10 Albums That Anyone Should Hear, At Least Once...


1 sep 2011, 11:42

I have always loved writing about music I enjoy and I thought this would be a nice way to start. Ten albums that I have grown to love and think everyone should enjoy, at least once. I'm gonna be fair and not repeat an artist more than once, leaving me to choose an album I feel is the best from an artist. Are you ready? Cause here we go... (and these are in no particular order, by the way)

1) Rockin' The Suburbs - Ben Folds

What can I say? The man is a genius. I didn't climb aboard the Folds train until early 2005. The first exposure I was given to him was the Sessions at West 54th St. DVD, along with Darren and Robert. I was hooked immediately. From the opening they were given, ("If you've seen these guys before, you're a fan, if you haven't, you're about to be.") I was hooked. That opening line has resonated so true with me, but this is the album that sucked me in so deep. From the peppy opening, to its gentle end, it's gold. There's a song to fit my every mood on this record and truly shows how well Ben can put his emotions into not only the lyrics, but the music as well. Fred Jones, Pt. 2 may be one of the most poetic, story-telling songs I've heard in my life, it moves me to tears on occasion. But then you have the fun tracks, like 'Rockin The Suburbs' and 'Zak and Sara', which just brings your mood right up. The album is sheer genius, and nothing short of it.

Key Track: "Fred Jones, Pt. 2"

2) Kiss - Kiss

My dad raised me on KISS. I knew words and lyrics to their songs while in kindergarten, and had more of appreciation for their music than some adults who had lived through their heyday. My dad used to talk about this album being his favorite and I never understood why, when I was younger. I saw KISS on reunion when I was 9 and loved the show. They have such an energy and are always amped on tour. I put KISS on the backburner for quite a while and when I got back into them, I picked up this album. WOW. That energy I saw live is on this record. Songs I never really knew from this record became more prominent to me. The album wasn't that big when it was released, but I'll be danged if it's not my favorite KISS album. 'Black Diamond' is a key example of why this record shines. The energy, the lyrics, the rawness of how it all sounds, it's what makes this album so amazing.

Key Track: "Black Diamond"

3) Plans - Death Cab for Cutie

This was kind of my first taste into this sort of genre of music. Lighter, more indie fare. I don't exactly remember how I came upon this record, but I am glad I did. I think I may have stumbled across an awesome video for 'What Sarah Said', the song was so deep and the video reflected it. I started watching more of the videos and was hooked. Most of the videos were from the albums DVD counterpart 'Directions' in which the band hired independent directors to make a video for every song on the album. This album became my quiet album for about a year. I had been in this mood where everything I listened to was pretty loud, this was a calming album for me. I think this album led me to being able to open my mind up more toward other things like this. I still attest Ben Gibbard would make a fine addition to 'The Bens'.

Key Track: "What Sarah Said"

4) A Night to Remember - Cyndi Lauper

God, it's so hard for me to choose a favorite Cyndi Lauper album. This is where my mom's influence comes into this list. Cyndi is just a simple but yet somehow complex soul. There's more to than just what's on the surface with her. I think something awesome about her music is that almost every song tells a story, whether it's upbeat or not. She's a genuine human spirit and has so much going for her. I think why this album is on my list is because looking over the rest of hers, this one will keep me coming back more. The tracks are very late 80ish, which is a period of music I love, and it's heartfelt stuff. I don't think there's one song on the album I don't like. Cyndi, this album may not have had everyone else impressed, but it does impress me.

Key Track: "Heading West"

5) The Alchemy Index: Vols. I-IV - Thrice

Thrice has easily become one of my all-time absolute favorite bands. This album took me a while to absorb but why I think I ultimately chose it in the end is that it represents everything I love about Thrice. When I first listened to them, I got their distinct heavy sound in my head, so it was very strange when I started to hear lighter fare from them. I didn't like it... until I realized why I should. They do their lighter stuff to match the mood of their lyrics. Lyrically, I think Thrice is my favorite band. The stuff they write is gut-wrenching and piercing, it's crazy. But if they were to put some of their lyrics to just heavy stuff, it wouldn't work. They're the perfect example of a band who has embraced multiple sounds. They can be heavy, they can be light. Personally, I've come to love their lighter stuff more, but I still need that thumping and kick too. This album (or should I say collection of 4 albums), embraces all that is Thrice.

Key Track: "The Whaler"

6) blink-182 - blink-182

Blink became my favorite band when I was 12, continuing all the way through my high school years, they're still dear to my heart, but not my absolute favorite anymore like they used to be. The reason I loved blink-182 so much is they had a spirit and energy I desired to reflect in my life. They were just people looking to have a good time with other people. Sure, I laughed at all the immature jokes they made and remember their music videos well, but blink-182 really matured as I matured, that's why I love this album so much. This was the first album to take them VERY seriously on. They weren't doing fart jokes anymore, they were hitting hard lyrically and musically this album. It was much darker than any of their previous stuff, which was a big bold step for them, but a very wise one. This album didn't leave my CD player for a year and a half. It was the soundtrack to my entire senior year of high school. The album flows and keeps me suckered in to every single song. I can only hope their forthcoming album is as good as where they left off with this one.

Key Track: "All of This"

7) Unplugged in New York - Nirvana

This album has changed me. I knew a little Nirvana as a kid, but didn't really pick it up until I was about 14. Listening to Nirvana's albums you can hear a raw energy that comes with them, but I don't think any album comes as close with that as much as this one does. This was the album where you could see their gigantic potential for the future. The went with the gutsy move of playing maybe just 2 hits of theirs and going with lesser known material, but it all shines here. Kurt had power in his voice, even though it was rough and raw, it fits the tone of the song. This is still my all-time favorite live album and my favorite MTV unplugged set. Artists would often bring other big artists to perform with them and Kurt and the guys brought in the Meat Puppets, who no one knew, but because it was important to them as a band to have the people who influenced them. This album sums up the band so well.

Key Track: "Pennyroyal Tea"

8) God Shuffled His Feet - Crash Test Dummies

This album I first heard because my step-brother had. He had it for just one song, as did everyone else who ever bought the album, "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm". I only listened to the album to hear that song as well since I knew Weird Al did a parody and I wanted to hear the original. But once I heard Brad Roberts voice, it was like 'what the hell?!' What is this guy's voice? So I started listening to a couple more tracks, just to see how his voice fit the music, and then before I knew it, I had listened to the entire album. I ended up trading my step-brother a cd for this one, I don't remember what he ended up with of mine, but I wasn't disappointed. This is one album I still always have to defend as well, actually it's a band I have to defend. They were a flash in the pan for many, but this album is still showing up in my listening prominently since first hearing it. If you have an open mind, just give it a listen. It's poetic and totally different than anything else I have heard.

Key Track: "Afternoons & Coffee Spoons"

9) Come on Feel the Illinoise - Sufjan Stevens

What can I say about this one? I haven't been able to embrace another Sufjan Stevens album like I have this one. The first song I ever heard was "John Wayne Gacy, Jr." and from that last breath in the song, I knew I was in love with it. The album was a precursor for getting me into things that would normally have been outside of my genre. There's so much going on in this album, strings, banjos, horns, vocals, percussion, it has it all. Some songs are so simple, yet other are so complex, it seems it would take a 30 piece band to play them live. "Chicago" got me hooked even more and I literally went ballistic when I heard it in 'Little Miss Sunshine' cause I felt I had been a part of his music before others had. Sufjan is very talented and look forward to more states albums (if he ever gets around to them), but no other album of his has influenced me as much as this one.

Key Track: "John Wayne Gacy, Jr."

10) Bad Hair Day - Weird Al Yankovic

I think I was 9 when I heard of Weird Al for the first time and my life hasn't been the same since. I don't think a day goes by where I don't think of one of Al's parodies or how I think he would make a parody of a song. This was the first album I had ever heard of his, I never had even heard of him before 'Amish Paradise' ever came out, but I do feel this album gives you Weird Al in a blender. You get a little bit of everything from him here. Pop, Rock, Alternative, Original, even holiday music. As a child, I loved this album and thought that one day his humor may outgrow me, but you know what? It doesn't. You can be 1 or 100 and love Weird Al, cause that's just how he resonates. He's responsible for alot of my weirdness and I enjoy that. He taught me that life doesn't have to be so serious, so live it up, even at the age he is now, he's remaining relevant and funny. This album reflects that personality.

Key Track: "Since You've Been Gone"

That's what I have for now. I may make another list like this or something in the future. Thanks for reading!

- Derek


  • branchong

    Bad Hair Day! Since You've been gone is a great song.

    14 sep 2011, 12:35
  • Rhyme79

    Great journal entry! I love 'Afternoons and Coffeespoons' too and well, I've just gone off to discover 'Thrice'.

    21 sep 2011, 14:15
  • prescribedpills

    At first blink 182 was so different and that's what made me hate it. But now it's their best and most diverse CD musically and it's my favorite.

    1 okt 2011, 20:32
  • Overtoniscation

    God Shuffled His Feet is one of my favorite albums of ALL TIME! Initially, I really liked "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm", but I wasn't sure that the whole album would good; I had no idea how addicting it would be. It really is fantastic!

    12 apr 2012, 00:22
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