^^The only albums that I don't feel I'll be listening to any time soon and wouldn't put any tracks into a Finn mix.
13. Pajama Club
A few tracks like Tell Me What You Want and Go Kart rub me the wrong way, but there are some very good ones. TNT for Two is one of Neil's best vocal melodies in the latter part of his career. I don't like the quality of sound...dry and scratchy, like a lot of stuff from Neil's studio.
12. Dizzy Heights
I like about half the album fairly well; the rest I don't need to hear again. I seem to like Lights of New York more than most people.
11. Out of Silence
I admire this project more than I like listening to it, but there are certainly many beautiful tracks. But sometimes, like the bridge of Love Is Emotional, it crosses into cheesy easy listening territory. Terrorise Me is one of Neil's best songs, and I Know Different is an affecting closer.
Only Talking Sense, Angels Heap, a few others are classic. The esoteric production sometimes works against it (Suffer Never could have been a great all-out psychedelic rock track).
9. Crowded House
The first four tracks are obviously classic. I like a few others like I Walk Away and Tombstone. But I rarely find myself listening to the album. I've never really loved Something So Strong...I kind of resent it for being one of their few big hits in the US, because it's such a fizzy trifle, it gives a too-shallow impression of the band.
8. One All
Several great tracks...Lullaby Requiem, Driving Me Mad, Human Kindness. And one of my top 5 Neil Finn songs ever, Into the Sunset. But about half the album is kind of off-putting to me...several songs I'm not wild about (Secret God, Hole in the Ice) even if their production is interesting and beautiful.
7. Everyone Is Here
It's about 10% too slick, but a great reminder of the Crowded House/Mitchell Froom days. The songs are really good in some ways but, as one review correctly stated, lyrically don't quite rise above the blandness of their titles (Anything Can Happen, Won't Give In). But it's a very enjoyable album, and Gentle Hum is one of Neil's best.
I enjoy this a lot, even if I mostly agree that the songs didn't belong on their respective albums. Except the Woodface tracks; I think a nice double album could have been made from those sessions. But I like every track and I think it coheres as its own album.
5. Time On Earth
The previous albums I mostly really like; here's where I start to LOVE them. Time On Earth is kind of miraculous in that it recaptured the band's spirit a decade later and, while not quite as good as the rest of this list, can stand proudly next to the best CH albums. Nobody Wants To reminds me most of the old CH. This album may not have any absolute knockout tracks like Into Temptation or Distant Sun, but it's got so many really strong ones that I love. I even love You're the One to Make Me Cry (preferable to All I Ask, as string ballads go). And People Are Like Suns is a gem.
While several tracks are among the band's best, I think of this and Temple of Low Men first and foremost as album experiences. Woodface probably is too long, either cut a few tracks or (as I suggested above) make it a double album with all the excellent tracks left off. Whispers and Moans still blows my mind. The production is crisp and natural but often a little too polite, verging on an easy listening vibe sometimes. Knowing their live sound counteracts this but this album (especially Weather With You, Fall at Your Feet) is for better or worse responsible for people having a "soft" impression of Crowded House, when that's obviously often not true.
3. Together Alone
As an album I find it a little uneven. I don't feel all the experimentation works. I don't love Black and White Boy, Fingers of Love, Skin Feeling nearly as much as most of the other tracks. But it's got some of the greatest heights of Crowded House. Pineapple Head, Distant Sun, Private Universe. Even the title track is a success, when that kind of ethnic fusion music can often be cringe-worthy. Not here, it's a beautiful track. I appreciate that, at the height of their success, they made something that fairly challenged people's perception of their music.
2. Try Whistling This
Probably heresy to some to put this so high on the list, but I re-listened recently and was floored all over again. I love the production here. Neil Finn did such a wonderful job of expanding his palette, both in terms of production and songwriting, while still staying true to his strengths. Astro is so good. Even the album tracks like Faster Than Light, Souvenir, Twisty Bass are also so good. I just enjoy it start to finish.
1. Temple of Low Men
I love the album's briefness. Just 10 tracks, all very good-to-stellar. It hits such a nice sweet spot for me...Neil's songwriting is at its catchiest, but also its darkest. I Feel Possessed is a prime example. It's both catchy and energetic, but dark and mysterious and brooding, and poignantly pretty in a way. I love the arrangements by Mitchell Froom. You can hear the band as a unit, bass/guitar/drums, with all these great old keyboards layered among them. This may be the album that most made me aware of things like producing and mixing. I realized, listening to Into Temptation, somebody had to decide how to arrange all these elements. And somebody had to decide how to make it all sound good together. This is when I looked and saw Bob Clearmountain's name, and was keenly aware of mixing ever since. I love that it's generally quite dark, and then in the middle you have this explosive release of When You Come. I love the weird diversion of Sister Madly. Even a "deep album track" like Never Be the Same, I just love. And Better Be Home Soon vies with Into the Sunset as the best closing track of any of Neil's albums.