When I was putting together last week's "New Year, New Playlist," I started thinking about not only the songs but also the albums that influence me the most. Some of them are, undoubtedly, unsurprising, but there are others that may make even those of you who know me best do a double-take.
Although the list is much longer than what I'm presenting here, I've decided to choose the eleven that are most important to me (at this moment in time, at least)--you know, the ones I would take into exile with me. How did I end up with eleven instead of ten, you ask? Well, for one thing, these guys told me it's okay to turn it up to 11. For another, I started to panic and couldn't stand the thought of cutting one more from my list (although part of me suspects it would be Sheryl Crow, if I'm being honest).
Rather than do a write-up of each album, I'm simply going to list my favorite track and let you do your own exploring from there. These come to you in alphabetical order by artist, because any sort of ranking is impossible after the first three (No. 4, Confessions on a Dance Floor, and White Blood Cells). Enjoy!
- The Sign, Ace of Base (Favorite song: "Happy Nation")
- The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, David Bowie (Favorite song: "Soul Love")
- C'mon C'mon, Sheryl Crow (Favorite song: "Diamond Road")
- The Ghost Who Walks, Karen Elson (Favorite song: "Pretty Babies," and be aware that the album cut is much better than what you'll hear in the video)
- Always Got Tonight, Chris Isaak (Favorite song: "One Day")
- Songs from the West Coast, Elton John (Favorite song: "Original Sin")
- The Fame Monster, Lady Gaga (Favorite song: "Dance in the Dark")
- Confessions on a Dance Floor, Madonna (Favorite song: "Push," but some days I think it might actually be "Let It Will Be")
- Haunted, POE (Favorite song: "5 1/2 Minute Hallway")
- No. 4, Stone Temple Pilots (Favorite song: "Sour Girl," forever and ever)
- White Blood Cells, White Stripes (Favorite song: "This Protector")
PS I am aware that this list consists of only white musicians, all of whom are Western. It's not that I don't want to be more diverse in my listening--and reading, and watching--habits; it's more that these are such strong touchstones for me that I feel they're important to include on this list. But, as always, suggestions for broader listening are more than welcome!