Okay, so I got tagged for this game on my Facebook page. But it was such a good meme that I had to share it here as well …
Being the music lover that I am, I have to say that this meme took me about a week to complete. Because seriously people … it’s really hard for me to come up with just 15 influential albums. Hence the reason for the “Honorable Mentions” listed below.
Now, before I start … I must preface this by explaining the year listed in parenthesis after the album. Even though the dates next to it reflect the year the album was released, I might not have heard it until later in life. HOWEVER, the *actual* order in which they are listed is when that particular album became part of my life.
And looking back at it now, I can’t believe how much these albums have influenced every aspect of my life. Here goes …
RULES: Think of 15 albums, CDs, LPs (if you’re over 40) that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life … Dug into your soul. Music that completely brought you to life whenever you heard it … Royally affected you, kicked you in the wazoo … literally socked you in the gut.
List those albums below and when you’re finish, tag 15 others, including me. Then make sure you copy and paste this part so they also know the drill.
So … let’s begin.
- Revolver (1966)- The Beatles
I have always credited my parents for introducing me to my love of music. This Beatles album, in particular, is the one I remember the most from my childhood. Specifically, I remember singing along to an 8-track copy of those songs on a 1977 trip down to Disney World. To this day, I can’t help but smile every time I hear “Yellow Submarine.”
- Bad Girls (1979) – Donna Summer
It wasn’t until listening to “Machine Soul: An Odyssey into Electronic Dance Music” (2000) that I remembered how much Donna Summer influenced my taste in Electronic music. This is one of those albums that I have a distinct memory of being drawn into the beats and bass of each song without any influence from anybody (read: older brother) or anything (radio stations) else. In fact, ask my aunt or my mom … they will tell you how I refused to let them leave some department store (can’t remember which) just because I wanted to hear the rest of the album. I was 8 years old at the time. (Side note: If you listen to M.I.A.’s latest album “Kala” you can clearly hear the influence this 1979 album has on music today.)
- Back in Black (1980) – AC/DC
What can I say? I was brought up amongst the “head-bangers” of Madison Heights and Warren. Seriously, many of my neighborhood friend’s were constantly introducing hard rock into our sphere of musical tastes (which is why there’s still something about Def Leppard that gets me going). But THIS album … Total. Rock Out. Music. Nothing gets you off your a$$ like listening to the first guitar riffs of “Back in Black.”
- Purple Rain (1984) – Prince
The movie, the songs … this album threw me completely out of my MJ “Thriller” phase into truly magnificent song writing; amazing arrangements and incredibly un-PG rated lyrics for a 12-year old Catholic school girl.
- Duran Duran (1981) – Duran Duran
Here’s the start of my obsession with New Wave. And I’m not talking about the overplayed (but definitely well-manufactured) “Rio” album. Their first studio album is filled with incredible bass lines and (of course) synth rock. Everything from Planet Earth to the instrumental “Tel Aviv” screams frilly “New Romantic” shirts and heavy 80’s eye make-up.
- Some Great Reward (1984) – Depeche Mode
Why this album over the incredibly influential “Black Celebration”? Mainly because I remember the day that my older brother brought that cassette tape home and played it on our “Minus-One” karaoke machine. It’s like I finally understood what it was that I truly loved about heavy drum and bass beats and deep dark vocals/lyrics … Not to mention all those synth-based industrial clips was something I had never ever heard before in any other songs with such catchy beats.
- Standing at the Beach (1986) – The Cure
Even though my first taste of The Cure was with their album “The Head on the Door,” this cumulative album of their works up to this period got me caught up with all Robert Smith’s works. Who, of course, ultimately wrote probably the pinnacle song of my existence, “Picture of You.”
- The Queen is Dead (1986) – The Smiths
What can I say? This album is everything a 14-year old full of hormonal angst needed to survive during those incredible times of self-loathing and loneliness.
- Kick – INXS (1987)
I know, right? Why this INXS album, their most overplayed, commercially successful album? Why not “Shabooh Shoobah” (which I first heard back in 1983) or “Listen Like Thieves,” which really got me into the band? The simple answer is this: It’s an incredibly well-written album; one which merges the two absolute best parts of their music … the R&B of “Shabooh” and the Rock & Roll of “Thieves” …
- Computer World (1981) – Kraftwerk
Okay, so I don’t actually remember exactly when I started listening to Kraftwerk. I do remember hearing “Tour de France” on the “Breakin'” movie soundtrack and completely being enthralled with it. I probably stumbled onto this album in 1987 or 1988 when seeing the video for “Pocket Calculator” during MTV’s 120 Minutes and managed to get a “Maxell 90-minute cassette tape” copy of it. I suppose you can say that this album, along with “Tour de France” was my first foray into Techno and ultimately Detroit Techno.
