Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Not-So-Profound, Hastily Assembled List of 15 Albums That Changed Me

"Think of 15 albums (EPs are OK, too) that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life. The type of albums that smack you in the face, pour sugar into your gas tank, kick you in the groin, stab you in the teeth, etc. etc. etc. and change the way you look at things. Tag me and whoever else you want to see this."

**IMPORTANT NOTE** - I'm going to be honest on this one, instead of just listing 15 of my coolest albums. Reaching way back to my childhood with this one. They will be in rough chronological order.


Queen "Greatest Hits" - When I was a kid, I used to turn this album on and walk around the table while singing along. I must have been really bored. But hey, I learned at a young age to appreciate a great lead singer. For all of the shitty albums I could have been listening to, this one isn't bad at all.

Counting Crows "August and Everything After" - This was my very first CD. Also happened to be the first time I started to listen to "real music" instead of kid stuff. Counting Crows went to shit shortly afterwards, but this album still stands the test of time.

Soundgarden "Down on the Upside" - Jeff should remember this one pretty well. :) This album more or less kicked off an obsession with Soundgarden that lasted all through high school. All of the other albums are great, but this was the first one that I heard (keep in mind I went to a sheltered religious grade school so I didn't really hear good music until high school) and I was hooked. Again, this is still a kickass album.

Weezer "Self-Titled" - Anyone around my age that had a relatively normal childhood is lying if this album isn't on their list. Tons of other albums by bands like Live, RHCP, Green Day, etc. could be here instead, but this album was the penultimate mid-90s rock album, the "Abbey Road" of our time. So it gets a place on the list.

Metallica "Ride the Lightning" - I felt so bad for asking for this for Christmas one year, hahaha. Have to hand this one to Pete. The solo in "Ride the Lightning" made me love guitar, and of course I still play to this day, though I still suck so badly that I can't play Master of Puppets fast enough. Anyway, if this album made me love guitar, it easily gets a place on this list. If I was ranking them, this one might be at the top.

Various Artists "MTV Amp" - Shout out to Pappy on this one. My first foray into electronic music. Of course I branched out a lot from here, but this was a pretty decent comp of the popular electronic music at the time. Underworld, Chemical Bros., Aphex Twin, Orbital, The Prodigy, and more were all represented. And out of all of those great bands, which did I like best on the album? Fucking Josh Wink, with "Are You There?". D'oh.

Aphex Twin "Richard D. James Album" - Hoooooly shit did I love this album. Still do. When I was trying so hard to make electronic music during those years, this album is what I aspired to. Of course, I never came close. Oh well.

Radiohead "OK Computer" - I remember having debates in high school over whether this album was better than "The Bends". I think that time would say "yes", but it isn't exactly a blowout. Either way, both albums were absolutely masterful and really taught me the standards for great, great indie rock music.

NIN "The Fragile" - I knew of NIN already from The Downward Spiral (who didn't?), but this album sent me headlong into a new post-Soundgarden obsession with darker, more industrial leaning music. I consider this an unfortunate turn for the most part considering some of the utter shit that I ended up listening to, but who cares because this album was absolutely freaking amazing.

Haujobb "Solutions for a Small Planet" - If "The Fragile" was a gateway drug to dark electronic music, "Solutions for a Small Planet" was heroin. Props to Lucas on this one -- I still remember he gave me a fucking ZIP DISC with like 4 mp3s on it, one of which being a remix that Haujobb did for Wumpscut. I loved it and then got my hands on this album, which as far as I'm concerned is still the EBM album that has ever been recorded. Unfortunately, this album eventually made me check out bands like Funker Vogt and VNV Nation, which is a period in my music history I really regret.

Daft Punk "Discovery" - There wasn't really one single album that pulled me out of my shitty EBM/industrial abyss, but if I had to pick one, this is probably it. As a handy side effect, it made to start to love that deep French house music sound that has now been duplicated by bands like Justice and MSTRKRFT.

Muse "Origin of Symmetry" - I found out about Muse shortly after graduating college. I still remember downloading this on a whim and turning it on in my little apartment. I kept turning it up until the neighbor pounded on the wall. Just a ridiculously over-the-top epic rock ballad, in the same vein as the Queen album that made me a music lover in the first place. This album made me listen to guitars again.

Arcade Fire "Funeral" - This is an album that I personally consider an all-time great. I thought indie music was pretty much worthless for a long time, until I listened through this with an open mind. Any album that makes me totally reconsider my hatred of a genre has to go on this list.

White Stripes "Elephant" - Muse made me love guitar music again, but this album took me back to the basics. One dude, his guitar, and a heaping serving of unforgettable bluesy hooks. Great music doesn't need to be fancy.

Devo "Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO!" - I guess this isn't as influential as some other stuff on this list, other than that it made me really love and appreciate 80s music. In 10 years, I'll probably look back on this as a bigger mistake than all the years I spent obsessing about industrial music.