Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jamen's All Time Most Influential Albums: Part 1

Here is the first half of my All-Time Most Influential Albums. This is my personal list of the top 10 albums that has shaped my music taste and changed the way I listen to music in one way or another. Below you will find numbers 10 through 6 accompanied by a short review and reasoning as to why I selected the album. You can also find out more about the album by clicking on the name or album cover art. Let me know what you guys think about my album selections in the comments!

To view other posts in the series, select one of the articles below:
Music Sourced All-Time Most Influential Albums: Introduction

Goo Goo Dolls
Release Date:
September 22, 1998

This is one of the first albums I remember listening to when I was growing up. This album introduced me to the concept of an ENTIRE album being solid from the first to last track. At the time I was only 13 years and if you liked a song on the radio, you had to go and buy the entire album to listen to the one song you wanted. You couldn't just buy single tracks back then and I usually didn't care for the rest of the tracks on the CD. Every song on this CD is solid and is still great to listen to today.

The Goo Goo Dolls also introduced me to the concept of having two singers in one band. That point seems trivial but I remember feeling very confused when I heard two different singers featured on different songs on the same CD.

Lets not forget that this album cranked out 4 top 25 singles (Iris #1, Slide #8, Black Balloon #16, Broadway #24) and sold over 3 million records.                   

Dashboard Confessional

Release Date:
December 17, 2002

I was initially introduced to Dashboard Confessional by way of the radio with the release of "Hands Down". The whispering lows of the verses matched with the screaming highs of the chorus just got me amped. So when I discovered the acoustic version of the song from the MTV Unplugged show, I immediately explored the rest of the album and thoroughly enjoyed the entire live set. What makes this album so great however, is not just the music. It's actually the small sampling of Dashboard fans that were at that show singing every word, nailing every note, with perfect tone and pace, during every song played. Throughout most of the songs, Chris lets the crowd take over some of the verses as they sing the song to him while he plays.

This album started my love affair with live acoustic music. People ask me a lot why I would rather listen to the live version of a song when I could be listening to the radio released version, and this album is the reason why. It completely changed the way I attend concerts because I have traded in the stadiums and the massive crowds for the smaller shows where you are one of a hundred or so watching the artist within arms length of the stage. Sometimes I have to travel farther distances, but it is worth it to experience your music like the environment captured on this album.                            

The Counting Crows

Release Date:
July 14, 1998

The Counting Crows are my favorite band of the 90's and they are still making some great music to this day. They released this live album in 1998 and it really showcases their musical diversity and overall talent. I was a fan of their music for a long time before I heard this album and I was really in awe of this group after I heard this release.

What makes this album stand out is to hear the contrast of the familiar radio edited versions of their hits with the raw live versions performed on the Across A Wire release. Arguably the groups most popular song "Mr. Jones" is almost unrecognizable in it's live form on this album and I was blown away with result. Adam Duritz also delivers an incredibly emotional performance
on the extended version of "Round Here" on CD 2 of this release that features verses of the song I had never heard before.

This album defines the difference between made-for-Pop music and the real thing. With this album they really show how much musical talent they really have and how they can even unplug their instruments and deliver incredible variations of their well known hits.

John Fogerty

Release Date:
August 19, 1998

This album was released when I was growing up, but the majority of the music on this live album came out before my time. John Fogerty was the voice behind the Hall of Fame Classic Rock group Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR).

What makes this album stand out is that it was the first album that my dad and I really listened to together and it gave me a real appreciation for the classic rock era that came before me. When you are riding in a car with my dad, you are truly just thankful to be listening to anything else besides talk radio. This album was something we could both agree upon during a drive so we listened to Premonition a lot when we were driving around. Listening to this album with my dad was the first I could remember where he would tell me stories about the music he listened to growing up which is something I have really come to enjoy and appreciate as I have gotten older.

I really took a liking to Fogerty and the music of CCR which opened the doors to really getting into the music of the Classic Rock era. And by the way, this album is not just on here for sentimental value, the music is truly timeless with hits like "Who'll Stop the Rain", "Bad Moon Rising", and "Proud Mary".

A Fine Frenzy
One Cell In The Sea

Release Date:
July 17, 2007
This album changed my music landscape in a lot of ways. Before I had heard this album I was still tightly tuned in to Pop/Rock/Country radio driven by male vocalists. I didn't have the Internet until I got to college so there was literally no other way to form my own music taste except for what I grew up surrounded by. A Fine Frenzy's debut album broke me out of what had been delivered to me by the main stream media and really opened my eyes to how many amazing talented music artists there are out there.

Not only that, but I had never paid any attention to female vocalists up until I heard Allison Sudol and A Fine Frenzy. It's not that I am sexist or anything, it's just that I never really gravitated to the female pop star. Some of the greatest singers this world has ever seen are female pop stars but I never really found them to be creatively inspiring. Allison Sudol is the creative driving force behind A Fine Frenzy and the group reflect's her every emotion. Sudol is obviously not the first of her kind, but A Fine Frenzy was a first of its kind for me. It was definitely a break away from my norm. I can now give you a long list of female driven singer/songwriter groups that I thoroughly enjoy. That list started with this album.                                           


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