I’ve been thinking about music today…how it moves and shapes us…individually and as a society.
Specifically, how it moves me.
When Things 1 and 2 were little, there was always music playing in our home, anything from showtunes to classic rock, (Luckily they were too little to understand how inappropriate AC DC lyrics are for children.) blues to classical. When they got a little older, they began influencing what got played, for Thing 1 it was Spice Girls, then she discovered Blondie after which she moved into Nirvana and Eminem. Her musical tastes are as eclectic as all get out, if you went through her itunes you’d find everything from ‘screamo’ to the Music Man Soundtrack. Thing 2 loved the Go Go’s and Talking Heads, then she shifted into really alternative stuff…she often talks about how she wishes her life was a movie so it could be one musical montage after another using any and every type of music she deems appropriate. (Quite honestly, of all the people I know, Thing 2’s life as a musical montage would be something I’d love to watch.)
Once I began to think of how music has shaped my life, has moved me, has gotten its hooks deep into me, I began to create a sort of list of albums that have heavily influenced me. (The List Lady strikes again.)
I feel the need to point out these are not my “favorite records” but ones that shaped or changed me in some significant way.
They’re in particular no order, just listed as they came to me…some I’ll talk about why, some you’re just going to have to go with me on.
Little Creatures ~ Talking Heads
This is the first time I remember buying my own album…everything up to that point had been bought for me as gifts or me asking for it to be picked up with my babysitting money when Mommie was out. God, I wore out this record. David Byrne is a megalomaniac, but because he’s so brilliant, I guess it’s OK. As She Was reminds me so of Thing 1 when she was just beginning to blossom.
Disraeli Gears ~ Cream
Because I dated a bassist in high school (he would probably prefer the term ‘bass man’) you know I can still sing every bass line from every Cream song? It’s funny to me what sticks with you. My God, Jack and Eric and Ginger are absolute perfection! I love this band second only to Zeppelin.
Led Zeppelin III ~ Led Zeppelin
It’s hard to pick the favorite of the favorite, but as much as I love Houses of the Holy, I think Zep III changed me more, changed my point of view somehow.
The softer side of the Hammer of the Gods.
Defenders of the Faith ~ Judas Priest
I will say only one thing about this album…we all have a past.
London Calling ~ The Clash
What I love about Joe is (was) his ability to continue to break out and do new things, this record is absolute proof of that! They were evolving musically and it showed. I believe this album is an absolute staple in any musical library.
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars~David Bowie
I played this record until my ears bled. I remember jumping on the bed at camp at Orkeny Springs singing Hold onto Yourself with a girl called Angie at the top of my lungs. The later released CD has bonus tracks on it…and they’re perfect! This album still moves me when I hear something from it today.
Strong Persuader ~ Robert Cray Band
I LOVE every single song on this album. It’s bluesy but also kind of rocks…this guy has women issues. I love it! He also doesn’t take himself too seriously. Did you know Robert Cray taught his friend Eric Clapton how to bend a string? Yep, during the recording of Clapton’s Journeyman album.
Seven and the Ragged Tiger ~ Duran Duran
Rio is probably my favorite D2 album, but I remember being more moved by this one when it came out and even today, when I hear something from it, it gets me…right in the pit of my belly.
Pyromania ~ Def Leppard
One word explains why this one is on the list: my little brother (Well I guess that’s three, but you get the point.)
The Libertines ~ The Libertines
I adore Pete Doherty, all smacked out and all cleaned up. He’s raw and beautiful and the combination of Pete and Carl Barat is truly exceptional. This album is a painful realization of the destruction of a band, but it’s so great. What became of the likely lads, indeed? (Pete’s got a new band-Babyshambles and I love them too! Shotter’s Nation gets a special little shout out here.)
Alternative to Love ~ Brendan Benson
This is what pop music was intended to be. He writes beautiful lyrics and the music is catchy. I love this album…it’s a “go to” in my car.
Way to Blue: an Introduction to Nick Drake ~ Nick Drake
What can I say? This man was taken from us too soon. Pink Moon. My GOD! Beautiful. Heartfelt. Nick wrote and sang from his soul and this is a lovely compilation of his work.
Dream into Action ~ Howard Jones
I used to love Howard so much! This is another record I wore out. I love when I’ll randomly hear one of these songs when I’m out somewhere…usually in the grocery store.
Slowhand ~ Eric Clapton
Two words: The Core.
This album is perfect from start to finish. I love every single song on it! They scrawled “Clapton is God” throughout the London Underground for a reason, people.
West Side Story Soundtrack
I love this play, I love the music, the beginning of America is one of my all-time favorite bits of lyrics ever, the dance at the gym, the mambo and the little “snapping” song…Something’s Coming is perfect and I Feel Pretty is just too cute for words! When you’re a Jet you’re a Jet all the way. (Till my last dyin’ day.)
Other People’s Lives~Ray Davies
I’m a Kinks girl without a doubt, actually, the first concert I ever saw was the Kinks. Ray is one of the most beautiful song writers and this is his first solo album in his whole 40(ish) year career. It’s GREAT! He’s still got it. This is another “go to” for me in the car…if it were a record I’d have worn it out by now.
13 Tales of Love and Revenge ~ The Pierces
These sisters from Alabama are absolutely amazing! I love the way they write, the way they sound…I love the darkness that permeates this album. And the ennui…and the hopefulness…and the bitterness…and the love.
It got me through a really bad break-up, but I still love to listen to it now, all these years later.
Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars ~ Edie Brickell and New Bohemians
This album absolutely defines a time in my life, yet I find it transcends it too. I love these songs now as I did then, and it’s not just the nostalgia.
Sundance and I saw her at the Birchmere in 2004…she borrowed a ballcap from a guy in the audience to keep her hair out of her face with jokes of lice and made up a little scat about the vinyl checkered tablecloths. Sassy thing.
Billy Idol ~ Billy Idol
Love Billy. Love this album. Generation X, they tried so hard to be bad ass like the Pistols and just couldn’t cut it…Billy did better on his own. This album is perfection! From Come On, Come On all the way to Dancing with Myself. I turned Thing 2 onto Billy.
Saw him with Sundance in Richmond in September of 2003, we raced home in front of hurricane Isabel. He’s got so much energy and gives every bit of himself.
The Pretty Reckless ~ Light Me Up
Taylor Momsen, the girl I loved to hate as “Little J” on Gossip Girl is the girl I love to hear in this band! Thing C actually turned me on to them. This album got me through a horrifically tough time with Thing 1, I listened to it all day every day. Thing 2 loves them too, and Thing C and I saw them in concert in the fall and she was wearing proper clothes not vintage lingerie.(Part of me was disappointed, I love vintage clothes…even undergarments.)
I’ve most likely forgotten something…and I’m actually considering albums that quite possibly could be added to this list…but only for the love or nostalgia…though that isn’t really what I’m trying to do here.