My Top 13 Favorite Albums At the Moment: Check them out most of these albums come from iconic artist and bands and have had a profound impact on my life and who I am and what I listen to. *This list was very hard to come up with as I love too much music and need to see more of it live*
1. Thriller- Michael Jackson
Favorite Track: Lady In My Life
Favorite Music Videos: Billie Jean and Beat It
Who doesn’t like this album? Now I grew up during a time when MJ was still the raining King of Pop but was also going through a crazy legal battle and his image was coming into question a little. The first time I herd this album my sister played it in the car. I instantly fell in love with his voice and his big presence on every track. Everything about this album was perfection from beginning to end. I started to really get more into it a little later when my nephew was born and we were showing him different music on my parent’s record player. Thriller for a while was my nephews favorite album and at only 1 we would listen to that non-stop in the car and at the house and just dance to every track on the album. His favorite song was PYT. Then when I was in high school one of my favorite teachers would start each class with some type of music and most days it was a track off Thriller (mostly Billie Jean or Beat It) which got me even more into it. This album has just been with me through out the years and is really a testament to how Michael’s legacy will live on through his music because no matter if your in a good mood or bad you will always find an MJ song you can relate to on this album.
2. Miseducation of Lauryn Hill- Lauryn Hill:
Favorite Track: Everything is Everything or Doo Woop (That Thing)
Favorite Videos: Everything is Everything, Doo Woop (That Thing)
This was an album that when I was about 8 I got a ripped copy of my sister’s cd. It changed my life! I love this album so much it to me was flawless. She takes hip-hop, with her amazing singing and rapping, mixed with some reggae beats. She was really a voice for women in the ’90s in hip-hop and in general. Many of her songs dealt with women’s issues and issues in the music business and in life. Her influence can be seen in many artist today and is just a vital part of the culture.
3. Ten- Pearl Jam:
Favorite Track: Alive (that guitar solo)
Favorite Videos/Live Performances: Jeremy, Alive & Black MTV Unplugged versions
Oh what I wouldn’t give to be a teen in the ’90s. In August of 1991 (only 2 months before I am born) a beautiful body of work know only as Ten was put out into the world. Pearl Jam a re-imaged, re-imagined version of an earlier band Mother Love Bone who ended to due to the death of their lead singer Andrew Wood on the cusp of success. Now like most kids that grew up in the late ’90s and early 2K without the benefit of the internet and streaming sites at our finger tips you had to look up music by listening to the radio. Something else you would do often was wait till your favorite song came on and then press record on your cassette tape making yourself a mix tape. Anyway that’s pretty much what happened with me and Pearl Jam. In middle school and high school when I was looking for new music especially rock as that was the music I was getting more and more into I looked no further then our local rock station DC 101. Listening to them now it defiantly feels like this station is a little out dated as they play ’90s rock every other song but back then a lot of this music was new to me except the songs my siblings listened to a lot. So when I first herd a Pearl Jam song I was hooked from the start. Eddie’s vocals where so beautiful and the guitar solos where amazing thanks to Stone Gosserd & Mike McCready. Now at that point I only knew a few of their songs due to the radio only playing selected songs. It wasn’t really until 2013 when I watched their documentary Pearl Jam 20 which cronicals their journey from before they started to 2011 when they made the movie. I really found a beautiful connection with the band I hadn’t realized before I learned more of their story. So I went back and listened to the whole Ten album and just fell in love. The pain, angst and perfect harmonies with the dark yet beautiful lyrics really blew me away. To write about hart break, losing the father you never knew, your love of the ocean and depression/bullying/suicide among other things and conveying so much emotion in each song is just so powerful. They are one of my favorite OG bands who are also very politically and socially active which is totally a plus.
4. As Cruel As School Children- Gym Class Heroes:
Favorite Track: It’s Ok But Just This Once
Favorite Music Videos: Shoot Down the Stars, The Queen and I
When I first herd of Gym Class Heroes it was on the radio like most people. “Cupids Chokehold” was playing and that got me intrigued. I was like who are these guys their sound is so fresh and original and different plus they’ve got that hip-hop rock thing going on (and Travie is pretty cute so that was a selling point). So I looked into them more and was really digging their style and their story. You might also only remember them from the public relationship then break up of Travie and Katy Perry before she got big. (Katy acted like a bitch about the whole thing just like all her relationship since probably why she can’t keep a man). Anyway As Cruel As School Children was the their second album of theirs and it was kind of all over the place but in the best way. They took their rock, hip-hop thing and really put it to the test and came out with a few hits like Cupids Chokehold, Shoot Down the Stars, and The Queen & I. This is my favorite album because it is the first album I got into and was heavily promoted on the radio and MTV.
5. 40 oz to Freedom/Sublime- Sublime:
Favorite Tracks: Get Ready, Live at E’s
Favorite Music Videos: Date Rape, Santaria
You know that band or artist who is amazing yet had a very short life span due to the death of a member or they just didn’t catch on fast enough? Well this might be both. Sublime is a band that took the reggae/ska of Bob Marley and other Jamaican artists and put a punk spin on it which was pretty big in the ’90s. This band was another radio band that I fell in love with but again only listened to their hits for a while. It wasn’t until 2011 when I was in AmeriCorps that I found people who were into Sublime as much as me but maybe a little bit more and we just bonded over it. Then when I got home I looked up all three albums they had before Bradley the lead singer’s untimely death. Now Sublime and 40 oz to Freedom are very close in ranking due to the fact that Sublime has a lot of the radio hits I first listened to on it but I think 40 oz takes the cake as it has a lot of my newer favorites on it like 40 oz, Waiting for My Ruca, D.J.’s, Date Rape and others. I did decide to put both albums on here though due to them just meaning so much to me and influencing my musical taste a lot.
