15 Albums that Influenced Me

Me thinking really hard about which albums to list.

Me thinking really hard about which albums to list*.

This is a little different than my standard fare here on Lyrical Venus, but there was a meme going around on Facebook that kind of surprised me when I filled it out and I thought it would be fun to share here since it’s musically related.   Plus this is close to the kind of question I ask the people interview on my radio show, and I’m always afraid someone is going to ask me back and I’ll have a stumbling, “uh, erm, uh, well, good question!  I’ll have to get back to you!” answer like the time Cory (the DJ who comes on the air after me) asked me what MY favorite sandwich was after hearing the tail end of one of my interviews!  So now I’m a little more prepared for a question like this. :)  I’ll paste it with the instructions included and links if you want to check them out on iTunes where available:

Think of 15 albums, CDs, LPs, cassettes, whatever, that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life. Dig into your soul. Music that brought you to life when you heard it. Royally affected you, kicked you in the wazoo, literally socked you in the gut, is what I mean. Then when you finish, tag 15 others, including me. Make sure you copy and paste this part so they know the drill. Get the idea now? Good. Tag, you’re it!

1. Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill

2. No Doubt – Tragic Kingdom

3. Green Day – Dookie

4. Weezer – Weezer (The Blue Album)

5. John Mayer – Room for Squares

6. Avril Lavigne – Let Go

7. Madonna – The Immaculate Collection

8. Sarah McLachlan – Mirrorball

9. The Beatles – The Beatles / 1967-1970 ‘The Blue Album’ (I listened to this on on vinyl!)

10. Ingrid Michaelson – Girls and Boys

11. Dar Williams – The Green World

12. R.E.M. – Out of Time

13. Rachel Ries – For You Only

14. Collective Soul – Disciplined Breakdown

15. Live – Throwing Copper

This was a rather interesting exercise in finding out which albums, some from 15 or more years ago, will still bubble up to the front of my consciousness when asked “What has made a big impression on me musically?” These were the ones that came back to me with the least amount of effort and digging, which makes me inclined to believe they left a deep mark.  Some of them I mostly just had an album cover or a snatch of a lyric and I had to Google to remember the album name!   They’re definitely not in any particular order like chronological or most influential or anything like that.

I could probably come up with a bunch of others that would seem more worthy for a list like this. I’m not entirely sure all these albums literally changed my life, but I would still stand by these ones as being formative for me in one way or another, opening my eyes to new possibilities in musical and emotional expression.  A large percentage of them I discovered through my childhood best friend. I’m guessing we might have similar lists if we only pulled from the early 90’s and totally different lists if we were restricted to the last 8-10 years.

Even if I don’t listen to a lot of them them anymore, at the time I discovered them, whether it was days, weeks, months or years after they were released, these were the albums I had on repeat for for days, weeks and months afterward.  They were the CD’s I made sure where in my carry cases. With the more recent releases, these were the mp3s I made sure were on my iPod.

I also find it interesting that the feelings and memories were generally so strongly intertwined with the album covers/packaging, as well as music videos, and wonder if in the digital age people will lose that association of music to visual, and if so, does that make the music less memorable 10+ years down the line when trying to recall it?  There really is something to be said for holding an object in your hand, but I suppose website design could become the new album art.  It’s not uncommon for an artist to change their website with each new release though, so does that mean the archive of the previous albums are lost?

If you read this and want to join in, consider yourself tagged!  Leave your list (or a link to your list on your own site) in the comments!

*OK, I took that picture a while ago for something else, but I bet I looked a lot like that when I was thinking about which albums to list! 😀

6 Responses to “15 Albums that Influenced Me”

  1. milli says:

    Ingrid Michaelson – Girls and Boys & Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill take my top 2 outa that bunch Heather!
    interestin’ question though if someone did ask; what’s your top 15 albums of all time, woo! headspin!
    the livin’ an’ the dead by jolie holland would probl’ly be no.1, as for the rest, love ’em all! ;)*

    luv milli xo

  2. Will Merydith says:

    Nice to see a Weezer album up there. I admit though that Green Day didn’t resonate with me until American Idiot.

  3. Lyrical Venus says:

    Yeah, Weezer rocks. I’m just realizing I’ve seen 6 of these on the list live, including Green Day and Weezer. You reminded me because I saw the American Idiot tour, that was quite a show!

    I also like that I came out with a fairly even balance between male and female artists, even though I wasn’t trying. Just because I focus on the gals on this blog doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate all sorts of music. :)

  4. Nina says:

    Great album choices! A lot of those influenced me at a yougish age too! I keep revising the list I made in my head over and over. Too much good music out there.

  5. Lyrical Venus says:

    Hey Nina, thanks for checking out my list! I know what you mean about revising the list over and over – SO much music out there! I could probably come up with a different list if I tried again, or if I tweaked the angle I approached the question from. That’s why I stuck to the stuff that popped into my head on the first try for this post. I figure if they were that close to the surface it must mean something about the kind of impression they left on me. 😀

  6. Annie says:

    Wow…I never thought of albums that influenced me, usually I’m more curious about various band’s influences. I think Mariah Carey would be thrown in there somewhere for me, her “Daydream” one. LOVE John Mayer too, but so far my favorite of his is “Continuum.” I literally listened to that album for 2 yrs straight and still don’t get tired of it. <3 him! Alanis Morisette too — that was the 2nd CD I ever bought! :-)

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