Music Albums That Have Changed My Life
August 30, 2011 Leave a comment
Music has always been in my life, ever since I was little and listening to the tinkling of the music mobile that adorned my crib, to the Classic Rock road trips with my parents that introduced me to a world of music that defined times, that started movements; music that transcends times; music I use in class. From there, I started creating my music identity, listening to music that I really liked, that brought a sense of comfort, normalcy, and acceptance, in a somewhat craaazy life I’ve had.
Below is a list of albums that had changed my life; some of which were empowering to an emotionally weak me where the confidence boost from the music definitely helped me. Sometimes I was so emotionally wrecked, that music was the only solace I had, strange when it comes to the fact that I come off as a strong independent woman. The selection may not be to everyone’s taste, but these are albums that I played constantly until I was a better person while my friends and family agonized over the trillionth time I played the album.
So here’s my list of the Music Albums that have changed my life.
1. The Dresden Dolls, by The Dresden Dolls
It’s strange that I put this as the first album, but it’s not going to be the last of Mrs. Amanda Fucking Palmer Gaiman’s attempts at enlightenment with me. I first discovered this album from the Eastern Echo, of which you can read the whole story here, and after listening to it for hours on end, while studying, taking a shower, in the car, on my cd player (I had no iPod then), on my way back home to Texas, so on so forth, I started realizing one important factor: I spent nearly my entire life to that point living to what I thought I wanted people to view me as, instead of being myself. I was always my own drummer, but I did my own drumming to other people’s beats. That revelation made me realize that I was a unique individual who didn’t need to lie to be interesting, I could do that all on my own. All I needed to do was let people know of my own interests and let them feel sorry for themselves. While, yes, it does sound selfish, it transformed my life’s mission into showing people who follow the conga line doesn’t necessarily mean they have happiness.
How many times have I told myself this now that I’ve lost my teaching position, agonizing over the fact that I can’t be happy unless I have a salary paying job. I’m enjoying myself, which is really scary, back doing something creative, working on rosaries, and everything in between. I’m actually very happy not in the corporate world, because of the stifling of creativity, and political nonsense (not corporate politics, but general politics). I listen to this album more so now, to keep reminding myself of what I learned at the age of 20, I just need to find my niche in life, not the niche someone else carved out for me. That’s what Amanda did, and that’s the message of the debut album of The Dresden Dolls.
2. I Am Me, by Ashlee Simpson
After all the drama around the SNL scandal, the Orange Bowl debacle, and just all around kid sister of Jessica Simpson, Ashlee Simpson’s second album was a life saver for me. I was in a relationship that was going south, I was going through my Senior year in college, and I was getting bored with life. DJing on a radio station for an online Game was starting to pick up, with some of the highest (certainly not THE highest) ratings the station had, but my long-term relationship was just ending. Neither of us were happy with our situation, having to see each other at Christmas and Summer vacations, and he was attending school four hours away from where I was going to be living in Houston. Things were not getting better, I was moving in one direction, and he was still the same boy I had started dating in high school. I was just ready for a more adult relationship, and I felt a bit dejected that I had spent my college years chasing a loosing dream.
I Am Me came out right before Thanksgiving, and I was superbly excited for the album. I had liked her debut, and I was ready for another round, having forgiven her for the SNL thing. When I listened to the album, I heard this girl, hurt, crying, striving to reach for something she possibly couldn’t reach but was damn well trying. The Songs I AM ME, Beautifully Broken, Catch Me When I Fall, and Dancing Alone were my consistent soundtrack up until the second Dresden Dolls Album. Each song hit a nerve in me, making me feel like I wasn’t alone in being hurt, and the 80’s throwback sounds helped me as well, since I tend to like music that has a bit of history to it (sound or songwriting, take your pick).
While not many people accept the Ashlee Simpson, calling her a poser and whatnot, I found this album to be very honest, a trait I started realizing after the boyfriend and I started going over the thousands of albums and songs that we both identify to. We basically had three questions: Which Artist, Which Album and Why? For all my choices, those of which are listed here, I ended up with the why as honest. Each artist’s album was an honest interpretation of how this person was feeling, and I Am Meis nothing short of honest. I can feel her pain in these songs, and her joy, and her frustration. The anthem song I Am Me still resonates with me to today, and I still blast it in my car whenever I get the chance, its straight forward, to the point, and it helps me remind myself that I won’t change unless I say that I am ready to change.
