Thursday, September 2, 2010

15 albums

There's a meme on Facebook right now, asking people to list the "fifteen albums you've heard that will always stick with you." I thought I'd post my own list here for posterity, with some notes

This is the list I posted to FB:
1) Ani DiFranco- To The Teeth-I first heard this album when I was 15. I had downloaded "Pixie" on a late night Napster binge, drawn to it because "Pixie" was my nickname at the time. I listened to that song for HOURS. Later that same week, I was in Wal-Mart with my mom and saw "To the Teeth" (the irony of that kills me now. I realize now that the album must have just been released and Wal-Mart might have had a few copies before realizing the content/language. I used to love picking up unedited CDs at Wal-Mart). Of course I had to have it and the album has resonated with me in different ways for the last 10 years and I always find myself listening to it at transitional times in my life (break ups, new relationships, moving, graduating high school and college, etc.).

2) Smashing Pumpkins- Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness--The soundtrack of my teenage years. I was obsessed with the Pumpkins. I used to have a tradition of playing this CD every time I got a new car (I'll have to tell the story of my high school cars one's nothing pretty).

3) Janis Joplin- Pearl- One of the first vinyls I ever bought. I've listened to and loved Janis since I was in the womb.

4) Bessie Smith- Nobody's Blues But Mine- The first album I bought at LA Music Factory in NOLA. In my first semester of college, I took a theater class that required us to see 3 plays at LSU. One of these was Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and I did some research on the title character. I went to LA Music Factory wanting to but a Ma Rainey record but either they didn't have one or it was out of my price range. I had heard a few Bessie Smith songs before and remembered that she was influenced by Rainey, so I bought this record. During this time, I was seeing a therapist and I moved out of my parents house for the second time and got out of a detrimental relationship. The first night I moved in, I put this record on and turned off all the lights and sang myself to sleep.

5) Feist- Monarch- This album is chock full of great breakup and love songs. I listened to it a lot when I first thought Ravi and I were breaking up, which also happened to be in the middle of my senior finals. It's been on constant rotation ever since.

6) Simon and Garfunkel- The Essential Simon and Garfunkel- Someone said that using compilations wasn't true to the spirit of the exercise, but I actually own this (double) album and its the one that sticks with me, so I think it's acceptable. I don't really have a backstory for this. It's just a set of some really great music. I will say that sometimes, when listening to S&G, I remember a passage from one of the BSC books (R.I.P. my set of these--THANKS MOM.), one of the Dawn books, when Dawn notes that she knows her mom is depressed because she's listening to Simon and Garfunkel.

7) Stevie Ray Vaughn- Texas Flood- I seem to have a thing for second-wave blues. This album reminds me of my parents especially my mom, who LOVES SRV. She and I used to dance around to this, especially the song "Pride and Joy."

8) Broken Social Scene- Broken Social Scene- Ravi introduced me to BSS and, in a way, this album reminds me of him. But, it's also a stand alone fantastic album. In the heat of senior finals, when I was typing two twenty page papers, living off of coffee and Taco Bell and sleeping on the floor of the Delta office, I used to put "Windsurfing Nation" on repeat and type as fast as I could.

9) Radiohead- OK Computer- This is almost cliche, it's on so many lists. But that doesn't negate how fantastic this album is.

10) Decemberists- Castaways and Cutouts- I know "Picaresque" is the popular favorite, but there are just more songs that I like on C & C (music factory). This album reminds me of Winter 2007, being sad, spending lots of time with Nancy and Devon.

11) Fiona Apple- Tidal- Poetic teenage angst. I used to scrawl Fiona lyrics in my journals, especially around the beginning of college.

12) Tori Amos- Tales of a Librarian- Reminds me of post-Katrina, being discouraged but also meeting and loving a ton of new people, singing "Cornflake Girl" with Christie and Josh.

13) Lauryn Hill- The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill- I was obsessed with this album when it first came out, especially "Everything is Everything" (which I still love to listen to for an uplift.) I still think it's Lauryn Hill's best work and better than The Fugees The Score. Plus, lots of run to sing/rap along with.

14) Jeff Buckley- Grace- I tend to think this one is self-explanatory, though I haven't seen it on anyone's list. I've always flirted with this album, especially "Hallelujah" but it too went into heavy rotation around breakup time. This album always provides a certain very strong memory for snowed the morning of my French final, my very last undergraduate final, and I was running on 1.5 hours of sleep (after finally finishing those 20-pagers). I had "Last Goodbye" on my iPod and as I crossed the street to enter Francioni Hall, it came to the bridge of the song ("did you say/'no, this can't happen to me...'"). I felt like running, like flying. Since then, I always feel a rush of adrenaline when I listen to that part of the song and it brings me right back to that sleep deprived, freezing, exhilarating moment.

15) Red Hot Chili Peppers- Californication- I almost didn't put this because I thought I'd get laughed at, but you know, fuck it. I love this album, have loved it since it came out and it holds a crazy amount of memories for me. And, frankly, I loved a lot of the mainstream music between 1996 and 1999.

Honorable mentions:
Arcade Fire- Funeral
Smashing Pumpkins- Siamese Dream
Madonna- The Immaculate Collection (my first CD!)
Ani DiFranco- Not a Pretty Girl
Tori Amos- Little Earthquakes
Beatles- Abbey Road
TLC- Crazysexycool
Rolling Stones- Sticky Fingers
Nirvana- Nevermind
Pearl Jam- Ten
Alice in Chains- Dirt
Everclear- So Much For the Afterglow (look I KNOW. But this album addressed that crazy depression I felt in my teenage years and it resonated with me. And sometimes I still listen to it and sing/scream along. It's like pop music cut with glass.)

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