I'm not necessarily saying these are the best albums of all-time because these all have some sentimental value to me. This list changes pretty much daily, particularly when it comes to the order. But anyway, I hope you all free to make comments and mention some of your favorites, too. And if you have any stories to go along with them, that's great, too.
Nerf Herder - Nerf Herder
My favorite band. I always felt like a nerd at heart, even when I was getting in trouble with school and the law. This is (kind of) my song's namesake.
Nerf Herder - Golfshirt - YouTube
Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde
Honestly, I could probably add a couple other Dylan albums to this list, but this is definitely my favorite album of his.
Bob Dylan - One of us must know (sooner or later) - YouTube
Weezer - The Blue Album
This goes back to the nerd thing. I'm a sucker for catchy harmonies. I have to give a shout-out to Pinkerton, too.
Weezer - Say It Ain't So - YouTube
Frank Black - Teenager of the Year
I had to listen to this a bunch of times before I could fall in love with each song individually. It felt so great to know that there was still a rock artist that aspired to be different.
Headache - Frank Black - YouTube
Leonard Cohen - Songs from a Room
I once went on a 29-hour drive from Cincinnati to Louisiana to Michigan to pick up a gal whom I'd never met and spend a week with her. We parked the car for some romantic moments and listened to a lot of Leonard Cohen. Oh, to be "young" again . . . It was only eight years ago, but it feels much longer ago. I have no way to contact her and have no idea what she's doing with her life. I wish I knew how to stay in touch.
Leonard Cohen - A bunch of lonesome heroes - YouTube
The Pixies - Doolittle
It's pop music, but it isn't. It's catchy, but it's abrasive. It's quiet, and it's loud. It has everything I like about rock music combined in one.
Here Comes Your Man - Pixies - YouTube
The Clash - Sandinista!
I know, I know. London Calling should be the pick here, but I always enjoyed Sandinista! more. I believe it was released as a triple-album (and sold for the minimum price their record company would allow), and the quantity of great songs is probably related to why I favor it more. But more to the point, I would listen to this every weekend as I would drive from Cincinnati to North Carolina and back to meet a gal I was crazy about. I drove through blizzards, had more flat tires than I can count, and spent hundreds of dollars on gas. It's crazy what hormones will make us do. She died just as it looked like we were going to live closer to each other. C'est la vie (and death).
Lose this Skin - the Clash - YouTube
The Modern Lovers - The Modern Lovers
After meeting him and having an extended conversation with him, I have to say that Jonathan Richman is very unique. If you're unfamiliar, he's one of the most influential musicians in rock history, and it's somewhat of a surprise that he isn't a household name.
The Modern Lovers - Girlfriend - YouTube
The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
I spent a lot of time bonding over this album with a friend of mine. Unfortunately, he killed himself a couple hours after I had a long conversation with him about life. He seemed a little off that night. By that, I mean that he was extremely upbeat, which didn't seem like him at all. I was the last person to talk to him and always think of him when I hear a song from this album.
The Beach Boys God Only Knows (Lyrics via Description) (HQ) - YouTube
Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
I lived with a girlfriend in Covington who would listen to the same few albums ad nauseam. Her taste in music was certainly questionable (e.g. New Found Glory, Hawthorne Heights, and the like), but every once in a while, we'd fall in love with an album together. I listened to this album with her throughout many major life events such as my first pregnancy scare, celebrating holidays, and finding out about her lack of fidelity. To this day, I haven't told her that I found out what she had been up to, but I'm so glad it happened because I'd be miserable if I were still with her. To be fair, there are few people in the world I've had as much fun with, but she's a tramp. And although she's a tramp, everyone's getting my sloppy seconds while I've moved on to greener pastures.
Bright Eyes Land Locked Blues - YouTube
Adrian Belew - Inner Revolution
Surprisingly, my love for this album has nothing to do with Belew's local ties nor his connection with David Bowie, Talking Heads, and Frank Zappa. The only reason I bought this album was because it was on sale for less than a dollar, so I never expected much out of it. On my first listen, I thought, "Wow, this is really cheesy." But with each listen, I was able to put that thought behind me, and now I'm able to enjoy an album no matter how many decades it hasn't aged well with.
Adrian Belew-Big Blue Sun - YouTube
The Strokes - Is This It
I got a hold of all the songs on this CD several months before it came out because I had a friend in New York who was an acquaintance of theirs. I kept thinking, "Wow, why don't more bands sound like this?" Soon after, they hit it big with one of my least favorite songs on the album, and everyone was trying to sound like them (or at least that's what the media wanted us to think). This album isn't nearly as special to me now as it was for those few months, but those were a very special few months that I had.
