Friday, February 20, 2009

15 Albums Meme

Crossposted from Facebook. Oh yes I did!

Think of 15 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life or the way you looked at it. They sucked you in and took you over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, emotions. They might not be what you listen to now, but these are the albums that no matter what they were thought of musically shaped your world.

These are not in any particular order:

1. Led Zeppelin - In Through the Out Door. I recorded this to cassette from the LP, and today when I hear it digitally remastered, it does. not. sound. right. without the pops and whistles that are inherent to vinyl play.

2. Billy Joel - Cold Spring Harbor. From a very prolific artist, I maintain that this is his very best album, ever. Hands down. Might just be my desert island album.

3. George Michael - Listen Without Prejudice (Volume I). I owe Mags for introducing me to this, big time. I've recited the following speech to a number of people, and I will repeat it here now: You might not believe me, and you may think I'm just messing with you, but Listen Without Prejudice is one of the best albums ever recorded by any artist, ever. George Michael's magnum opus, it is a beautiful, stirring, gorgeous piece of musicianship that is just as relevant now as it was when it was released. Put whatever you may think of George aside and listen to this album. You'll be surprised.

4. Eazy-E - Eazy-Duz-It. This was when I figured out that there was more to music than old white guys protesting wars, or young white guys with big hair who wanted to party. This was when I started learning more about things outside of being a relatively privileged white girl in the suburbs.

5. Rush - Moving Pictures. YYZ still blasts me right in the face and gets its awesome all in my eyes and stuff.

6. Metallica - Master of Puppets. I'd never heard anything like this, ever. It blew me away and made me want to hit stuff. In a good way.

7. Pink Floyd - The Wall. Requires no further commentary.

8. Roy Orbison - In Dreams: The Greatest Hits. My dad gave this to me when I was 13 years old, and after rolling my eyes at him and pretending to be gracious, I actually listened to it, and LOVED it. Soon after, Roy Orbison died. I was cry-i-i-i-ing for days.

9. Grant Lee Buffalo - Mighty Joe Moon. Andy. It still hurts a little, but in a good way, now.

10. Leonard Cohen - I'm Your Man. Cohen has been a jaded, broken old man since birth, I'm pretty sure, and we all know nothing makes for a better lyricist. The passion in his admittedly imperfect voice makes him a compelling vocalist. And, really? This is the man who wrote Hallelujah – a song covered practically as often as the Star Spangled Banner. I fell in love with him via a left turn from Christian Slater: I saw Pump Up The Volume for Slater, during which I was introduced to the song Everybody Knows. I had to get my hands on that song, which led me out of the mall theater and into a Tower Records, where I spent an hour scrutinizing track lists on cassette packages.

11. Pearl Jam - Ten. Being a teenager living in the Northwest in the early Nineties was an experience, let me tell you what. As such, it is my duty to either love or hate but nothing in between, all bands who crawled out of the primordial grunge ooze. Mostly, I lean toward love, so long as we don't have to include Alice in Chains. Sidenote: Although not from this album, Corduroy (Vitalogy) is Pearl Jam at their finest. That song speaks to me.

12. Heart - Dreamboat Annie. One of my first albums, this was when I learned that girls could totally rock, thanks to Ann and Nancy Wilson. Magic Man is one of my all-time favorite songs.

13. Nirvana - Nevermind. See #11 about living in the Northwest. While my first reaction was "What a blatant Pixies ripoff", my second reaction was "I must hear more of this", and then "I must play this as loudly as possible", and then that turned into "hey, I'm getting letters of warning from the apartment management".

14. Counting Crows - August and Everything After. This is an odd one. I love this album SO MUCH, and yet I find pretty much everything Adam Duritz ever did afterward to be whiny, petulant, and irritating. But this? This album abides. I spent a road tripping summer with this tape, wearing D batteries in a boom box on the passenger seat of my 1982 Datsun B210, and trying to decide between spending my last $5 on more batteries, or cigarettes and coffee. She says it's only in my head...

15. Guns N'Roses - Appetite for Destruction. When I first heard Welcome to the Jungle in 8th grade, I totally threw a rod and found myself incapable of doing anything other than obtaining this album in order to find out just what, exactly, this was. It wasn't like anything I'd encountered before. It was pain, and survival, and real life, somehow.

Limiting this to 15 is so awful.