Top 15 albums of my life

23 02 2012

Another note I posted on facebook a few years ago.

Think of 15 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. 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.”

1. Seeing Double – S Club

Okay, so not a good way to start off this list. But this was the first album I ever bought with my own money, and I listened to it over and over again at the time, not realizing until later that, some of it was quite bad. Needless to say, it’s the kind of music I hope never to write.

2. Harmonium – Vanessa Carlton

Also known as the record that was a failure, at least commercially. Artistically, I consider it the best album Ms. Carlton has ever recorded. I admit that upon the first listen, I had mixed feelings, and the only song that stood out to me, apart from the first and only single “White Houses”, was “Private Radio”. After giving it another try, I was surprised to find that the songs had much deeper themes and tones, mixed with great arrangements and melodies. Harmonium is the one album I could never stop listening to. Honestly.

3. Breakaway – Kelly Clarkson

Unlike Harmonium, Breakaway was a big seller back in 2005, not only in North America but worldwide, thanks to successful singles. “Addicted” (which was supposed to the be fifth single but was deemed too “dark”… psh) would make my heart beat faster because there was someone who I felt addicted to but couldn’t let go, and “Because of You” struck a personal note with me. Breakaway encompasses various moods and whatever it may be, there’s always a song or two that fits whatever I’m feeling.

4. Folklore – Nelly Furtado

Also known as the record before she began dancing and wearing less clothing, Folklore rests as Furtado’s most diverse-sounding album, incorporating many instruments such as the sitar, squeaky organ, backwards vibes, and the caxixi. The songs, matched with introspective lyrics, just make you feel good, even if you don’t want to.

5. Poses – Rufus Wainwright

And breaking the streak of female artists, Rufus Wainwright is one of the most underrated artists today. Poses is my favourite album by this Canadian piano-playing songwriter. The album to listen to lying down and relaxing… although I can’t listen to “Evil Angel” anymore because it scares me. Really.

6. Rent original soundtrack (movie version)

Ah. What to say about Rent? It’s one of my favourite musicals (I haven’t seen many either), and one of the few that actually has a meaning and a good story behind the music. From the classic “Seasons of Love” to the song that makes me cry whenever I hear it, “Without You” (sung by Rosario Dawson), the soundtrack reflects opinions and the genius of Jonathan Larson. There was one time where I listened to “Without You” over and over again and I cried several times because of I remembered someone I no longer talk to… and this all happened in public too. That was fun.

7. Surfacing – Sarah McLachlan

My favourite Canadian female artist, Surfacing is just a great album. Thoughtful, and might even inspire you to do…. something.

8. When the Pawn… – Fiona Apple

God, how I love this woman. There are songs on this record that I just scream because of the anger behind it (“Limp”, “Get Gone”). She’s an awesome songwriter, and her lyrics prove just that. Everything about this album is fantastic. Definitely an album people should know more about.

9. Catching Tales – Jamie Cullum

In my eyes, Jamie Cullum is and will always be way more creative than the likes of sappy Michael Buble. Branching out from the typical jazz standards (though there are still a few on this one), Mr. Cullum also writes his own songs in his own unique style; if you ever get a chance to see him live, go do it. Not only is he an awesome pianist, but his shows are always unpredictable. Jazz music for the modern age, as opposed to re-recording jazz standards that everyone has done (*ahem* DianaKrall *ahem*).

10. The Great Chopin

Unfortunately, I can’t find the CD to tell you who plays on it, but essentially, it’s just a collection of his greatest works. We all need some Classical (technically, Romantic period) music from time to time. I especially like listening to the Revolutionary Etude because I’ll never be able to play it well. Haha

11. Amelie soundtrack – Yann Tiersen

The movie that put Yann Tiersen on the music market, this soundtrack made me actually look into (and appreciate) French instrumental music. He writes such great music with great arrangements… I think he’s in a rock band now, though. Hopefully he’ll still be doing instrumental work.

12. The Fountain original soundtrack – Clint Mansell

Although I don’t actually own a hard copy of the disk, this is one of the best and interestingly produced soundtracks I’ve come across. After seeing The Fountain (which I found pretty good… I think I need to see it again), I went in search of the soundtrack because of the two strikingly haunting piano pieces — “Last Man” and “Together, We Will Live Forever”. Sadness and longing fill both these songs so much that I’ve teared up on more than one occasion. The rest of the songs are, of course, dramatic and intense, like the movie. So good. I cannot express how much emotion these songs contain.

13. Goodbye Blue Monday – Jeremy Fisher

A great guitar record from a fellow Vancouverite, full of fun, upbeat songs. When everything is going well, I just put this on and smile.

14. Closer – Josh Groban

It’s been a while since I listened to this one, but I remember the songs and how great of a singer Josh is. Mixing pop songs with Classical-type vocal songs, this is a record that appeals to not only the older audience, but to younger ones as well. As a side note, Josh seems a lot cooler/funnier than his music makes him out to be.

And lastly…

Now, people that know me know that I’m not a vain guy (well, not really). But because this list is supposed to be for albums that have had an effect on me and my life, I feel like this has its place (or will) in my life. And technically, it’s not finished, but it will be sometime this year. So, without further ado…

15. Journal of a Teenage Existentialist – Aaron Chan

The CD I’ve always wanted to make, for the people who just want to listen to some sad stuff. I started writing songs when I was 17, and even now I find these songs relateable in some way. If I wasn’t able to write these songs, I don’t know where I’d be or what I’d be doing. With music, I’m able to pour my thoughts and feelings into some creative, something worthwhile, in the hopes that other people will hear them and be able to feel something as well.

So there you have it. Voila.