5 Albums That Changed Your Life

Discussion on new albums, developing listening skills, critical listening to others' work, as well as TOMB members' MP3 links, online recording critiques

Moderator: cgarges

Post Reply
User avatar
carpal tunnel
Posts: 1734
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 3:03 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY

5 Albums That Changed Your Life

Post by fossiltooth » Sun May 25, 2008 8:11 pm

5 Albums That Changed Your Life

The title says it all.

These don't have to be your all-time favorite albums, or even albums you listen to today. I want to know about music that had a dramatic influence on your life. Tell us about records that helped shape the way you think about music. What are your five?


1) Nirvana: Bleach

I listened to this album every day throughout much of the eighth grade. Although I can't bring myself to listen to this band anymore and "Incesticide" gets credit as my favorite Nirvana release, "Bleach" still gets top billing on my list. Why? This is the first album that made me realize I needed to be involved in music for the rest of my life. I think that means something.

Along with the extraordinarily simple solo on "Nevermind"s In Bloom, this record also features some of my favorite guitar work in the band's history. Even now, this record makes me remember that I don't hate guitar solos. Each lead on this record is concise, unique, and powerful in a way that few acrobatic players can approach.

2)Tom Waits: Frank's Wild Years

Speaking of guitar solos that don't suck, Marc Ribot's guitar playing on this album is amazing. I love his work here almost s much as his playing on "Rain Dogs." These two Waits records epitomize where I stand when it comes to "out" vs. "accessible".

Some folks go wild for the atonality and jerky formlessness of Captain Beefheart's "Trout Mask Replica". Others like their records as palatable as possible. "Frank's Wild Years" helped me define the balance I wanted out of pop music. This album is full of beautiful, disjointed sounds and sentiments tucked into a structured and familiar framework that doesn't alienate unfamiliar listeners.

3)Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation

I didn't love "Daydream Nation" the first time I heard it. The same is true for the two albums listed above. Funny how that works sometimes. Like any great album, Daydream Nation undeniably creates it's own world. It's music that was made for young people to fall in love with. Is there enough of that going around today? I was 15. It was perfect.

4)Beck: Mellow Gold

Although "Odelay" is more masterful, and "One Foot in The Grave" is more charming, this album makes my list because of personal impact. It made a 13-year old Justin realize he didn't only dig heavy rock and death metal.

If I had never heard this album, would I have gone crate digging for Leonard Cohen, Run DMC, Nick Drake, Tribe Called Quest, James Brown, Johnny Cash, Wu Tang, Devo, Kraftwerk, and a slew of other non-rock artists that year? Probably, yes. But I wouldn't have been getting down to "F**kin' With My Head" on a regular basis. Which would have been a damn shame.

5) Ennio Morricone is an amazing composer. Some of his works are inventive, brilliantly conceived, multi-layered cinematic experiences in their own right. His best pieces defy my attempts at sufficient levels of adulation and often overshadow the films which bear their names.

The complete soundtrack to "The Mission" is not one of those scores.

It's good. There are moments that border on great. Unfortunately, it also hosts just as many questionably-reverbed, overly-sincere moments that border on cringe-worthy New Age. So why am I madly in love with this album, even if I barely listen to it today? It was the first cassette I ever owned. I was 9 years old. It made me realize that I actually like music. A lot. I think that means something too.

There it is. #5. No turning back now. What are yours?
Last edited by fossiltooth on Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:16 am, edited 10 times in total.

User avatar
carpal tunnel
Posts: 1734
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2007 3:03 pm
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Post by fossiltooth » Sun May 25, 2008 8:17 pm


I'm happy to see that new posters have continued to add to this thread. Each time it re-emerges from the vaults, I feel compelled to fix a typo or streamline a particularly self-indulgent phrase in my original post. I may make a neurotic edit here and there, but I promise never to change the heart of the words above.

Thanks for humoring me. And thanks for all your replies over the years. They've made for a great read.

