Though I wasn’t really allowed to listen to secular music as a child, somehow the Beatles were a frequent exception. It wasn’t actually until high school that I intentionally discovered them for myself. It was like I got initiated into some obvious club. Because so many of their songs existed individually, picking my favorite album feels insincere. I loved each era of the Beatles separately. Abbey Road is as good as any other, really, since their music exists in their own category. It wasn’t that they were the best singers, best musicians, or the sexiest guys. They were smart, finding the right amount of all the things at the right time in history.
Unforgettable Fire by U2 was the first album I listened to over and over and over. U2 was the first semi-secular band I was allowed to listen to because they were kinda Christian at the time. (I wasn’t allowed to listen to non Christian music as a child.) My sister had a cassette tape with Unforgettable Fire on one side and Under a Blood Red Sky/Wide Awake in America on the other. She’d play it over and over as we fell asleep in our shared bedroom. As a result, this album always reminds me of a dream state. I either copied the tape or stole it, but either way, I’m sure I still have it. To this day, I maintain that it is a perfect album. The music is dark, mesmerizing, and sensual. They are a band that has reinvented themselves many times over, but this remains my favorite.