Have you seen the tag all over social media lately where you name the 10 albums that changed your life? I wasn’t really thinking about doing it until I saw so much great music shared by my friends via that tag.
So without further ado and in no particular order…
Papa Wemba- Emotion
The soundtrack of my childhood. My family listened to this album at least 3 times a week. It was probably every second day at one point now that I think about it. This album is still a masterpiece, and I will never get tired of it. You know when you have so many good memories associated with music that it can elevate you no matter how you feel at the time? Yeah, it’s something like that.
Afro Celt Sound System- Volume II: Release
I’ve been blessed to attend world class music events since I was a child, and one of my favourites was World of Music Arts and Dance aka WOMAD. My whole family was blown away by the experience we had there. Seeing Afro Celt Sound System perform on a side stage during the day was just incredible. I think I was 9…I’m so damn lucky!
One of the first hip hop albums I listened to in its entirety, I rented this from the Calgary Public Library. I fell in love with this the first time I heard it. When people ask what album I would listen to exclusively for the rest of my life, this is the first one that comes up. Every time. Even my dad knows a good part of this album, as he’s heard it so many times on road trips!
AK1200- Lock & Roll – A Drum & Bass DJ Mix
This CD came into my life in a very random way. My neighbour found a big book of CDs on his front lawn one morning so he figured it was from our house, via my family or friends. Nobody came looking to find it, so I ended up with this collection. Lock & Roll was in the book, and it was my first real foray into drum and bass. I have some very vivid memories with this album, from listening to it alone in my room late at night to having a roadside dance party with it on the way to Burning Man.
The Offspring- Americana
The first CD I remember buying, I got it for a dollar from a neighbour’s garage sale. This was probably my first foray away from world music and pop as a kid. My mom absolutely hated this album, and must have asked me dozens of times to turn it off! Lucky enough my mom respects music even when she doesn’t like it so I was able to keep it and keep playing it…as long as it wasn’t too loud.
Bassnectar- Mesmerizing The Ultra
Oh Bassnectar, good old Lorin. The first time my family went to Burning Man, it was 2005. For a long time, Bassnectar seemed to be the most desirable sound of the playa at night. Mesmerizing the Ultra was a great way to feel that desert sunrise euphoric feeling again without being on the playa. Bassnectar at the Opulent Temple was the ultimate introduction to his sound. I was officially a bass bee following the ‘Nectar after that. Also, one year on the road to Shambhala in B.C. we were blasting this album, and I gave myself whiplash because I was headbanging so hard. You know, just normal Zara things. In my bass life, I saw Bassnectar perform so many times but the best was without a doubt in 2007 when he went back to back with DJ Z-Trip. My mind was absolutely blown.
Missy Elliot- Under Construction
It was to this album I developed my own sense of dance style in junior high. I was still quite timid but when I was dancing I definitely felt less so. Missy Elliot was one of my favourite artists at this point and I loved her older albums, Under Construction just got into me though. Also, Timbaland and Missy are one of the OG combinations.
Notorious B.I.G.- Ready to Die
Another hip hop album that drove me deeper into the genre after I was blown away by it. His track “The What,” with Method Man is one of the most amazing tracks I’ve ever heard, oozing that NYC sound like a twinkie filling…or something. I daresay this album also changed my mom’s life, because she heard it and liked it so much she can keep up to “Gimme The Loot”. Nailed it, mom.
Wu Tang Clan- Enter the 36 Chambers
An incredible foray into master wordplay and production. There’s a reason why this album is still considered one of the best, I swear I still find deeper meaning in the music. A group of my friends at the time were so deep in the Wu that sometimes we would just sit around listening and rapping along. 10/10 would re-live that time again.
If I had a nickel for every time I listened to this, I could probably go for another run of ketamine treatments. Seriously. My friends and I had a series of parties when I was in high school, and Sublime was *the* sound. We may have played something else, but this album always ended up on repeat. None of us got tired of it.
What do you think of my list? Do we have any overlapping choices? Music saves lives, and it aids in quality of life. I am so grateful I can listen to music again, so intensely grateful.
I’m off to listen to my list now. Go listen to yours!
P.S. For some giggles, here’s a honourable mention: