Sunday, September 12, 2010

"15 Albums in 15 Minutes."

Well, by now either you've been tagged in a note or you've seen this note floating down your facebook news feed. At first, I sort of ignored the notes because I wasn't to keen on having another "25 Things" sort of total pop culture takeover. But one of my friends tagged me in her note, and it was the best one I've read so far. So good, I figured I'd actually take part. And I'm posting it here! I will just copy and paste, so you know I was fair. I will also tell you that I really did only spend 15 minutes choosing the albums, the rest I added later. You know how I feel about RULES...


Pretty much everybody loves music, right? Everybody does. Everybody. The thing about me is that I’m an only child who was raised by a single parent. And as such, I spent a lot of time alone. A lot of time alone. A LOT. I discovered what it meant to play an album on repeat far before that was a function on CD players. I was so lonely all the time. All the time.

Until music discovered me.

I had forgotten how lonely I always used to be until just today. I was watching a DVD of George Michael’s latest concert and was having a blast until he hit one note – and it was not an off note, in fact he sounded AMAZING – but that one note somehow opened up a memory of how lonely I used to be. How lonely I was before I truly found music as a part of my expression. And I cried. I wasn't reduced to a blubbering mess - but hot, salty tears burst from my eyes so quickly, even I was surprised. They were so salty. And today was the first day I realized exactly how music has saved me.

I was definitely a weird kid, but music kept me out of trouble. Well, outside of that whole “pursuing performing as a way of life” thing. ;)

Here are the first fifteen albums that came to mind.

1. Thriller. (The King of Pop) I mean – “Wanna Be Startin Something?!” “Human Nature?!” Everyone talks about Billie Jean, but “Beat It” has always been my JAM – it’s got Mike (he’s my bro) and Eddie Van Halen on lead guitar! C’MON! Name a song recorded before that with a black male lead vocalist with a straight up rock guitar not only as a rockin solo, but as a major aspect of the song!

2. Ray of Light. (Madonna) This record came around just when I was being Awakened to so many things. Everyone thinks of the title track, but the song “Frozen” still sounds as good now as it did then, in fact – it sounds even better. And the rest is just as brilliant. “The Power of Goodbye” is a gorgeous ballad, in all it’s four chord glory. And the rest? Post-modern fantastic-ness. Listen to it again, from beginning to end and you’ll agree.

3. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. (Sarah McLachlan) I love every single track on this record. “Possession,” “Good Enough,” and “Ice Cream” are the tracks everyone remembers – but “Plenty,” “Mary” and “Wait” are the tracks I hear in my sleep.

4. Purple Rain. (Prince)

5. A Rush of Blood to the Head. (Coldplay) I unabashedly love Coldplay’s music, no matter how many people keep telling me how uncool it is to do so. I should add Viva La Vida, but I didn’t because “Clocks” was the recessional at my wedding – and most importantly – “In My Place” is my SONG. Quite.

6. Joshua Tree (U2) For a minute, my mom dated an Irish dude from Dublin long distance. He gave me this album and said “Malcolm. You’re going to love this album. This band – they’re your people.” He meant my people, it was not a generalization . And he was correct.

7. Faith. (George Michael) Or Patience. His first solo album or his last one. They’re both PERFECT. This man wrote the title track, “Faith,” “Father Figure,” “I Want Your Sex,” “Precious Box,” “Cars and Trains,” and “Amazing.” And he sings the hell out of them.

8. Crash. (Dave Matthews Band) This album came around just as I needed to LET GO. I may have discovered it on a weekend party-all-the-time trip to Myrtle Beach, but tracks like “#41,” and “Say Goodbye” still slay me.

9. Janet. (Janet Jackson) This album came around when I started dancing seriously. To hear this album on radio, see the videos on TV, and do the choreography in dance class all at the same time changed me as a performer. I still know all the choreography to “If.”

10. Senses Working Overtime. This is actually a Starbuck’s compilation, but it’s AMAZING. It’s all music from the New Wave: Talking Heads. Bowie. KATE BUSH. Roxy Music. The Cure. XTC. The Pretenders. New Order. Echo and the Bunnymen. Peter Gabriel. The English Beat. I mean, C’mon!

11. The Dirty Dancing Soundtrack. It’s a blend of soul music from the early sixties and a couple of 80s pop tunes like Hungry Eyes, and Overload and of course: She’s Like the Wind. It’s got pop, soul, R&B and Merengue!

12. Heavier Things. (John Mayer) This album got me through some rough times. ROUGH. I have three words for you from someone who spent five years in a long distance relationship: “Split-Screen Sadness.”

13. Linus and Lucy. (George Winston) The album where Winston did all Vince Guaraldi songs, who wrote the music to Charlie Brown. This album means AUTUMN. It just doesn’t get any better than “The Great Pumpkin Waltz.”

14. RENT (Original Cast Recording.) I was living in NYC, studying acting and musical theater when this took over the city. It still has me.

15. Soul Christmas. Have you ever heard Otis Redding do White Christmas? Because you NEED to. Did you know Luther Vandross recorded one of the best non-traditional Christmas songs of all time? Have you heard of Carla Thomas? Get this album, get it NOW.

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