The Ars Nihil Fundamentals

Presented in a vague order of historical importance to me, these aren't my desert island albums or what I consider The Greatest but rather just the ones where I have the most important memories or feelings attached.

  1. The 5th Dimension

    When my parents drove me to things as a kid, we always had WBIG-FM on in the car, so I grew up with a steady diet of oldies from the 50s to early 70s (this is when WBIG was Oldies 100 and not the current classic rock format it changed around 2006). This album is actually a placeholder for the very first CD I ever bought with my own money: The 5th Dimension's Greatest Hits on Earth. I still love The 5th Dimension, by the way...

  2. I don't usually like recommending comps, but this one is vital to me because it's exactly how I came to hearing Pink Floyd, began my moving away from just listening to Jock Jams CDs, and digging through Blender/Mojo/Rolling Stone/Spin/etc. to see what else was out there. My journey as a music geek started here.

  3. Daft Punk

    I don't have anything profound to say about this one, other than it's always been a favorite. I remember listening to it on loop at my uncle's house during the summer on my headphones while having to treat it like a guilty pleasure throughout high school until everyone else caught up in 2007.

  4. The Rapture

    I had been reading about electroclash and dance-punk at the time I was recommended this one at a local Hot Topic by the cashier (I don't know if they still sell music...). It's not one of my favorite albums but it's one of my most important ones, since it hooked me on the genre. I actually prefer Pieces of the People We Love (their 2nd album) and "How Deep is Your Love?" from In The Grace of Your Love but "House of Jealous Lovers" from this one should be heard at least once in your life...

  5. Wir sind Helden

    I'm sure this one's not rare if you're from Germany but not a common one for Americans. First saw some of the videos when visiting Germany in 2003, loved what I heard, and bought it in Frankfurt. No regrets on that decision, especially since I still sing these songs to myself now (esp. "Denkmal").

  6. Jorge Ben Jor, Jorge Ben

    Punchy, funky, and coolly timeless. This album from Jorge Ben is really the perfect introduction into Brazilian pop music, which is a whole exciting world to explore even if you don't know Portuguese.

  7. Seatbelts

    Ah, Cowboy Bebop - the anime you always recommend to Those Who Don't Like Anime. I do love the show but it also feels like a no-brainer when the subject comes up. This soundtrack still is highly recommended, whether you know the show or not.

  8. Parliament

    I love funk music, especially what P-Funk has put out. Mothership Connection is usually cited as the best one to listen if you could pick only one but I'd personally recommend this one and/or Uncle Jam Wants You instead.

  9. This whole thing could just be filled with Bowie albums but this one is my clear favorite since my early 20s.

  10. Kate Bush

    I love The Hounds of Love like anyone else but what's the most Kate Bush of Kate Bush albums out there? The Dreaming.

  11. Roxy Music

    Became a huge Roxy Music fan in college, though my intro was For Your Pleasure. The first album is still the best, though.

  12. I went through a box set phase when I started getting disposable income in my mid-20s. This was the best one out of them, since I love 70s soul music.

  13. Stevie Wonder

    Do I really need to explain this one?...

  14. Wire

    One of the only true "perfect" albums I can think of - while only 35 minutes, you can put it on, love every song, and appreciate the thought that went into this while still remaining Punk.

  15. MGMT, whoismgmt

    My understanding is this is a more hated album, but I really appreciate how weird MGMT decided to be after having a couple hit songs under their belt. It doesn't always "work" but it definitely is a vibe unto itself.

The Ars Nihil Fundamentals is an album list curated by Alex Bemish:

Ars Nihil is a blogging project hosted through Substack and Wix. Please come visit either or both - it'll certainly help my ego if you did.

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