FACEBOOK List: 25 Albums That Define Me...

The following is a "note" that I created for my Facebook social network. I thought it would only be appropriate to list it here. This is a list of the 25 albums that made me the person who I am today. At least, musically speaking. Enjoy...

I am going to try and list MINE in chronological order, at least as far as MY life events are concerned. AND, because I am going to post this on my music blog, I am going to expound on some of the albums.
THIS IS NOT THE REGULAR PROCEDURE. If you do this note, then feel free just to make a list, with no explanation. Also, I couldn't contain it to 25, and be true to the albums that are actually a part of my heart and soul... so you are going to get a few extra.

1. EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER: "Trilogy"
Some of my earliest memories of truly enjoying music, was when I took my father's vinyl copy of this classic record, to the Jackling Elementary "Media Center", and played it on one of the crappy record players. The record was not in great shape, but it still moved me.

2. FLEETWOOD MAC: "Rumours"
Ah, the memories of listening to this 8 track, in my father's pick-up truck. I was always eager for the guitar solo on "Go Your Own Way", and couldn't wait until it made it's way back 'round. Kids, be glad you have CDs and mp3s. SO much easier to deal with.

3. CHEAP TRICK: "In Color"
This is the album that changed my life. I purchased the cassette at MusicLand, for $2.88. From the opening guitar noise of "Hello There", I was blown away. That album did not let up, from start to finish...even though the 'studio' version of "I Want You To Want Me" was really weak, compared to the live single version. From this album on, I was obsessed with music.

4. STYX: " The Grand Illusion"
Styx is one of those bands that did not age well, for me. I have a hard time listening to most of their stuff, now, BUT, this album STILL holds up... and it was one of my favorites, back in 8th grade.

5. JUDAS PRIEST: "Unleashed in the East"
Although a live album, this album still remains one of my favorite "Metal" albums of all time. Technically speaking, I have been told that most of the recording was reworked in the studio. Either way, it ROCKS! It fed the Metal Beast that burned inside of me.

6. AC/DC: "Back In Black"
What can I say? Except for the fact that unlike most of the kids that listen to it nowadays, I WAS THERE! Listening to it on my JC Penney "Walkman" knock-off.

7. JOURNEY: "Escape"
Same as above.

8. REO SPEEDWAGON: "HiInfidelity"
Same as above. Oh, except for the fact that today's kids are NOT listening to this one.

9. THE B-52's: "Wild Planet"
I bought this tape through Columbia House, when I was in 9th grade. It was my first step into the world of New Wave. I never turned back.

10. RUSH: "Moving Pictures"
Wow. That's all I can say. Wow. (Oh, and as odd as it sounds, it was another $2.88 "clearance bin" cassette, at MusicLand...and it was a new album.)

11. ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA: "Discovery"
My brother included "Out of the Blue" on his list, and maybe that should be the album I list... BUT, since "Discovery" is the album that I listened to over and over, while delivering my paper route, I feel that it is the one that should be included.

12. DEF LEPPARD: " High'N'Dry"
The second album by this Sheffield, England band is my favorite. Partly because of the immaculate production from Robert John "Mutt" Lange, partly because it just flat out ROCKED.

13. ALAN PARSONS PROJECT: "Pyramid"
Some of you may remember them from their multiple hits in the early 80's. Some of you may remember them for their song "Sirius", which is (or was) featured at the beginning of every Utah Jazz game (and Chicago Bulls, at least for a while). Some of you may remember him (Alan Parsons) from his flawless engineering of the classic Pink Floyd Album, "DARK SIDE OF THE MOON". But I remember him for ALL these things. In addition, the Alan Parsons Project showed that great Rock music could feature all kinds of elements, especially if it was produced right. The song, "In The Lap of the Gods", from Pyramid, is the perfect example. Pipe organ, a symphony orchestra, a full choir, and some of the most intense production ever, make this my favorite era of the Alan Parsons Project.

14. SAGA: " World's Apart"
There was something about this album that blew me away, then... and STILL blows me away, today. The Rupert Hine production was flawless, the melodies were memorable and the sheer talent of the band was amazing. I mean IS amazing.

14.5- ABC: "Lexicon of Love"
Another one that I nearly forgot. Another Trevor Horn produced masterpiece. I give him the credit. Well, in addition to great songwriting from the band.

15. THOMPSON TWINS: "Into The Gap"
I still vividly remember the excitement I had, when this album came out. I remember going down to Starbound Music on it's release day, in March of 1984. I still have that album, which actually has a rare cover, which was redone shortly afterward.

16. ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN: "Ocean Rain"
If you were one of my schoolmates in 1984, you may remember my generic, gray "Echo" t-shirt. If you are ME, you will remember getting harassed by a certain member of the football team, who felt great pleasure in sarcastically calling ME "Echo". Either way, that album is one of my all time favorites, and has my favorite album cover of all time.

17. OINGO BOINGO: "Good For Your Soul"
An album that had EVERYTHING that was "New Wave". Cutting edge, great horn riffs, energy, the talent of Danny Elfman. What else could you ask for?

18. CHINA CRISIS: "Working With Fire and Steel- Possible Pop Songs Vol. 2"
One of the longest album titles of all time, and MY...are you ready...FAVORITE ALBUM OF ALL TIME.
This album has survived high school relationships, break-ups, and nearly ever facet of my life. I have owned the record. I have owned the cassette. I have owned (at least) 3 copies of the CD. It NEVER GROWS OLD. The production is flawless. The merging of electronic music, fused with classical instruments (oboe, grand piano, trumpet), make it one of the most pleasing listens I have ever experienced. To this day, I still discover new elements in the recording.

19. NICK HEYWARD: "North of a Miracle"
This was the first solo album, by original HAIRCUT 100 front man, Nick Heyward. After suffering mental exhaustion, following the debut Haircut 100 album, Nick was left behind. The band continued on, releasing only (to my knowledge) one more album, and Mr. Heyward did his own material. And what a payoff. This album was a departure from Haircut 100, complete with string arrangements by Andrew Powell, known for his work with the Alan Parsons Project. Two of the tracks were recorded live in the studio, and demonstrate some of the finest Jazz chops that I have ever heard. In addition, this album has the song, "The Day That It Rained Forever", which was my song of choice, following sad break-ups in high school.

20. THE MOODY BLUES: "Days of Future Past"
Probably one of the first "concept albums", ever. It was an album that summed up the last few months of my Senior year in high school. Because of a bitter break-up, I was soured from all things New Wave. The 60's were my new love, and this album was the best of the best. Between the symphonic work of the London Festival Orchestra, to the continuous journey through a musical "day", this piece of work is more a work of art. Not to mention, it tops off with "Nights In White Satin", which will always be one of my favorite ballads.

21. ART GARFUNKEL: "Scissors Cut"
Partly because of the same reason as number 19, partly because it helped mend my broken heart. This beautiful album, complete with some of the most memorable songs ever written by Jimmy Webb, it still makes my heart melt, each and every time I listen to it.

22. PREFAB SPROUT: "Two Wheels Good"
This album, produced by Thomas (She Blinded Me With Science) Dolby, is one of the highlights of the 80's. Great songwriting, thought provoking lyrics, and beautiful music, make this one of my favorite albums.

23. TALK TALK: "The Colour of Spring"
As was the case with most Talk Talk albums, this album was not easily digested. They were firmly on their path of becoming more eclectic, and I was not prepared for the acoustic smorgasbord that was found on this album. Each and every Talk Talk album should really be on this list, but I pick this as my favorite.

24. U2: "The Joshua Tree"
Another album that took me a while to fully grasp. I love it to this day, and sometimes wish I would have been a naughty LDS missionary, and sneaked out to see them, when they played in New Mexico. Lone Justice opening up for them? Sheesh... that's a no-brainer. 'Cept I was a good boy.

25. ENYA: "Watermark"
Yeah, I feel as uncomfortable writing this, as you do reading it. Where most Enya music now makes my skin crawl (because of it's lack of creativity), this album blew me away. I remember walking into the Graywhale CD Exchange, up by the University of Utah, and hearing it. I remarked to the clerk that it sounded kind of like Clannad. He proceeded to tell me that she was the sister of several Clannad members (and originally a member of Clannad, before each artist(s) tasted American success). It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever heard, and those precious 4 or so years, before Enya became a household name, were some of my favorite. I used to work at Tom Tom Music in Sandy, Utah, and would play that CD. Without fail, I would sell a copy of it. Nobody knew who she was, but everyone loved the sound.

26. LEVEL 42: "Running In The Family"
Another band that has been a big part of my adult life, and this would probably be my Cream'o'the Crop. With the possible exception of the UK version of "World Machine". There, I got both albums names in here, while technically under one number. Mission accomplished. Yeah, George W., MY mission WAS accomplished. Sshhh...

27. THE CURE: "Disintigration"
Who was it... Kyle? Stan? One of the great South Park kids, who proclaimed this album the "best album of all time", after Cure vocalist Robert Smith saved South Park from the villainous Barbara Streisand. Well, where I won't call it the best album of all time, it truly is part of who I am. "The Same Deep Water As You" will always be one of my favorite songs, when I'm feeling blue.

