Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Seven Albums That Changed My Life (This Might Get Long)

Since yesterday at approximately 11AM, Pandora has decided that I have reached my 40 hour a month free listening capacity, which is SO LAME!!! I could listen to that in one week at work. How do they expect me to get by without them for three working weeks a month? I had to come up with some sort of strategy. I am not an Ituneser because I don't really know how to work my IPOD that well and also, I think that I would spend a ton of money on really bad music that I would regret later. So if I want to listen to something really specific, I either go to or I save up my dollars and go purchase the album. And that leads me to the more important part of this post.

Since Pandora is now an ass, I now choose a CD from my car, burn it to my work computer and listen to it on repeat all day. I have no other choice, I suppose. I'm cheap like that. Therefore, I've decided to discuss the albums that have meant the most to me throughout my life. These albums have helped me through either a breakup, college, a trip to France, or a road trip to Little Rock by myself. These albums are not necessarily from my favorite artists or bands, but they have a special place in my heart (and CD case) for one reason or another. So here we go in no particular order... actually, I think I'll do chronological order, just for my own organizational sake...

#1: Alanis Morrisette and "Jagged Little Pill"

I'm not sure of any person within 3 +/- years of my age that hasn't listened to this album. So, really it speaks for itself. Also, there is a 'hidden track' at the very end that I got super excited about the first time I heard it. I would borrow this album from Jennifer Herron VERY frequently in the 8th grade. I would keep it longer than she liked by saying 'Oh, I forgot it at home, I'll bring it to you tomorrow.' I'm sorry Jennifer, but I was lying. I eventually gave it back, though. This album made me realize that there is more to music than country. For that, I will be forever indebted to you, Alanis.

#2: Dido and "No Angel"

I guess we will skip directly past high school because I don't remember a single album that I owned and listened religiously to, so teleport yourselves mentally to my college days. In my very first drawing class that I took, we would listen to music while we drew (not nudes, this time). This album was one of my teacher's favorites. I never listened to music like Dido's (with the exception of Enya on the radio, which was horrible) and found that I really liked it. I liked this album so much that I raved about it to a boy who I really, really liked at the time. He went off and surprised me by giving it to me for my birthday (what a sweetheart) and I got to listen to it while driving home in the rain for the weekend. So there is the secret reason why there is a special place for Dido in my heart....

#3: Nelly Furtado and "Folklore"

These next two albums are a tie. When I lived in Paris for that glorious month in 2004, I had two roommates that were super interesting. They had brilliant senses of humor and I NEVER would have placed myself rooming with them, but obviously the room assignment person did. I remember being a little upset about it at first, but after I got adjusted to the situation (and was introduced to wine and started loosening up) it turned out that I got to know them and really liked them a lot. Rebecca, the really artsy one, would wake Catherine and I up every morning with one of three albums. "Folklore", "I Am Sam", or "Come Away With Me" by Norah Jones. Now, I am not one to want to wake up, but when Nelly's "One Trick Pony" would start up, I would jump out of bed and look forward to the day like I hadn't even been asleep.

I didn't really care for Nelly before (the 'I'm Like a Bird' song), however, this album was less pop and more of a rock sound with an acoustic approach. This album wasn't considered commercially successful, but I like it better than her other two. It seems to me as though she put a lot more of herself into it, instead of being a music industry puppet.

#4: "I Am Sam" Soundtrack

This is the other of Rebecca's morning wake up albums that I love. I'll be perfectly honest with you here. I did not grow up listening to the Beatles. My parents didn't listen to them (at least while I was around) and I only knew that they were a huge successful 60's band. So, when I listened to 'I Am Sam' and I heard all of the artists (The Wallflowers, Sarah Machlachlan, Ben Harper, Ben Folds, The Black Crowes, Eddie Vedder, Rufus Wainwright, etc.) singing these songs, I had no idea that they were ALL Beatles songs. I just thought that these artists were doing a great covers album. Well, after examining the CD case, I realized what was really going on here. Anyway, I love the album. It is comforting. Like going home. Or eating a doughnut. (This album has gone missing from my collection, so if you have it, could you please give it back. Thanks.)

