5 Albums I Can’t Live Without: Ryan Reed, Spin Contributing Editor

Name Ryan Reed

Known for the best Writing and editing in various places, writing a book about the Fleetwood Mac, and apparently (according to Google) having the same name as a NASCAR driver.

The current city Knoxville, Tennessee.

Really want to be Colorado Springs – I went there during a 2019 road trip and fell in love. I’m lucky that there are hills here at home, but nothing can beat the Garden of the Gods. I think of that place every day.

Excited about Seeing Genesis live this year (despite my covid-related concerns).

I have a lot of current music collections Progressive / Psychedelic / Art / Indie / Alternative / Classic rock, fairly equally divided between big-name artists and obscure works. I have a solid amount of jazz-fusion.

And a little bit Funk / Post-Punk. I am working on expanding my collection in both of these cases.

Don’t judge me I feel no shame in owning an album in my collection, including Creeds Human clay. (Twin / early teenager Ryan’s flashback is learning the intro guitar reef in “With Arms Wide Open” in his living room, it looks like he can conquer the world.)

Format of choice Vinyl or CD – both have their advantages. The task of listening to vinyl is more formal: cleaning the LP, flipping it in the middle, rubbing huge artwork and liner notes. Plus, it’s best to buy vinyl. The record store is my favorite place in the world, and I’ve discovered a lot of music – things that algorithms would never think of recommending – just flip.

I’m not one of those people who blindly says, “Vinyl is good! Something else is terrible!” CDs almost always sound great and you don’t have to be so expensive with them.Also, I still listen to CDs in the dummy car, so I like to keep them around for that reason.I also like to buy music for that time, so I want a hard rock album of the year – and then a remastered CD.I try to avoid digital music as much as possible, but my work forces me to work with it.

5 albums I can’t live without


All right, computer

I know an album is a clich বলা that has changed your life, but it’s true here. I remember everything from my first experience with him All right, computer: Buying it at my local Wal-Mart, listening to it in bed headphones and thinking, “Oh, my God. It’s talking to me in a way I can’t fully process.” I was already listening to some weird music as a kid (I remember buying a Fleming Lips CD through the BMG catalog when I was six), but it was different. Many years later I realized that I love it so much about it: the marriage of melody and mystery. These are digestible rock songs, but they’re ubiquitous – from the turbulent triple-guitar glory of “Paranoid Android” to the stacked “Late Down” stellar balladry. This is a perfect album.


De-loused in the Comtorium
Mars Volta

This was another “turning point” album for me, but I won’t rehash that whole story since I recently documented it in essay form. Originally I bought a CD of Lark, based on a very short TV ad, and I was completely unprepared for what I heard: modern Prague rock that sounds nothing like Genesis and yes I grew up. De-loused post-hardcore and salsa and jappa and all sorts of words that I’ve never encountered in the com- pany. After so many years, I still hear new things in it.


Sold England by the pound

Genesis is my favorite band, and Selling England is my favorite album – it would be a mistake not to include it. I’m a Prague junkie, and it’s one of the best ever. Dramatic piano / flute / guitar themes from “Fifth of Fifth” are in my Musical Time Capsule. I also have an emotional reason for making this choice: my wife, Jennifer, is also a huge Genesis fan, and we heard this album when we first hung out. I didn’t know he was a fan at all. We just played songs to each other, and he said, “Have you ever heard that?” And press play on his laptop. I could offer right there.


The beginning is good
Sigur Rose

I would say most of us have felt a kind of emotional epiphany in the toilet. My thanks happened The beginning is good, The post-rock classic I first heard in the bathroom – jaw-dropping, because these alien-sounding tones got into my headphones through my portable CD player. Each element was so unique: Jonsi’s perforated falsetto, bow-scraped guitar, flashing contrast effects, a dynamic range from music-box calm to high snowfall. It was a weird place to cry, but I just melted. I couldn’t help it! And whatever the setting, these songs always destroy me.


Stilly Dan

The pinnacle of jazz-rock: the most sophisticated melodic language of any album, including primitive engineering, colorful music, lively melodies, and pop testimonials. My mother taught me well: I will never forget buying her a decade old Steely Dan at a flea market and playing those songs for me on the way home. A spin through “Peg” and I was bound for life.

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