the sort.  People (including the band) complain about John Porter’s production, while fans who’d religiously recorded the band’s sessions on the John Peel and David Jensen shows on BBC Radio 1 were apparently appalled by how flat the songs sounded.  This wasn’t my experience at all.  I’d come in around ‘This Charming Man’ time, and only after I’d seen them on Top Of The Pops.  By the time ‘What Difference Does It Make?’ came out a couple of months later, I was already a big fan, buying magazines, making sure I had the 7″ and 12″ singles and wondering how on earth the songs on the album were going to be better than the b-sides of the singles.  I loved every groove of The Smiths.  To me, it was perfect, astounding.  I loved the claret and blue sleeve, the grey/blue inner sleeve with the band portraits, even the strangely old-fashioned label.  I was one of those teenage boys.  I still am, probably.  While The Smiths would go on [to what other people consider] ‘greater things’, even if they never got their due in the band’s lifetime, their debut album is still, by far, my favourite.  After any period away from it, I can always conjure those wondrous, first-love feelings before the drum intro to ‘Reel Around The Fountain’ is even over.  That’s magical.  Listen to: Reel Around The Fountain, I Don’t Owe You Anything, You’ve Got Everything Now, Suffer Little Children

Propaganda – A Secret Wish

25 years ago, when ZTT, home to Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Art Of Noise, was still the future of music, one of their roster seemed completely out of synch with Trevor Horn’s rather aggressive style of mass-marketing.  Signed by Paul Morley, Propaganda, an experimental electro pop quartet from the much-maligned Düsseldorf in Germany, looked ice-cool to me.  Having not quite got into Kraftwerk (yet) and only been amused rather than smitten by Trio, this was the sound of German synth-futurism to me.  Their rather cold, indifferent image and industrial sound appealed to me on several different levels.  The first I heard of them was when they were Single Of The Fortnight in Smash Hits with ‘Dr Mabuse’, a dramatic, darkly cinematic song unlike anything I’d ever heard.  I bought it immediately.  A year later, they released its double A-side follow-up, ‘Duel/Jewel’, which I bought in a madly attractive double 7″ – it’s still highly desirable, even though I own it.  Around that time I also became smitten with their odd-faced-but-beautiful singer Claudia Brücken who just happened to look a tiny bit like the lass behind the record counter at my local John Menzies.  This entirely prevented me from buying A Secret Wish in John Menzies.  These days, the album sounds very much like a 1980s album trying to sound futuristic but it really doesn’t detract from its quality.  I keep going back to this album, not for nostalgia, but because the songs (including a fine cover of former Postcard band Josef K’s ‘Sorry For Laughing’) really are superb.  Listen to: Dr Mabuse, Duel, The Chase, The Murder Of Love

The CrampsSmell Of Female

I still can’t believe Lux Interior is no longer with us.  I discovered The Cramps in 1983 during one of those pre-MTV music all-nighters many teenagers lived for.  They were the only band I remember from that night but then I’m sure every Cramps fan feels the same about when they first heard them.  There was footage of them from the ‘World Famous’ Peppermint Lounge (which I’d never heard of), with Lux being all spooky in a basement before taking to the stage at the bang of a gong; the song they played first blew me away and I convinced myself (this being pre-VCR and me not having the wherewithal to stick my cassette player in front of the TV) that I’d remember this song and learn to play it straight afterwards.  I got chills, they multiplied.  That song, it turned out, was ‘Thee Most Exalted Potentate Of Love’.  I thought I’d never hear it again too.  After the song, there was a band interview where Lux and Poison Ivy talked about their love of old horror films and stilettos.  I had to get into this band.  The next time I was in Glasgow (it was always very hard to convince my mum to let me go), I found Smell Of Female in the racks and felt like I’d discovered the Lost Ark.  That’s how music works, isn’t it?  I love these six tracks as much, if not more, than ever today.  Listen to: The Most Exalted Potentate Of Love, Faster Pussycat, You Got Good Taste, Psychotic Reaction

Roxy Music – Manifesto

In the days when I routinely killed music by home taping, one of my favourite pastimes was to record the chart rundown on Radio Clyde 261 MW.  I have no idea anymore what chart that actually was, all I remember was that Radio Clyde DJs were very, very fond of their own voices.  They were ‘Proper DJs’ who talked all over the intro and all over the fade.  And if there was an instrumental, they’d talk all the way through the whole bloody record (as my dad discovered when trying to tape The Shadows’ version of ‘Cavatina’).  Anyway, in the summer of 1979, it took me weeks to record a half-decent, relatively DJ-less version of Roxy Music’s ‘Dance Away’, a song I simply could not stop singing or playing.  I knew nothing of the band, their history or reputation, just that I loved their sound.  I think my parents either felt sorry for me for faithfully re-recording the song every Sunday evening or they were sick of hearing the DJ version because I ended up getting this album for Christmas.  It’s been a favourite ever since. Listen to: Angel Eyes, Trash, Dance Away, Manifesto

