In chronological order according to their appearance in my life:
1. How Blue - Reba McIntire (1984) and
Untasted Honey- Kathy Mattea (1987)
Look, I SAID it would be embarrassing. AND I am cheating. Already. But these albums taught me to sing harmony (with help from my mom and sister).
Also cheating, so as to avoid picking a favorite. But my family had this particular collection on cassette, and it made an appearance at least once every camping trip.
3. Ten - Pearl Jam (1991)
My first step from "rock my folks like" to "rock I like on my own." Also my first concert on my own (with the BFF , of course).
Either you got it or you didn't, and in my junior high circle, those of us that got it (or thought we did) considered ourselves writers. I stuck with Tori up through Scarlett's Walk (2002) but she's lost me since then. :(
5. Singles Soundtrack (1992)
aughgh still so good (except for the Paul Westerberg songs I always hated).
My husband and I had (and still have) a tight group of friends from high school. This was part of the soundtrack for most every hiking trip.
7. Greatest Hits - Parliament-Funkadelic
And this was the soundtrack for every party.
My first real girl crush was on my friend Tess. She was artsy and hippied out and generally all the things I wasn't. We spent the entire summer before high school together and wore this album out. (Tupelo Honey also gets a nod for the role it played early in my relationship with the husband. We narrowly missed seeing him play live in Ireland once. I almost cried when I found out we were a day late.)
9. Amorica - The Black Crowes (1994)
I didn't get into this album until my freshman year of college (98-99), but once I did, it was on constant repeat for... years, probably. Still my all-time favorite.
In college, we had some buddies from Chattanooga who paved our way into bluegrass. This was the first album to change my mind.
11. OK Computer (1997) / Kid A (2000) / In Rainbows (2007) - Radiohead
I'm cheating again, because otherwise Radiohead would take over the entire list. OK Computer = my first foray into true Radiohead fandom. Kid A = mind blowing in the college years. In Rainbows = a perfect accompaniment to my first months getting back into writing.
WAIT! Please don't click away in hysterical judgmental laughter! I had stopped listening to new music for a long time when this came out, around the same time I started writing again, and from this album I gradually branched out into lots of other new things. It was a big deal! It's a solid lineup... mostly!
13. The Eraser - Thom Yorke (2006)
This was one of the things I branched into.
As was this.
15. Lungs -
Florence + the Machine (2009)
And this. All three figure prominently on my writing playlists.
What are your life-changing albums? If you play along, leave me a link so I can check it out!