At any rate, many of Mica's (my roommate) friends are indie/artsy-folks and one of the first questions I always get is "what kind of music do you listen to?" The standard answer is "anything" or "a lot of stuff" or "no country" or "stuff you've never heard of." I've decided I'm sick of hearing/giving that answer and instead I give the answer "I was raised on three things: Classical, Oldies, and Punk. You figure it out from there." A bit crazy, I know, but fairly truthful. As a result of my new answer, I've been thinking back to the albums that really formed my musical tastes. There are tons of "favorite" albums I have (a few are others by the same artists below), or formative songs, but those can all be discussed later. Here is my list of albums that had significant formative impact on my musical tastes, albums that knocked me on my ass the first time I heard them, made me think "this is what music should be":
- Stravinsky's Firebird: The first piece of music that really caught my ear and made me enjoy and notice music.
- The Beach Boys- Pet Sounds: Yep, me and a bazillion other people in the world. Can't get enough Brian Wilson, no matter how insane he is now.
- Green Day- Dookie: revived (or helped create? modernize?) pop-punk and sent Green Day to the top, where they've stayed--whodathunk anyone could do so much with drums, a bass, and 3 chords on a guitar?
- The Cranberries- No Need To Argue: Unbelievable vocals--both tender and edgy at the same time, on top of impressive musical talent. I heard a cover of "Zombie" on the radio the other day and it made me want to puke--it was SO forced; The Cranberries' music flows so easily, regardless of whether it's aggressive ("Zombie") or passive ("Just My Imagination").
- Less Than Jake- Losing Streak: The CD that made me love ska and the integration of horns in music. They remain my favorite band to see live--so many years on the road, yet still one of the most admirably entertaining bands around.
- Motion City Soundtrack- I Am The Movie: Inspired the dance-pop-punk craze that's so popular today (see Panic! at the Disco or any number of copycats).
- Kaddisfly- Buy Our Intention, We'll Buy You A Unicorn: What progressive rock should be--utilizing many instruments, ability to speed up and slow down on a dime, catchy elements, but always moving towards a greater musical goal.
- Eyedea & Abilities- E&A: My introduction to white-boy underground rap. Sick combination of skills between rapper and dj that other rappers wish they could find with their producers/djs.
- The Beatles- Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band: Yep, I'll admit it--I had never sat down and listened to Sgt. Pepper's until this past year. Needless to say, I was blown away.
So I guess it's still not overly difficult to classify what I primarily listen to: aggressive, yet poppy music that pushes musical boundaries, makes the listeners consider the music more carefully, and still pulls off a sound that's easy on the ears. I think I'll still go with "classical, oldies, and punk." It makes people think more.