Music 2

When I first thought about creating a compilation with my favorite music, I thought it was going to be childโ€™s play. But being a perfectionistic, full-on music nerd, this turned out to be quite a stressful undertaking.

At first, it was a fun exercise. But soon enough, I started obsessing over it. Suddenly, I felt compelled to feature my entire Spotify library. How could I dare to leave out The Beatles, Elvis Presley, or Beethoven in favour of some obscure band? I enjoy their compositions and acknowledge their contribution to music history, so not including them felt akin to committing a crime. My intention with this, however, was far from creating an exhaustive ranking, but rather give you a grasp of how my life sounds like, and in doing so, hopefully introduce you to one or two pieces of music that could also enrich your own life’s soundtrack.

When it comes to music, it’s so easy to take for granted how fortunate we are to be alive at this point in time. Technology has allowed us to stream every existing piece of music under the sun, in high-quality, wherever we are, whenever we want, for as many times as we want, virtually for free. Just a couple decades ago, to have an interest in music meant spending a ton of money on physical records and equipment. Go back a little further in time, and listening to music digitally was not only an inconceivable notion, but 99.9% of today’s music didn’t even exist. I feel that’s a strong enough reason to feel appreciative and take the opportunity to broaden our relationship with music beyond what the mainstream pushes onto us.

There’s a number of reasons that made me recommend albums as opposed to artists or individual songs. I love the feeling you get when you come across a cohesive album you can enjoy without feeling like skipping any song. Lots of bands are able to produce a hit song, but fewer of them manage to put out a solid album. Ocassionally these albums revolve around a theme or narrative that make them more appealing to be consumed as a whole. And for the purpose of this list, they also offer a powerful visual element that would be missing if I recommended songs or bands.

A few extra considerations, for simplicity purposes:

  • Only one album per band
  • In no particular order
  • Every album includes two emojis indicating how challenging I consider the album to be (from green to red) and the main emotion it evokes on me

In case you prefer to explore this collection on your own, I’ve created this Spotify playlist with one song from each album so that you can easily explore the collection below on your own. Go grab your headphones, and enjoy!

Hamilton

Lin-Manuel Miranda

2015 ๐ŸŸก Hip-hop musical ๐Ÿ˜

Night

Gazpacho

2015 ๐ŸŸก Atmospheric prog ๐ŸŒ›

FEAR

Marillion

2016 ๐ŸŸก Progressive rock ๐Ÿ˜

Close to the edge

Yes

1972 ๐ŸŸ  Symphonic prog ๐Ÿคฉ

Hamilton

Lin-Manuel Miranda

2015 ๐ŸŸก Hip-hop musical ๐Ÿ˜

Night

Gazpacho

2015 ๐ŸŸก Atmospheric prog ๐ŸŒ›

Definitely among the albums I’ve listened the most throughout my whole life. Conceptual album, a masterpiece from beginning to end. Probably among the albums I’ve listened to the most. Such a pleasant journey.

FEAR

Marillion

2016 ๐ŸŸก Progressive rock ๐Ÿ˜

Soothing, absorbing, subtle. yet melodically powerful. Loaded lyrics. Makes me feel so emotional. I very much prefer Steve Hogart’s era, Fish’s music feels like a Genesis’ rip-off. With a stable line-up for decades. At the top of their game. Such a strong fan base. At their best. Producing amazing music, feels like they are at their peak. Also check their album “Brave”.

Close to the edge

Yes

1972 ๐ŸŸ  Symphonic prog ๐Ÿคฉ

Ranked as #1 album of all time according to progarchives.com. I can understand why. Only three songs, but what a journey. One of the most prolific bands from the 70s.

Hamilton

Lin-Manuel Miranda

2015 โ€ข Hip-hop musical โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜

An absolute masterpiece. From every single line to the whole story, it works on every level. Tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, founding father of the United States. Not a weak character. So refreshing to find hip-hop blended with so many other influences.

Night

Gazpacho

2007 โ€ข Atmospheric prog โ€ข ๐ŸŒ›

Among the albums I’ve listened to the most. Conceptual album, a masterpiece from beginning to end. Probably among the albums I’ve listened to the most. Such a pleasant journey.

