Facebook can be a real curse sometimes. Plenty of my friends give out about it encouraging stalker behaviour. But yet they still use it. And it generally provides some fun or distractions. Even occasionally a topic for a blog posting.
Thanks to the News Feed (AKA Stalker Watch) I saw that Lucia posted her Top 5 Albums That Shaped Me, so I followed suit and posted mine. But I thought it would take it a step further and say why I made these choices, and I’m encouraging the other bloggers and any readers to post their own choices, and why. Or you can just criticise people’s choices, which is what I’ll probably do!
It’s pretty easy thing to answer, but it has to have shaped you, made you the person you are today, that special person that you are. I only make one rule – no Greatest Hits or Best Of or whatever, it has to be an LP. Which is why I have to think of something to replace Led Zeppelin, Remasters…..
#1: Coldplay – Parachutes (2000).
I don’t know if its a sad thing, or that it just demonstrates my love for this album, but I can still remember buying this, in Golden Discs, Wilton. Probably a bit of both. Anyway, its safe to say I fell in love with this album upon the first listen. I was already loving Yellow, and this album fulfilled every expectation of a great batch of indie tracks. Coldplay often get slagged for playing depressing music, so I give you the chorus line of Don’t Panic:
We live in a beautiful world, ya we do, ya we do.
Depressing my ass. Just cause they don’t play it in Coppers, doesn’t mean its depressing. In fact, its probably a compliment to a track if its not played in Coppers, but Ive already been down that road.
In short, you’d have to go a long way to find 10 tracks you’ll like better than these. My personal favourite is Trouble, with its brilliant piano intro.
#2: AC/DC – Back In Black (1980)
From soft indie rock, I move into the different world of heavy, hard rock and there are no better ambassadors of good ol’ rock and roll than AC/DC. Released before I was born, you can wonder how this album shaped me. But this album is what brought me to love the harder, more metal side of rock. Before this I was strictly an indie boy, but on a J1 summer, my American boss played Hells Bells for me, and I was struck. On first listen, those bells can make you wonder “What am I listening to here?”. But then the guitar kicks in, followed by the drums and cymbals, and before you know it, you’re quite literally rocking.
The album features many great tracks. You Shook Me All Night Long has been quite popular in the clubs. Shoot To Thrill. Have A Drink On Me. What You Do For Money Honey. The final track is Rock And Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution, which apart from being another great song, is like every teenage boys anti-parent themed anthem.
There is an interesting back story to this LP. Following the death of the lead singer, the band considered disbanding. They ultimately decided to move on, get a new lead singer, and what followed was Back In Black. It became the second-best selling album of all time, and the best-selling album from a band.
AC/DC are usually a band that are dismissed by critics as playing the kind of music that only teenage boys can like. At least, that’s what many a review said of Black Ice. But I beg to differ, being a 24 year-old (although its been said many a time that I’m just a big kid) who only became a fan at 18 and is still loving every track.
#3: Gomez – Bring It On (1998)
Back to the indie world. Gomez certainly aren’t as well known as Coldplay or AC/DC, but this album is well known to any decent music fan. Gomez have their own sound, sounding almost like a slowed down Cuban band, and the throaty vocals are like something from a blues singer. I can’t really put my finger on why I love this album so much. I mean, I wouldn’t even rate the band that highly any more – they followed this album with the brilliant Liquid Skin, but then I found that the sound changed with In Our Gun and I lost interest.
All I can tell you is I have listened to it over and over again, for nearly 10 years, and will continue to listen to it, for a lot longer than that. Some of the better tracks include Get Miles, Whippin’ Piccadilly and Make No Sound, but my favourite is Tijuana Lady. The intro wouldn’t be out of place in a horror film, with it’s loud foot stamping, but then the soulful vocals break the track and it becomes a beautiful song about lost love. Great stuff.
#4: Dave Matthews Band – Everyday (2001)
“Dave who?” many of you might be asking, but these guys are big in the states. Really big. Dave Matthews himself is South African-American, but the rest of the band is American, and they each seem to bring a little something different to the sound of the band. Some are from a jazz background, some a classical music background, some from soul, and combining they have something unique.
The album was their fourth, and has plenty of memorable tracks. The better tracks include I Did It, Dreams Of Our Fathers, Mother Father and Everyday, but my personal favourite is So Right. This track has a little bit of funk with a great chorus.
#5: Meat Loaf – Bat Out Of Hell II (Back Into Hell) (1993)
Everyone no doubt remembers the chart topping hit from Meat Loaf back in the early nineties. If you don’t, where were you? It was top for 7 weeks. And not surprisingly, most people don’t like it now. It also isn’t the best song on this LP.
My aunt is a big Meat Loaf fan, and as she did with Liverpool FC, she tried to make me a fan too. I received this album on cassette, yes cassette, from her, many years ago, and that is one reason I love this album – the sentimental factor attached to it.
But I wouldn’t be a decent (wannabe) music critic if I listed an album in my Top 5 purely for its sentimental value. Meat Loaf produces great rock ballads, with lots of guitar, lots of drums, plenty of vocals, resulting in songs that are well loved. This album is no different. There are many great tracks that I will sing along to (alone of course) again and again. Life Is Lemon And I Want My Money Back, Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through and Out Of The Frying Pan (And Into The Fire) are some of the highlights – fans of Meat Loaf will know well how he likes long titles.
My favourite song from this album though is one of my favourite songs of all time – Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are. When I listen to this song, the lyrics tell a story that is almost real to me. The story follows a boy who along the way loses his best friend, is abused by his father and experiences sex with a mysterious, possible older woman. Vivid lyrics set to great rock and roll music.
There are some other notable mentions that I feel I can’t leave out, lest this post be unfinished. These are LPs that definitely affected my life and moulded my music tastes into what they are today, but not to the extent that the five above did. Here goes:
David Gray, White Ladder; Blur, 13; Eric Clapton, Unplugged; Nirvana, Nevermind; Radiohead, The Bends; The Verve, Urban Hymns; Oasis, Definitely Maybe; The Smashing Pumpkins, Adore; Placebo, Placebo; Stereophonics, Performance & Cocktails; Pearl Jam, Vs; Red Hot Chili Peppers, Californication; Travis, The Man Who.
There are couple in that short list of nearly-made-its that some of my friends will shoot me for leaving out, but this is my list.
What’s your Top 5?