This is a list I compiled of the top 10 albums that have in some way made an impact in my life. These albums are in some form sonically groundbreaking, completely flawless or just absolutely amazing and deserve all the recognition they received.
It’s very rare to listen to an entire album and instantly fall in love with every track or at least grow to appreciate every song. Most albums nowadays are loaded with filler grade C tracks that serve absolutely no purpose other than to complete an album. Singles seem to be the dominating force when it comes to an artist’s bragging rights and unfortunately quality albums are infrequent.
Now for the count down…
I became a fan of The Cardigans as soon as I heard Lovefool but I never admired a full body of work by them until Long Gone Before Daylight. After reading a mediocre review of the album by Rollingstone, which caught me off guard since I thought the band had disbanded, I decided to check the album out for myself. Immediately, from the first listen, I fell in love with the record. Nina Persson’s vocals have never sounded better and the stripped down country-blues sound suits the band very well! Definitely an album worth checking out if you haven’t already.
Favorite Track = For What It’s Worth
Although never really a huge fan of Kanye West I always found the guy to be interesting. I’m not sure what it is about him. Whether it be his outspokenness, obnoxious attitude, his unconventional visionary approach or his sense of style, the man is extremely intriguing. He is also a genius artist who is extremely talented. What I like most about My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is how consistent the album is as a whole, every song seems to nicely compliment the next.
Favorite Track = Lost In The World
Ohhh Kelis, if only this album was better managed and promoted by your team! Fleshtone, without a doubt, is one of the best dance records to come out in the last few years. I can not stress enough how brilliant this album is. It’s really quite a shame that Fleshtone kind of dissolved after its release because every track is worth checking out. Like Kanye’s Nightmare, every song on Fleshtone connects properly and there is a continuous theme throughout each track. Besides her team failing to actively promote the record, I feel like the record was maybe a little too ahead of its time. Very unfortunate.
Favorite Track = Brave
I was lucky enough to catch the YYY’s when they came to Chicago in support of Fever To Tell in 2004. Of course, I was familiar with Date With The Night but I never bothered to listen to Fever To Tell in its entirety until after I watched them live. Seeing them live was like nothing I had ever seen before, the show was a visual firecracker of fidgety vocals, brash instruments and frantic stage presence. From that moment on I was a huge fan.
Favorite Track = Y Control
Bloc Party was a band I was completely unfamiliar with. I had read about them, I had heard about them but I never heard anything by them. Initially, I thought they were going to be this happy, dancey, rock-pop band with synths but that was me looking way too much into their name. The first song I heard by Bloc Party was a song called Tulips and my assumption about the band couldn’t be any further from the truth. Silent Alarm is a beautifully well crafted, guitar driven album and Bloc Party remain to be one of my favorite bands. I look forward to hearing new music from them soon!
Favorite Track = So Here We Are
It was with three words that I became ridiculously obsessed with Britney Spears. As soon as she uttered “It’s Britney, bitch”, I was instantly hooked and still am till this day. Blackout represented Britney at her worst time; she was in and out of rehab, stumbling through performances, attacking paparazzi and shaving her head, yet she was able to create her magnus opus. And while Femme Fatale is a better album as a whole, Blackout is an edgy, urban, club banging disk that had Britney in full control and working with unfamiliar producers. Blackout set the bar high for other pop artists to follow and still remains one of the most influential pop records today.
Favorite Tracks = Gimme More, Get Naked (I Got A Plan)
Unlike the rest of the bands and musicians on this list, Cut Copy was a band that I was entirely unaware of. I caught them live on a fluke back in 2004 when they opened for Franz Ferdinand in Chicago. Not knowing what to expect from Cut Copy nor really caring to watch the opening band (I’m ashamed to say that but it’s true), I was shocked by what I was hearing. With a blend of pulsating synths and electric guitars the band came off like a cross between Daft Punk and Fleetwood Mac and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Cut Copy make amazing music and put on quality shows, totally worth checking out…especially live.
Favorite Tracks = Out There On Ice, Far Away
While Britney’s magnus opus is a fun, youthful, unintelligent record, Madonna’s Ray Of Light is a mature, self-aware, introspective record that was more personal and extremely daring. Madonna took a huge risk working with William Orbit (a relatively unknown in America at the time) and it paid off for this record. Production on this album was clouded in mystery and not too many people were aware of what type of sound, let alone image, Madonna was going to unveil. Madonna has always been known to be a trendsetter and this album is no exception being one of the first mainstream albums to add elements of electronic and trip hop.
Favorite Tracks = Drowned World/Substitute For Love, Sky Fits Heaven
After taking a small hiatus as a band, Blur made a triumphant return with Think Tank. The album saw the band collaborate with producer Norman Cook (Fat Boy Slim) for the first time and they created some of their most cohesive work to date. Every time I listen to Daman Albarn’s smooth voice throughout these songs I tend to escape to another place. The man has such a beautifully chill voice and he sings with such ease that you can’t help but be taken away. The blend of middle eastern influences, jazz-inspired break downs and dreamy vocals are what keep me hooked to this record. It also helps that Blur happens to be the coolest band, ever. Blur is what every band should aspire to sound like. Quality music.
Favorite Tracks = Ambulance, Good Song
Gosh, where do I begin!? Garbage is without a doubt, my favorite band of all bands. Nothing will ever compare to Shirley Manson and the boys and I absolutely adore them. When Garbage dropped Version 2.0 I was instantly satisfied with their new sound. The band remained true to their darker lyrical content and controversial topics but their sound had evolved into something extraordinary. They experimented with different sounds, different instruments and changed their overall approach to making music to get the textured sound of Version 2.0. I really enjoy the counterbalance of the gloomy lyrical content mixed with the futuristic bleeps and bops. This album represents growth, evolution and dedication and I applaud them for their effort.
Favorite Tracks = Temptation Waits, The Trick Is To Keep Breathing