Albums that changed my life

These are all albums that impacted my life in some way. Music has always been a huge part of my life whether it was when I was a little kid sitting on a swing singing along with my Walkman, getting me through my teenage years, learning songs to play in various bands, or listening to songs that comfort me as I age. I'm very thankful for music.
  1. Tool - Æmina
    This album is a masterpiece as far as I'm concerned. To this day, I can listen to the music on this album and still find something new. The music is so intricate and yet so accessible. Just an amazingly balanced album. It has interesting time signatures and it's not so mathy that the average listener can't enjoy it. It's dark and brooding. It's secretive. It's layered. It still doesn't sound dated to me. From Maynard's voice, to the guitar tone, to the complicated drum beats, I'm blown away.
  2. Arrested Development - Zingalamaduni
    I love the lyrics on this album. It's a very forward thinking album. It addresses social issues, poverty, unity, justice, technology, spirituality, and many other things. It's one of the few albums that point out problems while providing hope. When I get weary of the world, I can listen to these songs and it gives me hope.
  3. Slipknot - Self Titled
    This album is what aggression sounds like for me. It's metal music but it's very progressive and they never have made another album like it. Iowa is incredible in its own right but it's more straight metal. You could really tell on this first album that it was much more collaborative and they were willing to try whatever they wanted. The song Surfacing can still give me chills if I'm in the right mood. This is one of my favorite albums to work out to as well.
  4. Typhoon - White Lighter
    I found this album randomly while I was at work one day and listened to it on a loop for several days after that. As a new father, this album address a lot of my fears about the world and how I'll have to one day explain to my child how scary the world can be. It's a sophisticated album. The band works together very well throughout and the lyrics really got to me on many songs. Spotify said this was my most listened to album of 2015. If you haven't heard of them I highly recommend listening.
  5. The Cranberries - No Need To Argue
    Back when I was a depressed teenager, this was my go to album. Zombie was their big hit off it but I usually skipped that track. This album did a great job of capturing a mood and just exploring that space. I absolutely love they way the singer's voice is layered. They use her voice as its own instrument and it's a beautiful thing. It's a very melancholy album but it's great to hear a band let you feel how they were feeling during that time.
  6. Joelistics - Blue Volume
    I consider the song Say I'm Good to me my theme song. It's a powerful song about feeling empowered about not being quick to take sides in a world full of uncertainty. "Even if we're on the same side, I don't follow blind, I am not that guy." It has another great song regarding immigration that I think is important and I wish more people would think about. Another song deals with watching a friend with promise deteriorate. Another song talks about the power of giving someone a second chance.
  7. Dave Matthews Band - Under The Table And Dreaming
    This was a much happier album than I normally listened to back then but it was such a fresh sound back then. Nobody else sounded like them. The level of musicianship on that album was just incredible. Brilliant stuff and I really liked the nontraditional instruments Dave had in his band. It really stood out. I remember seeing them live and seeing how effortless their drummer was too. He was able to make very complicated beats look so easy. This album caught me off guard and it was great.
  8. Robert Delong - Just Movement
    This guy is a genius as far as I'm concerned. Delong loves to make his own "instruments" and use them in clever ways. He often modifies Wii and Xbox controllers to make different sounds as well as joysticks. He plays keyboard and drums really well too. Check out a live YouTube video if you get a chance to watch how he builds songs. And on top of that, he actually writes very thought provoking lyrics. I really hope he keeps making music for a long time, he has so much potential.
  9. Smashing Pumpkins - Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
    Siamese Dream had some great songs on it but I felt like everything just clicked on this album. So many incredible song on one album. (Tonight, Tonight, Zero, Bullet With Butterfly Wings, To forgive, Thirty-Three, In The Arms Of Sleep, 1979, Stumbleine, X.Y.U., and Farewell and Goodnight.) This album captures a wide array of emotions. The band members that were on this album had a lot of problems after this one and the music has suffered ever since but this album was pure magic.
  10. Thrice - The Artist In The Ambulance
    I love the energy on this album. Before this album came out the previous albums had been good but lacked direction. After this album, I felt like the music became more refined and in a lot of ways more intelligent. But this album hit the sweet spot for me. It's aggressive and moody and the lyrics are raw and thought provoking. My favorite songs are Cold Cash and Cold Hearts, Under A Killing Moon, Silhouette, Stare At The Sun, Blood Clots and Black Holes, and The Artist In The Ambulance.
  11. Fair To Midland - Fables From A Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times Is True
    I didn't pay this band much attention until I happened to see them live and then I was hooked. The album that came after this was equally incredible too but I wore this album out. This band does some really subtle amazing things that I think you'd have to be a musician to fully appreciate. Plus, some of the lyrics seem weird and out there but the singer does an awesome job of hiding wonderful nuggets of truth in there and that was something that kept me coming back to this album again and again.
  12. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication
    I know a lot of people would argue that Blood Sugar Sex Magik was better but this is my list and I liked this album way better hands down. Honestly though, RHCP have not made a bad album to me. The bass lines were killer as always, Chad Smith is a human metronome, Anthony's vocals are always so unique and I loved this album had John Frusciante on it. I think his guitar work is flawless on this album. This album is four amazingly talented people doing what they do best.
