Saturday, August 28, 2010

15 Albums

Over on my Facebook page, I was tagged in a new meme asking for "fifteen albums you've heard that will always stick with you." I completed the challenge on Facebook, but I thought I should take some time and explain my reasoning behind my choices. These are not necessarily what I believe to be the "best" albums of all time; rather, each of them has some sort of personal significance in my life, whether they remind me of someone or a particular moment in my life or simply have come to define me as a person.

Paula Abdul Forever Your Girl
As I've stated multiple times before, Paula Abdul was the first music artist I ever loved. I remember being in kindergarten, on the way to school and getting excited whenever 'Straight Up' came on the radio. My first exposure to the entire album came from perhaps the strangest of circumstances: my mother's co-worker's daughter had the album on cassette and let us borrow the now five-year-old album so we could copy it onto our own blank cassette. Yes, I was illegally downloading music before illegally downloading music was cool. Since it was the only album I owned for quite a few years, I played the shit out of it whenever I could. To this day, I still get a rush of nostalgia whenever I hear 'Cold Hearted' or 'The Way That You Love Me' on my iTunes. Because of this album, Paula is forever my girl.

Spice Girls Spice
To be honest, I can't exactly remember where or how I first heard about the Spice Girls. At the time, my favorite radio station was my mother's 70's/80's/90's station that wasn't exactly hip when it came to new music. All I know is that when I fell for Emma, Victoria, Geri and the Mels, I fell for them HARD and there was no turning back. Spice was my go-to album for a long, long time and I still stand by it as a legitimate pop classic and not the teeny bopper shit many accuse it of being.

Spice Girls Spice World
Almost as soon as I was addicted to Spice, the Girls' follow up album was released in America. I believe I got it for my birthday a few months after, but I loved it as much, if not more, than Spice. I listened to that album so damn much, particularly 'Stop,' my favorite song they've ever done, it has the distinction of being the first cassette I broke. One day, the tape inside the cassette just went haywire and spooled out. It was a sad day for me (probably not my parents who I'm sure were sick of the damn thing) but at least I had my memories with the album.

Mariah, Gloria, Shania, Aretha & Celine Divas Live '98
Along with NSYNC's debut album, this was the first album I ever got on CD. I can't remember if I watched the live special when it aired, but I'm guessing my parents bought it for me because I was fucking obsessed with Mariah and both Celine and Gloria were two of my favorite singers at the time. Good instincts on their part as I simply couldn't get enough of this album. Not only was it packed full of amazing divas, foreshadowing both my homosexuality and my immense love of over-the-top personalities, but I also loved the banter and spoken intros between each of the songs. I'm sure if I listened to the album right now I could mime accurately to about 80% of it.

Britney Spears ...Baby One More Time
Back when Brit actually attempted to sing, I thought she had one of the best voices I had ever heard. I had a lot to learn about music, apparently, but it's easy to see why this woman and this album meant so much to me during a time when my one true love, the Spice Girls, were splitting up. Her carefree dance-pop was just what this 11 year-old needed to get pumped for another grueling day of elementary school. Trust me, I have a handful of dance routines I choreographed in my free time before I had to catch the bus. My father must be proud.

Madonna The Immaculate Collection
I knew and liked Madonna through songs like 'Holiday' and 'Into the Groove,' but it wasn't until I checked out this album from my library that I became a superfan. This album has become so ingrained in me, I find it hard to dig into the rest of her discography; everytime I try one of her old albums, I instantly grow restless and want to listen to these wonderful singles all over again.

Janet Jackson Control
I think Janet Jackson obsession started with Design of a Decade, but Control will always be the album I'll think of when I think of her.

Various Artists Music from the Motion Picture "Chicago"
When I saw Chicago on DVD, I liked the movie but I wasn't as crazy about it as I am. It wasn't until the school play my sophomore year of high school when my castmates would sing the songs from this soundtrack over and over again when I became obsessed with it. I actually owned the soundtrack before I ever bought the film, so by the time I saw the movie again, I knew every damn word of the soundtrack.

