Edit: I wrote this before Further/Deeper was released. I’d put that about number 7 or 8.
OK, this is directly inspired by this where they individually ranked their top 15 The Church records along with their three favourite songs from each.
Disclaimer: I’ve never really given Sometime Anywhere, Hologram of Baal, After Everything Now This or Uninvited Like The Clouds good solid listens. Well, that’s four records I can’t include – wow, what sort of Church fan am I? I know, right? Also, I’ve included their “acoustic” remakes, their album of outtakes and an initially internet-only release here too. Although I have Remote Luxury listed, I’m going to include Sing Songs as part of it, as the whole shebang was re-released this way anyhow. Ditto with Of Skins and Heart – this record was re-released with three songs from a 5-track EP (Too Fast For You) tacked on the end, so I’ve taken into account the songs included.
OK, this list is how I feel as of right now, the 11th of October, 2014. Ask me to pick them again in a month and it’ll be different. Format is record : songs
15. Back With Two Beasts : Ionian Blues, Pearls, Saturation
14. El Momento Siguiente : North, South, East and West, Wide Open Road (Triffids cover), Electric Lash
13. Forget Yourself : Nothing Seeker, Song in Space, Lay Low
12. El Momento Descuidado : 0408, Tristesse, Till The Cows Come Home
11. Untitled #23 : Cobalt Blue, On Angel Street, Happenstance
10. A Quick Smoke at Spots : Ride Into The Sunset, Forgotten Reign, We Both Know Why You’re Here
9. Magician Among The Spirits : Ritz, Grandiose, Comedown
8. Remote Luxury : In This Room, No Explanation, Shadow Cabinet
7. Of Skins and Heart : Bel Air, For a Moment We’re Strangers, Tear It All Away
All right, this is where it gets hard.
6. Gold Afternoon Fix : Monday Morning, City, Russian Autumn Heart
5. Priest=Aura : Feel, Kings, Chaos
4. Starfish : North, South, East and West, Antenna, Spark
3. The Blurred Crusade : Just For You, A Fire Burns, Field of Mars
2. Heyday : Disenchanted, Columbus, Roman
1. Seance : Fly, One Day, Disappear
There you have it. Rankings 1 through 6 are very much subject to whimsical change. I rate Seance slightly higher than Heyday simply because it’s a darker record, more reflective, sombre etc. I like that in my music. But, what does this list mean really? Well, there’s a preponderance of older material here. The top 6 are all 80s records with the exception of Priest=Aura which just scrapes in to 1990. I’ll have to disclose here that I simply haven’t given their later material serious and repeated listens. And yes, that’s something I intend to rectify, and in the meantime this list can definitely said to be statistically biased.
As far as best songs go, well for me, the definitive Church song is Columbus from Heyday. That encapsulates every positive feature and aspect of the band I can name. Honourable mentions go out to 0408, Just For You, Feel, Grandiose and In This Room. Another marvellous song I haven’t listed here – as it was a B-side – is Life Speeds Up. It’s up there as well.