FEAR

Marillion

2016 โ€ข Progressive rock โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜

Soothing, absorbing, subtle. yet melodically powerful. Loaded lyrics. Makes me feel so emotional. I very much prefer Steve Hogart’s era, Fish’s music feels like a Genesis’ rip-off. With a stable line-up for decades. At the top of their game. Such a strong fan base. At their best. Producing amazing music, feels like they are at their peak. Also check their album “Brave”.

Close to the edge

Yes

1972 โ€ข Symphonic prog โ€ข ๐Ÿคฉ

Regarded as the best album of all time according to progarchives.com. I can understand why. Only three songs, but what a journey. Simply one of the best bands from the 70s.

Hand. Cannot. Erase.

Steven Wilson

2015 ๐ŸŸก Progressive rock ๐Ÿคฉ

Steven is one of the most prolific musicians of our time, currently at its best. Astounding live performances. His music is always so exquisite and well-produced. Happy to learn he’s back with Porcupine Tree.

Foxtrot

Genesis

1973 ๐ŸŸ  Symphonic prog ๐Ÿคฉ

Before Phil Collins era, Genesis was one of the most prolific prog rock bands from the 70s. This album features some of their best creations, including Supper’s Ready, an epic 23′ song described by Peter Gabriel as “a personal journey which ends up walking through scenes from Revelation in the Bible”. Definitely in my top 3 songs of all time.

Colors II

Between the buried and me

2021 ๐Ÿ”ด Progressive metal ๐Ÿ˜

When I first listened to BTBAM, I thought I’d *never* enjoy such music. It was too complex and heavy to bearโ€”so much so that it even gave me headaches. But a friend kept insisting, so I trained my ears. A few years later, they are now among my favorite bands. Ultra energetic, but very melodic and fun. A banger.

Act V: Hymns with the devil in confessional

The Dear Hunter

2016 ๐ŸŸก Crossover Prog ๐Ÿ˜‹

About the power of storytelling. Really engaging book, I read it cover to cover in one sitting. I first heard about it in a conversation between David Perell and Morgan Housel. Steven knows a thing or two about writing, with a vast experience working in advertising, screenwriting, novels, non-fiction, etc.

Bellavista

Viva Belgrado

2020 โ€ข Screamo, Post-rock โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜

Saw them live in 2016 as openers and only improved ever since. Screams the lyrics in Spanish, very poetic. Energetic and well-rounded. More accessible than their previous albums.

Chronovision

Oberhofer

2015 โ€ข Indie Rock โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Light-hearted, upbeat music. Got into the band through Bojack Horseman’s soundtrack. Gives me good vibes.

Electric Sunset

Twanguero

2018 โ€ข Latin guitar โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜‹

Simply one of the best guitarists of our time. Each of his albums features a different latin style (cumbia, salsa, bachata…).

Messe I.X-VI.X

Ulver

2013 โ€ข Neoclassical โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜ด

Ulver started in the 90s as a black metal band, and over the years they gradually shifted toward an experimental, avant-gard, electronic, classical. Very hard to describe. Very unique style.

All eyez on me

2Pac

1996 โ€ข Hip-hop / Rap โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜Ž

For most of my teenage years, I regarded 2Pac as my hero. I identified with him and played an important role in my life. The agressiveness, standing out for what he thinks and channeling that in his art and his facility with words appealed to me because that’s what I lacked at the time.

Tubular Bells

Mike Oldfield

1973 โ€ข Symphonic rock โ€ข ๐Ÿคฉ

Multi-instrumentalist. Conceptualized dozens of experimental albums. Feels like a story in nature. With a baseline of rock,So many influences. Feels like being at home. An amazing composition. Also check Ommadawn. If you’ve never listened to this album before, you’ll be surprised by the beginning.

Love, fear and the time machine

Riverside

2015 โ€ข Progressive metal โ€ข ๐Ÿคฉ

Riverside is the first prog band I saw live, and maybe that’s why I tend to name them as my favorite band. This was the album they launched around that time, it’s a smooth intro to the band. If this is too soft for you, check out other albums. If you enjoy this, also check Mariuz Duda’s Lunatic Soul.

Who’s next

The Who

1971 โ€ข Classic Rock โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

For being classic rock, they have a very unique style. For a few months, I used to play this album while driving almost every day.

IV

Toundra

2015 โ€ข Post-rock โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜

Spanish band. Unique style. Saw them live several times. The cover is so cool, and then got into them. Amazing music textures and layers, unique sound. Check their other albums.

