I’ve been blessed with another great year of life and I celebrated my 20th birthday yesterday. To celebrate here at Turntable Talk, I’m reflecting on 10 formative albums that shaped who I am and the style of music I love today (keep in mind that there are plenty of other albums, some by artists on this list, that I didn’t have room to feature. These are just the first 10 that really stick out in my memory to me).
Once upon a time when I was 12 and wanted to be “different,” I set out to love the most obscure U2 album I could find and actually ended up loving it in the process. I don’t want to write too much about “Zooropa” here because I plan on covering it in my A Closer Look at: U2 series, but I will say I think it’s one of the most underrated albums in the band’s entire discography.
2.) The Masterplan-Oasis
While not actually an album, as a youth this collection of B-sides just cemented my everlasting love of the music of the Gallagher Brothers and Co. If you can get your B-sides to sound just as good (if not even better in parts) than your A-sides, you deserve to be widely regarded as one of the most successful bands to come from the Britpop era.
3.) Magical Mystery Tour-The Beatles
The first Beatles CD I bought with my own money, this remains one of my favorites in the Fab Four’s catalogue today. It also came with an extra large bright yellow t-shirt that had the album’s cover on it, and I wore it far more than anyone should ever wear an extra large bright yellow t-shirt.
4.) The Suburbs-Arcade Fire
When I was a youth, I was very big into “self-expression,” so I really can’t be blamed for losing my mind when I saw Regine Chassagne performing with Arcade Fire on Saturday Night Live wearing a sparkly dress and bright red fingerless gloves while dancing around the stage with pastel ribbons. “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” quickly became my favorite song not too shortly after.
5.) Get Ready-New Order
This album will forever take me back to warm evenings in middle school, when the end of the school year was so close in my view, and my dad and I would ride around until 9 at night (a big deal for 12-year-old me) with the windows down listening to this album. 2000’s New Order, in my humble opinion, is so underrated. The guitar and bass work on here is catchy as can be. And how can you not love an album that ends with the line, “I’m gonna live/Till I die/I’m gonna live/To get high”?
6.) Teens of Denial-Car Seat Headrest
A huge thank you to Will Toledo and Co for releasing this neurotic masterpiece and making my sophomore year of college just a little bit more bearable. Playing “Fill in the Blank” at just a loud enough volume to annoy all my friends was the highlight of my semester.
7.) Our Love to Admire-Interpol
Really, I love all of Interpol’s first three albums (before bassist Carlos D left the band), but I have to go with this one for my list because of my undying love for “The Heinrich Manuver” and “Rest My Chemistry.” I remember my dad took my mom to see Interpol while they were on this tour, and I was so mad because I thought as the bigger fan, I deserved to go. I was 10.
8.) The Queen is Dead-The Smiths
As a stressed youth I heard “Bigmouth Strikes Again” and finally felt like someone was really connecting with me through music, you know? The first time I ever heard the opening track on here (“The Queen is Dead/Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty”), I think I actually thought I was dreaming because of how absolutely delighted Johnny Marr’s guitar riffs were making me. To this day I adore that man. And Mozzer too, of course.
I actually really enjoy early Coldplay, and this album is no exception. I grew up listening to a mix CD my dad had of his best friend’s favorite Coldplay songs and didn’t really start listening to their albums as a collective until early high school. This one quickly became my favorite. Maybe it’s because like most people my age, I love singing along to “Fix You,” but something about this record balances being accessible with being intriguing enough as a collective of massive ballads to keep a 14-year-old’s attention. And I dig it.
10.) The King is Dead-The Decemberists
While not actually my favorite Decembrists album, the first concert I ever saw was the Decembrists in 2011 on this tour. And, I hate to be cliche, but the rest really is history.
I thank you so much for reading, and I hope wherever you are that you had a blessed June. God bless.