Top 10 Earth-Shaking Albums via Spotify
Albums are completely dead. Trends show that users are barely downloading songs nowadays, let alone buying albums. Streaming is where it’s at. And streaming services now have their own charts, too. Ex-music industry exec ranter Bob Lefsetz had an interesting take on the fall of the album and the trends involving Spotify, MOG, YouTube, and other streaming services. Really, it’s all about the playlist these days. And I don’t mean NOW That’s Music‘s 42nd compilation of overplayed radio garbage.
With the advent of Spotify and Facebook’s embedded ability to share playlists at the click of a button (not to mention the whole host of other streaming sites available), new music and raw emotions are traveling at the speed of your iPhone.
Despite how music travels, the power of a nerve-hitting collection of songs that blanket your exacting emotions is the glue that binds us to the musicians. Inspired by a fellow blogger’s post about music that attaches to you during a pivotal time, I decided to put this homage together for some of the most deserving artists.
Here’s my list of Top 10 Earth Shaking Albums (not in any particular order). What would be on your list?
1. Keane – Hopes and Fears (2004) – Believe it or not, I once dated a guy who really didn’t like music – especially my music. He would tell me to be quiet when I sang and would turn music off when I had it playing. The raw emotion of this album and Tom Chaplin’s honey-dripped melancholic voice kept me in great company while I was in an oppressing situation. Jerk.
2. Toad the Wet Sprocket – fear (1991) I could listen to “Walk on the Ocean” and “All I Want” until the CD’s broke and never got tired of it. The masterful assembly of this collection of songs was absolute perfection. From the controversially chilling lyrics of “Hold her Down” to it’s contemplatively epic closer “I Will Not Take These Things for Granted,” I still drive around listening and marvel at the brilliance of this magnum opus.
3. Bjork – Debut (1993) Wild nights at Kean College (now Kean University, ahem!) had this album playing every night in 409 Rogers Hall dorm. It was the quintessential quirky quotient to get our Doc Martens, fishnets, and black dresses on to troll boys in Elizabeth, New Jersey. R.I.P. Last Call Tavern. Fun, girly, upbeat, and so different, this Icelandic princess was my musical goddess.
4. Pink Floyd – The Division Bell (1994) Pink Floyd’s older albums are obviously more widely accepted as landmark albums and not without merit (The Wall and Dark Side of the Moon only scratch the surface of their library of genius). These troubadours’ experimental style and legendary feuding gave the world decades of innovation and interest. In college, I used to lay in my bed and listen to this CD on repeat for hours. I contemplated the famed division between Roger Waters and David Gilmour in an album famous for publicly addressing their venomous feud. Division Bell is both deep and rich with layers as it lulls along the water of life.
5. BT – Movement in Still Life (1999) – W-A-Y before Skrillex took over Electronic Dance Music and revolutionized Dubstep, I was introduced to BT with his debut album, Ima (1995) by a British friend and was blown away by something I never thought of before – dance music being highly emotional. Known for heavier use of melodic female vocals sung over an electronic landscape of music, BT was one of the pioneers creating his own music (he developed the stutter edit effect) instead of sampling and mixing others popularized by rap and hip-hop. Collaborating with Paul Van Dyk, Tori Amos, Britney Spears, etc. and scoring the soundtracks to Zoolander, Monster, and Tommy Lee’s reality show “Tommy Lee Goes To College,” BT is ultra-cool, versatile, and still under-the-radar. Check out BT’s Wiki page.
6. Jim Croce – Photographs & Memories Greatest Hits (1974) – The late Jim Croce has always lived under the shadow of James Taylor and Cat Stevens as one of the greatest folk singer/songwriters of all time. Always respected, but never given the credit he deserves, Jim Croce left the world too early in a plane crash in 1973. The timeless “Time in a Bottle” was exquisitely written for his unborn son A.J. Croce (now a musician), the lonely simple pain of “Operator,” and the Billboard #1 hit sing-a-long vibe of “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” was undeniably brilliant in its stripped and simple delivery. I loved being obsessed with this compilation.
7. Dave Matthews – Under the Table and Dreaming (1994) Before Dave Matthews smoked one blunt too many and started putting out incoherent mumblings and calling them albums, Dave Matthews Band’s “Under the Table and Dreaming” was absolutely revolutionary. Considered one of the first rock acts to incorporate horns, strings, tons of band members, and classical instruments into a new kind of jam band, this album opened people’s ears to a broader type of music. Removing themselves from Ace of Base, Boyz II Men, and Celine Dion dominating the charts, they paved the way for a new kind of sound that has never truly been duplicated. Back in my college days, you couldn’t get this out of my CD player if you tried. Well, maybe Nine Inch Nails would sneak in every now and again.
8. Lenny Kravitz – Mama Said (1992) – Once again, nursing another heartbreak from a total dirtbag I dated that didn’t deserve an ounce of my energy, I couldn’t get my head around how talented and cool Lenny is. At the time, VH1 was airing a “Behind the Music” on Lenny and his story having a Jewish father and a famous black mother, his unique upbringing, and multi-instrumentalist skills added layers of depth to his music.
9. John Mayer – Room for Squares (2001) Before John Mayer’s douchebaggery hit epic proportions, his pure innocence in his song-writing really was ground-breaking. Introducing “quarter-life crisis” into twenty-year old’s vernacular, this album had me mesmerized for a year straight. There’s something irresistible about the innocence of youth captured in this album. My musician boyfriend (at the time) would get so mad that I was obsessively listening to JM non-stop that he learned to play all of his songs. Personally, I think John Mayer is completely fugly, but women are hypnotized by a “sensitive” man with a guitar. See article for reference.
10. Amos Lee – Mission Bell (2011) I really didn’t understand the depths of this album into I got a chance to interview Amos himself. Lee is typically very private in interviews, but I realized that his omission of personal information in general conversation is what begged more questions to be answered only by his music. A prolific storyteller and a voice cracked with debilitating affliction, his song “Violin” is his best contribution to the public. The exquisite pain is palpable and cutting. Brilliantly written, masterfully arranged, and performed like a champ. Even after listening to it a million times and even learning it in my voice lessons, my heart bleeds every time. Bravo, Amos Lee. Bravo.