Why is Laura Nyro’s Eli and the Thirteenth Confession on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
A bombshell of a singer songwriter album from 1968.
What does Laura Nyro’s Eli and the Thirteenth Confession mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
Typically, when I think about “singer songwriter” artists, I imagine an acoustic guitar, a quiet and mellow vibe, and introspective and emotional lyrics. Well, Laura Nyro and Eli and the Thirteenth Confession takes that concept, throws it up in the air and says: let’s make a bombshell of a singer songwriter album, loud, brash, and swanky, 1968-syle!
Because the name of the album is Eli and the Thirteenth Confession and there’s a song on the album that happens to be called “Eli’s Comin’,” that naturally compelled me to find out more about who this Eli fellow might be.
In fact, “Eli’s Comin’” is a Three Dog Night cover song, and is about “a heartbreaker named Eli… coming back to town,” via SongFacts.com. I could not figure out if there’s a connection between that song and the album title, but Wikipedia notes:
…the album’s themes are of passion, love, romance, death, and drugs, and the songs are delivered in Nyro’s distinctive brash, belting vocals. Musically, it is a multi-layered and opulent work, including multi-tracked vocals and strings. The album’s loose genre is pop, but it also incorporates elements of soul, gospel, jazz, and rock.
Here’s “Eli’s Comin’, a rollicking and boisterous number.
“Sweet Blindness” is probably my favorite song on the album. Between the jumping piano and beat and Nyro’s exuberant vocals, it sounds like a show stopper from a musical I would actually go see*.
* I’ve never been a “musicals person,” though you’ll see there are some very surprising counters to this coming up on this here best 1,000 albums ever project.
“Timer” feels more deeply steeped in the late 1960s than most of the rest of Eli and the Thirteenth Confession, which overall has something of a timeless quality to it (pun not intended!). But it again feels like it could be a favorite song in a musical that might get stood up in the era of Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Some stats & info about Laura Nyro – Eli and the Thirteenth Confession
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Singer Songwriter, Soft Rock, Rock Music, Pop Music
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #463
- All Music’s rating – 5 out of 5 stars
- When was Eli and the Thirteenth Confession released? 1968
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #881 out of 1,000
Laura Nyro’s Eli and the Thirteenth Confession on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.