The Music of Kyrgyzstan

Since I came to Kyrgyzstan, 18 months ago and change, I’ve found myself listening to certain albums over and over. Songs that I fall asleep listening to and then want to hear again when I wake up the next morning. Even before I came to Kyrgyzstan this wasn’t exactly out of the ordinary. I’ve always loved music, and tend to go through periods where I find one genre or particular artist particularly amazing. Since I’m halfway around the world, though, I thought it would be interesting to look at just what I’ve been diving into. Over the next month or so I’m going to try and write a post a week. After that it’ll probably just end up depending on my mood. Listed below without any sort of ordering or ranking are a few albums that have really sucked me in since I first came over to Kyrgyzstan.


Jake Owen- Days of Gold: Thought it was a solid album before I started my service. Gave it another listen about a month in and fell in love.

Bruce Springsteen- Darkness On the Edge of Town: Another album that I had never seriously dived into before the last year. Probably just means that The River will be my new favorite next year.

Adele- 25: This one took a while at sink in. It might be a slow burner but its got a lot of quality songs. The latter half of the album might seem a little same-y. That’s only because Adele’s voice is the guiding force behind every single one. Nothing wrong with that at all.

Kanye West- Life of Pablo: I know Kanye’s latest was a little divisive among music critics. The same goes for the PCVs of Kyrgyzstan. I really like it though. Every few listens I decide on a new favorite song.

Riahanna- ANTI: If you poled just Kyrgyz PCVs this might come out as the most listened to album of the past year. Even more than 25 ANTI was a slow burner for me. It is still getting better with every additional listen.

Rod Stewart- A Night On the Town: I remember picking this album up, years ago, at a Half Price Books in Austin. Near the end of his prime run this one still stacks up well against other albums from that era.

Ryan Adams- Love is Hell: I’ve loved this one ever since I bought it seven or eight years ago. Came back to it when Adams released his version of Taylor Swift’s 1989. Mostly dark songs, but with hints of light shining through the cracks.

Sheryl Crow- Feels Like Home: At least in my opinion Crow hasn’t released a bad album yet. Her most recent output has taken her back in a more country-fide direction. A few of the songs made it onto my work out playlist and pretty soon I was listening to the album straight through.

Stone Temple Pilots- No. 4: Came back to this one after Scott Weiland’s death. No single track on this one has gotten over played on rock radio – at least back when I was growing up – so the album is still fresh.

Sturgill Simpson- Metamodern Sounds in Country Music: After I started getting into Simpson’s work I messaged a friend of mine, and we geeked out about how much we liked his work for days. His songs are catchy, but it’s the little details that really drew me in.

Third Eye Blind- Third Eye Blind: One of the first CDs I ever owned – I’m pretty sure I stole it from my dad – and even after all these years I still come back to it.

AC/DC- Powerage: A fellow volunteer, and true friend, passed one on to me. For some reason I had never picked it up. It was like finding a 100-dollar bill in a pair of old ripped jeans, but better.

The Who- Quadrophenia: Who’s Next will likely always be my favorite Who album, however, if I ever change my pick I’m switching it to Quadrophenia.

Peter Gabriel- So: I’ve enjoyed listening to Gabriel’s greatest hits comp since high school. It’s only in the last couple of months that I’ve given his biggest selling album a proper listen. One of the few big 80s records where the production doesn’t have to be defended with a, “well it was the 80’s.”

Metallica- Ride the Lightning: Just a great album. I like all eras of Metallica, but 80s Metallica is peak Metallica.

Kings Of Leon- Because Of the Times: A transitional record for the band. Still has a few of the rougher edges of their first two albums while also hinting at the arena fillers they’d turn into with their next album.

Justin Timberlake- The 20/20 Experience 1 & 2: I’m probably rating these sprawling albums so high in part because of how down on them people tend to be. Most of the songs are sprawling and twisted. Sort of like a weird prog pop hybrid.

Jon Pardi- Write You a Song: Like the other country albums I’ve gotten into in Kyrgyzstan Write You a Song is just good old Americana fantasy.

Joe Walsh- So What: This is a stone cold mid seventies classic. Might be slightly overlooked due to Walsh joining The Eagles shortly after the album’s release. If I had to describe the album I’d say that it was full of sarcastic heartbreak.


2 thoughts on “The Music of Kyrgyzstan

  1. About your choice of best WHO album. I don’t think your youth was full of enough pain and angst for Quadrophenia to truly resonate. Who’s Next though is an anti-establishment/establishment classic. Nice


    1. Fair enough. I almost put Townshend’s 73 solo album Empty Glass on the list. I’m not a huge Tommy fan, so Empty Glass slides into my top three for WHO related projects. Worth another listen.


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