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BBC 6 picks its 12 “essential” NYC albums (no Velvet Underground)


BBC 6 Music is presenting a series of programs celebrating New York City this weekend, and in celebration of that celebration, today they posted a list of “12 essential records that capture the spirit of New York City.” Here’s there intro for their list:

Very few towns or cities have an atmosphere so evocative that when you hear music inspired by or created within it, the place of origin immediately springs to mind. Even fewer still have an influence that reaches right across the musical spectrum.

New York is one such city, and the New York album is almost a subgenre in its own right. It’s not because of a particular style or sound; being born there helps but it’s not essential, and you don’t even have to mention the city’s name or landmarks in your lyrics (but you can…). Instead a New York album possesses a certain atmosphere, a certain attitude and a certain energy.

While you might put The Velvet Underground or Sonic Youth or Television or the Ramones or Biggie or Public Enemy on your list, BBC 6’s is topped by The StrokesIs This It, with Wu Tang Clan‘s Enter the 36 Chambers at #2 and Blondie‘s Parallel Lines at #3. Here’s the whole list:

1. The Strokes – Is This It
2. Wu Tang Clan – Enter The 36 Chambers
3. Blondie – Parallel Lines
4. Talking Heads – 77
5. Nas – Illmatic
6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Fever To Tell
7. Simon & Garfunkel – Bookends
8. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
9. Princess Nokia – 1992 Deluxe
10. The Rapture – Echoes
11. Interpol – Turn On The Bright Lights
12. LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver

If this list seems especially heavy on Meet Me in the Bathroom bands, it is worth noting that BBC 6 Music launched in 2002 partially to celebrate / capitalize on the new indie rock scene that The Strokes and Interpol helped spark, and The Strokes, Interpol, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Vampire Weekend, The Rapture, and LCD Soundsystem were staples of their playlists in those days. You can read more about their list here — what would be your #1 essential NYC album?

You can also check out the list of programs the station will air as part of “6 Music Loves New York” including a show dedicated to the Wu Tang Clan.

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