The hashtag #3AlbumsThatChangedMyLife is currently making the rounds on Twitter, and while I wanted to jump in on the meme-y goodness I needed more than 140 characters to share my love.
For example, before I can even hint at an album we need to step back and define our terms. The following are not my favorite albums, or even in many cases ones I still listen to. Instead, they’re the soundtrack to certain important periods of my life, times when I was undergoing a fundamental change or period of growth, and these albums felt like my companions on the journey. While not all of these selections are necessarily momentous on their own, they took on a deep meaning for me and spurred me to examine my life.
So okay, with that being said, let’s look at three albums that changed my life.
Depeche Mode – Violator
I was once a 13-year-old girl, and Violator was the soundtrack of my early teen rebellion. It was the first goth-tinged music that I listened to, and one of the first times that my parents hated an album that I loved. (I would sit in my room and play Blasphemous Rumors really loudly whenever I got in a fight with my Mom.) Violator is a legit great album, but I find it hard to listen to it now without wincing at the .. sincerity of being a pre-teen girl.
Hole – Live Through This
I cannot emphasize enough how important Courtney Love was to me in 1995. The Grunge and Riot Grrl philosophies were in full swing, and I was at that weird age around 18 when you’re technically an adult but no one treats you like one and you’re not sure you’d want to be treated like one anyway. Me and my friends worked shitty service jobs, occasionally attended university classes, and at night we would drink gross cheap booze out of plastic bottles and talk about music. We all get older, and in many cases wiser, but I can attribute a lot of my attitude about life to Courtney Love and the idea that a woman can be talented and smart and driven and also a great big mess.
Big Bang – Alive
Okay, so I can hear you now: “Liore, I was with you for the other two selections. But this is a pop album. And the lyrics are in Korean. What are you doing?”. And yes, you’re sort of right in that boppy anthems about partying, dating, and more partying by a manufactured group of upstanding teen boys is not inherently inspirational. But for a number of my adult years, for reasons that aren’t important here, I felt unable to be the person I felt I was inside, and it was a difficult situation. I coincidentally discovered k-pop around the same time that my life’s circumstances changed, and one of my prime ways of expressing.. mid-life rebellion, I guess, was dancing around my house in my underwear, singing along loudly to Alive. The album itself may not exactly be a fomenter of change, but that is what it represents to me.
Also, I walked down the aisle last year to “Fantastic Baby” from this album. My husband is a very patient man.
Faith No More – The Real Thing
Angel Dust is the better album, and the one I still listen to, but The Real Thing was the first time I ever realized that music could be really, really ANGRY. It helped set the tone for my late teen years.
Pulp – Different Class
The exception that breaks the rule, this is an album that changed my life that I also still love love love love love. Sex and socialism — what more could a young person need?