1. “Let’s Fall in Love Tonight,” Lewis, 1983
The first time I went over to my wife’s place, she had this playing in the background. The album didn’t exist outside of a private pressing of a thousand copies or something — this was a couple of years before it was reissued. We would listen to it all the time, and it ended up being the song that Emma walked down the aisle to.
2. “On the Beach,” Neil Young, 1974
This song is about isolation, but ironically it’s one of the great love songs of my life. “The world is turning/I hope it don’t turn away” — I really identify with that. The whole B side of this album, you can just put it on and get lost. You can get stoned and go inside this little universe. And when the song ends, go back to the beginning.
3. “When You Awake,” the Band, 1969
Emma and I both love this album — we listen to it a lot at home. It’s got all these minutiae of an imaginary agrarian life. This one is for those days where I’m in my bathrobe doing a crossword puzzle sporadically for six or seven hours.
4. “The Tea Song,” Michael Hurley, 1964
Michael Hurley is the songwriter laureate of some quantum-wobble alternate version of planet Earth. When I listen to this song, I feel like I get to be part of that world. It just fills my head with images.
5. “God Is in the House,” Nick Cave, 2001
Prior to meeting Emma, I had a blind spot for Nick Cave. I didn’t realize how funny he was. This song knocked me on my ass the first time I heard it.
6. “My World Is Empty Without You,” Diamanda Galas, 1988
Diamanda Galas is one of the more powerful individuals walking among us. She may be the only satanic gospel singer out there. The title of this song sounds like an admission of weakness, but there’s this unbelievable power and agency in it.
7. “Life’s a Bath,” John Frusciante, 1997
Frusciante is a guy who, parallel to his hugely successful day job in the Red Hot Chili Peppers, was making unprecedently naked music on his own. That’s fascinating to me.
8. “Chimes for Dreams,” Jeff Bridges, 2015
This album is what I see myself doing in 30 years. There’s a moment on the album where he’s brought his recording rig to the breakfast table, and the interaction between him and his wife is so sweet, but also weary.
9. “Eternamente,” Nilla Pizzi, circa 1953
She’s an Italian chanteuse from the Fifties. There’s this unnameable quality that throws everything around you behind some kind of haze — this song just does that for me.