Skip to main content

Five Essential Albums

Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Five Essential Steely Dan Songs

When Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Ruban Nielson was recording the band's critically acclaimed 2015 album 'Multi-Love,' one of his big influences during the making of the record was Steely Dan. When FUV asked Nielson if he might have time between gigs to write about some Steely Dan tracks that meant a lot to him, he sent along this discerning list that included some deeper album tracks.

Robyn Hitchcock: Five Essential Van Morrison Songs

London-born singer and songwriter Robyn Hitchcock, the solo artist and founding member of The Soft Boys, was in his late teens and twenties when Van Morrison released some of his most influential albums, like 'Astral Weeks' and 'Veedon Fleece.' Hitchcock came up with a list of some of his "Five Essential Van Morrison Songs" for FUV Essentials.

Esperanza Spalding: Five Essential Aretha Franklin Songs

Esperanza Spalding's shapeshifting and erudite command of the many fusions between jazz, soul, rock, pop and gospel is a reminder of the versatility of one of her favorite musicians, Aretha Franklin. And as Esperanza Spalding enthuses in her observant and ebullient "Five Essential Aretha Franklin Songs" for FUV Essentials, "[Aretha's] whole musical spirit speaks to me."

Jesca Hoop's Five Essential Patti Smith Songs

As a longtime solo artist and as one half of a duo with Iron and Wine's Sam Beam, Jesca Hoop has always been a fearless, insightful lyricist, so it's not surprising that Hoop found an early kinship with our FUV Essentials artist Patti Smith. Like Smith, Hoop confronts hard truths with empathy and strength—and in her perceptive picks for "Five Essential Patti Smith Songs," it's clear that the Smith was an early guide for a young Hoop, finding her way and her words in California.

Ruby Amanfu's Five Essential Marvin Gaye Songs

Music fans who caught Ruby Amanfu's transcendent set at the 2016 Newport Folk Festival discovered what her collaborators Jack White and Beyoncé already knew: this Nashville singer is the real deal. Amanfu's 2015 album, 'Standing Still.' further revealed her skill as an artful interpreter of covers. It's a gift she shares with Marvin Gaye, our FUV Essentials artist and she selected five of her favorite Marvin Gaye songs for FUV Essentials.