27 November 2010

My Top Albums That Aren't U2

Driving home from the movies tonight, trying to avoid the abysmal loss Georgia Tech seemed destined to receive in the Georgia-Georgia Tech game,  I started thinking about the albums I love that aren't U2. Because if you know me, you know that I'm a huge U2 fan and that any top ten list would be peppered with their albums.  But I listen to more than just U2, so I decided to make  a list of the albums I love, from first song to last.  Ok, maybe not love every single song but a majority of them.  And it isn't a top ten list, just a list in no particular order. There aren't even ten.

1.  Jagged Little Pill Alanis Morissette
Yes, I loved You Oughta Know.  But that song alone isn't what made that album for me.  I think even more than that was You Learn. Either way, I like the whole album.   I just wish I had enjoyed future releases as much.

2.  Crash Dave Matthews Band
The songs that sold this one for me?  Crash, #41, Say Goodbye. A dear friend from college  turned me on to this album.  He was biking across the country for a fundraiser, and sent me  a letter from the road. He said he listened to the CD every night before bed, and it made him think of me. How could I not go out and immediately buy it?  And I fell in love with the CD.

3. Raising Hell RUN-D.M.C
What can I say? This one defined Middle School for me.  It was one of two on this list from that era. The first CD (ok, cassette tape) I had that made my parents cringe when they heard the lyrics.  But even now, when those tunes cross an iPod playlist, I'm taken back to that era.

4. Licensed to Ill The Beastie Boys
The other one that made my parents cringe. The Beastie Boys were a new phenomenon.  If I think about it just a little bit, I can still quote most all of Paul Revere.

5.  1200 Curfews The Indigo Girls
The best of the what I liked about the Indigo Girls, live.  All my favorites of their old stuff in one place.

6.  Chronicle Creedence Clearwater Revival
This one is simple, I grew up listening to CCR. Even now, some days are still just made for listening to them.

7.  Sigh No More Mumford & Sons
The only new one I'll put on the list for now, but I can listen to this over and over. It's the instruments, the lyrics, the whole thing. I just love it.

I'm sure there are more, and I'm sure I'll think, as soon as I'm done here, that oh, this should be  on the list.  So, I'll do a part 2 later.  What are some albums that would make your list?

10 November 2010

The Church of Bruce, Bono, and Leonard

I've read that Frank Zappa said "Music is the only religion that delivers."  I've often said, only half-jokingly, that if I could get the feeling in church that I get from some music, I'd never miss a Sunday.

Music is the balm for my soul. There are songs that I hear, and I react viscerally, from some part of me I cannot name.  I feel a power, a sense of something bigger than me. . When I hear U2's With or Without You or Bad, especially live, well, I just don't have adequate words for how it makes me feel.

And the genius that is Leonard Cohen.  His Hallelujah is one of the most poetic, stirring, moving and sensual songs I've ever heard.  His simple "There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in" from Anthem. 

The hopefulness, the feeling that things will be a little better with Bruce Springsteen's The Rising. And the anthem of Born To Run.  Bruce Springsteen performing I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For with U2. Bruce and Tom Morello giving us a whole new take on The Ghost of Tom Joad.  Really, anything in the Boss' catalog.

Johnny Cash, with his "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die" to covering Nine Inch Nails' Hurt in a such a poignant way, with the crescendo of the piano.  The man without whom we wouldn't have much of the music we have today.

My heart breaks a little every time I hear The Pogues' Love You Til the End- and at the same time, it makes me believe in romance.  Elvis Presley  singing You Were Always on My Mind.  The first time I heard Falling Slowly and I had to stop and look up Glen Hansard and wonder how it was I didn't know about him until that moment.

Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, Pachelbel's Canon in D.No lyrics, but soul stirring none the less.  

I have a soundtrack for everything. The songs that make me want to work out. The songs that make me want to dance. The songs that bring out my inner badass. The songs that make me say it is time to challenge the status quo. Songs that make me want to be a rebel, to find that liberation that only rock and roll brings. Songs that simply make a car trip more enjoyable.  I could go on and on.  I won't. I have a soundtrack to create.