I think others’ interests in art tells you something about them. You can know certain things by what they like and what they don’t. Listening to music is a passion for me. Don’t know exactly where I started this lifelong obsession but it’s been with me the whole way so far. It’s a huge part of my creative process whether writing, painting, drawing or designing on the computer.
So here are 10 albums that I love that help tell my story this far. In no particular order, here they be.
Petra – Not Of This Earth
This was the very first cassette tape I owned. My very first just for me music that was mine. I wore it out and I still love it.
Savatage – Streets: A Rock Opera
This is a great band’s best album. This album is my desert island album, the one I would choose if I could only have one album to listen to for the rest of my life. Not only did it enter my life at a pivotal time, but it has also traveled well with me as we both aged. This is my companion of hope.
Clutch – Elephant Riders
Clutch is a band that I’ve been obsessed with since seeing live in 94. This album is the one of theirs I spin the most. The wordplay and subject matter of the lyrics set this band apart. Not just great musicians but the use of language here is inspiring.
Tiamat – A Deeper Kind of Slumber
This is a prime example of an artist in evolution, like a caterpillar emerging from its chrysalis, Tiamat in fearless abandon realize their nature. An album that completed a creative journey is perpetually rapturous.
Simon and Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water
I remember the first time I was asked who my favorite band is. Standing in the lunch line at school Jeff Spohn asked me and my immediate response was Simon and Garfunkel. I can still see the old lp’s dropping and spinning on the cabinet turntable in my parents living room. I love the harmony of Paul and Art’s voices. I loved the melodies and even the lyrics. I recall being the only person in choir excited when hearing that we would be performing “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. I still get the same feels when I listen to this album, excitement, warmth, and joy.
Leonard Cohen – 10 More Songs
Leonard Cohen became a literary hero for me in college. I never paid much heed to lyrics until I heard his. While the music is secondary to the words, his words are music. His ability to write is unparalleled and this is the album that I treasure most of his.
Warren Zevon – Life’ll Kill You
I love Zevon. He was an artist without boundaries. He was as eclectic as one can be. His music has a depth that requires exploration and his words are poignant, honest and obtuse. He is another enigmatic artist that shows you that boundaries are just fences for the fearful.
Anthrax – Stomp 442
I, in complete honesty, should pick all their albums. This is one of two bands that I cherish there entire catalog. However, this is the one I listen to most and whose songs travel me to a different time and specific places, mostly dark ones. But this is the album that carried me and I learned about perseverance. I listen to this one and find my strength.
Alice Cooper – The Eyes of Alice Cooper
The thing I stated for the previous artist on the list applies here as well. Alice Cooper is perhaps the most underrated artist. Always ahead of the curve, always evolving, always staying fresh and always producing great music. A clever lyricist and a consummate showman, he always delivers entertainment and most times something with the depth that requires revisiting. This album makes my list because it is a time capsule. Every time I listen to it I recall where I was and I’m with a friend and mentor that is gone on to the next life.
Deliverance – Stay of Execution
This album is invincible. It stays in rotation with its clever melodies, intriguing lyrics and its ability to kick my butt with every spin. Jimmy P. Brown’s Bowie-esque timbre over great riffs always gets me to sing along. This album above all else makes me smile.
So that’s 10 albums that I love, and 10 albums that feel like they will always travel with me. Interested in hearing what albums anyone else holds dear and finds to be defining about who they are, have been or hope to be.