Requested by B.J. Novak

Albums That Changed My Life

These albums each transport me to a specific time in my life. It's a little sad that I almost never listen to whole albums any more because of technology.
  1. Paula Abdul's Forever Your Girl
    When I was 8 and this came out, I thought I was destined to become the next Paula Abdul. "Opposites Attract," "Forever Your Girl" and "The Way That You Love Me" shaped the way my pre-pubescent self understood love. I was so obsessed with Paula, I also bought the cassette for the dance remixes of these songs, "Shut up and Dance!" It was not as good.
  2. Garth Brooks' No Fences
    When I was 12, I moved to a new town and the first friend I made introduced me to country music with this cd. I loved "Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House" the most, even though I had no idea it was a reference to poker.
  3. Dixie Chick's Wide Open Spaces
    They sang about "Wide Open Spaces" the year I graduated from high school. It felt like no one had ever understood me before the Dixie Chicks released that single. It was a gateway to a lifetime of Dixie Chicks fandom.
  4. 10 Things I Hate About You music from the motion picture
    I loved the movie and each song helped me recall a certain scene, but my love for this album was more than that. "Your Winter" by Sister Hazel and "The Weakness in Me" by Joan Armstrong just got me somehow.
  5. Vienna Teng's Waking Hour
    The guy I had a years-long unrequited crush on introduced me to Vienna with "Waking Hour." Now she's the artist I've seen in concert more than any other, upwards of 10+ times. Listening to her haunting piano is synonymous with my 20s.
  6. Hamilton Cast Recording
    I never thought the cast recording of a musical I've never seen could be so addicting. It's been 90 percent of what I've listened to for the past 2 months, and individual lines continue to blow me away because of their cleverness, nerdyness or their sheer rhymability.