The Fall – The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall

When I first heard The Fall, it was on Radio Clyde’s ‘Indie Show’ one summer evening in 1983 when I was working a late shift in my uncle’s factory.  The song was ‘The Man Whose Head Expanded’.  Like everything else here, it was a complete revelation.  I didn’t know there were records like that, that bands could do that, get it on a record and get it played on the radio.  I bought it in Edinburgh while on a day trip with my grandmother.  I played it and its b-side ‘Ludd Gang’ to death – I wanted to form a band immediately and I actually tried to, but for the sad fact that the guys I wanted in my band didn’t, like me, have any musical instruments or talent.  What the hell, though.  Even six years into their career, collecting The Fall’s back catalogue was an expensive undertaking but I had a lot of fun doing it.  It’s hard to pick out one as a favourite but I usually start with The Wonderful and Frightening World because it sounds so unlike any other Fall album, never mind sounding unlike anything else in the world.  I had a lot of great (alone) times with that album in my Walkman and that hasn’t changed to this day. Excitingly enough, a 4-CD version of this is due out shortly.  Yippee!  Listen to: 2 X 4, Bug Day, Copped It!, Elves

Cliff Richard – Cliff

I’m not so much a closet Cliff Richard fan as a Cliff Richard fan.  It’s something people make you feel you should apologise for but really, there’s no need whatsoever. Back in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Cliff and his band The Shadows released a string of astonishingly good rock ‘n’ roll records.  They’re records I was semi-brought up on, although I was the actual owner of the only Cliff album in the house for a while.  Rock On With Cliff Richard it was called, a rather terrific compilation of his early hits which was purchased, oddly, from a carousel in my village’s sweet shop.  Them were the days.  Anyway, as soon as I began to collect LPs, it didn’t take me long to track down Cliff, his debut album from 1959.  My copy was/is rather battered an second hand but it’s an absolute peach.  For starters, it’s one of only a handful of live albums that make me wish I’d been there (albeit ten years before I was born), and includes a cracking version of Cliff’s debut single ‘Move It’.  It rocks.  Tell a bunch of people you’re going to put on a Cliff album and they’ll grimace and gurn at you; simply play this for a few tracks, allow them to get into it and then tell them it’s Cliff Richard, and their jaws will hit the floor.  Try it, go on.  Listen to: Move It, Apron Strings, That’ll Be The Day, Ready Teddy

Scott Walker – Scott

Now that autumn’s here, it’s Scott time.  A lot of embarrassing things have been written about Scott Walker and I don’t want to add to them here, even if I can’t help it.  However, Scott’s voice is something I doubt I can live without.  Scott may not be the most popular choice amongst his solo albums, but it’s the one I return to time and again, usually beginning around this time every year.  It’s my winter soundtrack.  Is it just his vocals, or the orchestral arrangements around them, or is the engaging mix of covers, chiefly Brel, with his own material?  I think it’s the atmosphere; I find this album both warm and pretty chilling – in a great way.  I love the gloriously camp orchestral, it always reminds me of Hammer Dracula films.  That’s hardly a recommendation, I know, but I’ll always be as enthralled by this album as I was by staying up late for a BBC2 horror double-bill.  Listen to: Montague Terrace (In Blue), The Big Hurt, My Death, Through A Long And Sleepless Night

Sparks – Number One In Heaven

The one thing that never left me from my first decade was my love of disco.  Before becoming a pseudo-muso, I was just an innocent bedroom dancer who enjoyed the likes of Bee Gees (see below) and Boney M a lot more than I (for a time) cared to admit.  I also loved Donna Summer, or at least, ‘I Feel Love’.  It wasn’t, as it turned out, her voice or indeed any of her Donna Summer-ness that I loved, it was the pioneering sound of Giorgio Moroder.  Fast forward a good few years and the discovery of a nice second-hand record shop, which kept me in musical discoveries during the lean, low-paid years (which are ongoing, of course); there I discovered the rather inviting sleeve of Sparks’ ‘The Number One Song In Heaven’, which, as it turned out, was produced by Signore Moroder.  Assuming this was a mark of quality, I took it home and, being proved entirely correct, I then sought out the album – the second (or third) hand vinyl I have is scratched (by someone else) to buggery but it still sounded fantastic.  There may be better Sparks albums too, but I keep coming back to this one; it is a better dance album than even the great Pet Shop Boys themselves ever came up with.  And sometimes (a lot of times, actually), I just want to dance.  Alone.  Listen to: Beat The Clock, Tryouts For The Human Race, La Dolce Vita, The Number One Song In Heaven

