13 Albums that Changed My Life

After leaving Ensworth, I spent the first half of my sixth grade year home-schooled. It was great to have so much freedom (no it was not) and I enjoyed the experience of learning in the solitude of my own home (no I did not).

Anyway, I had a really hard time with leaving all my friends and the only school I had known. Around that summer/fall of 2009, my brother gave me his old iPod nano (like the original nano) completely filled with all his favorite music from various genres of artists. Needless to say, that iPod got me through the year, as I developed my own taste in music and now couldn’t live without listening to music.

I have compiled a list of the albums that I know inside out–some from back when I started to get into music at 13 years old (hence the 13 albums) and some a little newer. These albums helped me through a lot of tough times and really shaped my personality and music taste as it is today. Enjoy!

1. Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

wolfgangIf you think you’ve never heard this album before, I disagree. You have probably heard snippets of tracks like “Listomania”, “Armistice”, and especially “1901”. This album introduced me into the Indie Electronic genre, which I regrettably never further investigated until this past school year. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is an album that generally everyone can enjoy. Great dancing music.

LISTEN TO “LISTOMANIA” HERE:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BJDNw7o6so

 

 

2. Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes

fleetThis album is practically the polar opposite of album number one. Fleet Foxes is a guitar driven Indie Folk group whose harmonies and blend of technology and classic instruments makes you dream of  the mountains. The entire album begs you to sing along. Fleet foxes will forever remain in my top 10 favorite bands.

LISTEN TO “RAGGED WOOD” HERE:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-CEfY9CDLw

 

 

 

3. Metric Grow Up and Blow Away

metric*sigh* this album though. I remember the first time I encountered Metric was through a some sort of contest for a car commercial where you had to vote on your favorite song out of like nine choices and that band’s song got to be used in the car’s newest commercial. One song from Metric’s album Fantasy was an option and I immediately fell in love with the band. Around that time, Metric released their next album, Grow Up and Blow Away. The first track in this album is my least favorite, so feel free to skip it and revel in the glory of the album’s remainder.

LISTEN TO ENTIRE ALBUM HERE:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoPqr9VhIh8

 

4. Pomplamoose VideoSongs

pompI know this album like the back of my hand. I know, I’ve pretty much stated that for all the previous albums, but I really, really mean it this time. I know the exact wordings and inflections in Nataly’s voice for every. single. friggin. song. Go check this album out; it’s addicting.

LISTEN TO THE ALBUM IN PLAYLIST MODE HERE:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9KMgg7T_sg&list=PLBB337B18D97A6654

 

 

 

5. She and Him: Volume Two

354_sheandhim_digipak.inddNationally renown actress Zooey Deschanel and ridiculously talented musician M. Ward team up for the most adorable musical duo known to man. She and Him’s album Volume Two is one of those albums you need to listen to on bright spring and summer days when you’re out with the closest of friends. It’s odd how even though M. Ward is more than half the talent in the band (sorry Zooey, still love you) the album and the general sound of the band is very…feminine. Not girly, but definitely not masculine. Fantastic post break-up pump-up girl-power album.

LISTEN TO THE ALBUM IN PLAYLIST MODE HERE:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0v1DCpC17Q&list=PLCE777B912ACFE2A4

 

6. Various Artists: Dark Was the Night (A Red Hot Records Compilation) 

dark-was-the-nightIt is my opinion that to this day, Dark Was the Night is the best compilation album ever in existence. This album, compiled by Red Hot Records for the benefit of AIDS prevention, consists of 31 collaborative song covers by the biggest names in Indie music. Here’s a list of the artists, with my favorites in bold:

Dirty Projectors + David Byrne                             Grizzly Bear

Kronos Quartet                                                   The Books feat. Jose Gonzales

The National                                Antony with Bryce Dessner                  Yeasayer

Feist and Ben Gibbard                                  Justin Vernon + Aaron Dessner

Bon Iver                                      My Brightest Diamond                    The Decemberists

Iron and Wine                Grizzly Bear + Feist                          Sufjan Stevens                              Spoon                       Arcade Fire

Beirut                       My Morning Jacket                   Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings                                Dave Sitek

Buck 65 Remix (featuring Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti)                                       The New Pornographers

Yo La Tengo                                                                                  Cat Power                                                                                  Riceboy Sleeps

Stuart Murdoch                                        Andrew Bird                                  Conor Oberst with Gillian Welch

Blonde Redhead and Devastations                                  Kevin Drew

Listen to me: If you listen to ANY of these albums, listen to this one. It’s a fantastic foundation for new musical discovery.

LISTEN TO THE ALBUM IN PLAYLIST MODE HERE:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMndkU_WtnE&list=PLF48339748A8A2898

 

7. Feist: The Reminder

ThereminderI found Feist through her work in Dark Was the Night and soon became obsessed with her strong and candid voice in the album The Reminder. Leslie Feist is a fantastic, singer, writer, guitar player, and probably a lot of other things (she’s also killer live). This album has really diverse tracks and the emotional spectrum is all over the place. I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve heard “1234” or “My Moon, My Man” before. both fantastic tracks.