Metropolis 2: Scenes from a memory

Dream Theater

1999 โ€ข Progressive metal โ€ข ๐Ÿคฏ

Concept album. A great introduction to progressive metal. Dozens of mind-blowing passages. Masterpiece from beginning to end.

In the land of grey and pink

Caravan

1973 โ€ข Symphonic prog โ€ข ๐Ÿค—

Classic. Smooth. Love those keyboards, organic, melancholic and upbeat sound. Simplicity and challenging sections. A smooth introduction to progressive rock if you find it challenging. If you are into Camel, you’ll love this album.

The blue moods of Spain

Spain

1995 โ€ข Slowcore โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜

How clean, melancholic love songs. Being Spanish, I was surprised by the existence of a band called Spain, but also by their musical proposition. So simple, yet so engrossing. Found them through the series Six Feet Under.

Requiem

Mozart

1791 โ€ข Classical โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜Œ

My favorite classic composition. Mozart. Makes me feel peaceful, use it to sleep. I appreciate classical music, but I haven’t delved into lots of compositions. This is the first one that I enjoy as a whole.

The Mountain

Haken

2013 โ€ข Progressive metal โ€ข ๐Ÿคฏ

Concept album. Aggressive, but melodic and fun. Take Dream Theater and Gentle Giant, put them in a blender, and you get Haken.

Mirage

Camel

1974 โ€ข Symphonic prog โ€ข ๐Ÿค—

Classic. Smooth. Love those keyboards, organic, melancholic and upbeat sound. Simplicity and challenging sections. A smooth introduction to progressive rock if you find it challenging. If you are into Camel, you’ll love this album. Classic, pure, raw music. You don’t hear music like it these days. Product endorsement from Camel cigarretes package.

Still Life

Opeth

1999 โ€ข Death prog metal โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜ซ

A brilliant band, but difficult band to get into. Raw, and heavy dark guitars. If you like this, you’ll enjoy Blackwater Park too. If this is too heavy for your liking, check Opeth’s Damnation instead.

Lateralus

Tool

2001 โ€ข Progressive metal โ€ข ๐Ÿคฏ

Classic. Unique dark textures. Cult following. Extravagant, made it to the mainstream.

Thick as a brick

Jethro Tull

1972 โ€ข Progressive folk โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜‹

Classic album. divided in two 20′ compositions. The band’s leader, adds a unique style with his flute.

The dark side of the moon

Pink Floyd

1973 โ€ข Psychodelic rock โ€ข ๐Ÿคฉ

What’s left to say about PF? This might be the best introduction if you are new to prog rock. Masterpiece.

Still life

Nas

1994 โ€ข Hip-hop / Rap โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜Ž

One of the best rap albums of all time. I like West Coast rap better, but hey, you have to give credit where credit’s due.

Octopus

Gentle Giant

1972 โ€ข Progressive rock โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜ต

Classic. Unique dark textures. Cult following. Extravagant, made it to the mainstream.

Moving pictures

Rush

1981 โ€ข Progressive rock โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜™

Classic album. divided in two 20′ compositions. The band’s leader, adds a unique style with his flute.

Days of future passed

The moody blues

1967 โ€ข Progressive rock โ€ข ๐Ÿค—

album-length theme that used the elements of a passing day as a metaphor for phases of life. Album finishes with their white Satin songs.

What is there

Delta Spirit

2020 โ€ข Indie rock โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Light-hearted, upbeat music. Listened a lot for a few months. Well-produced, gets smooth as you approach the end.

Godbluff

Van der graaf generator

1975 โ€ข Progressive rock โ€ข ๐Ÿคฏ

Expect amazing keyboard and eccentric singing. Very eclectic. Like this? Check Pawn Hearts too.

Grand Tour

Big Big Train

2019 โ€ข Symphonic prog โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜

Well produced. Makes you feel so good. Piano and guitar. Pompous. Lyrics. Big band, with classical orchestral music elements to it. Picked this album cause I know it well, but you could choose many others. Sadly, the band’s singer, David Longdon, died recently in an accident.

Leftoverture

Kansas

1976 โ€ข Progressive rock โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜™

Very solid album that surprisingly made it into the mainstream because of their popular Carry on my wayward son. Epic, fun innovative. Great singing, keyboards and guitars.