Kate Bush – The Kick Inside

I know I talk about this album all the time but not without very good reason.  It is absolutely magical.  ‘Wuthering Heights’ was my first musical purchase, before I even had a record player.  Back then, if there was a shortfall of adverts between ITV programmes, they’d stick in a pop music clip.  I was utterly mesmerised by the video for ‘Wuthering Heights’ – importantly, it wasn’t the tacky, overly-shiny studio video, it was the film version, with Kate twirling around a woodland clearing in a vivid red dress.  It’s still an amazing video to watch, so I popped it below in case you want to agree.  Incidentally, a lot of people don’t seem to realise that the version on her Whole Story compilation is a re-recording – it should be obvious, it comes complete with a wince-inducing bum note; avoid at all costs.  Anyway, it was a while after the single that I eventually owned a copy of her debut album The Kick Inside but it was well worth the wait.  It’s an astonishingly accomplished record and it still beggars belief that it was conceived and composed by a teenager.  Listen to: The Kick Inside, Moving, Strange Phenomena, Wuthering Heights

Lloyd Cole and the Commotions – Rattlesnakes

It was only around 1984 that I finally became a regular BBC Radio 1 listener; as I previously mentioned, it was Radio Clyde we had on in the house, (no) thanks to my parents.  I already knew I was missing out on everything from proper new releases to the ‘real’ UK chart but it was the Top Of The Pops appearance by Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, singing ‘Perfect Skin’ that forced the change.  It stuck out like a cauliflower ear, a great, if simple, performance of a really great song and was the subject of enthused discussion at lunchtime in school the following day.  By Saturday, I’d bought the single.  There was an interview with Lloyd in the next issue of Smash Hits, where the writer mentioned that ‘Perfect Skin’ had gone up the charts by virtue of DJs like “Simon Bates and Dave Lee Travis, who simply refuse to stop playing it”.  Lloyd said, “maybe they think we’re a breath of fresh air.”  Like The Smiths, said Smash Hits.  “We’re not that fresh!” said Lloyd.  My friend Malcolm bought Rattlesnakes before I did and assured me that “every track is brilliant”.  And so it is.  There are the bits everyone seems to love, like the one-note guitar solo in ‘Perfect Skin’, the endless guitar solo that ends ‘Forest Fire’, and the rhyming of “Eve Marie-Saint” with “On The Waterfront” in the title track.  But they’re only part of the story.  My favourite tracks, the non-singles, tell wonderful tales all of their own and, as such, are probably underrated.  Maybe they aren’t.  Whatever, revisiting Rattlesnakes is never less than a joy. Listen to: Four Flights Up, Speedboat, Charlotte Street, Patience

Various – Saturday Night Fever

So yes, I was, and still am, a disco man.  As Pet Shop Boys always pointed out, there’s something wonderful about the word ‘disco’ anyway; it reminds me of school romances and slightly tacky holidays.  All my memories of the disco era (considering I was under 10) are good ones, apart from my absolute pet-hate, flared trousers.  Sadly, I’ve never been able to dance but then that wasn’t necessary when I became a Smiths fan.  But it wasn’t until I grew up that I realised just how much I loved the Bee Gees contribution to the disco era.  Considering I’m writing about albums here, I have to confess that, where music’s concerned, I’m far more about songs than I am about the artists who made/wrote/sang them.  The overwhelming majority of musicians are incredibly tedious interviewees to read, and only come to life when they perform – so I have to admit, I’ve never read anything about the Bee Gees and I probably never will – I’m just so grateful, like millions of others, for their contribution to this soundtrack, not just of a film, but of an entire era: ‘Night Fever’, ‘Stayin’ Alive’, ‘Jive Talkin”, ‘You Should Be Dancing’ and, oh my goodness, their luscious ballad, ‘How Deep Is Your Love’ – it’s their incomparable harmonies, you see.  No harm to Take That, but they weren’t fit to lick the soles of its boots.  And yet, even with all those Bee Gees gems, its track 3, side 4, the near 11-minute stormer ‘Disco Inferno’ by The Trammps (and later massacred by Tina Turner) that I love best of all.  Gets me every time. Listen to: Disco Inferno, How Deep Is Your Love, Stayin’ Alive, Night Fever

