Albums that changed my life

20 of the most important (not best) albums of my lifetime presented in chronological order (that I discovered them)
  1. Michael Jackson "Thriller"
    This is the first album I was exposed to at the tender age of 3 and will forever remind me of my mother when she was young and beautiful. MJ didn't do those things you all accuse him of, including fathering a child w Billie Jean. "Beat it" has been a staple of my lexicon my entire life.
  2. The Monkees "Very Best Of"
    This was my favorite TV show as a child and was also the very first concert I ever went to as a 7 year old. Fuck the Beatles.
  3. Fine Young Cannibals "The Raw & The Cooked"
    Easily the weakest album on this list. Significant only because it's the first album I ever bought w my own money. 32 years after its release date, I'm convinced that their acumen in picking names is the only reason they never made it big time.
  4. Aerosmith "Pump"
    The first album I ever shoplifted. I was 11 and this album was so steeped in sexual innuendo that it probably served as the Sex Ed class I never took. I will never forget seeing the video for "Love in an Elevator." Straight porn for a pubescent boy in 1990.
  5. Guns N Roses "Appetite for Destruction"
    This album marks the beginning of my lifelong relationship with rebellion and social dissent. It's the one album my parents likely wish I never got a hold of.
  6. Nirvana "Nevermind"
    I can't say anything that hasn't been said a million times over. This album changed the whole game. This is the single most influential album of my life.
  7. Operation Ivy "Energy"
    The greatest punk rock band nobody has ever heard of. I loved this band so much I traveled to Berkeley just to see a show at 924 Gilman St., a shit hole venue they made (in)famous. In the early 90's this was the equivalent of a Punk Rock Hajj. They couldn't have picked a better name for this album. Raw energy in its purest form. This shit still makes me want to skank violently when I hear it.
  8. FYP "5 Year Plan"
    Most accurately described as "skater snot core" and probably the most obscure album on this list, it defined an era of my life marked mostly by skateboarding, dirt weed, beer runs, and fighting. Good times.
  9. Wu Tang Clan "Enter the 36 Chambers"
    Prior to hearing this album, I listened to rock and punk exclusively. This was punk rock for the new era. It was like nothing I had ever heard. This album is the second most influential album of my lifetime, without question, and spawned my fickle love for hip hop. Wu Tang Forever.
  10. Nas "Illmatic"
    This album remains, to this day, the single greatest hip hop album of all time and I won't entertain a debate. Bow down to the GOAT. Life's a bitch and then you die.
  11. Rage Against The Machine
    Holy. Shit. This album had me ready to take up arms and rally round my family w a pocket full of shells. So raw. So pure. So real. This album opened my eyes to so many social injustices I never realized should piss me off and awoke my inner Sandinista. RATM shaped my world view more than any other album on this list.
  12. Alice In Chains "Unplugged"
    One of the most brilliant, beautiful, and tragic live performances ever. Layne Staley is probably the greatest male vocalist that ever lived. This album is the reason I hate happy music. It's also the reason I've never tried heroin.
  13. Tom Waits "Orphans"
    Far from his best album (still damn good), this was simply my introduction to a man who was already a living legend w a 30 year career under his belt when I discovered him. Today I own all 22 of his studio albums. Seeing him live in Knoxville, TN in 2008 remains the single greatest live music event I've ever seen (I saw Nirvana). Tom Waits is a first ballot Hall of Famer and he's probably on my Mt. Rushmore.
  14. The Clash "London Calling"
    Somehow I wrote the Clash off as "mainstream" in my early punk days and it wasn't until I was much older that I finally appreciated this band. Joe Strummer is a legend. Today, I'm comfortable calling this the greatest punk rock album ever made.
  15. Kanye West "College Dropout"
    This album saved hip hop for me at a time it was on life support. For years I pined for a talented MC who could rap about real shit and not the same tired ass Thug Life schtick. Kanye's self awareness and honesty made this album distinctly different from anything out at the time. His lack of self awareness today is why he's evolved into a cartoon.
  16. The Decemberists "Picaresque"
    Full disclaimer: I don't personally know anyone else who likes this band but this album marks the height of my "indie" phase. If you like the 1800's and epic 9 minute songs about being swallowed by a whale or pushing a wheel barrow, then this is right up your alley. Colin Meloy is a creative genius if not just one of those obnoxious nerds we all hate to be around.
  17. Amy Winehouse "Back to Black"
    Amy is the first female artist I ever loved and the greatest jazz singer of all time for my money. I fell in love with my wife with this album on in the background and for that reason alone, this will always be a classic for me. So much red wine....
  18. The Pogues "Rum, Sodomy, & the Lash"
    Irish Folk crossed w punk rock might not be for everyone and it takes a refined palate to appreciate but make no mistake, this is some of the most under appreciated and soulful music that's ever been made. Shane McGowan is a Rock God. The Pogues filled a void in my soul, I never knew was there. I certainly didn't know it could be filled by bag pipes, accordions, and drunken Irishmen.
  19. Radiohead "In Rainbows"
    I flirted w being a Radiohead fan ever since I first saw the video for "Creep" way back in the early 90's. For almost two decades we kept our distance and they remained nothing more than a fringe band w a couple of good songs that I didn't really understand. This album changed all of that and opened my eyes to the sheer brilliance of Radiohead. I have since fallen deeply in love with their entire catalog and am quick to anoint them as my "favorite" band if asked. True masters of their craft.
  20. Lana Del Rey "Ultraviolence"
    I am completely smitten w LDR. Her voice, her style, her grace, her lyrics, her candor, I could go on and on. Lana is the ultimate feminine energy and a gift to all of us from the heavens. She sings for me. She's my jazz singer and I'm her cult leader. I named my dog Lana only because I didn't have a human child to name Lana at the time.