Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It's 4am and I'm Listening to my Favorite Albums

 I could try to fall asleep. I could make a real decent effort. Take off my headphones, close my computer, then close my eyes. That's how sleep works. Or, I could think about my favorite albums. That seems just as restful to me. I really love a good full album. I think that there is a reason the songs are ordered like they are ordered and that's how you should listen to them. They tell a story. For me, a good album has been one that I have to replay over and over for at least a solid month. I listen to it in the car, on the way to class, while I make dinner, before I go to sleep. I usually end up writing the lyrics on pieces of paper and then finding them months later and remembering why I fell in love with them in the first place. Albums, and the stories they tell, are magical.

So, here are some of my favorites. Some are older. Some are newer. They all have made a significant impact on me. I can close my eyes and remember how I felt when I was in that stage of obsessively listening to the same 16-ish tracks over and over. To me, that's what music is all about. Memories. A few of mine are built around:

1. The Fray- "The Fray" (2009)
I could never say enough good things about this album. Good, solid honesty with pianos and guitars. Highlights include "Never Say Never" and "Enough for Now".

2. Mat Kearney- "Young Love" (2011)
I get embarrassingly excited when someone else is a Mat Kearney fan. This is just really good songwriting...the kind that reminds me why I like to write songs. Favorite songs? "Learning to Love Again" and "Seventeen" (I think that one is on the deluxe edition, but it is so worth listening to)

3. The Civil Wars-"Barton Hollow" (2011)
This album will always remind me of last fall and leaves and scarves and boots. They have such excellent melodies and folksy, real music. Ugh. Check out "Poison and Wine" and "To Whom It May Concern"

4. Johnny Cash- "At Folsom Prison" (1968)
IT'S JOHNNY CASH. AT FOLSOM PRISON. I'm not sure why I need to say anything else..but, it's just an incredible album where, if you close your eyes, you're there....which probably wouldn't have been safe, but whatever. Just listen to "Folsom Prison Blues" and you'll get it.

5. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers-"Greatest Hits' (2010)
I grew up on these songs. I love these songs. Hearing the opening to "American Girl" will always make me want to stop everything and dance around.

6. Jay-Z- "The Black Album" (2003).
Jay-Z is just brilliant. His music, his business, Beyonce and Blue Ivy. Just love it. Anyways, this album is the first I ever heard by Jay and it has always stuck with me. "Allow me to reintroduce myself" this man.

Ok. Maybe sleep is a good thing right now.