15 albums

A meme going around my Facebook friends right now asks you to list 15 albums that continue to stick with you. I have written about my need for music, my memories of specific songs, and the significance of music in my life. Last night I listened to Pandora for the first time in months and it reminded me of amazing songs and lyrics I'd misplaced in my memories. One of the things I think we all adore about music is how it places us in time, in our remembrances with people, younger versions of ourselves. So in doing this meme I can travel back to specific moments like rewinding a DVD and watching in slow motion as events play out to your own personal soundtrack, which leads me to a few of the albums on my list.

The Rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen albums you've heard that will always stick with you, and have significance in your life. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. I listed these in fifteen minutes but admit I went back to write the explanations, so this post took me much longer than 15 mins. to craft.

1. Elizabethtown soundtrack: Seriously good music, here. Cameron Crowe is magic in choosing songs to accompany his stories and never was I more in love with a soundtrack from a film than when I got my hands on this one. Ryan Adams, Tom Petty, Patty Griffin, My Morning Jacket... brilliance.

2. The Colour and the Shape, Foo Fighters: It's no secret I adore the Foo. This is an album I love and can remember listening to on repeat in the car on the way to camp where I was a counselor all summer.

3. Fashion Nugget, Cake : This album became the default album of my first college semester. Any time I hear it, I'm instantly back on uncomfortable couches in various apartments, driving downtown to hear a friend's band play, and long drives back to my parents' house.

4. Sea Change, Beck: One of my favorite albums for writing. It's kind of a sad album, though, full of melancholy and I can't help but feel nostalgic when I listen to it. My first semester away from home in Illinois, this cd was on repeat. It's so beautiful with really amazing lyrics.

5. Thriller, Michael Jackson: The first record I bought with my own money, and yeah it was an actual vinyl though I also bought the tape later because you know I had to roller skate on the deck to something else besides the Bon Jovi tape I was wearing out.

6. Slippery When Wet, Bon Jovi: I've loved Bon Jovi since I first heard the chords in "You Give Love a Bad Name." Their music is a guilty pleasure, a nostalgic look back at my girlhood and adolescence and even found a way into my dissertation, which was completely awesome. My brother and I used to roller skate to my Bon Jovi tape and "Livin' on a Prayer" was some kind of anthem for the gang of kids with whom I hung out even though we probably had very little idea of what it all meant. We screamed, "It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not; we got each other and that's a lot. For love, we'll give it a shot." And, I think, we meant it.

7. All the Pain Money Can Buy Fastball: This album is underrated. Most people know it because of the smash hit "The Way" but I loved this album for a song called "Slow Drag." I remember listening to this album in college during a self-conscious time in my life and then I rediscovered the album as a Ph.D. student because a friend of mine played "Fire Escape" one night while we were hanging out. Sometimes when music affects or moves you, you aren't exactly able to articulate it and for some reason, that's how I feel about this one.

8. Brushfire Fairytales Jack Johnson: My brother introduced me to this album and it's never left my rotation. I listened to this cd for the entire summer of 2001 and have been loving his music ever since. The most well-known song from the album is probably "Flake" from which one of my favorite lyrics comes. Also Ben Harper plays slide guitar on it, which is equally amazing:

And I know that when she says she's gonna try/ Well it might not work because of other ties./ I know she usually has some other ties/ And I wouldn't break 'em; nah, wouldn't wanna break 'em

9. Opaline Dishwalla: This is another one of the albums that profoundly affected me because of the time in my life when I was listening to it, and the people in my life at the time. Though hearing some of the songs is often bittersweet, this album is incredibly significant. I can listen to it on repeat and not skip any of the songs. I especially love the song "Every Little Thing," which has the line "will you find out who you are too late to change?"

10. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Elton John: My father owned a lot of records, which he would play throughout the day as he was working or reading or doing stuff around the house. When my brother and I received a Nintendo for Christmas and invaded my father's space to play Mario Brothers, he insisted we play on mute and let him choose the music because he just couldn't stand the video game sounds. This was one of his favorites, and mine. It made for quite an interesting playing experience, as well.

11. Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Smashing Pumpkins: I was already a fan when this album came out, but it certainly cemented my adoration. I loved everything about this album, the title, the cover artwork, the angsty, searing lyrics I was used to from the pumpkins. I was in high school when this was released and remember riding to the beach screaming along, "Despite all my rage, I am still just a rate in a cage!" I also remember my brother and I listening to "Tonight, Tonight" and "1979" on repeat. There are so many great songs on the album and whenever I hear any of them on the radio, I stop to relive my love for this album.

12. Yourself or Someone Like You Matchbox Twenty: What's interesting to me about this list is that many of these albums seem to be recommended to me or attached in some way to my brother. He called, I think, to ask me if I'd heard "Long Day," which I had but only the end of it so I didn't realize how fantastic it was. I hurried to the record store where I hung out, and later worked, to the listening station. I started at the beginning of the album and didn't leave until I'd listened to all of it. I adored it then and still think it contains some of my favorite songwriting.

13. What's the Story, Morning Glory, Oasis: I've written before about the place that Oasis holds in my history, so there's no way I could complete this list without including it.

14. War of the Women, Joe Firstman: I first heard of Joe Firstman from a grad school friend who'd gone to a Willie Nelson concert where Firstman was the opening act. The first song she played me off the album was "Saving all the Love" which is soulful and witty. A few months later, I saw Firstman in concert in Mobile and fell even more in love with his music. Most of the stuff he played was off this album. M and I listened to this non-stop for the entire summer.

15. just about any album by Ryan Adams: I know I'm cheating by not picking one but I own almost all of Ryan Adams albums and I can't choose which one sticks out the most. I suppose I could say Gold because of "New York, New York" which was played on constant rotation after the 9/11 attacks. I could say, Love is Hell because it includes some of my favorite songs including "English Girls, Approximately," "Hotel Chelsea Nights," or I could say Easy Tiger because it was the soundtrack to my dissertation writing. I'm not choosing because his music, as a whole, has been so significant in my life.