Noah Baumbach

Noah Baumbach's 8 favorite albums

Noah Baumbach is an American filmmaker, screenwriter, and director born on September 3, 1969, in Brooklyn, New York. He grew up in a family of artists and began writing at a young age. He graduated from Vassar College with a degree in English before pursuing a career in film. Noah Baumbach's early works were critically acclaimed, including his debut film "Kicking and Screaming" (1995) and "The Squid and the Whale" (2005). He also collaborated with Wes Anderson on the screenplay for "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" (2004) and "Fantastic Mr. Fox" (2009). In recent years, Noah Baumbach has gained further recognition for his films "Frances Ha" (2012), "While We're Young" (2014), and "The Meyerowitz Stories" (2017). However, his most notable work to date is the Oscar-nominated film "Marriage Story" (2019), which he wrote and directed.

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Noah Baumbach's favorite albums

  • The Cars - The Cars
    The CarsThe Cars

    When I was a kid, I was resistant to the Cars. They were confusing because they were Top 40 yet sort of odd. Their influences were much more serious, like Suicide and Roxy Music, and their records had seductive covers—you’d almost want the album just for the drawing. Their songs just make you feel so good, and the lyrics are strange: They feel like the ’80s, but in a way that doesn’t stop in the ’80s. I’m just so happy to listen to those records now.

  • Kanye West - Yeezus
    Kanye WestYeezus

    I remember Greta [Gerwig] and I were in Europe promoting Frances Ha, and we were on a train listening to music on our iPods. At one point we looked at each other and saw that we were both listening to Yeezus, which had just come out. I’d always liked Kanye’s music, but that record really connected with me; maybe it was just the right timing.

  • LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
    LCD SoundsystemSound of Silver

    I was spending some time in L.A. and I heard “New York, I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down” on satellite radio while driving. I was immediately like, “Oh, these are things I’ve felt and never quite said,” and they were delivered in music that felt totally in my bones. I was like, “Who the hell is this?” I downloaded to Sound of Silver and was so taken with it.

  • Randy Newman - Sail Away
    Randy NewmanSail Away

    Sail Away was a record that my mom had when I was growing up. Around 35, I went back and bought all of Randy Newman’s early records, up through Little Criminals. They’re all untouchable, but Sail Away is perfect. I still can’t believe the title track is as beautiful and stark and upsetting as it is.

  • George Jones - The Grand Tour
    George JonesThe Grand Tour

    I love early George Jones—there’s a kind of glam feeling to his music, with lush strings that really broaden the songs. “The Grand Tour” is him taking the listener on a tour of the empty house that his wife has left. I was also into outlaw country, like Waylon and Willie, but that all felt like they were facing hard facts in a messier way, whereas those George Jones records feel sad in a deeper way. But it never fully tips into melodrama, because his voice is so heartfelt and true.

  • Galaxie 500 - On Fire
    Galaxie 500On Fire

    Galaxie 500 sound timeless—lo-fi in a way that feels totally giant at the same time. It’s that thing of sounding familiar, but, at the same time, like something you’ve never heard before. They had great taste: Their designs were all so beautiful and referential but also original.

  • Madonna - Like a Prayer
    MadonnaLike a Prayer

    I bought Like a Prayer on CD, and Madonna had done the thing where the packaging smelled like patchouli, which I thought was pretty cool. I remember arguing with art-rock kids that Madonna was better than Dinosaur Jr. Of course, now I like Madonna and Dinosaur Jr., but I was pushing back on that sort of thinking at the time.

  • Blondie - Parallel Lines
    BlondieParallel Lines

    Parallel Lines was the first new record that I was really aware of when it came out. This group of cool kids that I hoped I could become friends with seemed to accept me around this time—they called me “Blondie” because of the pin I wore. I love that album cover, and how they’re standing so confrontationally.

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