List: The 15 Most Influential Albums of My Life

This is a meme making the rounds at Facebook (I guess now that everyone is done writing 25 random things about themselves, they need something else to write about). The idea behind it is thus:
“Think of 15 albums, CDs, LPs that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life, dug into your soul. Music that brought you to life when you heard it. Royally affected you, kicked you in the wazzoo, literally socked you in the gut, is what I mean.”

Okay, first off: IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR AN ALBUM TO LITERALLY SOCK YOU IN THE GUT!!! Contrary to popular opinion, the term LITERALLY does not mean “a term used to express exaggeration”, it actually means the exact opposite, in that it is to be used to distinguish reality from exaggeration (or figurative speech). But, getting back on topic, this is a topic I’ve thought about in the past to use as a blog post, as I’ve seen interviews in some music magazine (maybe Spin?) where they interview musicians asking what albums changed their lives.

Of course, those interviews are generally more interesting because: A) famous people are more interesting than random bloggers (at least that’s what US Weekly tells me), and B) as musicians, they’re probably talking about albums that convinced them to become musicians and influenced their style of music. Whereas for the rest of us, we’re talking about albums that maybe helped you through a break-up/taught you about the mysteries of love/first got you laid. In my case, these 15 albums helped shape my life as a fan of music, making me the audiophile I am today. Allow me to tell you why…
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My Record Collection: A-M

That’s right, RECORD collection, AKA vinyl, AKA those big old black round things your parents listened to music on, AKA the hipster music accessory for the new millennium. I started to collect vinyl a few years back, for no good reason other than to do it. Sure, aficionados will tell you that music sounds better on vinyl, and talk about audio waves and digital loss or whatever, but I can’t really say that’s true given that my record player isn’t exactly hi-fi.

Instead, I collect records because I like them. I like owning things, but the digital revolution has made that less and less necessary. I download music all the time, so this isn’t some luddite reactionary thing. But in an era when owning music means having something on your hard drive, I guess going back to a clunky, classic format is a way of separating myself from the herd. Any idiot with a decent internet connection can avail themselves of almost any album (and I usually do), so I guess listening to records is my way of showing that I’m more of a fan of music than them. Or maybe I just think it’s cool.

I’m posting my collection here for the usual stupid reasons: to show off my collection (even though I suspect no one cares), to have a digital copy of my collection should something happen (you know, like theft or fire), so I can remember what I have when I’m away from my house (possibly on my way to buy more records on a lunch break), and for the off chance anyone reading this is thinking of buying me a record, they can consult this list to avoid duplication (look for a link to this post on the sidebar of my blog). And, you know, the whole point of being an obsessive collector is to obsess. So feel free to peruse, critique, discuss, blahblahblah.
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List: My Favourite Album for Every Year I’ve Been Alive

This is a list exercise that has made the blog rounds of late. I discovered it via Steve Hyden of the AV Club Blog, who in turn picked it up from Idolator. The premise is simple: list your favourite album for every year you’ve been alive.

There’s a couple different ways to go about this, with the most obvious being choosing what your favourite album from a given year is now, but a different way would be to try and recollect what your favourite album was then (at least for years where you were old enough to have an opinion). I’m choosing the favourite album now way to go, since I think it’s more interesting posting opinions I can defend now, as opposed to ones where I can just say “what do you want from me; I was a kid”. That said, in years where I didn’t have a strong favourite, or needed a tiebreaker, I chose albums that defined the year for me at the time.

So here’s the list, with some thoughts about how it all shaped up to follow:
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It’s rainy and miserable… this must be London

It’s our final day in London, as we leave early tomorrow morning. Since I last posted, we went to the British Museum, the Tate Modern gallery, shopped at a market in Knotting Hill, went to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, watched The Other Boleyn Girl, and had really good Indian food (and some not so great British food). So, another calm and relaxed Andy and Kim vacation then.

At the market, I bought three Smiths records, a Stone Roses record, a Joy Division 7-inch and a couple t-shirts (The Stooges and Neil Young). That’s pretty sweet, I must say. Madame Tussaud’s was fun, but way too crowded to really enjoy. The same was true of the British Museum (well, maybe replace “fun” with “interesting” for that). I enjoyed the Tate Modern, especially since it was later in the evening and thus less crowded. It’s hard to look at stuff when you’re dodging crowds.

We’ve got tickets to go see We Will Rock You tonight, so that should be a big extravaganza of fun… or something like that. Til then, we’ll head off the Westminister Abbey, then maybe St. Paul’s Cathedral and Shakespeare’s Globe. But maybe not… it is pretty miserable out. We may be less ambitious in our travellings. We’ll see.

I feel fine, not too exhausted. But I am looking forward to going home. I miss Gromit.

Top Five Songs from the 80s

Time to move on to a decade that I was actually alive for (the whole decade!). This made the list a little difficult, since I had to battle nostalgia when deciding if a song was actually as good as I remembered it to be, and compare songs that have recently become favourites with ones that I loved back then. Still, even though I was alive for all of the 80s, I wasn’t really a music consumer (what with being 3-13 years old). Instead, I listened to whatever was around me, and had no appreciation for quality. So I was able to dismiss sentiment fairly easily this time.
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