Conciencia

Freedonia

2019 โ€ข R&B, Funk, Soul โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜‹

Fantastic voice. Came to my hometown and came by to see them with no expectation, and I loved them. Saw them live right before the lockdown, so it felt like a treat.

Eldorado

Electric Light Orchestra

1974 โ€ข Crossover Prog โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜‹

Light-hearted, upbeat, friendly album. Poppy with classical instruments, honoring their name. Concept album with clear leitmovit.

Weather Systems

Anathema

2012 โ€ข Progressive rock โ€ข ๐Ÿ˜

Melodic, smooth textures, guitars. Emotional music. Well produced. Very good combo between strong and smooth. Good intro to prog metal for those not familiar with metal. Orchestral elements and epic with beautiful melodies.

Parrhesia

Animals as leaders

2022 โ€ข Progressive metal โ€ข ๐Ÿค“

Amazing band to see live. Only three people. So amazing sound, so estimulating. Electronic modern complex prog metal.

Trilogy

Emerson, Lake and Palmer

1972 โ€ข Symphonic Prog โ€ข ๐Ÿคฉ

Keith Emerson was one of my biggest inspiration, with his eccentric style at the keyboard. In fact, I practiced their title track ‘Trilogy’ for months until I was able to play it on the keyboard.

Remedy Lane ๐Ÿ˜‹๐ŸŸก

Pain of Salvation

๐ŸŸก 2002 | Progressive metal ๐Ÿ˜‹

Singing, stories, melodies, felt. Good combo between hard and soft. Emotional, heart-felt singing from Daniel Gildenlรถw.

Detachment ๐Ÿ˜๐ŸŸก

Barock Project

2017 ๐ŸŸก Progressive rock ๐Ÿ˜

Singing is not impressive, but the melodies are great. Happy prog songs with orchestral and epic elements, similar to Big Big Train.

Mittelpunkt der Welt ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐ŸŸข

Element of crime

2005 ๐ŸŸข Folk rock / Blues ๐Ÿ˜Œ

Love their melancolic, feel good style. Also understand German every once in a while. Makes me feel in comfort. Trumpet.

In the Court of the Crimson King ๐Ÿ˜ฒ๐ŸŸ 

King Crimson

1969 ๐ŸŸ  Symphonic Prog ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

Epic, revolutionary album. Amazing, eclectic band. Please, don’t depart this life without having listened to ‘Starless’ song.

Tengo mis dรญas buenos

Fruterรญa Toรฑi

2017 ๐Ÿ’› Progressive rock ๐Ÿ˜

Spanish band. Violin. Lyrics. King Crimson.

Into the electric castle

Ayreon

1998 ๐Ÿ’› Progressive metal ๐Ÿคฉ

Conceptual rock opera. This is the one I know best. Arjen Lucassen. Potent sound. A journey. Like this? Also check The Gentle Storm.

Nine

Circus Maximus

2012 ๐Ÿ’› Progressive metal ๐Ÿ˜„

Dream Theater, with a better singer. Easy intro to prog metal. Potent sound, melodic.

In a silent way

Miles Davis

1969 ๐Ÿงก Jazz fusion ๐Ÿ˜Œ

Jazz titan. Hard to get into, I found this piece accessible. His album ‘Kind of Blue’ is often regarded as the best jazz album of all time.

I

Meshuggah

2004 ๐Ÿ”ด Djent, Prog metal ๐Ÿ˜ฉ

Extreme, heavy music. Not for the faint hearted.

Cosmo’s Factory

Creedence Clearwater Revival

1970 ๐ŸŸฉ๐ŸŸข Classic rock ๐Ÿ˜„

Friendly, popular music. Classic rock. Perfect music for a long car ride.

If I Should Go Before You

City and Colour

2012 ๐Ÿ’š๐ŸŸข๐ŸŸฉ Indie Rock ๐Ÿ˜‹

Easy listen, for modern and softer ears. Solid album. Enjoyable collection of songs.

Mรซkanรฏk Dรซstruktรฏแบ Kรถmmandรถh

Magma

1973 ๐Ÿ”ด Zeuhl, RIO ๐Ÿคช

The band’s leader and drummer, Christian Vander, created a fictional language, Kobaรฏan. Very eclectic, but worth a listen.

ร‰cailles de lune

Alcest

2010 ๐ŸŸก Prog metal ๐Ÿ˜

Atmospheric, absorbing, dark but hopeful. Growls. Like light in the dark.