3. Box Car Racers, by Box Car Racers
Still in High School when this album came out, I was feeling already an adult. Having lived through the crisis that was 9/11, I realized that within the moment I saw the plane fly into Tower 2 on live television, I was no longer a child. I could not hold on to things that I held dear before September 11th, and things I listened to reflected that. I was looking for a more adult tone with what I wanted out of my music, and I started listening to more Classic Rock than ever before. Probably due to the fact most of what I listened to were influenced by The Vietnam War, it didn’t seem a likely source that Tome DeLonge and Travis Barker’s side project would influence me so much.
I was a huge Blink-182 fan since I could even remember, being introduced to them by my cousins, and sneaking off to buy their albums on band trips to avoid my parents discovering the music that I found fascinating, but they saw only as raunchy and death (Adam’s Song was forbidden in my house after a suicide in the newspapers). The music resonated to me as a child before 9/11, and they were one of the first concerts I had ever been to, and my first mosh pit accident happened on their Take Off Your Pants & Jacket tour (A broken toe, I’m so badass!). But after 9/11, I couldn’t listen to the last few albums anymore, with the exception of the songs Dammit, All The Small Things, What’s My Age Again, and First Date, with the sick feeling that I had grown up somehow. I ended up realizing that they were not cutting it for me, and to this day I haven’t listened to any other Album by them (even the most recent album my ex absolutely loved,but because of him, I can’t listen to that album because it leaves a bad taste in my mouth).
When I heard about the side project, I was very excited, I purchased it the day of the release, and started listening to it. Finally, someone who got the fact that I was trying to grow up, be an adult but didn’t know how. Hell, I still don’t know how and being back in my parents place makes me feel more like a teenager than ever! Maybe I should take up a career in writing huh? Anyway, sidetracked, this album had songs that related to a Post 9/11 me, and while I couldn’t stop listening to it, even in college, something about this album has continued on with me to this very day. Even now, in my car’s disc changer, I have this album, Letters to God still plays on constant loop, maybe because every day, I ask God why he took my job at school away, why can’t I find another, and this song seems to help me be less angry at Him, I don’t know why it just helps.
There is and I Feel So have been constant companions in my never-ending path towards growing up, somehow I feel like the adult in those teen movies who has yet to grow up and relieves the glory days to the youth but they know he’s just full of it. Like Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite, who relives his high school years which have long since passed him. When I listen to this album, I listen to it to find sense and direction in this crazy world, trying to make sense of a life gone wrong, a mission gone awry, a disk that has slipped. Its kind of the Fisher King’s wound, a never healing answer to the crazy thing called life. That’s why this album has stuck with me for so long, it gives you more questions than answers, but it definitely gives you something to think about.
4. Who Killed Amanda Palmer, by Amanda Palmer
I have to say, Amanda Palmer, for those who just happened across this website, is probably the most honest person when it comes to music. The songs on this album are so raw and thought-provoking that it took me a very long time to actually stop listening to the album. The album came at a great time, Hurricane Ike had just ended, and I was in a boredom rut.
Then it happened, an oasis of electricity not far from my home was a Best Buy and lo and behold, the Who Killed Amanda Palmer Album ready for purchase! I spent the nearly two weeks of electricity-deprived life listening to this album. The album deeply resonated with the feelings inside me, that each song has a story that fits into my life. The words felt like a best friend giving me advice, like I was ready to hear a long kept secret that no one else was supposed to hear, something to beautiful, that upon hearing it you’d cry. That’s how I felt about this album. It summed up everything in my life to that point, it was as if there was a sign pointing me to the direction I was supposed to go, I was supposed to hear this album, I was supposed to do great things with these songs.
Not only that, but this Album created my life’s mantra, the words I live by, ones in which I’m considering getting a tattoo of on my body somewhere:
“And I may be a romantic, and I may risk my life for it, But I ain’t gonna die for you, you know I ain’t no Juliet, and I’m not gonna watch you while you burn yourself out, baby, no, I’m not gonna stop you ‘cause I’m not the one that’s crazy”
The underlined part is the piece that I’m going to get tattooed on me. Possibly in white ink, not sure yet. But this album was one of those albums that you will never let go of, it will follow me forever, the music, the words, the honesty was just absolutely beautiful, and every song in this album specifies a point in my life I have either conquered, or a conquering as we speak. The music is something I still believe in to this day.
The songs on this album I had owned from live concerts and downloads, and these songs, especially Ampersand and Point of It All were ones that helped me through the horrible break up between me and my ex boyfriend. They helped me empower myself against the things that I felt were important, being part of a unit, having an identity with someone else, afraid of being alone, not doing anything because of the depression, and these two songs especially, helped me realize my own life’s path. Thank you, Amanda Palmer.
Dreamers, what are some of the albums that you would describe as life-changing? Which ones do you find the most inspirational?
The Oracle of Dreams