My 25 Most Influential Albums

The Top 25This a re-post from a Facebook note that I did about a year ago that I have been asked repeatedly to post here. So here you have it folks!

March 02, 2009

Well , here is my list. There are numerous omissions that upon review might be placed upon this if I wanted to dedicate the time and the internal (and eternal) debate I would have to have with myself… but I decided to go with a more stream-of-consciousness approach to this task….maybe I should have included Dire Straits, Iron Maiden – Yeah I said it..  Maiden!! or perhaps Elliott Smith or Depeche Mode. Perhaps a thousand others, I mean where is Otis Redding on this list?!? One thing is certain, I believe that the music you discover during your late teens and twenty’s holds the most power over you.
The White Album – The Beatles
This is the beginning of the end for the Fab 4 and is often overlooked in comparison with Sgt. Pepper’s and Revolver, but this one takes the cake for me for sheer raw energy and risk taking.
Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes
When I first heard this, there was no such label of ‘alternative music’ It was called College Radio back then, and I had WRBC (We’re Radio Bates College). This album made me feel a couple of years older than I was and now it makes me feel a couple years younger. Put this one on and everyone can sing along.
Nothing’s Shocking – Jane’s Addiction
This album took all the metal that I had been listening too from the few previous years and channeled it into a genre I had not heard before. The song “Ted, Just Admit It…” makes great commentary about the state of the media that is even far more relevant today.
Being There– Wilco
Ever been lonely and sad? I know Hank Williams has been and I know Jeff Tweedy has too. The way Jeff sings, ‘I am so… out of tune… with you…” makes me want to end a relationship just so I can sit in the dark and listen to that song over and over sitting in front of my stereo with a bottle of Knob Creek, and a good pair of headphones.
Led Zeppelin II – Led Zeppelin
Every fucking riff is a monster. Every. Single. One.
The Wall – Pink Floyd
Critics say Dark Side but this album is epic and it also takes some work to listen to. I’m not so sure that the I-tunes generation has the attention span to appreciate this one. I had two Sunday Paper routes which allowed me plenty of time to listen start to finish… and listen I did… over and over.
Tim – The Replacements
This is the album that captured when you graduate from being a boy into being a man, but as most women realize, we’ll always have a little of the boy in us, and they like that.
Disintegration – The Cure
There is a South Park episode and at the end when Robert Smith walks off into the sunset, Kyle screams “Disintegration is the best album ever!!!”. He was right. I wish I could write songs like this.
August and Everything After – Counting Crows
Full of hope and heartbreak, It’s an album that will always take you home.
Straight Out of Compton – NWA
My first day in boot camp, I was roomed with 3 big imposing black guys from South LA. The white boy from Maine sang em’ every word of this album and they loved me from that day forward. Take note, that Nothing’s Shocking, Appetite for Destruction, and Straight Out of Compton all came out of LA at the same time. LA was angry place to be at the end of the 80’s. People were Pissed Off. No surprise the Rodney King incident came shortly after.
Highway to Hell – AC/DC
What can I say that has not been said before. Bon Scott’s eulogy. I would have liked to see what was to come.
Back in Black – AC/DC
This album completes’ the One/Two Punch that began with Highway to Hell. Pure power in the face of tragedy, cause “Rock ‘n’ roll it will Survive… yes it will!”
In My Tribe – 10,000 Maniacs
Beautiful, voice, lyrics, imagery, and music. The girls going off to college loved this band. I loved this band. I was always mixed that the band decided to take Peace Train off the album due to the whole Cat Stevens/Salman Rushdie affair, as I hated that song (all versions), but I also think once you release a piece of work… well, you’ve released a piece of work…..
American Beauty – Grateful Dead
This might seem like the easy choice, and maybe it is, but it has tons of songs I like and seeing the Dead in concert was always like Sunshine Daydream… ‘walking in the tall tress… going where the wind blows…blooming, blooming like a red rose, and breathing more freely.’
Cold Roses – Ryan Adams
Brilliant, beautiful, haunting, sad and bracing. All by wunderkind Adams and his new band the Cardinals. We all knew the kid could write brilliant songs at an evolutionary rate that could make an argument for creationism, and this album puts forth a double work. Every 3 months or so my favorite songs on this album get completely reconfigured.
London Calling – The Clash
The birth of smart punk. Buy this album, now.
Decoration Day – The Drive By Truckers
This album made me fall in love with the band. It was originally to have been entitled Heathen’s, after the song of the same name. Having grown up in the South as a kid, I have an admiration for the South and a reflection on how it is misunderstood. Let these guys blow away your misconceptions.
Rain Dogs – Tom Waits
If you have to pick one. I would choose this. His work is diverse and dynamic, orchestrated in the streets… which is well represented by this album. Another piece of work, brilliant start to finish. Hope and tragedy. “Rain dogs” are dogs which become lost after the rain washes away the scent of home, thus barring their return. Aren’t we all a little like that out there in the world?
It Still Moves – My Morning Jacket
The Haunting Reverb of the Velvet Underground mixed with 2 parts Kentucky Bourbon, 1 part of ‘Who Give’s A Fuck?’, and 3 Parts of Musical Reverance to the American male, who knows that within his blood, there’s gasoline.
What’s The Story (Morning Glory) – Oasis
Conflict equals creation. A fantastic 2nd album for a band with a lot to prove and an even bigger chip on their shoulder. Wonderwall might be one of the best anthems from the 90’s.
The Joshua Tree – U2
I always thought U2 were at there best when their songs were trying to be carved in stone. The interesting thing is that the hits on this album have stood the test of time, but it was the songs that were not hits on this album that I thought were the better songs. Usually a sign of good work. Red Hill Mining Town. One Tree Hill. Running to Stand Still…. Pure magic.
Black Holes and Revelations – MUSE
I have seen the future of Rock and Roll and they are called MUSE. One of the best live bands I have ever seen. This album is fantastic in it’s conception and execution. I cannot believe a record company let a band take a risk like this, other than the fact that it is brilliant.
The Eminem Show– Eminem
Yeah, he’s all you say about him, but the fact is he has mad rhyming skills yo. Way mad. Wicked Mad. I think you get it.
Little Earthquakes – Tori Amos
An amazing creation as a first release. Start to finish, haunting and beautiful.
Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run
I know there’s a whole Springsteen revival happening right now.
But maybe we’re all just scared and we’re thinking that maybe we ain’t that young anymore.
Any maybe the only redemption we can offer is what’s inside of us.
And if we show a little faith, there’s magic in the night…
It’s out there somewhere, and if we sit tight, grab hold…..Thunder Road.

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