The Soundtrack of My Life

In Uncategorized on 10 October, 2010 at 9:07 am

Lately, I keep coming across the “15 Albums in 15 minutes” thread making its way across Facebook profiles, and when Claire‘s “20 Most Influential Albums” post popped up in my feed, I knew I could avoid the topic no longer.  I have a serious love of lists, and a serious history with music, so I knew this post was going to be a doozy in the making.

The thing is, for the past 3 days, I’ve been trying to narrow my list to 20 albums, and it’s just not gonna happen.  My Dad’s a music teacher, so I grew up very much surrounded by every genre of music imaginable, in the best ways imaginable.  Between listening to NPR every day on the way home from school, to my grandfather playing classical music during every Sunday night family dinner, to 9-hour drives to visit my extended family filled with the sounds of Santana, Huey Lewis and the News, Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, and so many others — How could I possibly attempt to put margins on such a huge part of my life?

For the sake of the threads, I’m listing albums that have had, and hold, a deep impact on me – just their names take me back to a specific time and place.  Some of the highbrow among you may scoff at some of the entries, and that’s fine.  I see the entries, and I see – and hear – the 1-mile-exactly bike ride to my grandparents’ house. The sleepovers with my girls. The church youth group that made up so much of my high school experience. Dad’s band hall in my high school, and the crisp fall nights spent in a marching band uniform at football games and parades. The morning I left my hometown for college. The all too brief days where my brother and I felt 2 and 1/2 years apart in age as we actually are rather than the 7 it often feels like (which is a whole other entry unto itself). Driving a friend home from rehab. The radio playing in the ER when I’d dislocated my shoulder. A then-boyfriend surprising me at work with flowers in the middle of The Gap. Flying across the country to a new city to visit someone I loved. Flying across the country to a new city to start a whole new, scary and exhilarating life. When I hear a piano being played, I immediately recall the years I sat in front of one, practicing and practicing and practicing and practicing; I can’t bear the sound of musicboxes because it’s a reminder of the end of my parents’ marriage.  These aren’t just hollow tracks. These are breakups and celebrations, triumphs and tones of solace on the harder days.

On with the list, in no particular order:

  • Bloc Party / Silent Alarm
  • Ben Folds Five / Whatever and Ever Amen
  • Semisonic / Feeling Strangely Fine
  • Foo Fighters / The Colour and The Shape
  • Birdmonster / No Midnight
  • Sheryl Crow / Sheryl Crow
  • Santana / Supernatural
  • Janet Jackson / janet.
  • Coldplay / A Rush of Blood to the Head
  • Jars of Clay / Much Afraid
  • Elvis Costello / My Aim is True
  • Alanis Morrissette / Jagged Little Pill
  • Weezer / Pinkerton
  • Lisa Loeb / Firecracker
  • Third Eye Blind / Third Eye Blind
  • Rilo Kiley / More Adventurous
  • Fleetwood Mac / Rumours
  • Counting Crows / Recovering the Satellites
  • Sting / Ten Summoner’s Tales
  • Paul Simon / The Rhythm of the Saints
  • Tina Turner / What’s Love Got to Do With It
  • Sarah McLachlan / Surfacing
  • Carole King / Tapestry
  • R.E.M. / Automatic for the People
  • Lauryn Hill / The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill
  • U2 / How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
  • The Strokes / Room On Fire
  • Stone Temple Pilots / Purple
  • Pearl Jam / Vs.
  • Franz Ferdinand / Franz Ferdinand
  • Johnny Cash / Orange Blossom Special
  • Andrew Bird / Noble Beast
  • The Cardigans / First Band on the Moon
  • Blues Traveler / Four
  • Snow Patrol / Eyes Open
  • No Doubt / Tragic Kingdom
  • Dido / No Angel
  • Barenaked Ladies / Stunt
  • Jem / Finally Woken

There are countless other artists I could list, whose entire catalogs would have made this list.  Here’s to the next handful and then some that will get added over the years ahead.  Happy listening, everyone, to my list and your own.


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