Back in March, each of us set out to pick 100 of our favorite albums. The intention was simply to focus on personal favorites rather than trying to pick a list of the 100 greatest albums of all-time.
When we got done with those lists, we compared our choices, and 12 of our picks were the same. So we decided to rank those 12 picks in order and present them in descending order from No. 12 to No. 1. Today we present No. 7.
- Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb
ALBUM OF THE DAY
The Avett Brothers
I And Love And You (2009)
"I And Love And You," "January Wedding," "Head Full Of Doubt/Road Full of Promise," "Ten Thousand Words" and "Kick Drum Heart"
Where do I begin? I had no idea who The Avett Brothers were until I saw them open for the Dave Matthews Band at a show in Dallas on May 2, 2009, four months before this album's release. Since then, I have fallen head over heels for this band and its incredible music and live shows. In fact, I have seen The Avetts, who hail from Concord, North Carolina, live more than any other band — 27 and counting. They were my first show at my favorite venue, Colorado's Red Rocks. They were my first show at Madison Square Garden. I feel like it was meant to be that I became a fan as the band was set to release this fantastic major-label debut, produced by the legendary Rick Rubin. He combined his studio magic with the supreme talent of brothers Scott and Seth, who trade off on lead vocals, to create a modern masterpiece. The folk-rock tunes on this album are clever, authentic, moving and so damn good. In fact, I consider a lyric from "Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise" to be my all-time favorite: "Decide what to be and go be it." That never fails to inspire me, or to perfectly sum up what The Avett Brothers are all about. I really can't imagine loving a band more. And the thought of going to see them play No. 28 has helped keep me sane through this pandemic. I'm not sure when that will happen, but it's going to be a tremendous day with an amazing soundtrack.
I was already a fan of The Avett Brothers and their 2007 album Emotionalism when Chuck suddenly started raving about them. They've become probably his favorite band, and I share his enthusiasm for them. We've been lucky to see them together a couple of times out at Red Rocks in Colorado, and they are two of the greatest shows I've ever seen. (Although, a little side note here, it was in the summer both times and yet we still got rained on and nearly froze to death. Bring a rain poncho and possibly even a light jacket because it gets quite cool up at Red Rocks even in June and July).
Emotionalism contained the first Avett Brothers song to really rope me in - a tune called "The Ballad Of Love And Hate." It was clear I was hearing a special talent when that record came out, but this one propelled the band even further forward under the guidance of Rick Rubin. With a major label budget, the Brothers flesh out their sound and the end result is glorious. This is the record where the Avett Brothers started to become a big deal capable of selling out places like Red Rocks for multiple night stands. Ultimately this album sold more than a half million copies, and it remains the strongest statement in their impressive catalog.
BONUS ALBUM OF THE DAY
Why I Love It
Taylor Swift's ability to reinvent herself from one album to the next would be fascinating enough if she was just a talented musician exploring different influences.
But the fact she's one of the greatest pop songwriters of the current generation leads to moments like this where it all comes together and, suddenly, you've got a classic album on your hand. It's been less than a day since this album came out with no fanfare - just an announcement early in the day that the record would be available that night - and I'm already in love with it. It is a beautiful, introspective record that is perfect for the moment we are all living in. Taylor continues to evolve as an artist and mature as a vocalist, and her lyrics have never been more poignant than they are here. Taylor the teen country queen grew into quite a pop artist in her 20's, but if this is a glimpse of the Taylor we'll get now that she's in her 30's, then I'm all in.
"the 1," "the last great american dynasty" and "exile"