Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The Music That Made Me.


You can tell a lot about a person by the music they listen to. For instance, from my music collection, you can deduce that I have absolutely no taste in music.

Okay, "no taste" is probably a bit extreme, but I've basically been listening to the same shit for over ten years. At this point, it's a comfort thing. Like most people, I had quite a rough time in my teenage years, and music became incredibly important to me. I'd spend any of the very limited pocket money I got on CDs (remember them haha) and gig tickets, and although I was mainly listening to a bunch of fully grown men complaining about their love lives, I was connecting to the emotions and didn't feel quite so alone.

The albums I've picked for this aren't necessarily my favourite albums or even my favourite by that band. They are just the ones that have made the biggest impact on me, for whatever reason. Now that I'm going through a hard time again, I'm actually really enjoying re-discovering these albums, and reminding myself that I got through it then, and I will get through it again.

Talking Heads - Sand in the Vaseline

I know this is technically a compilation album, but it's the first CD I can really remember seeing in our house. My dad loved Talking Heads, and we used to listen to Road to Nowhere while dancing around the living room when I can't have been much more than three. I still love Talking Heads now, they mean a lot to me because of how closely I relate their music to memories of my life before my parents' divorce. This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) is my favourite song, ever. The 80s-ness of it all, and then that beautiful line: "out of all those kinds of people, you got a face with a view"... Ahhhh it's so good.

Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

I don't know when I first heard this album - it feels a bit like it's always been in my consciousness. There's not much to say about Rumours that hasn't been said before by much more articulate people, but this is a fucking belter of an album. Every song is perfectly crafted, and when you bear in mind that at this point no one in the band was actually talking to each other, it's a miracle they made such a genius album. The pointed little passive-aggressive digs, the bittersweet love songs, the whole soap opera of their personal lives is played out in the most beautiful record. I absolutely love this album, it's stunning and it will be a personal favourite forever.

Green Day - Dookie

I remember the first time I heard Basket Case worryingly clearly. Having older siblings was a great way of being introduced to stuff that was a bit cooler than the Spice Girls, and for me, Green Day was a massive turning point in my musical interests. I was fully in love with this whole pop-punk thing from the first time I played this album through. When I Come Around is still one of my favourite Green Day songs, and I feel like Dookie has a really chaotic, 'fuck you' attitude that was very appealing as a young teen. I really hate the title though, my lord. And before you ask - yes, I'm one of those predictable idiots who wants Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) played at my funeral.

Nirvana - 'Nevermind'

To say that I was (still am) obsessed with Nirvana is basically the biggest understatement of all time. I had a room covered in pictures of Kurt Cobain, which, looking back, was probably terrifying but I just loved him so much. This album isn't actually my favourite Nirvana album at all, (I prefer In Utero) but the impact it had on me was huge. Basically, I was like a One Direction fangirl; I read books about the band, watched all the documentaries, listened to the B-sides and unreleased songs. I'd never properly loved a band the way I loved Nirvana, and their music was so unlike anything I'd heard before. This album introduced me to bands I still love and listen to today, like Mudhoney, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Melvins. 

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Alkaline Trio - Crimson

I used to be one of those bellends who'd wander around with either a Kerrang!, Q or NME magazine as if reading about bands I'd never heard of somehow made me more interesting. But I did read about Alkaline Trio, and I did immediately go out and buy From Here to Infirmary. I love that album so much, but Crimson felt like a much more grown up and mature version of the Trio. For a pop-punk album, it felt very dark and sombre, but it was still so catchy and sing-a-long too. I remember my dad had to drive me and my friends to and from Newcastle to see them live, and I still have an email address (cringe) based around them - that's how committed I was to Alkaline Trio!

