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The 10 Albums That Changed Your Life

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In No Particular Order, the 10 Albums That Changed My Life:

 

GREEN DAY - DOOKIE (1994)

I can probably hear those elitist rock critic @ssholes (myself included?) scoffing right now... but this album deserves to be up there because it was the first record that truly piqued my interest in music and start my music collection. Hardly ever listen to it now... but who knows if the other albums on this list would even be up here had this not been in constant rotation on my cheap boombox back when I was 13.

 

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND - WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT (1968)

This record has a sound that has never been matched and may never will be. That's all I have to say. The most abrasive rock record ever made that's also listenable in my opinion. Hard to believe this was made back in 1968, during the psychedlic era.

 

THE STONE ROSES - THE STONE ROSES (US) (1989)

This was the ONLY record I listened in the summer of 2003 while I was working some sh*t data entry job in downtown DC. Upon the first listen, didn't really click with me. But after a few listens... and the right setting, it took me away from the misery of my job like no other record. As perfect as guitar-pop can get, barring The Smiths. The perfect album opener (I Wanna Be Adored) to the perfect album closer (I Am the Resurrection), with possibly one of the best pop songs EVER recorded in between (This Is the One). From what I've heard from those in the UK, this album "captured the moment" over there better than any other album in the last 25 years.

 

PIXIES - DOOLITTLE (1989)

This album laid the foundation for alternative rock in the 90s. Just give this a listen, that's all I can say. The perfect balance between indie rock and mainstream.

 

THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN - PSYCHOCANDY (1986)

I never knew guitar feedback, garage rock, and pure pop could be used in such a beautiful way... the godfather of noise pop. Beach Boys-era Brian Wilson getting fed through malfunctioning vacuum cleaners.

 

THE BEATLES - THE WHITE ALBUM (1968)

I'm sorry, but this is The Beatles' best work, better than Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's, and probably the greatest double album ever recorded. The Beatles' showing the world they can do whatever they want, and still beat the rest of the lot by miles. My only complaint- Yoko F*cking Ono makes a guest backing vocals appearance on "The Continuing Adventures of Bungalow Bill," ruining an otherwise great song with her awful voice. She also talks about being unclothed (shudder) on "Revolution 9," the other perhaps unneccessary song on this album. Too bad one of the bullets didnt hit her instead.

 

THE STOOGES - FUN HOUSE (1970)

The pure primal energy of this album is almost impossible to top. Forget Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols, Iggy Pop and company here have them beat. Listen to this album and you'll see why Iggy Pop might have the best scream in rock and roll. Many consider this the "first" punk album- I'm not so sure, but in terms of pure rush and attitude it sure beats the hell out of almost anything from the late 70s "punk" era. This came out in 1970, and along with The Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat, I have yet to hear another album like this.

 

PAVEMENT - SLANTED & ENCHANTED (1992)

The best noise-pop/lo-fi album ever made, IMO. Sure the sound mix is thin, there's no bass player save for one track, and the drummer is more like a 2nd rhythm section than a timekeeper, but it all works.... VERY, very well. This is what DIY indie-rock is all about. By the way, you have to get two copies of this album... The original 1992 release by Matador Records, and the Remastered 2002 Version (the remaster has essential bonus material but they f*cked the original mix up, IMO)

 

RADIOHEAD - OK COMPUTER (1997)

This album is worth every bit of the hype. The arrangements on here are pure genius. An equivalent of a classical masterpiece for this generation. The album that Radiohead will never again make, nor will any other band.

 

JEFF BUCKLEY - GRACE (1994)

More than ANY other album, this album inspires my creative process. A fusion of jazz/folk/rock/soul with as Jimmy Page once put it, "the best rock vocals since Robert Plant." Endlessly innovative and always exploring his limits, Jeff Buckley was also IMO miles better than Plant in terms of range and dynamics. After being discovered in true folklore fashion (a then unknown Buckley blew away the small crowd at a tribute concert to his father, jazz-folk artist Tim Buckley). The artist I regret the most never seeing live (listen to the live version of "Mojo Pin" recorded at the Wetlands and you'll see what I'm talking about). Too bad he drowned after this, his first and only album.

 

 

HONORABLE MENTION:

 

TELVISION - MARQUE MOON (1977)

Possibly the most intelligently complex interplay between two guitarists ever, with no blues scales to boot.

 

THE CLASH - THE CLASH (US) (1979)

IMO, better than London Calling. The best punk album ever made.

 

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO - THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO (1967)

The saying goes, only a 1000 people may have initially bought this album, but out of those 1000 people 100 of them started their own bands after listening to this. Possibly the most influential indie album of all time.

 

THE SMITHS - THE QUEEN IS DEAD (1986)

Indie guitar pop's best album, possibly the album of the 80s.

 

HAPPY MONDAYS - PILL'S N' THRILLS N' BELLYACHES

Could there be a finer marriage of funk-based club dance and indie-rock?

 

JEFF BUCKLEY - LIVE AT THE BATACLAN BOOTLEG (1995)

The best live album I have ever heard- and that includes The Who's Live at Leeds, MC5's Kick Out the Jams, and James Brown's Live at the Apollo. Jeff Buckley at his best in front of an adoring and frenzied French crowd. The crisp sound quality only adds to the intoxicating feeling of listening to this. A purely magical experience. Make sure you get the full length version of this concert, not just the 4 tracks on the Grace EP Box Set.

 

OASIS - DEFINITELY MAYBE (1993)

The rebirth of British rock n' roll. Intoxicating, adrenaline pumping rock with attitude. LOUD in the true three guitar attack, swaggering drum beat, rock n' roll sense- not because of some fancy mix. There's probably no better song to sing along drunk to in a pub than "Rock 'n' Roll Star." Inkblot Magazine probably encapsulates this album the best:

 

"Take your trip-hop and prog-rock and acid house and twee pop and drum & bass and anything else you can call a breakthrough and stick it behind Oasis. At the end of the day, it's about the guitars that make your ears bleed, the bravado that raises your adrenaline levels, and the lyrics that make you forget about the world outside in favor of a false yet undeniable feeling that everything in life is yours for 50 minutes."

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