Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Didn't I Blow Your Mind This Time?

My love affair with music began in the fourth grade. And while there is plenty of amazing music out there, certain albums have, to use a cliché, blown my mind, sending me off in directions I never expected. Like a lightning bolt from above or a grand revelation, occasionally, if we are lucky, music can change our lives.

The following list isn’t necessarily complete or final and it is not intended to be a Top Ten list but it is a good history of music that somehow, someway shook me up.

Kiss "Alive" – ‘nuff said. Super heroes with guitars.

David Bowie "Diamond Dogs" – In the fifth grade, a friend called and said he’d found a stash of Playboy magazines in his garage. Once I showed up, he instead pulled out a copy of "Diamond Dogs." I thought I had been tricked. Of course, he also had the magazines, so we listened to the album while enjoying his father’s secret stash.

Pink Floyd "The Wall" – I could sing this album all the way through. It seemed to say everything that need to be said, at the time.

Dead Kennedys "Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables" – First heard "I Kill Children" during a Christian "evils of rock music" sermon. Was immediately hooked. "God told me to skin you alive," indeed.

Black Flag "Jealous Again" – Still one of the best slabs of American hardcore in only five songs. What 15-year-old hasn’t screamed "Why can’t I do anything without being yelled at?"

The Clash "London Calling" – Probably my all time favorite record (if I have to choose).

The Cure "Let’s Go To Bed" – While not an album (this single was later part of the Japanese Whispers collection), when I first heard the Cure I was hooked. Of course, they have pretty much sucked since "Head On The Door," but that is another story.

Husker Du "Candy Apple Grey" – While I ultimately prefer "New Day Rising," this was my first exposure to an amazing band.

Nirvana "Bleach" – Due to some word-of-mouth buzz, I mail ordered this album on vinyl and was immediately hooked. Still prefer it to "Nevermind," but I think "In Utero" is my favorite.

Guided By Voices "Bee Thousand" – Masterpiece. This album began my love affair with everything Robert Pollard has produced. While not everything lives up to the lofty standards of this release, he still writes some amazing stuff and I always look forward to what is coming next.

And some may say it is sad that nothing has blown my mind since 1994, but maybe that is a product (dare I say it) of age. There is plenty of great music out there but I don’t know if it has the same importance at 30 as it did at 9 or 12 or 17 or 23. Or maybe I am being too hard on everything from the last ten years. Maybe I am jaded. Should Beck, or the White Stripes, or Death Cab For Cutie or Bright Eyes, or The Shins have blown my mind? I don’t know. But maybe the next important record is just around the corner. I know one thing, I’ll keep looking.

So with that being said, what is blowing my iPod’s mind?

1. "Divide & Conquer" by Husker Du
2. "Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing" by the Minutemen
3. "I Know Where The Summer Goes" by Belle & Sebastian
4. "Me-Jane" by PJ Harvey
5. "Uncomplicated" by Elvis Costello
6. "Moonshiner" by Uncle Tupelo
7. "Lick and a Promise" by Aerosmith
8. "Lay It Down Clown" by the Replacements
9. "The Wait" by Metallica
10. "Ms. Wrong" by That Dog


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