I also recently stumbled upon the Elvis Costello list (once a Vanity Fair article) of his essential albums. I started to think I should do the same, and maybe I will one day (here's a start: the monaural recording I used to moon over when I was a teenager, the one that contained both Ralph Vaughn Williams's "Variations on Greensleeves" and Barber's "Adagio for Strings," long before it became part of a movie score; Glen Campbell, Wichita Lineman; Simon & Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water; Joni Mitchell, For the Roses; etc. That's just for starters. I'm just thinking about the ones I've lived with longest.).
But what I'm really here to tell you is that recently I had an e-mail exchange with an old friend (he blogs at cpsconsolidated) who really really really loves music. I said once, in a query he posted, that I thought the entire Rufus Wainwright oeuvre was worth listening to and owning. He needed to be persuaded. That's what we wrote back and forth about--what he was thinking about Rufus as he kept listening to Poses and the newest, All Days are Night: Songs for Lulu. Here's the result of our exchange, in case you want to know. (bonus: Rufus videos!)
(p.s. also, I bought the new Robert Plant.)