I listened to an old favorite this morning: 'X' by The Beloved.
I generally don't care for house music. 'X' however, I find very appealing.
Even though the structure is mostly typical pop (except Crystal Wave, an instrumental DJ journey), I find the sound very original and distinct. The lyrics are sentimental but somehow not sappy or annoying. Instead there is a sense of sincerity I credit to Jon's mellow, unforced vocal style. 'X' is a notch darker than other Beloved albums.
The atmospheric backdrop contributes immensely to each song. It makes me wish Jon Marsh would release an ambient album. Production quality is tops. It is enjoyable on any system, but the listening experience played loud through quality speakers justifies a substantial hi-fi budget.
After more than a decade, I find 'X' a durable favorite, enjoyable from start to finish.
'X' is not too hard to locate for under $15. I also recommend the previous two Beloved albums 'Happiness' and 'Conscience', which are even easier and less expensive to locate.