The charge: think of 20 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life or the way you looked at it. They sucked you in and took you over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, emotions. These are the albums that no matter what they were thought of musically shaped your world.
In no particular order...
1. Helen Reddy /“I Am Woman”
FIrst album I bought with my very own money.
2. Elton John/ “Rock of the Westies”
The first album I remember listening to from start to finish. Think it's rather underrated today.
3. Squeeze/ “Singles 45’s and Under”
Defined my senior year in college.
4. “A Chorus Line”/OCR
My first great theatre obsession. Wore the groove out on this one -- no lie. Can still sing every single word to every single song.
My first college roommate had this album and I think I listened to it more than she did. The disc that taught me how to really listen to music -- the nuances and elements and mood.
6. Wynton Marsalis/ “Hot House Flowers”
First instrumental jazz album I ever bought. My pals thought I was crazy. One listen and I became a jazz fanatic for life.
7. Green Day/“American Idiot”
Possibly my favorite album of this decade. Passionate and rhythmic. With a message.
8. Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits
A classic. Period.
9. Mary Chapin Carpenter/Come On Come On”
I listened to this cassette every single day for a year. Seriously. Wore it out. Bought another. Words cannot express what it means to me.
10. Smithereens /”11”
Would listen to this cassette while studying/reading in grad school (because, really, when one is a grad student in English, it's all about the reading.) Not sure why, but it worked for me.
11. The Replacements/ “Let It Be”
Reminds me of a college beau. He was a cad but had amazing taste in music.
12. The Police/ “Ghost in the Machine”
The Police. My fave band ever. Enough said.
13. Al Jarreau/”Breaking Away”
Listened to this the summer I graduated from high school. *smiles*
14. The Frey /”How to Save a Life”
Reminds me of summer and being on holiday and late nights with friends talking about life and love and the pursuit of happiness.
15. They Might Be Giants/”Flood”
Was working as a girl friday for a theatre when this came out -- 'twas a carefree and decadent and youthful era in my life.
16. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers/”Into the Great Wide Open”
I listened to this particular song ad nauseum during a pretty serious career/identity crisis. Still love it, even though it's evocative of a tough time.
17. Billy Joel/”The Nylon Curtain"
Love me some Billy Joel (but only up until this album, truth be told. This may be my favorite song of his -- at least top three.
18. Kenny Rogers/"Greatest Hits"
Now -- before you get all WTF? with this one, let me explain. My first serious boyfriend and I would make out in his Honda Civic listening to this album. His car, his music choices. It simply brings back some very lovely memories.
19. Liz Phair/ “Liz Phair”
Listened to this constantly when Will was very young -- I needed something strong and individualistic to listen to as I processed the unfathomable changes in my world. This fit the bill.
20. Carole King/”Tapestry”
My idol -- or one of them anyway. This is my go-to disc when I'm mellow and contemplative.