By Ralph Greco, Jr.
It might not seem so at the moment, but this big bad coronavirus pandemic will surely end. Nobody quite knows when and nobody can predict what the world will look like when it does (which could be as early as May1), but when we can all break free from our self-quarantine, we will surely need to open the windows and blast some tunes, have friends and family over for a impromptu dance party, and generally celebrate being alive. With that in mind, here are 10 Albums To Play When We Break Self-Quarantine…
1) Sly and the Family Stone – Stand!
The fourth album by the enigmatic super talented Sly Stone and his cracker-jack band has some great reminders of how we are all better together than we are apart, plus some just joyful dance tunes. The opener title track is anthemic, while “I Want To Take You Higher,” and of course, the hit, “Everyday People,” reminds us all how we need to always consider one another.
2) Yes – Close To The Edge
Talk about transporting you out and about and around again! With one side, the full “Close To The Edge” suite and the second side featuring the angelic “And You And I” and then the weird and woolly “Siberian Khatru,” this progressive rock masterpiece will surely clear out the stay-at-home cobwebs.
3) Eagles – Eagles
The debut of this quintessential California band has Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner, coming across as more country than the rock band they will soon become. Still, with tunes like “Take It Easy,” “Witchy Woman,” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling” (and all the sweet harmonies throughout), one can’t help but feel pretty fantastic about life in general when spinning this record.
4) Thin Lizzy – Jailbreak
How about some hard jams to kick out your jams? What could be better than breaking out of the house to the title track opener here, enjoying the romantic ode of “Romeo and the Lonely Girl,” dreaming of being out on the range with “The Cowboy Song,” singing along to the “The Boys Are Back in Town”and the call-to-arms “Emerald.” Arguably this band’s best (indeed its most commercial release) this no-frills rock record will get your head banging just enough so you can still get some stuff done.
5) Supertramp – Breakfast In America
This album that broke this U.K. band big, especially in the U.S., mixes what became F.M. staples “Take The Long Way Home,” Goodbye Stranger,” and massively popular, “The Logical Song,” with opener “Gone Hollywood,” (which pretty much sets the stage for the non-concept concept here) to the last song, the tear-you-heart-out “Child Of Vision.” You can just feel the joy of the mighty five-piece Supertramp coming to conquer the corporated America of the late 70s.
6) The Band – The Band
The second album by Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, and Robbie Robertson sounds as if it was unearthed from recordings made decades before. In pure ‘’Americana’’ style (well before that term was coined), we get songs about people and places delivered in a way only this quintet could deliver. From the civil war cry of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” to getting all funky with Garth Hudson’s frog-croaking clavinet keyword working through a wah wah peddle on “Up On Cripple Creek,” and the rockabilly “Rag Mamma Rag,” the collective writing, playing and singing talent here wraps you up and drops you someplace other worldly. A great album to spin while you get out there and get your garden back in order, or you host a dinner party with friends you haven’t seen in months.
7) Meatloaf – Bat Out Of Hell
If there is one bunch of songs that speaks to teenage angst, writ large by an equally large singer and bombastic songwriter, here it is. Pipes, as well as personality, make this rock opera album rise above most others, but from the beginning kinetic piano runs, Todd Rundgren’s guitar motorcycle revving, to baseball-as-sex metaphor of “Paradise By The Dashboard,” you can relive your teenage years as you regain your freedom.
8) Chicago – V
Opening with a prog-riffing chunk of keys and horns on “A Hit by Varèse,” into the pop-infused “Now That You’ve Gone” with optimistic lyrics like, “I always thought that everything was fine, everything is fine,” and the tune that makes you appreciate a summer day like no other — “Saturday In The Park.” This is one bright sunny day of a pop-rock record, spiked with horns, no less.
9) Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run
Busting out of New Jersey and onto the world stage with this, his third album, The Boss delivers autobiographical odes that make the listener pine for romance, hot cars, and yes, like Chicago, horns. True, the longer tone-poem, last song here, “Jungleland,” is a bit heavy for the freedom that will come from our quarantine lifting, but mostly what one gets throughout here is an urgency to get out and experience the world at full tilt.
10) The Cars – The Cars
In addition to this being pretty much a perfect album, this Roy Thomas Baker produced nine-song masterpiece sets the standard for ’New Wave’ hit making. From the wry lyric of opener “Good Times Roll,” the poppy perfect “My Best Friends Girl,” and “Just What I Needed,” to the creepy synth washes of “Moving In Stereo” (the soundtrack no hetero man will forget to Phoebe Cates’ bikini top removal in Fast Times at Ridgemont High), this is the one album we’ll surely want blasting out of our open car windows when we finally take to the open road.