When Yotam Ben Horin says, "I was pretty much born into music," the Useless ID frontman isn’t stretching his storyline so much as revealing his roots in light of his latest solo LP 'Young Forever'. After all, Ben Horin’s mother was a multi-instrumentalist/music teacher and started taking him to concerts at a very young age. Most were classical performances, but one night in 1983 happened to feature his favorite band at the time: Musical Youth, the reggae group widely recognized for the cast-iron classic "Pass the Dutchie."
So when we asked him for a list of his favorite albums by his favorite songwriters, we weren't surprised that we ended up with a pretty eclectic list. Check it out below! And if you haven't already done so, make sure to check out Yotam's new solo album as well. 'Young Forever is out now on Double Helix Records.
Elliott Smith - Figure 8
Elliott Smith is pretty much the reason I went solo and wanted to get better at playing acoustic guitar. It's hard to choose one album of his since each one is attached to a different time in my life. I chose Figure 8 because it's his most produced album, and he just shines on it. His songwriting is at a top level here.
Gilbert O' Sullivan - Greatest Hits
It's hard to pin down all of Gilbert's best songs in one album, but if anyone needs an introduction to this great songwriter, his Greatest Hits is the place to start. Even though I only discovered Gilbert around 4 years ago, he quickly became one of my favorite singer-songwriters.
Suzanne Vega - Beauty & Crime
When I started playing solo shows, a friend told me that I sound like Suzanne Vega on 99.9F so I obviously went and listened to it. I also found out that Beauty & Crime was her latest. I love her voice, her lyrics, and the New York vibe she makes you feel throughout her music. She really manages to take her listeners on a journey and that's important.
Frank Black and The Catholics - Devil's Workshop
Pixies are one of my favorite bands in the world, and they have been since I first discovered them in 1993. By that time, Frank had already gone solo. I have been following his solo work ever since. In 2002, I went to see him play at Amoeba Records in LA. I was starstruck when I met him after the show, and I fell in love with this album, which he signed for me.
Tony Sly - 12 Song Program
When No Use For a Name played Israel in 2009, Tony gave me an advance copy of what would be his first solo album. I didn't listen to it much at the time, but after he passed away, I listened endlessly to this one. It's a true inspiration. I remember reading somewhere that Tony didn't overthink the process and just focused on writing songs.
Paul Westerberg - 14 Songs
There's always going to be an artist where you'll love anything he does just because it's him. I have that with Paul Westerberg. "World Class Fad" is such a great song.
Nik Kershaw - Human Racing
Anyone who knows me, knows I have a thing for '80s music. Nik Kershaw manages to open new horizons with his songwriting. He goes for these weird chord changes, and I love when artists break out of the conventional mold.
Paula Abdul - Forever Your Girl
My first musical crush was Paula Abdul. I had posters of her all over my bedroom in 1988 when this came out. "Straight Up" still holds up as a great song after all these years. Every time I hear the song it takes me back in time, and brings up all these memories from my childhood.
Paul McCartney - NEW
I'm always following Paul McCartney's releases, and his continuous love for music and songwriting. This one came out at a time when I was at a crossroads with my life. I was in Brazil, of all places, for a few shows with my work gig at the time, and this album became the soundtrack for that period of time. There are four different producers on this album, and they take his songs in all sorts of directions--it's great!
Henry Rollins - Think Tank
A masterclass in storytelling, I listened the crap out of this while driving at night and it never got old. It's funny, intense, and a must for any songwriter. Even though it's a spoken-word record, it opened me up lyrically in so many ways.