Kelly Clarkson Breakaway
My God, I don't know if kids these days understand just how huge this album was back in the day. You couldn't spend an hour listening to the radio without either 'Since U Been Gone,' 'Behind These Hazel Eyes' or 'Because of You' coming on. People I knew who weren't fans of pop music were obsessed with Kelly and this album. And, most of all, I just love Kelly. She's the reason my obsession with American Idol lasted for as long as it did.

Sex Pistols Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols
I'm not exactly sure what exactly I watched or read that convinced me that I needed to give Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols a listen, but I'm eternally grateful for inspiring something in me to take a chance on something way out of my music comfort zone. The first few times I listened to the album, I was unimpressed and quietly ignored it for awhile. Then, something happened and I decided to give it another listen. It was like I was listening to a brand new album. The Sex Pistols are one of the few punk bands I've encountered (in my very, very limited experience) who didn't sacrifice melody for hardness, vocal quality for loudness. This is quite literally the one anomaly in my iTunes, as evidenced by the fact that they are wedged between Selena Gomez & the Scene and Shakira.
Various Artists Music from the Motion Picture "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut"
I was a late bloomer to discovering the genius of South Park. Up until my junior year of high school, I thought it was nothing but television made for immature people who loved endless fart and shit jokes. But then my friend lent me South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut and I immediately changed my tune. This was some smart shit made by people who knew what the fuck they were talking about. And the smartest thing about the movie has to be the soundtrack, which manages to be both a parody of the typical movie musical and insightful social commentary. Plus, any soundtrack that has a song with a lyric that goes, "Shut your fucking face, Uncle Fucka!" can't be all bad, can it?
I have always known about ABBA and even knew a handful of their songs courtesy of The A*Teens, but it wasn't until my last couple years of high school when I actually realized just how kickass they were. It all started with an innocent car trip with my friend and her grandparents. Her grandmother is a huge ABBA fan and had Gold playing the CD player. My friend and I were bored so we started making dumb choreography to the songs. This continued through many songs until her grandmother, never one to not let her annoyance and opinion be heard, yelled at us, "Shut. Up. Back. There." I had so much jammin' to the songs that I asked my friend to burn me a copy and the rest, as they say, is history.

Justin Timberlake FutureSex/LoveSounds
JT's FutureSex/LoveSounds had the fortunate distinction of coming out right as I was settling into my freshman year of college. The album really has nothing to do with all the changes I was going through at the time, but it's the one that's most deeply associated with that period of my life.

Britney Spears Blackout
I was pumped for the Britney comeback ever since she divorced Kevin Federline in 2006. When the album finally came around in late 2007, I was ridiculously excited for what was being called Britney's best album yet. On the day of its release, I was like a meth addict waiting impatiently for my next hit. I didn't have a car at that point so I asked my friend who lived down the hall if she would take me to buy it. She agreed and by the time we left, another younger girl I only slightly knew had joined us. We went to the first store and I ran like a madman to the music section only to discover that it was sold out. I was upset, but my friend who drove started yelling at the guy working in the electronics department like it was his fault. We ended up going to two more stores, coming out both times empty-handed, and I was more crazed with each rejection. I looked like a madman in front of the new girl, but I didn't care; I wanted Britney, damnit (in case you're wondering, the girl who accompanied us became a very good friend whom I lived with until a couple weeks ago).

Girls Aloud Out of Control
By the time the release date for Girls Aloud's Out of Control rolled by, I was already a devotee of the Way of the Aloud. I started after the release of Tangled Up and it quickly grew over the following months. Out of Control was the first Girls Aloud album where I could join in on the pre-release ritual for any of my favorite acts. When 'The Promise' came out, I listened to that song at least 30 times the day I first got it. There was no turning back after that. I should also let the record show that Out of Control is still my favorite Girls Aloud album ever.


Vance said...

I will pay you to revive those Britney Spears dances. PLEASE!!!

samanthamdownes said...

i love the recap of the search for Britney's "Blackout" CD.....those bitches working in the entertainment section will know better than to sell out before you get a copy next time. You're welcome :)