Right so this is pretty self-explanatory.
10. The Hurting by Tears for Fears and Chrono Trigger
The Hurting is a near-flawless collection of catchy yet rather sad new-wave tracks. It’s way better than Songs from the Big Chair. Chrono Trigger is a JRPG I played on the Nintendo DS and found extremely engrossing even though I’m not usually a big fan of JRPGs. The difficulty ramped up at the end and I regrettably never finished it, but the atmosphere and soundtrack and time-travel has stuck with me, comparable with Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask (my favourite games of my childhood for their atmosphere, soundtrack, and time-travel).
9. Hosianna Mantra by Popol Vuh and Ōkamiden
Variety is the spice of life which is why I’ve decided to include an album that doesn’t fit into the post-punk and new wave genres on this list. Popol Vuh is a band that’s really just one guy with a synthesizer, who’s known for doing the soundtracks to movies by Werner Herzog (a filmmaker I like a lot). Hosianna Mantra isn’t a soundtrack but anyway it’s pretty beautiful. I’ve also decided to include Ōkamiden on this list, which is also quite unique on this list because it’s the only game on this list where you play as a baby wolf who draws things with his tail. It’s the sequel to Ōkami, which is one of my favourite of all games. It’s not as good as Ōkami obviously because it’s not Ōkami, and also it’s a DS game, but it’s still quite enjoyable and humourous.
8. Parallel Lines by Blondie and Mario Kart DS
Parallel Lines is a really enjoyable new-wave album by Blondie. I really like Blondie. I don’t really like the first two tracks on this album if I’m being honest, perhaps just because they are over-played, but the rest of this album is fantastic. Mario Kart DS is also fantastic. It’s a game about being Mario and driving in Karts. While I think this series belongs on consoles, I also think that as far as controls and possibly track design go, this is the best in the series.
7. Sleep No More by the Comsat Angels and Pokémon Pearl
Sleep No More is an extremely atmospheric post-punk album. I like all of the songs on it. The Comsat Angels have other albums but I don’t like all of the songs on those. They don’t sound like Sleep No More does. Sleep No More is good. Pokémon Pearl is also good. It’s a game about befriending Pokémon, which are like strange animals that attack you for no reason if you walk on some grass. I played Pokémon Red in elementary school but then in middle school I had to not play Pokémon games in order for people to think I was cool (it didn’t work). Then in high school everyone loved Pokémon again and I could be my true unrepressed Pokémon-loving self again. I enjoyed Pearl a lot even though it took me about 120 hours to catch a Farfetch’d.
6. Secret Postcard by Plasticzooms and Worms: Open Warfare 2
Secret Postcard is the fourth and most recent album by a Japanese post-punk-influenced band called Plasticzooms (which might be spelled “PLA S TIC Z O O MS” I’m not sure). This is a really impressive group that captures what I love about the post-punk sound, better than most actual bands from that era. Each album they’ve done has been better than the last, and with Secret Postcard they really came into their own. I was happy to find a CD copy of it in Shinjuku when I was there even though I had no idea how to navigate the J-Pop section of the music stores or where “P” lines up in the Japanese alphabet. Also they’re releasing their first new single in a couple years this Friday so that’s cool. Worms: Open Warfare 2 is a game. It is presumably the sequel to a game called “Worms: Open Warfare”. I remember sort of looking forward to it, because I liked playing Worms 3D at my cousin’s house, and then I remember it getting good reviews and then buying it and I also remember playing it. It’s a damn fun game and my favourite game for 2-player mode on the DS. Also there was a level creator I think, which was cool.
5. Closer by Joy Division and Kirby: Mass Attack
Closer is one of two albums by post-punk band Joy Division. I’m not sure if it’s pronounced ‘Closer’ as in “come closer” or as in to ‘close’ something. Anyway Joy Division only made two albums because the lead singer killed himself while watching my second-favourite Werner Herzog movie. But they were a perfect band. And Kirby Mass Attack was a perfect Kirby game. I think it’s the best Kirby game ever made. It came out at the end of the DS’s lifespan yet still managed to be totally innovative in its use of touchscreen controls. It was a complete-feeling game and thoroughly mechanically satisfying. Those are good things.
4. Station to Station by David Bowie and Animal Crossing: Wild World
I was originally thinking of doing a blog where I just rank all of David Bowie’s albums. I own all 28 on CD (Compact Disc). But my top five are 5: Blackstar (from 2016), 4: Scary Monsters (19-eighty-something), 3: Heathen (2000?), 2: Reality (2003), and 1: Station to Station (1974 I think). He made a lot of good albums, which aren’t on this list because I’m not putting more than one album per artist on this list by the way. But Station to Station represents Bowie at his classiest and most cocaine-addicted and arguably even represents the genesis for the music movements I most love. In other news, Animal Crossing is a game I first played on DS in high school and liked a lot.
3. Heaven Up Here by Echo & the Bunnymen and The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Echo & the Bunnymen were my favourite band for a while. Their first four albums are all fantastic. After listening to each probably hundreds of times I was finally able to definitively conclude that Heaven Up Here is the best one, inching out Porcupine (though the song Porcupine is their best song). Incidentally, after playing all the Zelda games I can definitively state that Phantom Hourglass is the best handheld or top-down one and also the controls are fine so stuff it.
2. Your Arsenal by Morrissey and Flower, Sun, and Rain
Morrissey and The Smith’s music is ‘lighter’ and more pop-y than the sound I’m usually inclined towards but over the last 5 years, I always come back to them. And I listen to them more than anyone else. Morrissey’s lyrics continue to resonate, and songs continue to strike me in ways they never did before. I’m not sure why I picked Your Arsenal of all albums. Maybe Strangeways is better. Easier to just list the albums that aren’t my favourites (Maladjusted and Kill Uncle though the first track off Kill Uncle is one of his best [edit: Maladjusted is brilliant actually]). But the back to back on Your Arsenal of Seasick, Yet Still Docked and I Know It’s Going to Happen Someday is as good a summation of Morrissey as you can get with just two songs. He is one of my favourite people, along with Herzog and Sion Sono my holy trinity, of modern poets who’ve grasped a hold my life in different ways. Another person I like is called Goichi Suda, and he made a game called Flower, Sun, and Rain, which is about being frustrated by videogames, and features incomprehensible puzzles and inordinate amounts of running (I once weighed the run button down with a screwdriver and left it running for about 24 hours to unlock the last of the achievements). I think I’m seriously in love with this videogame. It is fascinating and hilarious and unbelievable and not actually frustrating really. It is essential and I recommend it seriously a lot!
1. Strange Times by the Chameleons and Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective
The Chameleons are the best band ever. They only made three albums, in the eighties, before they broke up. But all three are perfect. Like, they would be taking up the top three spots if I were including multiple albums per band. I chose Strange Times because a couple individual tracks, Soul in Isolation, and my favourite the stream-of-consciousness-written Caution are especially masterpieces. But every song they ever did was fantastic. These are intricate sonic soundscapes exuding feeling and atmosphere, passion and anger. Ghost Trick is also pretty perfect but instead of being a post-punk album, it’s a videogame from the creator of Ace Attorney. Its mechanics are unique and perfectly-realised, it’s puzzle gameplay sublimely fun, it looks awesome, the animation is terrific, the characters are extremely memorable, the story is engrossing, and the game is just super-funny and enjoyable and everything you could want from a DS game.
Okay well that was a list I made. I hope you liked it. Feel free to listen to some of these albums if you’re into the exceedingly narrow range of music styles I like, or pick up some of these videogames from your local Zellers, providing you’re living in the year 2011.
Okay thanks, bye.