#5: Better Than Ezra and "Closer"

I don't know when this album was originally released, but in 2006, I attended my very first Better Than Ezra concert. Sure, I knew a couple of their songs ("Desperately Wanting", "Good", etc.) but wasn't sure what to expect from a full-blown show. My friend Jamie (who is an intense BTE fan) said, "Don't worry about it, it will be fun and you will know some of the songs." So, I went. I LOVED THEM. Absolutely LOVED them. I might have known like 5 songs total, but after the concert I went out and purchased this album via Ebay because I couldn't find it in stores anywhere. After it arrived in my mailbox, I drove around and listened to the album. My absolute favorite song is "Get You In." I like the first line in the song the best: "I sit and watch your flowers wilting in the kitchen. I felt like I was one of them gasping for air." How many times have we felt like that because of other people? Love this album!!!

#5: Ryan Adams and "Demolition"

During that same year when I found BTE, I also found Ryan Adams. (Side rant: If you don't know who Ryan Adams is (NOT BRYAN ADAMS), I urge you to purchase one of his albums. It doesn't matter which one, they are all amazing. This is your chance to learn what good music is and should be.) When my dear friend Eric Covington introduced me to Ryan, my music taste (and life) changed drastically. Thank you Eric, I will always be indebted to you as far as my hearing goes.

So, anyway, the summer of 2006 was really great, and yet at the same time really hard for me for many undisclosed reasons. I decided to take some vacation days and drove to Arkansas solo to visit some friends. While there, my favorite college friend Libby and I visited the local Best Buy. When I got there, I decided to go and see which Ryan Adams albums they had. They had 'Demolition' and 'Gold.' If I had the money, I would have bought both but decided on a coin flip to purchase 'Demolition.' On the drive back, I decided to listen. Wow. Amazing. I'm not sure what all Ryan has gone through in his life to make his music so powerful, but I applaud him and at the same time sympathize with him (even though he decided to marry that tramp, Mandy Moore) because he must have gone through some bad, bad times. My favorite track on this album is "Dear Chicago." If you are an Ituneser, spend 99 cents wisely and purchase it. I guarantee that you will relate.

#7 and Finally: Ray Lamontagne "Till The Sun Turns Black"

I would again, like to thank Eric Covington (who has amazing music taste) for gifting me with Ray Lamontagne's first full-length release "Trouble." I loved that album so much that I was given his sophomore release, "Till The Sun Turns Black" as a birthday gift the following year. This is actually the album of the day that I happened to grab from my car. So, it's currently playing on repeat. Ray's music is probably the most soothing music that I have ever listened to (with the exception of Damien Rice). He has a soft-spoken voice that can lull me into any sort of calm state. I love to play this album when getting ready in the mornings. Ray's music makes me want to behave. And to also be a better person. I can't say that about many things these days.

There you have it readers, I apologize for the length, but hope that the 5 minutes that you took to read my faves, has inspired you to share yours as well!


Ashley Netherton said...

Kate, Your #1 & 2 are on my top 5 favs!!! I adore Alanis, and everytime I hear a song off of that CD, it brings back so many great memories.. I think i'll listen to it now.. Thanks for reminding me of great times !!

Rex said...

I would have to list my Top Five Albums That Changed My Life, not seven. To much of an odd number. "Dear Chicago" is one of my top five Ryan Adams songs. Nice pick.

Kate said...

Yes, I could have done 5, but you know, I didn't want to leave any of these out.

Stephanie Jordan said...

My only question: Who was the boy who you liked who gave you the Dido CD? Does his last name sound like "Damn it?"

misti said...

Jagged Little Pill is on my list as well! Also: Ten (Pearl Jam), The Joshua Tree (U2), The Corrs Unplugged album, Ray LaMontagne's Trouble, Futures by Jimmy Eat World...all for reasons like yours. This is one of my all-time favorite topics! You should do a movie version.

Adam Traylor said...

Well I'm a blog topic thief. Anyways, I have to say that Closer is a very underrated and under appreciated album but I love it. It could be the Louisianian in all of us though. I would pick Sarah Mclachlan's Fumbling Towards Ecstasy any day over Dido but that's just me. Anyways, good blog. Mines up.

Kate said...

Good idea Misti! I love suggestions for blog topics.

Steph, I will not say who it is because it is possible that Mr. Dido could be reading. But he knows who he is.

lagataroja76 said...

Tori Amos - Little Earthquakes was my top fave to this day. I started getting into my "indie" phase of high school and this album came out and I fell hard for it! She was pre Alanis.