I think I may have mentioned once or twice that I play guitar (for nobody other than myself & my family because I have awful horrible stage fright and I’m also a far, far cry from being talented), but other than that I have never really talked about music on this here corner of the internet that I like to call mine. I’ve always loved music. Remember when you were twelve and you’d rewind your cassette tapes over and over to listen to the same song over and over again because it was your absolute favorite? Yeah… I still do that. Except for now all I have to do is hit the repeat button on iTunes. Oh, how the times have (not) changed. I am the ultimate shower singer and I am definitely that crazy lady you see belting one out in the car.
I am developing Bug to be the same way… and he is following along quite nicely. The kid has always been a dancing fool and has been trying to sing since he could produce sounds other than da-da. Some of his favorite songs are not children’s songs, which makes me pretty darn proud. Ok, so his favorite song is Three Blind Mice, but he also loves Here Comes the Sun (Beatles, obvi) and Ho Hey (The Lumineers). So, there.
I thought it’d be kind of fun to highlight what I’m listening to at any given time. In order to start, though, I feel like I need to go back and talk about the albums and artists that have shaped my tastes over the years. I’m not going to go into the ultimate classics… things like the Beatles and Eric Clapton and the Stones and the like. That music, like it is for a lot of people, was instilled in me and will always influence the way I listen to and play music. Instead, my classics list is going to include mostly music from the last 15 or so years, which is probably about when I really started to listen. Listen to the beat, the drums, the nuances of each instrument, the harmonies. And, really listen to the lyrics… comprehend them on a deeper level. Maybe it’s more apt to say that about 15 years ago is when I really started to feel the music.
Without any further ado, here a list of my classics. These are the albums that haven’t left my car in years and years and at least one of which can almost always be found in my cd changer. (Side note: click on any of the images to take you to the Amazon page for the album, in case you’d like to listen to any of them!)
Norah Jones – Come Away With Me
This is the first album I really remember immersing myself in. I was 19. I still remember seeing the video for Don’t Know Why for the first time and knowing that I needed that music in my life. I am pretty sure that I went out and bought the album that day. I listened to it nonstop for weeks, and it’s been the biggest staple on my music diet for a decade now. Norah Jones was, I think, the first artist that I could distinguish without knowing it was her… i.e. she played on Amos Lee’s first album and I knew it was her playing piano before I looked it up. She was the artist that made me pay attention to an individual artist’s true style. It’s interesting to look back and relate each song on this album to different people and different times in my life. Amazing the impact of one album. Norah’s second (Feels Like Home) and third (Not Too Late) albums are lovely as well, though I don’t love every song on them the way I do on this, her first. Another album of hers that I love is a collaboration she did with a group called The Little Willies. They are basically a group of her buddies in New York that gets together and jams. This album is partially old covers and partially originals, and chock full of fun and awesome.
Jars of Clay
I was pretty active in my church youth group in middle and high school, but I wasn’t a big Christian music listener. I probably couldn’t name more than three Christian rock bands in those days. Jars of Clay, however, was my favorite band for years and years and years. This, their first album, came out when I was 13. I fell in love instantly. One of my best friends, Millie, and I have shared our love for Jars for nearly 20 years now… I think we might have even gotten in a fight once in college about who was a bigger fan. Funny though, I didn’t see them live until 2008 (thanks to Hubby and his awesomeness) and not a lot of people know how much I like these guys. They sing about God in a very real way and not so much in a raise-your-hands-and-praise-Jesus kind of way (though there’s nothing wrong with that!). If I Left The Zoo is an album of that shaped the end of my senior year of high school, and Redemption Songs is one of my favorite all-time albums. They put a new spin on classic hymns… truly beautiful music, especially in a moment of spiritual need.
Tom Petty – The Last DJ
Let’s go ahead and call a spade a spade and recognize that this is NOT the greatest Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers album. It is, however, still a great Tom Petty album and the first one that I learned backwards and forwards. Sure, I know and love many many Petty songs, but from which album they originated, I still, for the most part, could not tell you. My rock star college boyfriend bought this album within days of it’s release and we ate. it. up. The underlying meaning behind the entire Last DJ album is anti-commercialism and selling out. It has a song about a DJ who defaults to Mexico so that he can spin the music he wants to spin without being told what he HAS to play. It has a song about music execs creating not-so-talented-but-attractive artists and about an old band who sells out to play big shows with big sponsors, alienating their original fan base. This album came out around that era of boy bands and pop princesses in the early two-thousands and made quite a statement to me and my classic-rock junky friends. The best musicians aren’t always amazing to look at, but they are almost always amazing to hear.
Stay tuned for the Classics Part 2!