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Top 10 Brian Eno-Produced Albums

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In both his production work and his solo releases, self-described "non-musician" Brian Eno has had an incalcuable influence on the recording and production of modern rock/pop music. While his solo work is incredibly varied - running the gamut of glam rock to film soundtracks to New Age-influencing ambient electronics - he is perhaps most well known for his production work, from his more experimental 70s Talking Heads work to his more recent collaborations with mainstream artists Paul Simon and Coldplay. With a new solo record on the horizon (Small Craft On The Milk Sea, seeing release in November), now is as good a time as any to look back on his celebrated production career and pick out his very best works.

Talking Heads - Remain In Light

The obvious forerunner here, the Talking Heads' 1980 masterpiece is one of Eno's most enduring productions. An intoxicating hybrid of Afrobeat polyrhythms, electronics, and the Heads' increasingly cerebral pop melodicism, Eno crafted a strange yet immediately accesible sonic landscape that remains his most distinctive achievement.

U2 - The Joshua Tree

Co-produced with Daniel Laonis, The Joshua Tree is easily Eno's most commercially popular production. Marrying U2's soul-searching anthems with Eno's gorgeous electronic flourishes was a major coup for both, artistically and commercially; the record single-handedly turned U2 into rock superstars and launched Eno's mainstream career.

Devo - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!

Of Eno's leanest and least obtrustive production jobs, Devo's debut record remains a high water mark for both parties. While Eno's trademark layered electronics are in short supply here, he allows the group's nervy deconstructionist pop songs to build and seethe, making for an exceptionally tense and memorable record.

David Byrne and Brian Eno - My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts

A collection of melodic, funky instrumentals interwoven with a varied collection of vocal samples - from radio show hosts to preachers - Bush of Ghosts was an utterly original release in 1981. While sampling had been done before, Eno's idea to use said samples as "lead vocals" was new, influencing hip hop to modern dance pop and beyond.

David Bowie - Low

Although not technically produced by Eno (due credit must be paid to Tony Visconti and Bowie himself), his presence on Low is crucial and unmistakable. Pushing Bowie's songwriting to bizarre new heights while offering the foreboding instrumental "Warszawa," Eno and Bowie reveal a window into the haunting future of rock 'n roll.

Brian Eno - Another Green World

Considered by many to be Eno's finest solo release, Another Green World combines his underrated sense of pop melodicism with his increasing interests in ambience and expansive electronics. Foreboding, lovely tracks like "Becalmed" and "Zawinul" directly foreshadow the work Eno would be making for the next quarter century.

Paul Simon - Surprise

The new millenium sparked some of Eno's most mainstream production work yet, culminating with his, well, surprising collaboration with Paul Simon. As unusual as it might sound on paper, Eno's warm arrangements fit with Simon's songwriting like a glove, resulting in one of his most inviting works.

Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois - Apollo (Atmospheres And Soundtracks)

Eno's ambient releases explore a wide variety of moods and textures, but Apollo (Atmospheres And Soundtracks) is perhaps his most distinctive; a collection of moody atmospherics combined with Laonis's warm guitar tones, it gives the listener the distinct feeling of floating in space, making for a quintessential late-night record.

Ultravox - Ultravox!

Eno's pioneering work in the mid-70s can't be understated; he was almost single-handedly responsible for pushing synth-pop and New Wave into the forefront of popular culture. Ultravox's debut record makes this clear, offering a hard-hitting early glimpse into the development of an exciting new genre.

David Byrne and Brian Eno - Everything That Happens Will Happen Today

Eno's second collaboration with David Byrne is markedly different effort than their first, forgoing the experimental route for a collection of sweet, homespun melodies. Marrying gospel with deep electronics and pushing the strongest vocals of Byrne's career into the forefront, it is perhaps Eno's most accessible and enjoyable album.

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Top Ten Covers of 80's Songs In The Last Decade

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Ah the 80’s, you simultaneously shame me and make me want to break out into dance. 80’s covers have always sort of been horrible, why is that? I’m guessing that has to do with the overall quality of music in that time period. No one seemed to know what the hell was going on (except Michael Jackson). Here’s a list of some odd covers coming from some odd bands in the last 10 years.

10. Dinosaur Jr. “Just Like Heaven” (The Cure)

Every band has covered this song, but no one makes it their own like Jay Mascis. The amount of distortion and sloppy shredding going on before the lyrics come in is truly inspiring. It’s the most ballsy a Cure song has ever sounded.

9. Kings Of Convenience "Free Fallin’” (Tom Petty)

This is one of those songs that guy at the party who brought a guitar always plays. Luckily, these guys do it so well, that you’re free to smash that guy’s guitar and play this instead.

8. Postal Service "Against All Odds" (Phil Collins)

The first time I heard this cover I almost thought it was an original until I heard the chorus. Postal Service does it so well, adding a good amount of desperation in a way only Ben Gibbard can.

7. She & Him "Please Please Please, Let Me Get What I Want" (The Smiths)

I’m admittedly not a fan of sad British pop music from the 80’s, but I do love me some Zooey Deschanel and I very much enjoy this cover that was set to 500 Days Of Summer’s soundtrack.

6.  Band Of Horses "You Make My Dreams Come True" (Hall & Oates)

Come on, you knew I wouldn’t make a list like this without some Hall & Oates, the king and queen of the 80’s (I’ll let you decide who the queen is).  This song makes me want to get up and just kick the air.

5. David Byrne "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" (Whitney Houston)

David Byrne makes this song funky, not that it already didn’t have a good rhythm for dancing. I remember my sister all scrunchied up dancing to this song back in the day.

4. Gnarls Barkley "Gone Daddy Gone” (Violent Femmes)

Hearing Ceelo sing this song works, but it’s really all about the xylophone, and Danger Mouse does the Femmes proud here. Yes he can play instruments, no he’s not just a DJ anymore.

3. The Lemonheads “Skulls” (The Misfits)

This is one of my favorite covers of all time, and I’ve spent many weeks attempting to find it after it disappeared from my iTunes. While most of the Lemonheads’ other work doesn’t quite hit me, hearing Glenn Danzig’s song about mounting skulls on his wall sung so sweetly is just perfect.

2. Gary Jules "Mad World" (Tears For Fears)

Thanks to Donnie Darko, Gary Jules came under most peoples’ radars with his whisper soft cover of this totally 80’s hit. This version just makes a bit more sense to me without a lot of overused synthesizers.

1. Tori Amos "Raining Blood" (Slayer)

Yes, this really happened. I actually don’t like Tori at all, she’s very much a diva and is not polite to those she doesn’t know. But, behavior aside, this is one of the more interesting covers of any band ever. I wonder if Slayer enjoyed it? Honorable Mentions: Gossip "Careless Whisper" (Wham!) Boy Least Likely To "Faith" (George Michael) The Flaming Lips “Borderline” (Maddona) The Arcade Fire “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”  (Cyndi Lauper) What are your favorite covers of songs from the 80's?

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