By now, we’re all at least two months into COVID-19 shelter-in-place. During this time, I find myself doing things I usually don’t. For example, I am always tagged on Facebook in those “Ten days, ten X that influenced my life.” Typically, I find these stupid, but I took the bait this time. Though it was boredom that got the best of me, posting ten albums that influenced my taste in music was refreshing. Still, I need to take it a step further, and I will rank them. Today, I discuss the top 10 influential albums of my life.
Counting down from 10 to 1, I will explain the impact that each album has on my final taste in music. While I do venture out and try new music, these albums are my compass when I do. Without these ten albums, my musical taste would not be the same. So, let’s dive in!
What? Did you think I could keep it just to ten? No way, man! Since I could only pick the top 10 influential albums, it’s only fair that I have honorable mentions. These albums do not make the top ten, but they were still instrumental in their way. So, before I get to the top ten influential albums, here are some honorable mentions:
Through Being Cool – Saves the Day
You Can’t Spell Slaughter Without Laughter – I Set My Friends on Fire
Sing The Sorrow – AFI
Translating the Name EP – Saosin
Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One – Coheed and Cambria
10. Let it Enfold You – Senses Fail
A while back, I wrote about the top 10 songs of my emo phase. Before even my emo phase, there was Let it Enfold You by Senses Fail. While this album is not at the nexus of my music journey, it’s one of the top 10 influential albums. Through songs like Tie Her Down, Buried A Lie, and Slow Dance, I began to see music as a valid avenue of expressing my feelings. ANGST!!! Yes, there was a lot of angst, but it was healthy. To this day, I can put this album on and just let it play without a single skip.
9. All’s Well That Ends Well by Chiodos
All’s Well That Ends Well is a natural progression from Let It Enfold You. Lyrically and instrumentally, the Senses Fail effort is fantastic. However, Chiodos quenched my thirst for something more. I wanted more complex lyrics and more complicated instrumentals. This album provides that and more! Songs like The Words Best Friend Become Refined, for lack of a better word, redefined my taste and expectation in music. I listen to at least one song off this album a week.
8. Tell All Your Friends by Taking Back Sunday
Now, here is a top 10 influential album that lies at the nexus of my current taste in music. Cute Without The E, There’s No I in Team, and Ghost Man on Third is just the tip of the iceberg of what Tell All Your Friends offers. Taking Back Sunday and a band soon to make the list were bands that played a continual role in the evolution of my musical taste. This album, though, is one I can always fall back on. Even over ten years later, it still feels relevant to me.
7. The Young and The Hopeless by Good Charlotte
When it comes to my top 10 influential album list, The Young and The Hopeless is what started it all. It may seem odd that it does not top the list, but this is the album that shifted my taste in music almost entirely. After hearing Good Charlotte, nothing was the same. I did still have my love for rap, but my passion for rock music took center stage. ANGST!!! Like Let It Enfold You, The Young and The Hopeless provided an avenue for me to release my angst safely. I guess you could say that this album is The Anthem of the entire list. Check out the record, and you’ll get the reference.
6. A Mark. A Mission. A Brand. A Scar. by Dashboard Confessional
While this is not my favorite Dashboard Confessional effort, it is the most consequential one. A Mark. A Mission. A Brand. A Scar opened up pandora’s box of my affinity to softer music. Having grown up listening to passionate music, Dashboard Confessional added the vulnerability I was missing. With lines like “I am so resilient. I recover quickly. I’ll convince you soon that I am fine,” this top 10 influential album unlocked an escape to express feelings I wanted to keep to myself.
5. Deja Entendu by Brand New
Deja Entendu came right around the time that Tell All Your Friends was in my life. Yet, as a top 10 influential album, this one ranks a little higher. With songs like The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows, Jaws Theme Swimming, and Play Crack the Sky, Brand New unlocked a side of myself that I did not know existed. They expressed emotions that I did not think I could feel. In short, Deja Entendu taught me that we learn as we age.
4. On Letting Go by Circa Survive
Now, I’m getting to the albums that solidify my taste in music. In that regard, it all starts with On Letting Go. This album would introduce me to what is now my favorite band of all time: Circa Survive. Anthony Green’s lyrics are sincere, and the instrumental welds you to the words. On Letting Go showed me sides of music that were healing in ways I did not expect. Not only was music an escape, but it became therapy with this album. Soon, it would become much more.
3. The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem
I grew up on some of the greatest MC’s of all time. 2PAC. Biggie Smalls. Slick Rick. Rakim. I’m talking the elite of the elite. So, for MMLP to land this high on my top 10 influential album list speaks volumes. In a time where rock music was consuming my life, Eminem took me back to my roots. Back at the basics, Marshall Mathers taught me it was okay to be you. Sometimes being you means being different from expectations and social norms, but that’s okay.
2. Blue Sky Noise by Circa Survive
It might be unfair for a band to occupy two spots on the list, but that goes to show the importance of the group. To clarify, Circa Survive is my favorite band of all time. Not only is Blue Sky Noise my favorite album by them, but it’s the second most important album in my influential album list.
Where On Letting Go provides therapy, Blue Sky Noise is an avenue of courage. Because Anthony Green is so courageous in speaking his feelings, he helped me to do the same. That’s what makes me love Blue Sky Noise so much. It not only shaped what I look for in music, but it formed what I looked for in myself as well.
1. Give Up by The Postal Service
There could only be one album to lead the top 10 influential album list. I would even go as far as saying there will only ever be one. It’s not something I can put my finger on, but when I hear songs like Clark Gable, it leaves a feeling in my soul. From when I heard Give Up until now, if I don’t feel that same feeling, I know that it’s not music for me. It’s the only album The Postal Service would record, and, to me, it is pure perfection.
There you have it—my top 10 influential albums of all time. What would make your list? Let us know at Side Spin Media!