- Substance (1987) – New Order
Again, here’s another cumulative works album of a band that I first heard with their “Brotherhood” album. Substance, however, differed in the fact that they provided the penultimate remixes of their most well-known hits. (Although, I still maintain that I love “Brotherhood’s” version of “Blue Monday” better.) It definitely beat trying to find those 12-inch remixes at the original “Off The Record” or “Sam’s Jams” back in the day.
- Nevermind (1991)- Nirvana
I admit it. This album made the list purely because it brings me back to those college years and the whole Alt Rock scene … even though I credit The Pixies “Surfer Rosa” as probably the album that brought true Alternative Rock (none of this post-Nirvana fan-dangled alterna-rock sh*t) to the forefront for me. There’s just something about “Smells Like Teen Spirit” that brings me back to the days of working at OU’s college radio station and many beer-laden nights.
- Amplified Heart (1994) – Everything But The Girl
I was first introduced to EBTG with the soundtrack to the John Hughes movie, “She’s Having A Baby.” Yes “Apron Strings” is the song of which my blog is based on. However, this album for me is where Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt begin to transition over from their Euro-R&B sound to Electronica; both sounds of which I absolutely adore.
- No Strings Attached (2000) – N’Sync
Yes, I know. Why would the “Class New Waver” like something so mainstream? Actually it’s more about the fact that here’s an album that I truly wanted to buy after almost a half a decade of not listening to or even buying music. The years between the last album on my list and this one were spent focusing on married life and my career. This album is the one I credit for getting me back into music again. Coincidentally, did you know that this is the highest selling album of all times, selling 2.4 million the first week it was released? Shortly after (in 2001), iTunes and the iPod came into existence; bringing digital downloads and sales into the forefront of the way people bought and listened to music.
- Elephant (2003) – White Stripes
Here’s another one of those albums that got me back into really listening to music. Specifically music of the Rock genre. There’s something incredibly simple, yet complicated, about the music of Jack and Meg that had me enthralled with their musical arrangements.
- The Hurting (1983) -Tears For Fears
Goth meets New Wave. Even at 13 yrs old, I was already into the deep and dark “Mad World” of haunting lyricism.
- Twitch (1986) – Ministry
My first taste of Industrial music. “Over The Shoulder” is one of those cult “City Club” classics (along with “Everyday is Halloween”) that you just can’t live without.
- Substance (1988) – Joy Division
After getting into New Order’s Substance album, I had to go back and know the history behind the band. Of course, that brought me to Joy Division and “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” Completely kicked “Bauhaus” off the top of my favorite “Goth” bands. Seriously. Nothing like listening to Ian Curtis lyrics to make you wanna curl up in a ball and disappear.
- Surfer Rosa (1988) – The Pixies
Rather than explain again, see #12 above.
- Pretty Hate Machine (1989) – Nine Inch Nails
Nothing … and I repeat nothing can beat any other NIN album since. I don’t care how incredibly revolutionary or successful any of Trent’s later albums were. I still consider this one of my favorite Industrial albums of all times.
- Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003) – Outkast
Don’t get me wrong, I like Hip Hop, but I’m not in love with it. This album though … totally everything I ever wanted in a Hip Hop album.
- Arular (2005) – M.I.A.
Another one of those mid-2000’s that really stands out in the oversaturated market of Hip Hop. Plus she’s Asian. And she just rocks!
- Appetite for Destruction (1987) – Guns ‘N Roses
Notice how chronologically this album is last on my list? Meaning I truly did not appreciate this album for what it is until recently. I’ve always had a thing for breaking down music to it’s most basic form; listening to each instrument individually and then seeing how it’s arranged in the overall composition of a song or entire album. While I absolutely hated this album in high school when it first came out, I am completely floored by it today. Axl may be totally crazy … but seriously, this album is in-f*ckin-credible.
So that’s my list. Nowhere all comprehensive of all the different types of music I enjoy. This totally skips over my love of Electronica music; specifically deep house and home-grown Detroit Techno. And my love for compilation albums such as soundtracks and tribute albums. But hey … I figured it already took me a week to come up with this list. And it’s as good as it’ll ever be.
Okay, now it’s you’re turn. Not that you have to do this, but I’m gonna tag you just because I’m curious to see what your choices would be. SO … if you so choose to accept this mission, will the following people list their top 15 albums?
If you can’t come up with fifteen … at least comment below with the one album that has affected you the most. And this includes anyone else that wishes to play along …