On Facebook, I get bombarded with various lists that I must fill out about myself from 25 things most people don’t know about me to listing memories from high school. There are many other lists that I tend to ignore, but this one I couldn’t get out of my mind: 15 albums that changed your life. The challenge presented before me was much more difficult than I had anticipated.
Naming 15 artists that changed my life would have been a lot easier, but narrowing it down to specific albums was nearly impossible. Actually, it was impossible because I only came up with 10. Perhaps it should have been named 15 albums that influenced your life, then I would have been able to complete the challenge. So here is my list of 10 albums that changed my life.
1. Motley Crue – Theater of Pain: It was my first introduction to Motley Crue and it changed my life forever. There are very few bands that influence almost every part of your being, and Motley Crue is that band for me. When “Smokin’ In the Boys Room” hit my little ears for the first time, I was hooked. I remember staring at my brother’s Theater of Pain album in awe of them and slowly but surely becoming obsessed. I would run home from school every day to see the video for “Home Sweet Home” on the Dial MTV countdown. I cried for an hour on the way to the venue when my older brother and his friend got to see Motley Crue in concert and I couldn’t (because I was too young).
2. Guns N Roses – Appetite for Destruction: I really don’t think I even need to explain myself on this one. This album changed not just my life, but the life of rock & roll as a whole.
3. Skid Row – Skid Row: I was sitting in my kitchen watching MTV when the video for “Youth Gone Wild” came on. I sat there watching with my jaw open and hitting the floor. Afterwards, I ran to my room, grabbed my English folder and wrote down the lyrics to the chorus on the front of it. It was my anthem. Sebastian Bach’s voice was like that of a rock angel and was like nothing I’d ever heard before.
4. Social Distortion – Social Distortion: I was introduced to Social Distortion later in my life by a good friend of mine. In college, I’d been getting my feet wet in punk rock, and Social Distortion won me over immediately. Mike Ness’ rough and tough voice was a drastic change to the melodic rock singers I had been listening to throughout middle school and high school.
5. Pantera – Vulgar Display of Power: The first time I saw Pantera was when they opened up for SKid Row while promoting Cowboys from Hell. But Vulgar Display of Power changed rock and metal forever. It was HEAVY, rude and in your face. It’s not like metal didn’t have any bands that represented heavy, rude and in your face, but Dimebag’s guitar shredding was a force to be reckoned with. That album is simply amazing.
6. White Zombie – La Sexorcisto – Devil Music Vol.1: While watching my local cable access metal show one Friday night, the video for “Thunderkiss ’65” was thrown in my face. There was a crazy dready guy growling lyrics I could barely understand and a hot chick bass player. It was like a bad B horror movie and I instantly fell in love with it. I also fell in love with Rob Zombie. Yeah, I think he’s smokin’ hot. Call me weird.
7. Chris Isaak – Heartshaped world: All I have to say is “Wicked Game.” That video is HOT. Chris Isaak’s voice just oozes sex and romance. I’m a sucker for romance, and this album introduced me to the king.
8. Ryan Adams/Whiskeytown: Take your pic. I can’t choose Ryan Adams or Whiskeytown (or a specific album for that matter); they’re a package deal for me. In case you aren’t familiar, Whiskeytown was an alternative country band, and Ryan Adams was the singer/songwriter. Ryan left to go solo and his solo music is just as incredible. He’s a musical genius.
9. Blackberry Smoke – Bad Luck Ain’t No Crime: My fiance’s band was opening for some band I’d never heard of a couple years ago. After his set was done, we went outside to hang out for a minute while the headlining band set up. Once they started playing, we all ran back inside because we just couldn’t believe how amazing the band was. That band was Blackberry Smoke from Atlanta, GA. They’re southern rock at its finest. It’s very rare that unknown bands impress me, and these boys blew me away. Their album, Bad Luck Ain’t No Crime is full of great tracks, but it seriously doesn’t do them justice.
10. Get Up Kids – Four Minute Mile: Yeah, their kina indi, emo-ish…and I love them. Among all the rock and metal that I was filling up on, this album was a nice little break. It rocks but in a totally different way. Wish I could explain it to you…but I can’t. It’s fierce in its own trendy hair, tight shirt and tight jeans kinda way.
What are the 15…or 10 albums that changed your life?
Also, check out my blog for a review of the Motley Crue show in Grand Rapids, MI.