I love music. I think most people say this, but I really love music. Most new moms might claim that the pre-baby thing they miss the most is sleep. Or alone time. I value these things, too, but I really miss the music.
That’s not to say I haven’t listened to music. I have. It’s just that I don’t have the time to spend hours scouring the Internet for my favorite new band. I would listen to song after song with headphones on. Maybe pausing for a bathroom break, maybe not. I could really get into it.
So when I saw that Eliza tagged me to name five albums that changed my life, I was pumped. Any excuse to listen to music, and I’m happy as a clam.
Except. Have you ever tried to whittle down your entire music-listening career into just five albums? Impossible.
So here are the first five that came to mind, but there are many more where these came from.
You might be wondering why Pearl Jam and not Nirvana? I liked them both OK in junior high. But Pearl Jam we played over and over. Eddie Vedder’s voice, simultaneously like nails on a chalkboard and smooth as butter. And “Black” was our anthem (like I knew anything about lost love at age 13, but don’t all 13-year-olds think they do?).
In high school I went into a deep retro phase, shopping at thrift stores and wearing polyester pantsuits. No really. I will have to dig out proof someday. One of my favorite things to do was go to the public library downtown and weed through its CD collection for jazz. That’s where I found Nina, and I spent late nights lying on the floor next to my stereo speakers, listening to Nina wail away like only Nina does. Essential track: “Ne me quitte pas”
My junior year of high school I started to collect all of The Beatles’ individual CDs after years of listening to my dad’s vinyl compilations. I knew I loved The Beatles, but I didn’t realize how much until I listened to each album individually, beginning to end. “Revolver” is my favorite. Essential track: “I’m Only Sleeping” (I’ve always adored this song, but it doesn’t get much love!)
Skip to the end of my college years, and we get to the album that cut me to the core. It was the perfect mixture of hope and apprehension; sentiments I felt strongly as I was about to break out into the “real world.” I’ll never forget the day my friend and colleague T-Mo came into my office with a CD and told me to put it in my computer as a worked on the college newspaper. Six hours later and I was still listening to it, on a loop. It was the beginning of a long, enduring love affair. Essential track: “Trying Your Luck” (they look so young … and we are the same age, so I must have aged in the past decade, too. Noooooo!)
Girls Can Tell
I can’t mention “Is This It” without mentioning “Girls Can Tell.” I was into both of these albums at the same time. I know Spoon has done some great stuff since, but to me this will always be the best Spoon album. Britt Daniel (super nice guy, BTW) conveys the mood in my world at the end of 2001; to this day it transports me back. Essential track: “Everything Hits At Once”