My friend Inoxia tagged me recently with her list of life – changing albums. I got to thinking, and started listing mine. What emerged, rather, was a compilation of my life in music, thus far.
Music is not just something to which I listen. I experience it, heart and soul. I integrate it and attach significant meaning to it. I surround myself with it. It is beautiful in all of its different forms, and moves me like no other media of expression. These are my old friends, who I slip on and snuggle up to when I want to remember, or forget.
I must preface by giving special props to REO Speedwagon’s High Infidelity. This was the first album (yes, album) I ever bought, and while it’s not on my list, it’s the one that started the whole thing.
1). Pyromania + "Bringin’ on the Heartbreak" by Def Leppard
I discovered these simultaneously, and include them together even though BOTH is not on Pyromania. I was 11. My first rock ballad, and I was hooked. Joe Elliot’s voice wrapped around my middle and pulled. Plus, Joe Elliott. In itty – bitty Union jack shorts. ‘Nuff said. I am still a huge fan.
2). Rio by Duran Duran
High school. Yep. I was a Duranie. With the launch of MTV, these beautiful boys reeled me in hook, line and sinker. This is cornchip versus preppy, with a little heavy metal sprinkled on top. I still listen, and really like their latest.
3). Music for the Masses by Depeche Mode
4). Kick by INXS
College. These two represent freedom. Away. From parents. This is “I’m taking a ride with my best friend” in her orange convertible bug (top down, of course), eating Cinnabon rolls and miming “I Need You Tonight” in the Wal-Mart camera. This is asserting independence. This is walking to Avanti’s, BY MYSELF, in the DARK! Michael Hutchence, RIP, my lovely, my sex–in–a–leather–jacket.
5). Express by Love and Rockets
My then husband-to-be introduced me to this album. There are a couple of songs on here that really move me, as they represent new love, new discoveries, and friendship. This is my soul mate. “Beauty-beauty-beauty-beautiful”.
6). Deep by Peter Murphy
That voice! Those moves! One of the most memorable shows, too. Jewel opened, of all people. This is courting and being courted, red roses, and apprehension.
7). Little Earthquakes by Tori Amos
Profound. A girl and a piano singing smart and controversial lyrics while the rest of the world was all a-grunge. If I could have only one album, this would be it. This is roaming around Chicago, frequenting Brew n View, coffee shops, and Mediterranean food. The start of a new life. A career.
8). Vox by Sarah McLachlan
She is so young here, searching, wanting, questioning. This is discovering new while clinging to the old.
9). Bleed Your Cedar by Elysian Fields (NOT the heavy metal band with the same name)
Hauntingly beautiful, with the lights low and the warm summer breeze drifting in the windows. This is contentment, and experiencing life with my best friend. EF led me to Portishead, and Dummy.
10). To Bring You My Love by PJ Harvey
So unique, strong. She helped me find the way to other great music – Nick Cave, Mick Harvey, Ruby, Old 97’s, Bottle Rockets. Also, Switchblade Symphony. Different genre, but cool and outside of the box. This is sitting in the bar, being mistaken for the band.
11). Hello by Poe
We were in West Africa for my husband’s dissertation field work. I heard “Angry Johnny” on the BBC radio and asked my mom to send me the cassette. This is humidity, kindness, culture shock, and true love.
12). Live Through This by Hole
What can I say? Courtney Love is in your face, don’t give a shit, and why should I care what you think? This is trying to fit in versus fitting in to yourself. She introduced me to Veruca Salt and American Thighs, when they were squeaky clean just out of the package. Also, to the beautifully tragic genius Kurt Cobain, and Nirvana.
13). Night Songs and Lullabies by Kim Scanlon
I bought this for my newborn son to lull him to sleep. I also made a copy for my baby girl when she was born. This is a rosy babe at my breast, the joy of motherhood, and unconditional love. I will listen to this and treasure this CD all of my life, for it holds the most precious memories of all.
14). Becoming X by Sneaker Pimps
I found this as part of a movie soundtrack. Suckish movie. Awesome soundtrack. This is a different kind of groove for me. This is California, new friends, a new career and open doors. I also found Hooverphonic by “becoming x”.
15.) Little Voice by Sara Bareilles
She reminds me so much of early Tori, with a bluesy twist. This is simplicity, and “the older I get, the more I become myself”.