Last edited by fossiltooth on Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

steve albini likes it
Posts: 366
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2007 9:25 pm

Post by Tragabigzanda » Mon May 26, 2008 12:08 am

Minutemen "What Makes A Man Start Fires"--This influenced my playing, my songwriting, my singing, my lyrics, and my beliefs about what being in a band is all about; beyond that, it just influenced my whole life...Also, everything I just said could also be said for Fugazi's "End Hits."

Pearl Jam "Vitalogy"--I was 14 when this one came out, and it would be my "White Album" (before I eventually discovered the White Album). Gnarly little songs, a real ragged, mid-rangey sound, and album artwork that was chock full of interpretation and fun. Still one of my all-time favorites, though I rarely listen to it.

Elliott Smith "Either/Or"--I can't listen to an emo band, or, for the most part, any middle-class white guy singing about his "pain" without thinking, "This feels wholly contrived and false." But not Elliott Smith. Dude was hurting, and the production/engineering of that album caught that perfectly. I'm still not sure if it was a good influence on me, but it was certainly a strong one. But it sent me into sort of a "woe is me" phase for a while, and that was just silly.

Neil Young "After the Gold Rush"--Neil Young embodies the fact that, to me, a musician need not have technical skill to communicate with his audience (and that often times, something played too perfectly can be pretty boring). The man has one of the most instantly recognizable sounds in music: you hear his voice, or his guitar, and you know it's him. And it just feels so real...

DJ Shadow "Endtroducing"--Really made me appreciate the importance of pacing in a song, and also that sparse instrumentation can be really good. Dude can give you a 12-minute drum loop, yet you're not bored for a second. Masterful.

Guns N' Roses "Appetite For Destruction" gets an honorable mention, too. I found a copy of this tape when I was on vacation with my family when I was 8. I listened to it on headphones constantly, always afraid that my parents would hear what I was listening to; for years, music would be a place that felt dangerous, daring, and full of piss and vinegar. Oddly enough, the music that feels that way to me now tends to be really straight-forward and honest, and it often says, "I care, and I want to be happy and healthy in this word." Sounds lame and self-helpishy, I know, but any asshole can give you something dark and call it "challenging art." I saw Joe Lally (from Fugazi) the other night, and he was so humble, peaceful, and patient, especially with a couple guys in the crowd who were really drunk and obnoxious...

Frank Zappa, "Live At The Fillmore East"--All these dark, brooding records I listed above are quickly forgotten when I put on the whacked out antics of Zappa, Flo & Eddie, and a motley crew of amazing musicians doing a stage-show about Vanilla Fudge groupies having sex with dead fish.
Last edited by Tragabigzanda on Mon May 26, 2008 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
Alex C. McKenzie

User avatar
suffering 'studio suck'
Posts: 447
Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 6:42 am
Location: Paris, France

Post by Babaluma » Mon May 26, 2008 12:29 am

the who - tommy
white noise - an electric storm
steve hillage - rainbow dome musick
the shamen - arbor bona arbor mala
lee scratch perry - arkology

Posts: 2333
Joined: Sun Sep 09, 2007 8:21 pm
Location: Bed Stuy, Brooklyn

Post by rwc » Mon May 26, 2008 12:30 am

I notice that anything considered "life changing" has a lot of personal stuff attached. Rather than post something really generic and watered down, I decided to censor nothing but the name of a mediocre job I used to have.

Ever since 2003, I've had a headphone on one ear throughout my jobs, school, and life. I never leave the house without a source of portable music, and that's a record I have not broken in over five years. I noticed as I typed these choices that they do not so much represent my favorite albums, but rather just happened to be what I was listening to at turning points in my life. As such, they do fit under the topic "albums that changed my life", when in actuality, my life changed around the albums.

1) First Human Ferro - Guernica Macrocosmica

Listen to this. If it's not currently available in the U.S., visit my space in midtown and I'll play it. this is a sick fucking record. sampled stuff from 1920s-1930s across eastern europe and russia into one fun album.. the dance halls, etc. it's weird and crazy.

I'm a semi-alcoholic. Some would argue full. When I first got this, I could drink, listen, and get lost in a world so fucking bizarre and downright creepy, it was amazing.

2) Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP

This was the first record I ever owned. My dad bought it for me when I was ten, it was new at the time. I liked it a lot. We shared the same issue.. I had a lunatic mother, and he had a mean, evil, crazy wife, so we could both relate to this and the older Eminem albums. It's been years since either of us have lived with her, as her mental state has deteriorated to being an incessant nag that is impossible to live with. If we bought a shirt, and didn't show her the tags before I threw them away, we'd get woken up at 3, 4, and 5 AM asking to help look through the garbage to find them to "make sure they're not in the house." If we disagreed she'd tear you apart with every deep personal insult she could think of just to keep you fighting back in the hopes that you'll break down and agree. I'd put on an eminem CD, and relax, knowing someday it'd be over, and that there was someone else out there with the same or worse nonsense.

It didn't matter to me that it was fake, or an image portrayed by an actor. the idea was real.

It was the first time I heard rap with a different theme. The Marshall Mathers LP doesn't sound like a 2 bar loop with cheesy MPC drums and a synth pad preset. it sounds like a song. It has melody, the lyrics are fucking hilarious. It's easy to get angry to, and laugh at, at the same time.

3) Deftones - Around The Fur

probably because I got my first "real" job while listening to this album. All the feelings involved, and the commutes and crap, are associated with it. then again, so was the firing. mascara and be quiet and drive fast serve as reminders that one should never get a 103.5 fever and expect a day off if they work for a temp agency. :roll:

I listen to this when I get sick. It's a funny reminder of why I don't want a "real" job again. I like working for a company that understands people aren't bulletproof, and also like listening to an album that reminds me that when I do feel like I'm dying, I still go to work, because I fucking love my job!

4) Evanescense - The Open Door

I listened to this while I was a tech at a big sound hotel in midtown manhattan. For me, this is the soundtrack to hell; your coworkers are miserable, you are miserable, you're working in a frathouse of competitive, condescending-while-all-the-while-nice people. A reminder of the soul destroyer that is censored studios.

Throw Diana Krall - All For You into there too. Two albums I no longer can listen to thanks to the horror attached to them. :(

5) Soundtrack to 24

I listened to Jack Tells Kim He's Not Coming Back and The Bomb Detonates often as a senior in high school, in the gym and in the other two classes. There was this girl whose company I enjoyed; who would ask to cut economics with me to buy me lunch. I had some other tracks playing as well during this time, and other albums, but remember this the most.

She got killed and buried by her boyfriend earlier this year. I knew she sucked at choosing men from her descriptions of a guy she went out with in high school. It turns out she broke up with him, and found a new loser, so I felt less guilty after that. there really was nothing I could do since I wasn't around for that guy. however, the memories of her smile across the room, and of asking in the nicest voice she could if I'd leave with her if she'd buy me lunch, remain with me everytime I hear this album.
Real friends stab you in the front.

Oscar Wilde

Failed audio engineer & pro studio tech turned Component level motherboard repair store in New York

alignin' 24-trk
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2006 10:02 am
Location: ottawa

Post by zachary » Mon May 26, 2008 12:45 am

the microphones - the glow pt 2

eric's trip - forever again

sebadoh - bakesale

beach boys - pet sounds

the modern lovers - s/t
trouble clef.

on a wing and a prayer
Posts: 5993
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 9:10 pm

Post by RefD » Mon May 26, 2008 1:25 am

i'm gonna cite SIX albums (seven if you wanna be picky), so there.

The Beatles - Rubber Soul

Holst - The Planets (Herbert von Karajan conducting the Vienna Philharmonic)

Pink Floyd - Meddle

Bic Runga - Drive

Neil Finn - Try Whistling This

Radiohead - Amnesiac/Kid A (i consider these two halves of the same album)

i'm not gonna go into whys and wherefores cos it'd take more space than is allowed in a post and i'm also not up to the task right now...just take my word that these were either life-changing and/or are intermingled with important changes in my life (not always musically).
?What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls for tears.? -- Seneca

percussion boy
carpal tunnel
Posts: 1512
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 5:51 pm
Location: Bay Area

Post by percussion boy » Mon May 26, 2008 4:05 am

Great topic, especially at 4 am.