Fall Out Boy - From Under the Cork Tree/The Academy Is... - Almost Here/Panic! At The Disco - A Fever You Can't Sweat Out/Gym Class Heroes - The Papercut Chronicles

Christ, 2005. What a year. I was 15 when these albums came out, and I honestly couldn't choose between them in terms of which had the bigger impact. I feel a bit weird combining these cause FOB were my real babes - I remember picking up their first album Take This to Your Grave in HMV on the off-chance and they instantly became my favourite band. I hate to be one of those "I knew them before you" arseholes but I literally met my best friend in 2004 because she was wearing a FOB hoodie and I was so excited that someone else knew them that I ran up and hit her on the arm. These four bands were the only ones I really gave a shit about from about 2005-2007. I was lucky enough to see all these bands play numerous times, and although in retrospect some of the music was a bit cringe, at the time I loved it all. 

Jack's Mannequin - Everything in Transit

I'm actually listening to this while I write this post. It's just a perfect album, every song is absolutely beautiful and when I first heard this I loved how different it was from Something Corporate's music (JM is the side project of SC frontman Andrew McMahon). I love how summery and sunny this feels on the outside, while the actual concept of the album is quite tumultuous and meaningful. I don't know why, but this album connected with me on a pretty personal level. It was the first time I'd really found an album that had lyrics that meant something to me but wasn't wilfully depressing or melancholic. It made me feel like it was okay to be sad but to be aware that there was so much to look forward to - like a sunny day after a thunderstorm. 

Brand New - The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me

Even ten years on from its release, you can tell when I am feeling very unsure of my own mental state because I play this album. I love Brand New, and both Your Favorite Weapon and Deja Entendu were incredibly close to my heart as a teen, but this third record was so much more than them. I think some people were probably a bit put off by how intense it is compared to their earlier efforts, but for me, that was the whole appeal. Catchy songs about existentialism, religion and death don't sound that enticing, but I honestly find this album incredibly relatable. I think I maybe used this album as a comfort blanket when I was depressed, but it articulates everything I want to say so perfectly, especially this line from Jesus Christ: "my bright is too slight to hold back all my dark". I love this album so much, it means so much to me.

EDITED 12/11/17 TO ADD: Since multiple allegations have come out regarding Jesse Lacey's abusive and harassing actions towards young girls, I feel really uncomfortable having this on my blog. I don't believe in 'separating the art from the artist' and I don't feel in any way that I can or should recommend Brand New to anyone. I will not be listening to this, or any other music by Brand New, again.
I've kept the original text up because I do still believe the album has had a huge impact on my life, which is troubling now that I know more about the person behind it. To me it made more sense to acknowledge what has happened and react accordingly, rather than delete this and pretend I didn't ever like them - I hope that makes sense. My heart is with all the people who have been affected by his behaviour - I believe you and I'm sorry.

Paramore - Riot!

By the time Riot! came out I'd seen Paramore twice, so it sounds stupid to say that I didn't really 'get' them until this album. Their first album was fine, but this album was so much better, and I think that really struck a chord with me. I was one of those tits who was always declaring I just "didn't really like female singers" but Hayley Williams definitely changed that stupid opinion with her expressive and powerful vocals. I loved actually being able to hear a definite step up in terms of lyrics and overall songwriting, and it was cool to see kids my own age working hard and actually improving. It was really motivating for me - and Miracle was like a little personal anthem to stop running away from hard stuff. Also When It Rains is just beautiful.

Biffy Clyro - Only Revolutions

I had liked their previous album Puzzles, but this was different. From the opening song The Captain it felt exhilarating in a totally new way. I know that some people think this is a sell-out album, but I honestly couldn't care less. I was 20 and in the shittest year of my life when this came out - my relationship was struggling, I'd gone through something really rubbish, and I'd had to drop out of uni. I felt totally directionless and, frankly, angry - and this album was a blast of fresh air that stopped me wallowing in it. It's one of the only ones I find it hard to listen to singles from - I prefer to hear the whole thing from start to finish because I can't pick favourites, it's an overall atmosphere I love. It's still in my top three albums of all time. 


As I said, this isn't a comprehensive list of my favourite albums, but it is a list of albums that definitely have significant meaning to me. I'm now off to listen to all of them in a row.

What albums have had the biggest impact on you?
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