  13. Nine Inch Nails - The Fragile
    Not every song on this album is great but the the songs that are good are mind boggling awesome. My favorite songs are Somewhat Damaged, The Wretched, We're In This Together, The Fragile, Even Deeper, The Great Below, Where Is Everybody, Starfuckers, Inc., and The Big Come Down. The whole album is pretty dark. Trent doesn't give you much hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel but it paints a pretty good picture of anger and depression. It's vulnerable art like art should be.
  14. Alt-J - An Awesome Wave
    This is an unusual album. When I first heard them I honestly thought they were singing in a different language. I was shocked when I finally caught a few words and realized it's all in English. I'm glad I kept listening because I love this album. There is nothing else out there like it. The interplay between the musicians is something special. They take a lot of risks musically speaking and the result is a super chill album that takes you on a ride. I get lost in this album. It's beautiful.
  15. Nothing More - Self Titled
    There are so many great things about this band. The music on the album is incredible. You can tell these guys pay a lot of attention to detail and it pays off. Every musical note is well placed. The lyrics are inspirational, philosophical, and talk about deeply personal issues and do a great job explaining what the singer has gone through. Beyond that, they're live shows are top notch, I love the quotes they post on Facebook, and I love the causes they bring attention to like "I Know Jenny."
  16. Sigur Rós - (Untitled)
    This album is (untitled) on purpose and it's not self titled. There are no actual lyrics on this album even though the singer sings on every track. I think it's a beautiful concept that is executed perfectly. The music is very ethereal and kind of floats along. It's another melancholy album but the songs are ageless. It's like they gave a voice to a feeling. Anytime I'm working on a project were I need to focus, this is the album I listen to. It puts me in a good place.
  17. The Cure - Bloodflowers
    This album came out in 2000 and that's when I first got introduced to The Cure. I bought almost every single studio album on CD after that. And while there are many Cure albums I enjoy, this is the special one that completely floored me. Deeply introspective songs with beautifully layered music. This album had some really long songs too which The Cure is not known for but I never got bored with them.
  18. Death Cab For Cutie - Plans
    The name of this band sounds like a metal band but they couldn't be further from that if they tried. I honestly think the singer of this band is one of my favorite lyricists. I feel like he basically writes amazing poetry that is set to beautiful music. My favorite songs are Marching Bands of Manhattan, Soul Meets Body, I Will Follow You Into The Dark, Someday You Will Be Loved, What Sarah Said, and Brothers on a Hotel Bed. This album deals with complicated ideas in an enlightening way.
  19. The Dresden Dolls - Self Titled
    Oh man! AMANDA PALMER!!! I honestly believe she is one of the few REAL artists left on this planet. She's brutal and honest and unapologetic and talented and creative and loyal to her fans and I hope she never stops making music. This is just a two person band but I was blown away by them. Brian Viglione plays drums and she plays piano and sings and it's killer. The happier the song sounds, usually the darker the subject matter. Check out the song Girl Anachronism if you haven't heard them.
  20. Skrillex - Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites EP
    I found this album to be very inspired. When I first heard it, I had never heard anything else like it and I've listened to various forms of electronic music most of my life. The music was just so full and mixed with really pretty synth stuff. It honestly inspired me to want to make electronic music. Skrillex is an innovator and his compositions remain interesting to me. A lot people have since tried to copy his sound but this is the original dubstep music to me.
  21. Letlive. - Fake History
    Jason Bulter (singer) makes this band for me. The music is really good but there is an insane fire in the singer that I haven't heard since the first Glassjaw album. His vocals on this album sound like a man unraveling and it's super intense at times. He can sing well too but I live for the moments when he's just going off. Favorite songs are The Sick, Sick, 6.8 Billion, Renegade 86', We The Pros Of Con, and Day 54. "If we're all here because we are picked, well I was picked with no faith."
  22. Primus - Tales From The Punchbowl
    You might think that this is an odd choice, but if you knew me in middle school or high school you would know how much I love Les Claypool. He is easily my favorite bass player. I learned how to thumb slap on the bass because of him. This album is hilarious and very quirky as are all Primus albums. One could argue that Sailing The Seas Of Cheese is a better album but this is the album that got me hooked. It's absurd and ridiculous but the bass work is pure genius. The whole band is incredible.
  23. System of a Down - Self Titled
    System of a Down has to be one of the most unique rock bands that has ever come out. They mix all kinds of genres of music and the guitarist uses his guitar in such unusual ways. This album is not as polished as the rest of them but you can hear all the raw talent from these guys and you can tell they are pushing boundaries. I think it's a shame this band is no longer making music together. The energy these guys release when they play is unmatched and I miss it but at least this album exists.
  24. Eddie Vedder - Into The Wild (Soundtrack)
    I've been a big fan of Pearl Jam since the Ten album came out. However, this soundtrack for the movie Into The Wild really captured my attention. I throughly enjoyed the movie too which I watched because I loved the soundtrack so much. I love the story of this guy rejecting the norms of society and going out on his own. Eddie Vedder did an excellent job of almost acting like a narrator for the movie with his songs. Society is one of my favorite songs. This album makes me ponder life.
  25. Blind Melon - Self Titled
    When this album came out, I was listening to bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice In Chains, so I did not particularly like the song No Rain. I didn't like Blind Melon very much. But after a few years I got to listen with fresh ears and I realized what I was missing. This band was kind of a throw back to 60's rock. The musicians feed off each other well and it's very groovy stuff. No Rain is now one of my all time favorite songs now too. The whole album is solid.