1. Motown's 64 Greatest Hits: I begged my mom for this as a kid; prob'ly the first album I owned, and the favorite for years after. It's hard to articulate how much new musical information and joy this added to my young life; plus it allowed me to hear my favorite songs whenever I wanted.

2. Miles Davis, Kind of Blue: Got this as a beginning musician. A perfect album within the rules it sets up for itself. Melody, melody -- especially Bill Evans' solo on "Flamenco Sketches." And a great "it feels so good to feel so bad" album for the sensitive teen.

3. Parliament, Live Earth Tour: Groove, groove. Taught me music can be brilliant but not sanitized; sometimes it's better not sanitized. And stretched my cultural head at the time -- funk was way not fashionable among most white kids until later on.

3. The Band, The Band: We used to sing their songs in college, many years after the album came out, like it was genuine folk music. Taught me you can write conversational lyrics that are Art. Also: The photos showed you could make an album yourself, in your own house.

4. Eddie Palmieri, Live at the University of Puerto Rico (the uncut vinyl version, never on cd :evil: ) Got me past backbeats into a richer rhythmic world -- liistening over and over while the love of my youth wondered why I wouldn't play something else. The album that sent me across the country to learn more about percussion, after the love of my youth had gone.

5. Gregory Isaacs, Mr. Isaacs: Like Blue, a perfect album within the stylistic universe it creates. Ideal marriage of singer, songs, band, and engineer. Sounds good the first time and the hundredth, but you hear more stuff the hundredth. This set a life goal: I want to be part of an album this good.

. . . plus many other albums, some too unfashionable to mention.
"The world don't need no more songs." - Bob Dylan

"Why does the Creator send me such knuckleheads?" - Sun Ra

User avatar
ghost haunting audio students
Posts: 3385
Joined: Wed May 07, 2003 5:57 am
Location: Toronto

Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Mon May 26, 2008 5:43 am

Tom Waits - Rain Dogs
The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground
Van Morrison - Astral Weeks
Rolling Stones - Exile On Main Street
The Harder They Come soundtrack

User avatar
Jay Reynolds
carpal tunnel
Posts: 1604
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:48 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Post by Jay Reynolds » Mon May 26, 2008 5:53 am

Cannonball Adderly: Greatest Hits - My grandfather bought it for me when I turned 14 and about 2 minutes into the first song (Jive Samba), I was hooked for life.

De La Soul: De La Soul is Dead - My first introduction into real hip-hop and Prince Paul's instrumentals.

DJ Shadow: endtroducing - +1

Miles Davis: Bitches Brew - In an attempt to exorcise this demon, I made a thematic analysis "Pharaoh's Dance" (Side one of the original 4 lp set) the subject my final 10 page paper for Development Of Jazz Styles. It didn't help.

Morcheeba: Who Can You Trust? - Where Cannonball made me think, "I want to be able to do that with the sax" and Miles made me think "I want to be able to do that with a band", Morcheeba's first album made me think, "I want to be able to do that in a studio". Within weeks of hearing it, I'd borrowed my bass player's Tascam 4-tracker, bought an Alesis drum machine and an old Yamaha REX 50 effect unit, found a mint condition Arp Axe synth on consignment for $400, and added in the MK1 Rhodes and SM57 that I already owned. What followed was two years of trying to get the Alesis and the REX to sound like a TR 808, which didn't really work but got me started down the path that has brought me...um...well...here :D
Prog out with your cog out.

User avatar
Jay Reynolds
carpal tunnel
Posts: 1604
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 5:48 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Post by Jay Reynolds » Mon May 26, 2008 5:58 am

RefD wrote: Pink Floyd - Meddle
I was going to cited this one, but then I remembered that I arrived at it via a Floyd compilation called, "Works". I wore that vinyl out, quite literally. But, it doesn't sound as cool to admit that at 15 I had no idea about what I was buying. I just knew a lot of folks had a near religious devotion to "The Floyd" and I wanted to see what was up. So I played it safe and got a Best-Of.
Prog out with your cog out.

