Okay, Amy Courts tagged me on Facebook (a long time ago) to come up with a list of my “Top 10 Most Influential Albums” so here goes. It’s worth noting that these are probably more “favorites” than anything, but they’re the ones I go back to over and over and over again, so I think that counts as influential…at least to some degree.
Jennifer Knapp – Kansas. Good heavens, there is just not a way to describe fully how much this album means to me. Of the thousands of albums I own, it’s one of very few that I listen to every single track…repeatedly. Not a single song gets skipped. On top of that, this album is (probably) what brought my best friend and me together back in Minnesota. So I’m eternally grateful to Ms. Knapp for her brilliant music, my best friend, and for fulfilling a dream that said best friend had way back in 1999. The woman has changed lives, but I’ve actively watched her change the life of someone I actually know and that’s been amazing. Anyway, yeah. I love this album. It makes it onto my iPod several times a year.
The Beach Boys – Endless Summer. I must have listened to this record on repeat a billion times growing up. It was a staple soundtrack for my family while we decorated the Christmas tree. I learned a lot about listening for harmonies from the Beach Boys. Much of their music is why I love finding various harmonies in as many songs as I can. I’m not nearly as successful as they are, but I still do it. On top of that, it’s hard to feel bad about anything when I’m listening to these cats. It’s one of the happiest albums ever released. Ever.
DC Talk – Jesus Freak. I love these guys. Always have; always will. I bought Free At Last immediately when it came out and loved that album, too. But this one? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because it had a more powerful message to me. Maybe it’s because I was a little older when I bought it and thus more aware of lyrics. Whatever the case, there are at least six songs on this album that I love to listen to and that can (when the moment is right) bring me to tears. Or make me feel empowered in my faith and the way I exhibit that. And without this album, I probably wouldn’t be comfortable calling myself a “Jesus Freak”…something I’m very proud to define myself as.
Britney Spears – …Baby, One More Time. Yep. I love this album. In fact, I shamelessly, openly love this album. I think the reason I love it so much now (because it is kind of a terrible album) is it’s how I taught myself to not care what music I like or what people think about the music I like. I am undoubtedly the most uncloseted Britney fan you’ll ever meet. Unless you meet the crying “leave Britney alone” kid. Then he’s the winner of that title. Until such time, I’m your girl.
Ace of Base – The Sign. This was the first “secular” album I ever owned. I walked about 87 miles from my friend’s house to the store to buy it (she bought a Stone Temple Pilots album, I think). And then I proceeded to listen to this cassette on repeat until I broke it. In case you didn’t know, I’m the quintessential “top 40 pop” kind of music girl. There’s not really a great reason for me to love this album. I mostly just enjoy(ed) dancing to it.
Leigh Nash – Hymns and Sacred Songs. This album crossed my path during a rather tumultuous time in my life. It was also the same time I decided to take up running. At the time, whenever I’d work out, I’d listen to Top 40 music with heavy beats. A girl friend told me she loved snowboarding to softer, lighter music because it made her feel like she was floating on the snow. I decided to try running to softer music and this album was an obvious choice. I remember needing to stop to get a rock out of my shoe on a particularly long run (once I’d decided to sign up for my first half marathon) and the track “O Heart Bereaved and Lonely” started playing. I cried. I ran. I melted down. I completed my course. I had some conversations with God. This album basically rocked me.
The Beatles – Abbey Road. What is there not to love about The Beatles? I don’t know why I love this album so much, but I do. It contains some of my favorite tunes…about the time they were somewhere in between boy band and weirdo stoners (though, to be honest, I like all variations of The Beatles). It’s perfection, if you ask me. Another delightful group from whom I learned a lot about basic four part harmony. I can’t even really tell you how or why I ended up liking The Beatles. My parents never really got into them (though they do remember when they made their American television debut). I must have been in high school before I really began to appreciate their awesomeness.
The Little Mermaid soundtrack. I’m in love with this movie. Have been since the day it came out. My dad took me to see it and ever since then, I’ve been enthralled with the music. I have the piano tunes, the soundtrack, even the French soundtrack (which is amazing, in case you were wondering). The movie came out when I was nine years old and I think that’s probably when I really started stretching my pipes. I still love singing along to all the songs, but “Part Of Your World” is a special tune to me. That and “Fathoms Below” just make me happy!
Okay, so I realize this is only eight albums, but frankly, it’s a lot easier for me to come up with movies or books that have impacted me. I listen to music for pure enjoyment. Sometimes I really enjoy music that is absolute garbage (Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, general current pop nonsense). Sometimes I get all melancholy and listen to things like Young the Giant or Fleetwood Mac. Sometimes I need to dance it out so I jam to Lady Gaga and Britney and Christina.
The reality is…I love music. A LOT. But it just doesn’t affect me the way movies or books do. And I’m okay with that. Music is a huge part of my life and has been for as long as I can remember. Maybe it’s just that I listen to it so much and am so bloody schizophrenic with my tastes that it’s just too hard for me to keep up with what has impacted me. I can name a thousand albums or songs that have smacked me in the face with memories or feelings, but I’m not sure that qualifies (at least, to me) as an “impact.” Mostly because a lot of times, those feelings and memories are incredibly painful or just make me feel yucky.
Music, to me, is a lot like scents are for most people. I’ll hear a song and memories will come flooding back in ways that are totally unexpected.
Music in general impacts me a great deal. Probably more than any other thing there is. It’s why I can still watch movies or read books that are remnants of former lives, but I’d sooner destroy a CD or delete the album that relive the moments I associate with those songs.
Music creates within me all the feels.
Sometimes I love it.
Sometimes I hate it.
But it is my constant.