OK, so I've gone WAY over ten. But I was going through my list, and I culled at least 30% of my first impressions, so does that count?
I'm not sure what "influential" is supposed to mean, so maybe these should be labeled as "important" albums to me. I decided to organize them chronologically (as they figure into my life). Interestingly enough, music hasn't really been very important to me since I got out of school -- at least not much new stuff. I suppose priorities just change.
- Greatest Stories Live - Harry Chapin
This was the first album I ever learned all the words & sung along to. I distinctly remember riding in my dad's car, with him belting the songs out at the top of his lungs, while I quietly whispered along in the back, feeling self-conscious. I will never hear any of these songs without thinking of him.
- Bat Out of Hell - Meat Loaf
Another one of my dad's favorites, but has definitely become one of mine in adulthood. Is there any song that rocks more than "Paradise by the Dashboard Light"? I just don't think so.
- Get the Knack - The Knack
My cousin gave me this album on vinyl for my 7th birthday. Obviously, our mothers had no idea what music was on it -- not appropriate for a 7-year-old, in any case. I pulled it out again in Jr. High and learned all I needed to know about teenage sexuality. Good girls don't, baby. But I do.
- Sand in the Vaseline - Talking Heads
What can I say about Talking Heads? I just love 'em. I find them edgy. I like their versatility. This album holds a special place in my heart.
- Graceland - Paul Simon
This was the first used CD I ever bought. Got it for $8 from a guy in high school who was selling his CD collection to go over to Israel to serve in their army for a year. And I think it's been in one CD player or another for about 75% of the time since. Jesus. That's half my life now. Hadn't thought of it that way. When you spend so much time with something, it becomes a part of who you are.
- So - Peter Gabriel
This album was the first one that I really *listened* to. I had a boyfriend (the one who taught me what the "engineer temperament" was all about) who insisted that I put on noise-cancelling headphones and listen to it VERY carefully and consciously. Of course, the music is great. But it was the WAY I listened to it, with a sensitivity to the aesthetics of it, that made the difference.
- Lyle Lovett and His Large Band - Lyle Lovett
Another one that my dad introduced me to. And I learned that country music could actually be SMART. I have loved Lyle Lovett ever since.
- Oranges and Lemons - XTC
I got this digging through the used cassette bin at Rhino Records in Claremont, our local bohemian college town. I always felt so hip when I went shopping over there. This music was the soundtrack of recovery from my first broken heart. Still brings back many happy, wistful feelings.
- The Final Ripoff - Monty Python
One of quite a few CDs I bought in college, and my first SERIOUSLY thorough induction into geekdom. Listened to over and over again, so that I acquired a taste for the flavor of the MP brand of comedy. Brilliant.
- Rhythm of the Saints - Paul Simon
College CD. Referred to me by my first love (who broke my heart preceding Oranges and Lemons). Had a surprise duet in there with Milton Nascimiento, which was really exciting to me, as I was a 1st year student of Portuguese at the time. Whereas (from what I gather) Graceland used African rhythms, this album lifted them from Brazil. And thus began my interest in Brazilian music.
- Galore - Kirsty MacColl
Kirsty MacColl hits me on so many levels. First time I heard her was a song that my first love sent me AFTER he had broken up with me. It was lovely and sweet and didn't help matters one damn bit. But at least it got me listening to Kirsty MacColl. (Although I would have come to her eventually -- she did backup vocals on David Byrne's Rei Momo.)
- O(+> - Prince & The New Power Generation
No list of important music would be complete, for me, without some Prince. It's pretty damn good music, and what's more, it's just fuckin' sexy.
- Beleza Tropical: Brazil Classics 1 - Various Artists (produced by David Byrne)
This CD was given to me as an, "Oh, you like it? Please, take it!" gift from my 2nd love's parents. And like it is an understatement. I LOVE it. I love the language, love the music. And what a coincidence that it was produced by David Byrne.
- Getz/Gilberto - Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto
One of those records I picked up just because it was Brazilian music, and then I realized I knew it all already! Simply a CLASSIC album, with Corcovado, Desafinado, and The Girl from Ipanema on it. I played it for my mother the first time I had her over to my apartment for dinner. It turned out that when she was the same age, it had just been released and was one of HER favorites, too. This one makes my list of Top 5 Desert Island discs.
- Ben Folds Five - Ben Folds Five
My favorite post-collegiate find. Ben Folds Five is just good, rockin' fun music. Great lyrics, awesome tunes. Encountering music like this keeps me coming back for more new stuff in hopes of repeating the experience.
- Latenight Betty - Pepe & The Bottle Blondes
This one is important because Hubby bought it for me. Heard about it on NPR and thought it would be up my alley. And it TOTALLY is. I am a sucker for Latin music. This album is very close to making my Desert Island Top 5.
And I would be remiss if I didn't say something about the new layout on the Dot. The mix of serif and sans serif fonts definitely bugs me. I think they could have done WAY better than this. And the "Add Friend" link in the bottom of people's JE's? They already ARE my friend! WTF?
But I DO like the wider windows for composing JEs & comments. The overall reallotment of space works better for me -- it's just the little details that are particularly ugly.