Records To Die For

Sort By: Post Date | Title | Publish Date
Stereophile Staff  |  Jan 26, 2017  |  24 comments
Never in the history of our venerable "Records To Die For" feature has the word Die come to mean as much as it has in the past year. Merle Haggard, Phife Dawg, Rudy Van Gelder, Maurice White, Glenn Frey, Otis Clay, Blowfly, Bob Cranshaw, George Martin, Steve Young, Chips Moman, Lonnie Mack, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Sharon Jones, Leon Russell, Ralph Stanley, David Bowie—all died in the past year. So to drive away any evil spirits that may be hovering over this year's R2D4 extravaganza, we may need to think of this 2017 installment more as "Records to Live For."
Stereophile Staff  |  Feb 18, 2016  |  22 comments
What's your favorite record? It's a simple enough question, but one that dedicated music consumers never tire of asking each other. And so, every year, we ask the distinguished writing staff of this magazine to choose a pair of favorites and tell us a little of what seems so compelling about them. Oddly enough, most writers never choose the same record twice—though one did choose the soundtrack album for Casper three years running! Music in any recorded format is fair game, the only restriction being that it must still be available, if only in the deep, dark recesses of the Internet. Of course, favorites come and go in minds and hearts—speaking of dark recesses—but these are Stereophile's takes on the essential music of the moment. Enjoy!—Robert Baird
Stereophile Staff  |  Feb 05, 2015  |  25 comments
Are you trying to decide between high-resolution downloads and LP reissues? In the market for a hi-rez portable audio player? A zealot bravely fighting back in the Loudness Wars? Change is inevitable, and in the audiophile world it's the spice that keeps things interesting—there's always a new remastering or idea product just around the corner. Minds and tastes, too, can change. In answer to the eternal question "What are you listening to now?," we present the 2015 edition of "Records to Die For," our annual album of snapshots of the minds and ears of Stereophile's staff.
Stereophile Staff  |  Feb 06, 2014  |  4 comments
Much as we audiophiles love a good format war—nothing like a dustup over the tactility of vinyl vs the convenience of downloads—not to mention all the ever-evolving gear, the base of this pursuit is still the music. Which is why February is the month least cruel, and time again for our annual "Records To Die For."
Stereophile Staff  |  Jan 26, 2013  |  First Published: Feb 01, 2012  |  8 comments
At a time in history when the music business seems less interested in making anything of lasting value than in churning out disposable music—hits intended to be consumed for a few days via iPod, then left behind—the notion of cherishing the masterpieces, the records to die for, seems a lost art. Yet it's exactly that state of being—as when Lady Gaga's latest outfit commands a bigger spotlight than the recent Pink Floyd reissues—that makes our annual "Records To Die For" feature that much more essential.
Stereophile Staff  |  Feb 01, 2012  |  First Published: Feb 01, 2011  |  0 comments
Each year when I sit down to write this introduction, I get stuck on the whole dying-for-music thing. I get visions of the Lincoln assassination conspirators, swinging from ropes with sacks over their heads. Like '80s hair bands do ya? Pull the trap door! Or Mary Queen of Scots kneeling before the block: A fan of smooth jazz? Let the blade fall! Yes, it's silly on some level, but what exactly is the feeling that would make one martyr oneself for music?
Stereophile Staff  |  Feb 03, 2011  |  First Published: Feb 15, 2010  |  4 comments
It's always revealing to see exactly what music people have sitting on their shelves or hard drives. It tells you a lot about them—whether they're kindred spirits (Bill Evans) or something less (Sting). In many ways, our annual "Records To Die For" feature is a kind of mini-window into the musical souls of our contributing editors; may the Gods of Song bless their tortured souls, every one. In the past, such choices as the soundtrack album for the movie Casper have raised eyebrows, if not outright suspicion. Still, along with crowing about our favorite records, we try to keep it all in good fun. What's the title of Stephen Mejias's excellent blog at—"Elements of Our Enthusiasm"? Well then, here are some of those precious elements that feed that enthusiasm. Remember: Gear ain't great without something to play on it.—Robert Baird
Stereophile Staff  |  Feb 08, 2010  |  First Published: Feb 08, 2009  |  0 comments
A crime of passion? Depraved indifference to the importance of tuneage? Death by music? The simple fact is that most audiophiles got that way by having too many records. That's right—very few got into this rewarding, non-contact sport because they were aroused by shiny brushed-steel boxes or supersexy speaker grilles. It's because they wanted to hear their piles of music—their Mahler, Monk, or Rick James—sound the best it could. (And, okay, yes: It is cool to show drooling friends your designer gear.)
Stereophile Staff  |  Feb 02, 2009  |  First Published: Feb 02, 2008  |  0 comments
The value of music as a commodity, and as one of mankind's wonders, has never been in such flux. Retail record shops are dying, the former major labels are focused on making records for kids (the same kids they're suing), and the business overall remains wedded to an incredibly short view (get a hit or get out), but the music itself continues to trickle through to those who want it—and, yes, on some level would die without it.
Stereophile Staff  |  Feb 09, 2008  |  First Published: Feb 09, 2007  |  0 comments
This year marks the tenth time I've written an introduction to Stereophile's venerable annual feature "Records To Die For." Looking back, I'm proud that readers always find it useful and entertaining. I'm also amazed, on some levels, that our writers—hardware or software, deadline-phobic or not—manage to find something worthwhile to say, year in and year out, about music—which, after all, is why we became audiophiles in the first place.
Stereophile Staff  |  Jan 21, 2007  |  First Published: Feb 21, 2006  |  0 comments
I sat down to write the introduction to the 2006 edition of Stereophile's annual "Records To Die For" extravaganza, and what popped into my head? Why, death, of course. After that, dead rock stars. What a concept. I mean, talk about dying for music.
Stereophile Staff  |  Jan 29, 2006  |  First Published: Feb 01, 2005  |  0 comments
Last year, during a particularly painful moving experience, I had the opportunity to reflect in a very personal way on the virtues of our annual "Records To Die For" feature.
Stereophile Staff  |  Jan 16, 2005  |  First Published: Feb 16, 2004  |  0 comments
It used to be that, when I sat down to write the introduction to Stereophile's ever-popular annual "Records To Die For" feature, it quickly became an exercise in racking my meager brain for jokes about "dying for" records. But being funny, in print or otherwise, is tremendously difficult. I'm sure Groucho had a much more apropos, not to mention funny, quip about the trials of being humorous—but, as with the aforementioned jokes, I can't seem to think of it right now.
Stereophile Staff  |  Jan 18, 2004  |  First Published: Feb 01, 2003  |  0 comments
Once upon a time, when I was a mere sprout in journalism school, there came the moment when everyone had to decide which sort of writing and/or editing he or she wanted to pursue in the workplace of the real world—a harsh reality that was then fast approaching. Most of my fellow students, who ranged in age from 23 to 62, chose one of two paths: murder or scandal.