10 life-changing albums: KJo's list My good buddy KJo has compiled her list of the 10 albums that most influenced her life. KJo is a former student who worked in our office a few years ago (or longer; I can't remember; the years fly by in old age, you know). She was also the most savvy about '77 punk of any of our office workers, past or present, so naturally we hit it off.
Here's the KJo list, unedited, unexpurgated and "in no particular order":
1. John Mayer -- Room for Squares Most of the album completely embodies how I felt after college, and it's one of the first times I ever felt I could've been the lyricist. Specifically the song "Georgia Why" -- exactly my emotions when I arrived in Alabama, and later when Alabama really soured for me.
2. Rage Against the Machine -- Rage Against the Machine Angry (mostly) political rock. Never liked them when they first were around when I was in high school (in fact, I hated them), but then my out-of-Coal City personality was coming out and I was intrigued by "making a statement" and completely embraced theirs.
3. Rolling Stones -- VooDoo Lounge Obviously not even close to the best Stones album, but the tour that supported this album is what brought me, with my mom, to my first show. And ever since I have loved live music beyond any other thing I could do on any given night.
4. Michael Jackson -- Thriller I was 5 and I wore out this tape. Michael Jackson was my gateway to being a music lover.
5. James Taylor -- Greatest Hits I was late into freshman year of college and was at my parents' house jamming out to CDs and such. I put this on and my dad came out to dance with me -- for the first time ever. And he said, "I never imagined you would like this stuff" and we talked about tunes, which really turned in to talking about life which may have been the first time I saw my dad as not my dad and he saw me as someone on the edges of adulthood.
6. Alanis Morrisette -- Jagged Little Pill Again, I missed the boat the first time around with her. It came out when I was in 8th grade but I didn't really listen to it until midway through high school. But she rocked and rocked hard when she wanted to, and I wanted on some level to be that raw, bad-ass chick.
7. Reel Big Fish -- Turn the Radio Off My introduction to ska, which has become some of my favorite music. But it was changing because it was ska that led me to punk and some of the bands that became my college soundtrack.
8. Spice Girls -- Spice World Yeah, this sounds cheesy and horrible (oh, and it is, without a doubt), but it was giggly and fun and how I met three of the girls that would be my best friends in college and embodies everything about just "hanging with the girls". Silly, at times, is needed.
9. Lucinda Williams -- Car Wheels on a Gravel Road I stopped in my tracks when I heard this because she has so much beauty, grace, and power in songs that rely on those traits. No overproduction, just the sounds meshing together almost perfectly. And that's the key -- almost perfectly. Sounds like reality.
10. Bruce Springsteen -- The Rising Everyone knows what inspired it. And it wasn't all somber or angry -- it was hopeful. I had no connection to NYC but I cannot describe the emotions, and how deeply, that hit me after September 11. But I thought if someone who did have a "connection" could then turn around with something like this album, then that's a way to live. And that's what stayed with me after the CD ended.