Per un amico

Premiata Forneria Marconi

1972 ๐ŸŸ  Italian Prog Rock ๐Ÿ˜„

Italian, easy going. Eclectic, but soft. There was a strong italian scene. Other popular bands are Banco del Mutuo Soccorso, Le Orme or Museo Rosenbach.

Brothers in arms

Dire Straits

1985 ๐ŸŸข Rock ๐Ÿ˜‹

Mark Knopfler is an amazing guitarrist. Along with Lynyrd Skynyrd, for a few months I considered them my favorite band (before I learned about progressive rock).

Ein kleines biรŸchen Horrorschau

Die Toten Hosen

1988 ๐ŸŸข German Rock ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

One of the most popular German rock bands. Solid rock album.

The Mantle

Agalloch

2002 ๐ŸŸ  Progressive Metal ๐Ÿ˜ฉ

Atmospheric, absorbing, dark but hopeful. Friendly growls. Like light in the dark. Guitars, textures. Obscure. Solid album.

Iamthemorning

2012 ๐ŸŸก Crossover Prog ๐Ÿค—

Piano, voice and classical music elements. Female voice. Russian couple. Soft, but powerful.

Dissolution

The Pineapple Thief

2018 ๐ŸŸก Crossover prog ๐Ÿ˜‹

Well produced, similar to Steven Wilson, easy intro to prog rock.

Newcomer

Llorca

2001 ๐ŸŸข Nu jazz, Downtempo ๐Ÿ˜

Smooth. Really enjoyable. Quiet, yet danceable. Would like to delve deeper into this genre.

Elegant Gyspy

Al Di Meola

1977 ๐ŸŸ  Jazz Fusion ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Great guitarrist, classic.

The Hazards of Love

The Decemberists

2009 ๐ŸŸก Crossover Prog ๐Ÿค—

Concept album with . Pleasant music, folk undertones.

Bloom

Caligula’s Horse

2018 ๐ŸŸ  Progressive Metal ๐Ÿคฉ

Fantastic voice. Well produced. Modern. Powerful, great melodies.

The Man Who

Travis

2001 ๐ŸŸข Soft rock ๐Ÿ˜Œ

Soft album, not challenging. Popular.

Rumours

Fleetwood Mac

1977 ๐ŸŸข Jazz Fusion ๐Ÿ˜‹

Soft, classic. Full of classic songs. Collection.

Kharma Code

Kharma Code

2012 ๐ŸŸ  Progressive Metal ๐Ÿคฉ

Spanish band under the radar. The title track is a delight for fans of long, epic songs.

Balanceo

Cala Vento

2018 ๐ŸŸก Progressive Metal ๐Ÿ˜

Only two people. Enjoyable Spanish lyrics. Potent sound and solid album from beginning to end.

Bonny Light Horseman

Bonny Light Horseman

2020 ๐ŸŸข Indie Folk ๐Ÿ˜Œ

Very pleasant listen. Came because of Bojack, stayed for the music.

Mantiis

Obsidian Kingdom

2014 ๐Ÿ”ด Progressive Metal ๐Ÿ˜ฉ

Obscure, modern, very heavy. Spanish band.

Disintegration

The Cure

1989 ๐ŸŸก New wave ๐Ÿ˜Œ

Atmospheric, absorbing, smooth, nice guitars.

The Divine Wings of Tragedy

Symphony X

1997 ๐ŸŸ  Progressive Metal ๐Ÿคฉ

Important exponent in progressive metal, close to thrash metal. Other bands like Circus Maximus. Epic, fast-paced songs.

Crime of the century

Supertramp

1974 ๐ŸŸก Crossover Prog ๐Ÿ˜‹

Classic. Piano. Easier than other prog albums around that time.

(Pronounced ‘lฤ•h-‘nรฉrd ‘skin-‘nรฉrd)

Lynyrd Skynyrd

1973 ๐ŸŸข Classic Rock ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Accident. Melancholic, but playful. Classic feel. Solo Free Bird.

Circadia

Jardin de la croix

2016 ๐ŸŸ  Math rock ๐Ÿคฏ

Animals as leaders. Spanish. Potent sound and production.

New moon

Almunia

2011 ๐ŸŸข Psychodelic disco ๐Ÿ˜Œ

Hidden gem. Vibes.

Birth School Work Death

The Godfathers

2011 ๐ŸŸข Rock ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Feel good.