Meet a 10collectivist (and the man we call on for wise counsel) Adam Becker
Armchair critic, self-confessed Fancophile, Liverpoolean supporter, lover of food, red wine and coffee, husband, father, and truly – a gentleman and a scholar – we adore our consultant Adam Becker.
Having had people randomly open up to him about their stuff his whole life, Adam is super interested in human behavior and as well as looking after us in the office, his family outside of work, all his candidates and clients, the guy is studying his post-grad too!
Adam was very honest about saying from the outset that the Desert Island Disc challenge was one he’s always avoided. Adam has been ridiculously passionate about music since late childhood, and the idea of whittling down the albums that he loves to a small number, and then being left with only those for the foreseeable future (or even the rest of my life!) was such a horrible concept that he’d have avoided it altogether. Nonetheless, here we are. And here we go, in chronological order of personal discovery . . .
Appetite for Destruction – Guns ‘N Roses
Despite the severe misogynist overtones (let alone undertones) of this record, Slash and Axl rocked my world as I tipped into adolescence. I had been listening to Bon Jovi, INXS, Poison and Queen (who remain one of the greatest bands of my lifetime), but this record knocked me off my feet. For a bunch of degenerates sleeping on the floor on a steady diet of cheap whisky, heroin and dog food, this is a masterpiece. It’s clever, it’s aggressive, it’s cheeky, and it has a swagger that I have not heard since. Bogan FM have not done their legacy any favours.
Stand-out Track: Night Train
Angel Dust – Faith No More
Faith No More were the next true step in my musical education as a teenager, and in the years that have followed, I have seen many of their imitators come and go. For me, Mike Patton remains one of the great creatives of the past few decades and in many ways, I felt like FNM spawned the alternative music genre. This record packs a solid punch and although the obvious swagger of GNR is not there; there is a confidence and a maturity of craft that opened my ears to a greater musical complexity – even if delivered with a big middle finger. It may not seem to be about quality, but with Patton it always is.
Stand-out Track: Midlife Crisis
Superunknown – Soundgarden
So then grunge happened, and while I loved Nirvana, Pearl Jam (dead to me after Vitalogy), and particularly Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden were the ones that really captured me. Cornell’s at his peak on this record and I felt like things went downhill from here. The follow-up album is weaker, and while his first solo outing is actually a great listen, his career from that point forward has become laughable. This album’s nice and dark and verges on some decent complexity (a bit of a rarity for the scene) without quite making it, but it’s still great.
Stand-out Track: The Day I Tried to Live
Where You Been? – Dinosaur Jr.
Kind of parallel with the grunge scene, alternative music continued to gain some momentum and gave me The Pixies and Sonic Youth – both truly amazing bands. It also gave me J Mascis and his Dinosaur Jr. If someone twisted my arm into a Top 5 Records challenge, this would make it. Start to finish Mascis slays me with his effortless noodling and I could listen to it day-in-day-out. He also plumbs some awesome emotional depths, which really works for me. Not a dull moment on this album, and again, I’m going to cite complexity as a big positive. Sensing a trend?
Stand-out Track: Get Me
The Bends – Radiohead
Everyone loves Radiohead. Well, almost everyone. You’ll find OK Computer within the Top 5 on almost all of the Top 100 records of all-time lists circulating within music media. For me, though, it was The Bends that captured me. The story goes that it was at this point that the band tried to self-sabotage, the fame that “Creep” earned them was much more than they bargained for, and that having finished The Bends, they tried to make sure it would not be the follow-up success the masses were clamouring for. Not sure how true that is, but the self-sabotage clearly failed, and even if they don’t really rate this record, it’s one of my faves. Johnny Greenwood being amazing before he got mildly experimental with OK Computer, and then super experimental with later releases. It would also make my Top 5 in a pinch.
Stand-out Track: The Bends
Magical Mystery Tour – The Beatles
It took until the mid-nineties for me to actually discover The Fab Four. I think it was probably a combination of progressing past adolescence and my musical ear maturing. This is not a common favourite, and while I have a soft spot for almost all of their albums, Magical Mystery Tour holds the most goodness for me. We’re pretty much post the Eastern religion phase at this stage (except for George) and we’re flying pretty high most of the time. Harmonies are just excellent, as is the song-craft of the original songwriting duo. You may be surprised by the number of singles/well-known tracks on this often overlooked record. It’s all killer for me.
Stand-out Track: Baby, You’re a Rich Man
Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia – Dandy Warhols
The Dandys just make me happy. Courtney Taylor-Taylor (how’s that for a pretentious double-barrel?) takes himself a bit too seriously for my mind, and the slacker thing is starting to wear a little thin now that he’s on the downward side of his 40’s. The rest of the band don’t really suffer from that though, so it’s good that these guys are truly the sum of their parts. This was their last all-out good record. It’s the one with “Bohemian Like You” which everyone knows, but there’s much more to love here than just that song. It’s floaty, dreamy and even a bit psychedelic in parts, but through all of that it still rocks. This record puts me in a good mood each and every time I hear it, and Dandys shows are always well worth the price of admission.
Stand-out Track: Get Off
Music for the Morning After – Pete Yorn
Pete Yorn is a singer-songwriter without any renown outside of the USA (as far as I can tell). The single from this record had some airplay, but no one really picked him up other than that. I picked this up based on a magazine review and was not disappointed. There’s a slight twang, but not enough to be considered even alt-country. It’s down-in-the-mouth as the title suggests, but it actually rolls along with a bit of a swagger and is not too melancholy. Fans of Ryan Adams and Jakob Dylan may find that Pete is a good addition to their collection.
Stand-out Track: Strange Condition
Room on Fire – The Strokes
Although I thought their first release was amazing, it’s actually their sophomore effort that makes my list. Room on Fire is brighter and fuller than Is This It? and it’s chock-full of attitude. This record seems a bit sleepy in comparison, as everything hangs together a bit more tightly here. Casablancas is more snarl than drawl, and the production values are super-precise where in the past they were happy with some fuzzy edges. It all rolls along a super pace and 11 tracks are said and done within 33 minutes. There’s not a dull moment on this record, and they were never as good as this again for me.
Stand-out Track: Reptilia
They Want My Soul – Spoon
I’m such a late convert to Spoon it’s embarrassing. These guys were dropping great records through the late 90’s and right through the 00’s, but somehow I missed them. My closest musical ally turned me onto this album late last year and I cannot get enough of it. It’s almost all I listened to on a recent trip to London, and as a result London is all I can think about when I play it – a bit ironic, as they’re from Texas. Twenty years on from their inception, this album will make you want to revisit their whole catalogue (it certainly has for me!). It’s hugely hook-laden with some nice complexity – both musically and lyrically – and the production values are super-tight. This is indie rock the way it was supposed to be.
Stand-out Track: Rainy Taxi