Friday, February 20, 2009

15 Life-Changing Albums

I decided to start doing all those Facebook things over here, because it feels more like writing when I do it here. Which is silly, but whatever.

The challenge is to come up with 15 "life-changing" albums...but after doing this list I see that some of these were life-changing, but some were soundtracks to major changes in my life. Regardless, here's the list, minus the tagging:

1. Tanya Tucker, TNT: It was the first album I ever bought for myself, and it was life-changing less for the music (though she does a rendition of "Send Me" that's wonderful) than for the album cover, which is the primary reason I bought it. Picture this: the LP cover opens up like a centerfold, and there's Tanya in a red leather jumpsuit (halter, I think), with the microphone cord snaking between her legs. Spot the baby dyke, buying the LP at Gateway Village--what was that? Fred Meyer Music, by then? 

2. The First Saturday Night Live Cast Album: One or both of my sisters bought me this, I think for Christmas, and I can still recite dialogue.

3. The Cars. I belonged to the RCA Record Club, and I ordered a David Gates album as one of my freebies for joining. The muses intervened, and sent me this record inside the David Gates sleeve. Thank you, o muses.

4. Pete Townshend, Empty Glass: I perpetually forgot to mail back those stupid record club postcards to say I didn't want the month's selection, and this one came. And instead of sending it back, I listened to it. Interesting, raw rock and roll. My taste is nothing if not eclectic.

5 & 6. Hair (Broadway cast recording) / Fame (soundtrack). It's a tie. And this is sheerly for the number of times I listened to these, drama geek that I was. And to whomever stole my cassette copy of the Hair movie soundtrack from a party in Walla Walla sometime during 1982/1983, that was mean.

6 & 7. Patti Smith, Horses and Easter (tie). My first girlfriend introduced me to a lot of music, but Patti was definitely the most life-changing. I had seen her years before on Saturday Night Live, her voice shot, and I didn't understand it. Then I heard these albums and I got it. If you ever want to get in touch with your inner wild woman, play these. 

8. Eurythmics, Sweet Dreams. You will begin to note a trend: strong, independent women. Hmmmm....

9. Indigo Girls, Indigo Girls: Ah, the trend continues. 

10. Melissa Etheridge, Brave and Crazy. First saw her on VH1 and said, "Hey, there's a dyke on that there TV!"

11. k.d. lang, Ingenue. Loved the early albums, too, but Ingenue was in my Walkman for months during a particularly turbulent time in my life. There's something about k.d. lang's rich, powerful voice right in your ear...oh, and I saw the second night of her tour at a small theater.

12. Two Nice Girls, Chloe Liked Olivia. Witty, clever, eclectic. They rocked. The antidote to the melancholy I indulged in with lang.

13. The Traveling Wilburys Vol. I. If for no other reason than this list needs a few more guys.

14. Susan Tedeschi, Just Won't Burn. And we now return to our regularly scheduled trend. Her huge voice has been described as a blend of Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt. I first saw her when she opened for Keb' Mo in Seattle years ago. 

15. Brandi Carlisle, Brandi Carlisle. Again, the soundtrack for a major transition in my life. Standing on the subway platform listening to "Follow" on my mp3 player. If you haven't heard her, check out her second album The Story. A voice that makes your heart ache. 


Dr. Write said...

I had forgotten about Two Nice Girls. Very Seattle in the 90s.

Anonymous said...

Tanya Tucker did not record Send Me on TNT.....But it is a hot album!!!!!

susansinclair said...

Hmmm...I wonder who I'm thinking of for that last one? Maybe I'm thinking of Not Fade Away.

Lisa B. said...

Nice list. Horses definitely blew my mind, and k.d. lang was impossible to resist on that recording, for sure. I think that album didn't just change *your* world--there was a moment when I think everyone I knew was listening to it obsessively.