LISTEN TO THE ALBUM IN PLAYLIST MODE HERE:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdTUvfOcG8c&list=PLB84220F2A6B70ED9

8. Coldplay: A Rush of Blood to the Head

coldplay-a-rush-of-blood-to-the-headEnjoy the mainstream love while you can! This is my favorite Coldplay album by far. I feel as though the members of the band were getting a really dark vibe during this point in their career, and that struggle is reflected in the album. Every track on this record is impeccable, and I can’t listen to just one song without listening to the entire album.

LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE ALBUM HERE:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2WAKk_QVbk

 

 

 

9. Wilco Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

yankeehotelfoxtrotwilcoyankeeI became obsessed with this album around the same time as I did the previous record. This album takes a little getting used to, but if you really listen to the lyrics you’ll see that Yankee Hotel Foxtrot does an amazing job of matching themes between a song’s lyrics and music. Wilco thought through the sounds and messages of this album thoroughly, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.

LISTEN TO ENTIRE ALBUM HERE:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaWhg5YGGSs

 

 

10. The Essex Green: Everything Is Green

essexThis album is super weird, and I love it. Everything is Green has a very dark and folky tone to it, like woodland faeries are warning you about some terrible fate or something. They mix earthy drums and guitar with pulsing keyboard, topped with ethereal and honest vocals from all three members. It may not be everyone’s cup o’ tea, but that’s cool. It’s not tea, it’s music.

 

LISTEN TO “PRIMROSE” HERE:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuF7V-jvDTg

 

 

11. Grizzly Bear: Veckatimest

VeckatimestgrizzlyI hold this album near and dear to my heart. This album was truly the one that got me through the most crap in middle school, if I had to choose just one. Veckatimest is somewhat of a dark album, but it is truly one of my favorite albums of all time. I saved it for near the end because it’s too important a record to let out right at the gate. What’s wonderful about Grizzly Bear is that they have figured out how to succeed in music production: the band as a whole has a distinctive sound, but every album has its own feel as well. Veckatimest sounds nothing like Shields, which in turn bears no resemblance to Yellow House. But upon hearing the albums the listener automatically recognizes the band as Grizzly Bear. I still don’t understand how they do it. Listen to “Two Weeks”, if anything. It’s my favorite song.

LISTEN TO THE ALBUM IN PLAYLIST MODE HERE:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPXDJQkuWeA&list=PL94F72BF512CE863B

 

12. Joanna Newsom: Milk Eyed Mender

milkeyedmenderJoanna Newsom holds a special place in my heart as an artist. She is and forever will be my favorite musician, no matter what. Milk Eyed Mender looks at medieval folklore from the eyes of a child, and the entire album is mesmerizing. It makes me miss something in my childhood that I know I never could have had, and I can’t even pinpoint what it is. Too many times over the past few years, I have been overwhelmed by adulthood. This album is my escape from my own growing self, and helps me convince myself that I’m still just a young child without a worry in the world. Joanna Newsom taps into some sort of bittersweet historical nostalgia that I never knew anyone could convey so poetically. If you ever get a chance, really listen to what she’s saying. It answers a lot of questions. The album has the energy to perk you up and the familiarity to kill you inside. Her voice may be an acquired taste, but it’s the sweetest sound I know.

LISTEN TO “SWANSEA” HERE:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhzHwTh54Pg

 

13. Joanna Newsom: Have One On Me

joannanewsom-haveonemeThis album truly kills me. Her voice changes drastically between Milk Eyed Mender and Have One On Me, almost suggesting that whatever girl was depicted in the previous album has since grown and now faces more serious issues in her life. The second I heard the opening line of the first song, I’m pretty sure I started crying, just a bit. I had an emotional connection with the childlike feel of Joanna’s previous album, and to hear her now, fully adult and bearing so much more weight in her words–it broke my heart. It reflected my situation, my confusion as I entered high school, and kept me afloat during all the crap that ensued throughout that year. This is why I left Joanna for the last–her work is the weirdest, most abstract, and most dear to me. Putting her anywhere else wouldn’t do her justice.

LISTEN TO THE ALBUM IN PLAYLIST MODE HERE:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LnYLF_E1NU&list=PL04877436B6F33C76

That’s it; I’ve finally finished! I’m sorry the blog has been on a hiatus, but this post took over a week to write. Quite ridiculous. Either way, I really hope you enjoyed my choices thoroughly. I would love to hear your top albums sometime.

Don’t forget to like my Facebook page to the right, follow me on twitter and tumblr @ProjectMaganda and on Instagram, Pinterest, Poshmark, Luvocracy, and The Hunt @ErinKaelie.

Til next time!

Much love,

Erin



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