Albums that Changed My World

Posted on July 08, 2014 by quashnsa

I will begin here a list of albums that influenced me in some way. The albums are not listed in any particular order. This list will contain music from many genres.

I highly recommend that these albums be heard and felt. Take the time to enjoy music and make it part of your life.



Fishbone "Fishbone EP" - I discovered this band while in Suns Band. Matt Munoz was playing it one night while we were stopped overnight for a parade the next day. The energy and exuberance that the band put into their music had me rockin' all night.

Fishbone "Truth and Soul" - I loved the "Fishboone EP" so much I had to try another album from Fishbone. This album went way beyond the first album. The blending of many musical styles and different style between songs made this a regular-play on my list.

Fishbone "The Reality of My Surroundings" - Then came this album. There is no easy explanation for what the album explores. A listener must sit and study this album. It seems to be part concept album and part social commentary. It will make you dance and make your skin crawl.

The Specials "The Specials" - This was the second Ska band to which I was introduced. "A Message to You Rudie" showed me the "punk" side of Ska. The Rude boys were the equivalent of the punks to come in the 70s.

Paul Simon "Graceland" - Holy Shit. What can anyone say about this album other than "freakin' awesome!" To take pop music and infuse it with African rhythms and singing. Up to the time I got this album, I thought I was well versed in music, but I was whole deceiving myself.

The Housemartins "People Who Grinned Themselves to Death" - This album will be burned into my mind as an image. Me and my girlfriend in the hot tub on a cold winter night sitting enshrouded by the steam with this album playing quietly in the background.

Sex Pistols "Never Mind the Bollocks" - This wasn't my first punk album, but it is definitely one of my favorites. When I needed to have a soundtrack for how much of an outsider I felt, it was this album that played in my ears. Angst and resentment at being forced to be in classes that did not engage me.

The Smiths "The Queen is Dead" - Loneliness and depression, that are a part of high school, need a soundtrack. The gloomy singing and twangy guitars were the perfect reflection of heartbreak and loneliness.

The English Beat (aka The Beat) "Special Beat Service" - My very first initiation into Ska. I was in junior high school. I was buying a present for my neighbor, and it was recommended that I get The English Beat. My mom allowed me to get an album also, so I got a different Beat album to copy and share.

The Jam "All Mod Cons" - I heard this at the same time I heard the English Beat. The song "English Rose" was a song I told myself that I would play for the one I love. The Jam stretched my mind outside of the USA. Later in life I would travel to London and ride the tube-station.

Crosby, Stills, and Nash "Daylight Again" - Another album the is an image in my mind, two images. The song "Southern Cross" will always be tied to my wife. The first image that I have tied to this album is a vision of my dad's Mighty Max Mitsubishi truck picking Michelle up for swim practice. Way before we were dating or married is this special time driving to swim practice and sharing time away from the others in our lives. The smell of dad's tobacco, the song, and the girl--my head and heart still bring me to that time. The second image that is tied to this song and my wife is our 10th anniversary in Hawaii. Aboard the Gemini catamaran sailing back from Honalua Bay, the captain put this song on while we were laying on the netting cruising over the water by sail.

Oingo Boingo "Dead Man's Party" - This was another album I heard during the summer band events. The group of guys and girls I hung around with influenced me dramatically. This album was passed back and forth between Walkmen on the bus. We all traded albums during the long bus trips.

Sting "Nothing Like the Sun" - I have been a fan of the Police long before I heard this album. For me, this was the first Sting-without-the-Police album. The album came to me at a great time. I was starting to expand my music listening variety into jazz. This jazz influence on this album is apparent and it would have passed me by if I heard it any other time.

The Cure "Pornography" - I don't remember this album very well. It is included on this list because of what it represented and the lesson I learned. Growing up in a christian house and seeing this album's title caused me some internal struggles. I took the cassette out into the garage and smashed it with a sledgehammer. After destroying the album I had an epiphany--I just did a very stupid thing. From that day on I was aware of the brainwashing effect that religion had on me and society. I left the sheep-like mentality and sought logic.

The Cure "Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me" - This album I purchased because of the incident with the "Pornography" album. It was a more pop-influenced album that still had great music on it.

U2 "The Unforgettable Fire" - U2 was a huge hit globally. They have remained very active and continue to release new music. It is this album that I spent the most time with. Riding in the truck with my family, pulling the trailer back from Lake Tahoe and being swept away by the music on this album is burned into my memory.

Soupdragons "Lovegod" - I found this album in the art shack in college. What a find.

Dr Dre "The Chronic" - It can not be understate that this album changed music and the gangster rap business. The west coast groove/soul was brought to the forefront and mixed with the deep driving bass of rap.

Green Day "Kerplunk" - My first Green Day album. I heard it at Wavelengths Surf Shop in Bakersfield and had to have it. There are some straightforward punk songs, cow-punk, and others. It has a great fun-punk value while still maintaining social commentary and angst.

Green Day "Dookie" - Moving Green Day into the pop spotlight, this album still retained its punk origins with radio friendly beats, but the lyrics were still pushing the boundaries.

Korn "Korn" - Jesus, what the f_ck can anyone say about this album the first time they heard it? It was a new style of music. No one previously did a heavy metal version of the jazz vocal soloing (vocal jazz, scat singing). This is the album that made parent afraid.

The Prodigy "Fat of the Land" - Melding the heavy edge-of-rock vocals and the driving beat of the club's house music, this struck me as a great mix.

Jamiroquai "Travelling Without Moving" - This was the new soul/R&B. A blending of the "new" electronic sound with soul/R&B that worked very well.

Jane's Addiction "Ritual de lo Habitual" - This was "college" music. I was just about to leave for college when this one came out. I'm not sure what to say about this album. It defies many dogmas held by musicians and that is what makes it so special.

Wire "A Bell is a Cup Until it is Struck" - Always outside of the general population of the high school cliques, I found many new and exciting albums that still burn in my ears. I remember riding in my girlfriend's car with many other band geeks with one earphone in to listen to music that no one else would have liked.

Steve Vai "Passion and Warfare" - This album of virtuoso guitar playing expanded what I associated with "rock" music. He turned "metal" guitar into a show-stopping work of art.

A Perfect Circle "Mer de Noms" - Not an album most people would associate with their wife, but I bought this album the day before my wedding. I spent the morning of my wedding day cruising past the places where my history with Michelle began. I drove past our high school, her house that I would pick her up from to head to swim practice, the Foster Freeze that she worked at, my family's home (the one I grew-up in), and a few other places that were special to me, all while listening to this album. Listening anytime since then has taken me back to that day driving past our shared history.

The Who "Quadrophenia" - Obviously, I met this album well after it was released, but the movie and the album really clicked with me. The passion with which they play and the depth of heart-felt angst really resonated with me.

Chick Corea's "Akoustic Band" - This album from 1990 has remained a staple for listening pleasure. After receiving a cassette copy from a high school friend, I have not been without a copy (cassette, CD, digital). Morning Sprite and T.B.C. are two of my favorites. Listening to Chick, Dave, and John play gorgeous music together puts me in a better mood.

Miles Davis "Bitches Brew" - If you don't know Miles and jazz history, don't bother listening to this album, you won't get it. All of my trumpet-playing bandmates had their favorite trumpet player. Some loved Maynard Ferguson for hitting the high notes, others loved Chuck Mangione for his smooth fluegel horn, Randy Brecker, etc. For me, it was Miles Davis. His attitude, minimalist playing style, and stretching the boundaries of jazz are what sealed the deal.

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