:: Tuesday, July 25, 2006 ::
Life-changing albums: Tim's top 10 (with a bonus No. 4)
Continuing with our meme theme of "albums that changed our lives," today's entry comes from Tim Samoff, a musically inclined techie whose blog design is the envy of AJAX developers everywhere.

"I can think of a many more than ten records that have influenced me dramatically," Tim writes, "but...this is a top ten list. And, as I look over my choices, I can honestly say that they are the definite 'top ten,' and not just a bunch of random choices out of my top one hundred."

Actually, Tim's list goes to 11. Just like that amp in Spinal Tap. (Due to a miscalculation, or a two-way tie for the No. 4 spot.) No matter. I'll take a top 11. Without further ado:
1. Journey - Escape

This is the album that made me realize music was a passion. I was in the 4th grade and our teacher let us play it on our headphones during "quiet time." I guess he was pretty hip. I think the first record I ever bought was the first one, "Journey," with Gregg Rolie on vocals. Man, even at that age, it totally blew me away.

2. Joan Jett & the Blackhearts - I Love Rock N' Roll

"I Love Rock & Roll" was the song that made me want to play the guitar. It wasn't until a few years later that I actually got the chance, but I'm pretty sure that song was the most influential song of my life. It's strange that something so simple and
contrived could do that but, 25 years later, I'm still playing the guitar.

3. Ramones - Ramones

Even though this record came out in 1976, I discovered it a little late -- maybe 1982 or 1983. This is when I knew punk rock was a part of me. It didn't last for long, though...

4. Def Leppard - Pyromania

I don't care who you are or what kind of music you like. If you're around my age, Def Leppard's "Pyromania" affected your musical tastes in some way. For me, as a guitarist, I couldn't help but latch on to the music that they were making. This album started a punk rock haitus, of sorts, in my life: the next few years would
be devoted to learning some heavy metal guitar licks.

4. Iron Maiden - Live After Death

"Holy cow! Music can be this heavy and still be melodic?" That was probably my first reaction to Iron Maiden. This is when I began writing my own songs.

5. English Beat - Wha'ppen?

Never too far from my punk rock roots, I continued to purchase some of the music that was in my soul. Ska was something that I discovered early on, but sort of kept a secret. All of my friends were into metal and I don't think I wanted any of them to know that I liked some music that you could dance to. The English Beat were making that kind of music and talking about things that I wasn't hearing in heavy metal.

6. Madness - Madness

That's it. I don't care who knows now. Madness was my way of making my break from metal. "Our House" and "House of Fun" and "Night Boat to Cairo"... Insanity and musical genius combined into one tidy package. Skanking quickly became a part of my daily life.

7. Misfits - The Misfits

Punk rock was always there, just not in the forefront. I used to listen to this record constantly. I think my parents started to get a little worried about me.

8. Bad Religion - Against the Grain

"Holy cow! Music can be this punk rock and still be melodic?" Yep. That was probably my response to this music. I first heard "Get Off" while at the beach. It took me a few weeks to track down who the band was, and once I did, I felt pretty stupid. Bad Religion was pretty much a Southern California punk rock staple. This is when heavy metal took the backseat and I was back into punk.

9. Pink Floyd - The Wall

I admit that I got into Pink Floyd rather late in the game. I had friends who listened to them, but I never really got it. My musical tastes probably just hadn't matured enough yet. Pink Floyd made me remember Journey, which made me realize how cool some of the prog rock and electronic music I had been missing out on was.
And, this was around 1990 or 1991...

10. Front 242 - Tyranny (For You)

I was hooked. I think, early on, Ska had delivered me into the mindset that music could be hard-hitting, catchy, and danceable. I don't know if I was ever able to verbalize it, but I may have always been looking for something that might fuse all of my tastes into one thing. "Industrial" music was able to incorporate heavy
metal, punk rock, rap, spoken word -- pretty much everything -- into an amazing amalgamation of noise and music that was...danceable! This is when I began work on my solo, electronic music project, A Different Kind of Cop. Now, three recordings, tons of college radio play, and many compilation inclusions later, I can look back to Front 242 (and even Pink Floyd) as the reason for all of this.

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:: Andrew 07:02 + ::

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