The Strokes - Hard To Explain - YouTube
The Velvet Underground and Nico - The Velvet Underground
I had read interviews of my favorite bands who cited The Velvet Underground as a huge influence, so I decided to give them a chance. My reaction was simply, "Yup. I would draw inspiration from them, too."
The Velvet Underground - Sunday Morning - YouTube
Radiohead - The Bends
When this album came out, I was an angsty teen and hated any song that wasn't metal/punk/hard rock. Of course, the first two singles from this CD were "High and Dry" and "Fake Plastic Trees". I loved their song "Creep", but these new songs were crap. Eventually I grew up and realized that soft songs can sound good, too. This album helped a lot with that.
Radiohead - High & Dry - YouTube
Arcade Fire - Funeral
This album was introduced to me by a friend to whom I no longer speak. It's a good thing, too, because I saw on the news a couple years ago that he was arrested. When this album came out, we were going through our fair share of problems (extreme alcoholism, heavy drug abuse, depression, and more), but it was nice to have a friend I could relate to. Unfortunately, we frequently got in trouble and went to jail for various offenses. His substance dragged us both down, and I told him I needed to part ways and get my life straight. He was hurt, and it's one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, but I still listen to this album and think of the times we had fun raising hell together (getting chased around the 275 belt by the FBI, trying to be Robin Hood by extorting thousands of dollars, intense hallucinations that led to getting lost in the woods for a few days, traveling out of town to meet shady people for shady deals, and other silly stuff like that).
The Arcade Fire- "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)"- Spec Video - YouTube
Nirvana - In Utero
In junior high, I didn't really have any friends. Everyone and everything seemed so stupid that I didn't see any point. No one in my neighborhood of Elmwood Place could relate to me, and they were more focused on things I didn't care about. Being a small village, everyone knew each other fairly well, but around this time, I started talking to a quiet kid who became a good friend of mine. We'd listen to Nirvana and similar bands while experimenting with green stuff that can be smoked (nothing illegal, of course ).
Nirvana - Radio friendly unit shifter subtitulado español - YouTube
Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
I put this one on the list reluctantly. I love everything about their debut except the fans that soon followed. It's always annoying to see something you love become embraced by a large audience incapable of knowing what it makes it special. Fortunately, I had no idea they were blowing up so big because I was in Germany with what I thought was the love of my life. I was happier than ever, and whenever a hitch came my way, I could put this album on, get cheered up, and roll through it. Eventually, my visa ran out, the woman left me, and I came back to America to find out my least favorite song of theirs ("A-Punk") had gotten them a lot of attention. I'm just now starting to not feel so bitter about it.
09. Vampire weekend - I Stand Corrected - YouTube
Beck - Odelay
I listened to this album for the first time shortly after finding out I am a type 1 diabetic. I had always been interested in Beck's sound but never got the chance to hear any of his songs except "Loser". While at diabetes camp--which was one of the worst moments of my life--one of the kids let me listen to his headphones, and I was amazed at how great it sounded. I've been a huge Beck fan ever since.
BECK Odelay Lord Only Knows by AnnD - YouTube
Rancid - ...And Out Come the Wolves
As a kid, I always knew I liked punk rock, but it was very difficult to get exposure to it. I knew no one who listened to it, and I rarely saw it anywhere. When "Time Bomb" hit MTV, I was blown away and needed to have it. For my birthday, I was allowed to pick out a CD as a gift from my parents, but they would never let me have the CDs I really wanted because of parental advisory stickers. When my birthday finally came, my mom was so thrilled I picked a CD without a sticker that she said I could pick out another one. I asked for Nine Inch Nails, and she quickly changed her mind. lol
Rancid - Old Friend - YouTube
The Toadies - Rubberneck
Although you could argue that it's a Pixies ripoff, "Tyler" is probably my favorite song of all-time just for the feedback and catchy riff. I spent countless hours listening to this disc while playing video games, watching baseball, and going for walks along the tracks to places I had never seen before. I also fell in love with the fact that they would do interesting things like use three-bar loops, which was something I had never noticed in music before.
The Toadies - Tyler - YouTube
Music is a huge passion of mine. Without it, my life would be nowhere near the same. Doing this list, I got a lot deeper than I thought I would. Music has helped me through a lot of tough times and helped shape who I am. It has also helped me build relationships with my closest friends. I'll be forever grateful.