the sweet 16

A mate of mine recently sent me the below challenge:

Think of 16 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life. Dug into your soul. Music that brought you to life when you heard it. Royally affected you, kicked you in the wasu (wazoo?), literally socked you in the gut, is what I mean. Then when you finish, tag 16 others, including moi. Make sure you copy and paste this part so they know the drill. Get the idea now? Good. Tag, you’re it!

Being a bit of a closet High Fidelity fan, I loved the idea of creating a list of albums.  Funnily enough, on reading his list I realised that there were likely to be a number of albums in common between our lists – (e.g. U2 – Rattle & Hum; Beck – Odelay; Pavement – Crooked Rain Crooked Rain; Radiohead – OK Computer).  But it’s looking pretty impossible to not overlap – here goes (in no particular order)…

NOFX – Heavy Petting Zoo:
Remember the cover – the guy doing the reach around with the sheep – this is a great punk album. One of many by NOFX, but most notable for me as the first NOFX album I bought and loved.

Sonic Youth – Dirty:
Probably the first real ‘alternative’ album I bought, but goddamn it if it wasn’t a freakin’ good choice.  Just amazing: Purr is still one of my alltime favourites.  An album you can listen to today that still has a pretty modern feel.

John Spencer Blues ExplosionAcme:
TALK ABOUT THE BLUES! Jon croons and wails – they play the blues like men possessed. JSBX sound like amazing live performers – but the one time  I saw them live they sucked (Big Day Out 2005 maybe?). I GREW UP WITH TWO WITCHES AND A GIANT!  WOOT!

Eels – Daisies of the Galaxy:
Such a beautifully composed album – to quote a line, it’d be a motherfkr living without this album.

The White Stripes – White Blood Cells:
A bit overplayed now, but such a simple stripped down sound.  A drummer, a guitarist/vocalist, an air of mystique and red, black and white – that’s all they needed.

Beck – Mellow Gold:
Well I could have chosen Odelay, but this is a brilliant album – dark in spots, but with a heart of gold shining from beneath.  It’s like a favourite mixed alt/folk/country tape.

Ween – Chocolate and Cheese:
Such an apt album title – full of layers, variation and fun times on bizarre drugs.

Architecture in Helsinki – Places Like This:
I just love AIH’s sound, it is just impossible not to tap your feet and singalong with this album.  Only happy times here.

Slint – Spiderland:
If AIH is the eternally cheery and upbeat sister, the Slint is the dark, brooding brother who spends his time watching Donnie Darko laughing to himself and reading Dostoyevsky.  That’s not to say he can’t make an amazing album – this is almost a soundtrack to a horror film. Great tempo and an almost mesmerising talent for story-telling.

You Am I – Sound As Ever:
Truly an rockin’ band – these guys did it tough for years creating great songs.  This is a compilation of these early years – such a pity that their later material really lost that edge.

Pavement – Slanted and Enchanted:
One of the truly great albums – hard to believe that it was made in the early 90’s.  Someone could put this out today and be hailed as lo-fi genius.  They really had something with lyrics – Zurich is stained.

The Thrills – So much for the city:
Irish kids playing California beach tunes – I remember buying this and not really knowing what to expect. Sounds like it wouldn’t work, right? Well these things have a habit of being really, really good or absolutely rubbish.  This album is most definately the former – I played this non-stop for months.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – Hearts of Oak:
When I finished uni, I had a tough time getting my first paid gig.  Ended up that I got a job in Burnie – a small(ish) town in north-west Tasmania.  While it was not something I wanted to do, I found that it wasn’t such a bad place to live.  And this album was one of the first things I bought when I moved there. This album is a rockin’ good time.  Simple and unpretentious – a bit like Burnie (apologies to Ted Leo for comparing this album with Burnie).

The Shins – Chutes too narrow:
One of my favourite bands.  Quirky, happy, melodic and awesome – I just love the intro scream on Kissing the Lipless.

Radiohead – Ok Computer:
Hard to avoid really – no surprises here.

The Strokes – Is this it?:
Surrounded by a press frenzy, proclaiming them as the new ‘it’ band, I picked up this album and wasn’t disappointed.  As I listened to it more, I realised that it was actually pretty stunning and more than worthy of the hype.

Hooray!  Sixteen albums!

Honourable mentions to: Art of Fighting – Wires; Beastie Boys – Ill Communication; Elastica (self-titled); Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain.

Go on – name yours! It’s kinda fun.


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