27.5- YES: "90125"
I almost forgot one of my other favorite albums of all time. FLAWLESS. Thank you, Yes. Thank you, Trevor Horn.

27.8-
SARAH MCLACHLAN: "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy"
I remember this one vividly, as well. My younger brother and sister were both big fans of Sarah McLachlan, by the end of 1993. I had heard portions of "Solace", her most recent album, and was not impressed. My good friend, Craig Rackley, had ordered Canadian versions of "Fumbling Towards Ecstasy", which had arrived around Christmas of '93, a full six months before the album would see a Stateside release. I remember putting on the album, and hearing the first minute of "Possession". I was blown away. As the album progressed, I heard elements of Talk Talk, which just solidified my love for the album. When meeting her, in August of 1994, following a concert in Bozeman, Montana, the only question I felt compelled to ask her was, "Is Talk Talk an influence?" She said, "Is it that obvious?" No wonder I love that album so much. Although I enjoy her more recent material, nothing has connected with me, as much as "Fumbling..."


28. DEAD CAN DANCE: "A Passage In Time"
Actually a "retrospective", containing a couple of new tracks, this album was my exposure to DCD. My friend, Cuzzin' Brad, turned me on to them. At first, I didn't know what to think, but the more I listened to them, the more I fell in love. And then one hot summer day, back in mid 90's, I connected with the song, "The Carnival Is Over". There has been no looking back.

29. NO-MAN: "Flowermouth"
A relatively obscure band, No-Man is one of (count 'em) SIX projects by musical mastermind, Steven Wilson. Following the path of Talk Talk (they coincidentally used the same manager, although at different times), they traversed a path of catchy Pop, fused with Classical elements (their first couple releases featured a third member, who played violin full time) to a more ethereal sound, very much along the lines of later Talk Talk music. Flowermouth was from a more Electronic era, as far as the band is concerned, but it is a beautiful work of art. There have now been 3 different audio mixes of the album, each one improving from the previous. I remember vividly the day that I got the album. I had actually ordered it in (I had my own import CD account with a company that I had dealt with as a Tom Tom employee) for a friend of a friend. I was curious as to how it sounded, and fired it up. I was blown away. If you ever get the chance to hear it, you will see...er...HEAR why. Featuring the capable assistance of Robert Fripp (from King Crimson), as well as several former members of Japan, this album is beautiful. Oh, did I mention that it also contains a cleverly used sample from Dead Can Dance?

30. NO-MAN: "Returning Jesus"
Yeah, so they are the only band to get double representation. It's because each album is so different. Returning Jesus is firmly planted in their mellow, Jazz influenced period. Breathtaking beauty.

31. PORCUPINE TREE: "Stupid Dream"
After listening to No-Man for several years, I finally decided it was time to hear the (at the time) OTHER Steven Wilson project. I downloaded 16 tracks on Audio Galaxy, back in 2001, and was blown away by 15 of them. I then proceeded to order everything possible, while working at Tom Tom Music in Bountiful, Utah. To this day, I consider them my favorite band. Progressive Rock, or more accurately "Neo-Prog", I consider this band to be the "love child" of Pink Floyd and Tool. Although their music has become more "Progressive Metal" (while the No-Man material becomes more and more mellow... how ironic!), they NEVER let me down. I have traveled to Boulder, Colorado and Portland, Oregon to see them. THAT is how obsessed I am. Call me a Porcupine Head. C'mon. I dare you!

32. TRASHCAN SINATRAS: "Weightlifting"
I should probably include "Cake" as well, but this album is probably my favorite album to come out in the last ten years. Beautiful! Well produced, heartfelt music. After the release of "Cake", a nearly flawless album, I was disappointed in their second album. Even MORE disappointed, after seeing them live (following the 2nd album), I went on to totally ignore their third release. BUT, thanks to a brave friend who found his way to this fourth outing, I found my way back. I will never tire of this album. To this day, the title track of this album ("Weightlifting", just in case you forgot) TOPS my "25 Most Played" playlist on iTunes. P.S., After seeing them in concert a few years ago, they TOTALLY redeemed themselves.

33. RETURN TO FOREVER: "Romantic Warrior"
I was truly introduced to this album, very late in the game. I was aware of them, but had become more a fan of the individual musicians, as they pursued solo careers. It wasn't until seeing them last year, that I ventured out to get this album. It is living proof that this band features four of the most talented musicians to walk the face of this here planet. End...of...story.

Comments

Kate said…
I honestly don't know if I could do a list like this. I didn't really GET any taste in music until the last 15 years or so; the first 25 years would be kinda wonky.

Still, I might give it a try...

Maybe a song list... The soundtrack of my life, if you will...

I must ponder this.