User avatar
takin' a dinner break
Posts: 164
Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 10:18 pm
Location: Lampasas, TX

Post by Boogdish » Mon May 26, 2008 6:15 am

First, I'd like to say I'm 22, so hopefully I'm not done with having records affect my life.

1. "Al In The Box" by Weird Al - I got this boxset for Christmas when I was nine years old. Not only do I have a lifelong love of Weird Al, but at nine years old, I had never heard 90% of the songs that were parodied or put into his polka medleys in this boxset. It was a fantastic introduction to the world of pop music. I've always tried to write "funny" music also, and I have no doubt that Al influenced that as well.

2."Everything Sucks" by The Descendents - This was the album which got me first interested in punk rock when I was in junior high. This not only affected me musically, but if it hadn't been for punk, being a musician probably wouldn't have seemed as much of a possibility.

3."self titled seven inch" by The Teresa Banks Profiles - This band changed their name to "The Rise" after this record. They were the first band that I ever saw use a sequencer or synthesizers. I always knew that people used that stuff, but didn't quite know how. They made it look easy and I've been using them ever since. This actually isn't a good record, but it was pretty mind blowing to me at the time.

4."Front Seat Solidarity" by This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb - This record introduced me into the really really DIY scene in the USA. The record sleeve was some other record's sleeve turned inside out and then screen printed on. The label they were on never sold CDs for more than $5.

5. tie between "Flood" by They Might Be Giants and "Hounds of Love" by Kate Bush - both of these records have had a big influence on my opinion of pop music as a whole. They both have pretty singing on them (especially Kate) which has influenced the way I sing.

User avatar
genitals didn't survive the freeze
Posts: 3937
Joined: Mon Sep 29, 2003 7:33 pm
Location: F'n Florida

Post by mjau » Mon May 26, 2008 6:28 am

In the order in which I first heard them:

Beach Boys - Endless Summer
I was probably 8 or so, and my Mom gave me the tape for Christmas. An amazing batch of songs.

Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions...
I think I was around 13 when I got the tape. First time ever hearing something so charged. It made me a Huey Newtwon disciple for a few months, which is saying something for a white kid in the south.

Pearl Jam - Vs.
Still one of my favorite guitar albums ever. Came out when I was 17 or so, and I was just getting serious about playing music in bands.

Neil Young - Decade
I discovered it when I was maybe 19 or 20, and listened to Decade non-stop for about two years. To have Cortez the Killer, Like a Hurricane, and Down by the River on the same cd...that pretty much shaped me as a musician more than anything else.

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Master and Everyone
Finally understood what "less is more" is about after hearing it.

Honorable mention goes to The Who's Tommy, Funkadelic's Maggot Brain, the Beasties' Check Your Head, and Wilco's Summerteeth.

steve albini likes it
Posts: 315
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2006 10:12 am
Location: Minneapolis

Post by asmara » Mon May 26, 2008 7:48 am

The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses
Ride - Nowhere
Prince - Sign of the Times
Sonic Youth - Evol
New Order - Substance

I am really dating myself with this collection

User avatar
re-cappin' neve
Posts: 716
Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2004 3:27 pm
Location: Yesterday

Post by lancebug » Mon May 26, 2008 7:51 am

Minutemen: Double Nickels on the DIme
Victim's Family: Voltage and Violets
Judas Priest: Sin After Sin tied with Iron Maiden: Number of the Beast
Pink Floyd: The Final Cut (Rogers Waters first solo album really)
Soundtrack to Carl Sagan's Cosmos
Electric Light Orchestra: Out of the Blue

I guess that would be the list of the albums that had the most impact on how I heard or thought about music. Runners up would include a few already mentioned such as Miles Davis Kind of Blue and Bitches Brew and Holst's The Planets, as well as early Melvins, and early Sonic Youth, the Cocteau Twins, The Fall, Slayer's Reign in Blood, Metallica's first 3 records, and pretty much Bauhaus entire catalog (the new one is great too!). Lotsa favorite's I didn't include jsut because they didn't change the way I thought about things but rather are just my favorite examples of music I love, such as Johnny Cash, Poison Idea, Low, Mudhoney, Calexico and Elliot Smith.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests