I decided to skip TITMT this week due to lack of time with the holidays and report cards.... I just got around to this today. As you all know, it's Thanksgiving (Happy Thanksgiving!) and I doubt a lot of people will be visiting this blog today anyhow. TITMT will resume next week according to schedule. Happy turkey day to all who celebrate!
While I love long winded questions like last week's TITMT, I have to admit that answering them can be a rather daunting task. Sure, I could easily make a list of albums I've loved throughout the years, but without any explanation, I somehow find that that the list itself becomes rather...listless, for lack of a better word.
I also find that when it comes to list making of the pop culture variety, there comes an inordinate amount of pressure. Pressure that is inflicted by no one on myself but
myself. All five to ten of you who still stick with me in reading this blog surely skim what I write. And yet that's why I think my posts have become less frequent. For me, I'd rather do them right or not do them at all.
This being said, what follows is the abbreviated list that I came up with. The lack of completeness continues to frustrate me, but I'm "letting go" by not adding on more to the list so instead I can add a bit of meat to the descriptions (and avoid unnecessary crucification as well). Also it should be noted that a "best albums" includes many different types of bests. Sometimes the memories alone that you attach to something make all the difference.1980's: Period of Discovery 1. Rick Springfield-Greatest Hits
Since I was a little kid when Rick Springfield first became popular, I didn't actually discover most of his music until the early nineties. At the time I borrowed his greatest hits album from someone else. That album was my gateway release to all things Rick Springfield and is a must have introduction record.2. Madonna- True Blue
Suffice it to say that anything Madonna related was quintessential in the eighties. True Blue
, however, was the first album of hers that I truly connected with and enjoyed pretty much every track.3. Squeeze- Babylon and On
This is one of my favorite albums by one of my all time favorite underrated bands. Unfortunately, they aren't together anymore, so I have to relish instead in the classics. In fact I love them so much it was hard to choose a favorite albume. I settled on this one because it holds a special place in my heart since it was one of my bargain bin finds. I paid at the most $2.00 for it. It was one of the best $2.00 purchases I ever made.4. Cyndi Lauper- She's So Unusual
It was a perfectly titled album in its perfect time and place. I don't think I truly appreciated Cyndi Lauper nearly as much as I should have growing up. It's only in recent years, when I see how she has influenced other artists and how I miss the type of music that she made unique that I miss her and how it used to be.5. Debbie Gibson- Out of the Blue
A guilty pleasure choice for sure, I clearly remember being in love with this album back in the 1980's. I thought it was so cool that she was only like ten years old than me, too and writing and performing at such an early age. Part of me wanted to be Debbie Gibson back then. Sure it sounds funny now but back in 1988 you couldn't really blame me.6. Tiffany- Tiffany
Nothing else to say but see above, sans the writing part that is. In retrospect, I actually think Tiffany was the superior vocalist who got stuck in a world of mediocre material. If only she had the writing abilities of Debbie Gibson (and the marketing genius behind Britney Spears) we might have heard more from her.7. George Michael- Faith
In the eighties, George Michael was like the little artist that could. No one expected an alum from a band called Wham to be a big sensation, regardless of how many hits the colorful duo may have had. But just as soon as George Michael's star show brightly, it seemed to self destruct. Such a shame too when there's so much talent.
8. Michael Jackson- Thriller
Just the fact that this album is still discussed and referred to now tells you how much of an influence it had on artists, both past and present. Sure I love Justin Timberlake, but his sound didn't come out of the sky people.9. Huey Lewis and the News- Sports
Not only did I love all things Huey Lewis, I loved their infectious videos, too. Looking back they were like the good time bar band that happened to make it big, but back then, that translated to cool, too.1990's: Period of Fascination1. Lauren Christy- Breed
Another bargain bin purchase, I bought this album on a whim. I had heard of Lauren Christy before, but wasn't all that impressed with her sound. Imagine my surprise by being blown away by tracks like I Want What I Want
. How she didn't have a big hit on her hands is still beyond me.2. Jellyfish- Bellybutton and Spilt Milk
It's impossible to pick just one album for some artists. Jellyfish is one of them. They only had two albums though so the fact that both of them made them to my top list gives you a clue of just how awesome they are.3. Taxiride- Imaginate
I forget how I discovered this band but I do remember the first song I heard by them was Get Set
. I think it was their only minor hit here in the states, and oddly enough, it's probably one of my least favorite tracks on the album. Overall though the whole collection is a full of hits that never came to pass.4. Tonic- Lemon Parade and Sugar
I love everything Tonic has done and I was lucky enough to see them play live once. They aren't together right now and lead singer Emerson Hart is doing his own thing. The voice is the same, but the material I miss. If You Could Only See
still makes me say "awww" to this day.5. Third Eye Blind- Third Eye Blind and Blue
I don't know what happened to this band but 3EB really rocked the late nineties. Both of these albums were good, but there are a few songs on their debut album that totally blew me away when I first heard them. I also used to have a crush on the lead singer, Stephan Jenkins, but that's before I heard his speaking voice.6. Letters To Cleo- Wholesale Meats and Fish and Go
I owned Wholesale Meats and Fish
because of their single, Awake
but didn't really put the album into heavy rotation until LTC was the band to play on our campus one year. Ever since then I wondered why I didn't start listening sooner. Now I miss what once was. Girls have tried to rock before but back in 1997, I totally would have loved to be a rocker chick like LTC's Kay Hanley.7. Jude Cole- A View From 3rd Street and Start The Car
Anyone who knows me knows that Jude Cole is a staple in my musical collection. Though he has turned his talents to being behind the scenes these days, these two albums are underrated gems full of good, solid music.8. Athenaeum- Radiance
Another album I discovered by accident, this band had one minor hit with the song, What I Didn't Know
. Believe me when I tell you though that what you
don't know is just how awesome this band was. I say was because I'm not sure if they are together anymore though they did have some kickass songs on their hard to come by second release as well. They never managed to break on through to the other side though.9. Cake- Fashion Nugget and Prolonging the Magic
Although a bit of a novelty band, Cake personified the perfect mix of sarcasm and rock. I don't know how they managed to do it time and again, but they did. Their later albums tapered off a bit in this department but I suppose that change was inevitable. I Will Survive
still goes down as one of the best and original remakes to date though.10. The Party- The Party
Somehow it doesn't seem to do them justice to refer to them as the band that Mickey Mouse Club built. Still, for accuracy's sake, that's exactly what they were. I know that they weren't really responsible for the idea or even the material, but the five person, boy/girl mix was classic and even somewhat original in a day and age where boy bands were all the rage. I can still remember loving snippets of this album from the commercial. Then I bought the album itself, and the other three to follow and I became a surprising lifelong fan.
11. Better Than Ezra- Deluxe
Although Better Than Ezra is still technically around, their first album remains the best containing hit after hit song. I also had the privilege of hearing these guys play live in their heyday.