Tom Jones – A-tom-ic Jones

Tom Jones has been in my house all my life.  My mum loved him.  What am I saying, she loves him now more than ever.  She brought her kids up in what she refers to as “the faith”.  We all love Tom.  Or ‘Thomas’, as she calls him.  Strangely, though, we only had the one Tom Jones album in the house when I was growing up, a rather ropey album called This Is Tom Jones, which including middling covers of ‘Hey Jude’, ‘Dock of the Bay’ and, worst of all, ‘Wichita Lineman’.  So it was left to me, as the eldest, to go out and get hold of some ‘real’ Tom Jones.  Jones himself had been absent from the charts for almost 15 years when he suddenly reappeared with the appropriately titled ‘A Boy From Nowhere’ in 1987, from a musical Matador which took another four years to actually hit the stage.  On the back of his new success, ‘It’s Not Unusual’ was rereleased, and charted.  A typically brilliant Smash Hits photo article charted the history of the man they called ‘Tom “Bloody” Jones’, featuring captions such as: “Tom rocks out in the bloody 70s”, “Bloody nice living room, Tom” and “Tom pours the bloody tea for his wife Linda”.  He was everywhere.  A slew of reissued albums came next, which led me to discover this lost classic, and subsequent favourite, from 1965, complete with amusingly great sleeve.  One listen to ‘Dr Love’ and you’re hooked; it is, as the man would say, bloody brilliant.  Listen to: Dr. Love, True Love Comes Only Once In A Lifetime, Face of a Loser, In A Woman’s Eyes

Elastica – Elastica

Nowadays, I’m a curmudgeonly old bastard who (sometimes) complains that there’s nothing new in music and that even the best of what we get is rehashed from the past.  Back in 1993, though, that didn’t matter as much to me as much.  I counted my first glimpse of Elastica on Top Of The Pops, performing ‘Line Up’ as another of those famous watershed/life-changing moments.  They were astonishingly watchable.  At the time, I’d been reading plenty about them and, even though I’d missed out on a copy of their ultra-limited debut single ‘Stutter’, I suspected I’d rather like them.  At the time I was going through a love/hate relationship with Justine Frischmann’s former band Suede but the fact that she counted Adam and the Ants among her influences told me I’d probably prefer her new band.  Actually, I didn’t notice ‘Line Up”s similarity to Wire’s ‘I Am The Fly’ at the time, even though I was fond of a bit of a Wire, but I didn’t really care when it was being discussed on letters pages as being some kind of sacrilege.  Then the plagiarism floodgates opened with ‘Connection’ and ‘Waking Up’; but none of it mattered to me at all.  Elastica are still amongst the most exciting groups I’ve ever seen live and I’ll still be listening to this album when my grandchildren are begging me to turn the music down.  Listen to: Line Up, Never Here, Car Song, Stutter

Madonna – The Immaculate Collection

It’s probably very un-muso of me to have a Best Of here and I’m glad, if so.  When your singles are as great as these, the quality of the album is not in doubt.  Madonna’s career may be blemished by some bizarre career and personal choices but I don’t love her because she’s perfect, just because she’s Madonna – and let’s face it, there aren’t any Best Of albums with a better title than The Immaculate Collection.  Much as I loved most of Like A Virgin, some of True Blue and every last note of Like A Prayer, I can’t help coming back for a fix of the hits.  Bear in mind too that some of these songs weren’t even on original Madonna albums – not even Into The Groove, which was only added to Like A Virgin after Desperately Seeking Susan.  I worked with a wonderful bunch of people in Our Price records in ye olde Selfridges on Oxford Street, London when this album came out and, not only is it crammed with big, fuck-off, thoroughly deserved hits, it also reminds me of just about the best time of my working life.  And yes, it was 20 years ago this coming Christmas.  Those were the days when people still bought actual albums in actual shops (I bought this on vinyl, originally) and we were practically lobbing copies of it over the counter at the time.  It was tiring, sometimes horrible but mostly enjoyable and unforgettable.  It’s difficult not to recoil slightly at the thought of being comforted by records from your past but actually, what’s wrong with it?  For the sake of sheer pop joy and the warmest glow of great memories, I can’t think of a Best Of album I’d rather put on – not even the subsequent Madonna collection, Celebration – than The Immaculate Collection. I love: Live To Tell, Like A Virgin, Justify My Love, Into The Groove

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