It’s a hashtag that’s going around on Instagram at the moment. It’s very cheesy and full of hyperbole. Nevertheless, I’m not one to miss a bandwagon, so here are 9 albums that maybe didn’t change my life, but are important to me somehow.
Metallica – Metallica (The Black Album)
The only album on this list that did change my life. It’s the one that got me into metal. I started learning guitar when I was 12 and overheard someone play ‘Nothing Else Matters’. Had me hooked. Cliche I know, but that’s how it happened. I remember the excitement of having enough pocket money at the end of the month to buy a new Metallica album. Bought this album, followed by Load, Ride The Lightning, Garage Inc, ReLoad, Kill ’em All, then the rest.
Toto – IV
A few years ago, Toto became one of my favourite bands. The level of musicianship is incredible. How can you not like an album that contains both Africa AND Rosanna? Seeing them for the second time this year in the Royal Albert Hall. Should be a decent gig, despite having nosebleed seats.
Michael Karen – Opus
Michael Kamen collaborated with Metallica on the S&M album. When he died, I decided to look into the music he wrote for film and I bought this album. Then I wanted to become a film composer. Studied composition at University and spent many years obsessed with film music. Didn’t quite ‘make it’ as a film composer, but the years of inspiration were enjoyable.
Elgar – Enigma Variations
One of my favourite pieces of classical music. Heard numerous versions and heard it performed live on numerous occasions and I think this version by the London Symphony Orchestra is my favourite. Did a dissertation on British composers for my masters degree. I’ll have to dig it out and post it here at some point.
Fugees – The Score
One of the first CDs I owned. When I was 11, they played their cover of Killing Me Softly at my school’s leaving party. From that night, I wanted to own this album. It’s a masterpiece. It’s less hip-hop and darker than their previous album, but still very likeable. I bought the vinyl many years later.
Alice in Chains – Black Gives Way to Blue
The first album without late singer Layne Staley. Written with him very much in mind though. Again, a masterpiece. I really dig Alice in Chains, but this is the only album where I love every single track. Some brilliant chorus writing right here. Some say some of the songs sound very similar to Cantrell’s album ‘Degradation Trip’. Probably true, but I have no problem with this.
Megadeth – Youthanasia
One of my favourite Megadeth albums. This one really got me into them. Addicted to Chaos has a great riff during the chorus. Memories of this album being aged 15 talking to friends online and playing Baldur’s Gate like a massive nerd. I wanted to be in a band just like Metallica or Megadeth. A friend once said, if you call your band ‘Metallideth’ no one will take you seriously. To be honest, calling it ‘Megallica’ would have been worse.
Vaughan Williams – Symphony No. 5
My ultimate favourite piece of classical music. The Romanza third movement never fails to give me goosebumps. Relentlessly poignant. Never heard this one performed live before. It’s on my bucket list. Some conductors have the orchestra perform this quite fast. I prefer it slower, so not every recording of this is very good.
Supertramp – Crime of the Century
When I was 15, I was in a confused jazz band that had the desire to sound like Supertramp. This album is brilliant from start to finish. No filler. Great keyboard lines too.
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