12. Alanis Morissette- Jagged Little Pill
Any girl who grew up in the mid nineties knew Alanis. Most girls might have even identified with her. I know I have had a few moments in my life where I felt Alanis was speaking on my behalf. I know this wasn't her debut, but it was a rebirth of sorts. Very few albums have been this monumental in an artist's career. Unfortunately that makes it hard to duplicate its success. It's ok though. Even though the awkward teenage days are behind me, my love for Alanis remains.13. Danielle Brisebois- Arrive All Over You
My theory on this album is a simple one. This record came out shortly after Alanis's record. Both of them were former child stars (Danielle was on All In the Family) with something to prove. Only problem is Alanis got their first, bottom line. My only wish was that Danielle had found her niche. Unfortunately, I'm still waiting.14. Vertical Horizon- Everything You Want
I don't get it. This album is the perfect example of a true hit record. Song after song is great. But the pressure to live up to the first album never did amount to what I expected it to. I surely thought this band would have been in it for the long haul, or at least another
solid album or two. But record company woes prevented that from happening in a timely fashion. Before you knew it, time had marched on as did VH fans. Not this one though.15. Live- Throwing Copper
Yet another classic from my high school days, Live had so many great songs on this album. My personal favorite is probably Pillar of Davidson
because it was one of the few that wasn't played out in 1994.16. New Radicals- Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too
Although it might have seemed that Danielle Brisebois went back into oblivion, she actually continued to make music with the New Radicals, headed by creative front man, Gregg Alexander. They are best known for being a "one hit wonder" band for the song Get What You Give
. Anyone who has ever listened to the album knows though that you get much more than that.17. The Greenberry Woods- Rappledapple and Big Money Item
I discovered The Greenberry Woods when they opened up for Tears For Fears. I think I actually went to the concert to see Jellyfish, the second opening act, but that's neither here or there. I bought the Greenberry Woods album right away and actively sought out Big Money Item
. Both albums had classic harmonies and pure potential pop hits galore. Once again, it wasn't meant to be.18. Robbie Williams- The Ego Has Landed
Although Robbie Williams was technically a boy band alum, there's very little evidence of this on his debut album. He was always like the Robert Downey Jr. of the pop world to me, full of talent but always on the verge of self destruction. I know I'm talking about him in the past tense as if he isn't around anymore but the truth of the matter is nothing he's done since has come close to his impressive debut. Nothing.2000's: Period of Disillusionment1. Avril Lavigne- Let Go
Sure Avril is a bit played out now, but I still can remember listening to her album over and over being amazed by how much I really liked it. I still get somewhat excited when I hear she has a new album coming up, but unfortunately everything else she has done so far paled in comparison.2. Jimmy Eat World- Bleed American
I remember receiving this record to review as an advance back when in 2001. I had just started a new job and it was right around September 11th. I heard that the title track was actually renamed because of 9/11. Regardless of it's name, this album was my introduction to all things Jimmy Eat World, and what a wonderful world it is.3. Melissa Lefton- Melicious
Technically I'm not sure this album was ever actually released. I also received this to review and loved the fun feeling of it. It's all the best things you love about pop and the eighties rolled into one. Melissa really was the Tracey Ullman or Julie Brown, with a dash of Cyndi Lauper thrown in, of our generation. I don't think anyone will ever know it though.4. Pink- Missundaztood, Try This, I'm Not Dead
I'll make this short, but sweet. I didn't know how great Pink was going to be after hearing her debut single There You Go
, but her music went in a different direction. Now where she goes, I follow. Anything Pink makes tickles me.5. Mandy Moore- Mandy Moore
I don't understand why Mandy "I'm a movie actress now" Moore has decided to shun her early musical roots. When she says she hates the music she was making them I sincerely hope it's her debut album and not the one I'm talking about here because it's a wonderful pop record which, truth be told, her newer material doesn't hold a candle to creatively. Sorry, Mandy.6. Rilo Kiley- The Execution of All Things and More Adventurous
I never would have imagined that little child actress Jenny Lewis would go on to be one of my biggest musical influences as an adult. She just transcends so many genres it's amazing. If you haven't checked out Rilo Kiley yet, what are you waiting for?7. Phantom Planet- The Guest
After The OC
came and went, Phantom Planet was perhaps best known as the band that sang their theme, California
. A great song in its own right, it really just skims the surface of what Phantom Planet's album was all about. I was so excited to hear their subsequent releases, but being typical "artist types" they seemed to sacrifice a good thing for experimentation. I'm still hoping they get back on course one day.8. Ben Folds- Rockin' The Suburbs
Whether he's with the Five or not, Ben Folds is an unapologetic, mediocre singer at best. But the rawness shines through in his material. Needless to say there's some really strong pop tunes on this album. Who says all singers need to have great voices? Sometimes it's just as important having something to say.
I thought about compiling a recent list but reconsidered since it hasn't been that long to really list all time faves. Like any list I make, it's all a work in progress. Don't be surprised if you see the best of 2007 in an upcoming, "feeling nostalgic because it's the end of the year" type list, soon!