6. Vessels- Twenty One Pilots:
Favorite Track: Migraine
Favorite Music Videos: Holding On to You, Car Radio, Guns for Hands
They are new, fresh and cool. They mix some elecro-beats with some killer drumming by Josh (have you seen this guy he is on fire!) some ukulele riffs, piano playing and some awesome singing and rapping by Tyler. Oh and have you seen them doing flips and jumping around on stage while wearing their snow masks. Mix it all together and you’ve got Twenty One Pilots. I consider their music to be art that helps uplift the youth of today and tomorrow. Their lyrics especially speak to me as I feel they are talking from the prospective of the youth that come to their shows. People like to make it out to seem like young people don’t have a hard time growing up and even as an adult it can be hard; shoot I go through stuff every day. And I feel like Twenty One Pilots gets it and their trying to help heal people through their music but it is catchy and great to dance to as well. Also Tyler has said the reason he raps in some of the songs is because his poetry can get really long and then he when he has to “wrap” up a song he will rap to speed it up and get it all in the song. Oh and the picture on the front of the album is Tyler & Josh’s grandpa’s too cute.
7. Infinity on High- Fall Out Boy:
Favorite Track: Carpal Tunnel of Love or Thriller (which talks about poor Pete’s suicide attempt)
Favorite Music Videos: This Ain’t A Scene, I’m Like A Lawyer, Carpal Tunnel of Love, Thnks fr th Mmrs
Basically a kid from the suburbs of Northern Virginia who fell in love with a band who gave her something that was hers. In a house full of too many people, craziness at school and feeling as though your best friend might be going in the wrong direction and how you might be loosing her. I was 14 and I just started 8th grade in 2005. My best friend was turning more dark and listening to a lot more rock music and of course because I wanted to be apart of her new “club” I started listening to rock too. Started listening to the radio stations my older sister and brother always listened to and at that time pop-punk was hitting the air waves like crazy. Fall Out Boy, Panic! At the Disco, Taking Back Sunday and All American Rejects were hit up the charts and you couldn’t escape it. When Infinity on High came out a year later I was already totally hooked. Infinity on High is a little bit of a different sound for them but still very FOB. I was a little more polished then their last two records.
8. Paramore- Paramore:
Favorite Track: Escape Route
Favorite Music Videos: Last Hope, Now, Still Into You
Originally Hayley, Josh, Zack, Jeremy, Taylor up till 2009 and now just Hayley and Taylor. They hail from the shores of Tennessee and are a beautiful pop-punk band with funk & gospel tendencies. I first got hooked on them in 2007 with Crushcrushcrush and just latched on and I just love them. Hayley and her crazy hair and voice, Taylor is cute with his curly hair and just the whole vibe of the band. They were also a band that took a hiatus when Zack & Josh left the band. Only to come back after two years bigger and stronger then ever with Paramore which I loved because it was all about and growing up something I am going through right now.
9. Electric Lady- Janelle Monae:
Favorite Track: Electric Lady or Q.U.E.E.N
Favorite Videos: Electric Lady, Q.U.E.E.N, Dance Apocalyptic
Janelle is an inspiration to girls of color everywhere. From her natural hair to her suit and tie to her incredible dance moves she makes it less about looks and more about the music. Growing up in Kansas City to working parents she adopted the suit & how it represents the everyday person. She feels a responsibility to her community and to young people everywhere to give them a positive outlook on life. She has won the 2012 Black Girls Rock! Young, Gifted and Black Award and is a spokes person for Covergirl. She also is big into the syfy world where she portrays herself as a cool kick ass rebellious stand up for yourself and take charge kind of women android from the future. So cool! Even her lyrics are motivational, inspirational & educational plus she got flow and spits better then most guys.
10. Legend- Bob Marley:
Favorite Tracks: Is This Love, Waiting in Vain, Jamming
Bob has always been in my life. When I was a little kid my sister would play in her car but I had no idea who he was or had any interest in listening to him because it was my sisters music. It wasn’t until much later once I was in high school I got back into him a little and liked him more as I progressed in my music taste. It wasn’t until I was in AmeriCorps and after that Bob became one of my idols. I started to look way more into his discography and just who is a lot more and just fell in love. He was just an amazing person and he influenced most of the music I listen to today.
11. 1962-1966- The Beatles:
Favorite Tracks: Michelle, Eleanor Rigby, My Life
Everybody has at least one favorite Beatles album and for me Rubber Soul is it. When I was in middle school my mom found a copy of the 1963-1966 comp album with songs from Rubber Soul and Revolver on it at the library and started to play it around the house a lot. This got me into the them a lot and I started to listen to the album in my cd player with the few other ripped cds I had when I wasn’t listening to the radio. It was a profound discovery for me and something cool me and my mom could bond over. My mom grew up in LA in the ’60s so she was part of the original Beatles mania which was so cool. Anyway this album had some of their more mature yet experimental tracks on it that they did. Not experimental like Sgt. Pepper or anything but in the since that it has one of their more laid back, chill sounding tracks on it but with crazy funky lyrics. I look back at this comp album in being the first “rock” album I ever fully got into and would lead me down a long path of other classic rock and other Beatles albums for a while.
12. 2014 Forest Hills Drive- J. Cole:
Favorite Tracks: Love Yourz
Favorite Music Videos: GOMD, Intro, Apparently
So the year was 2011 I was in AmeriCorps and one of my teammates who like me was very into music Matt played some of his music while we were in our van on the way home from work. He played some of the Warm Up and Friday Night Lights mixtapes for us and I instantly found something different from most of the hiphop coming out at the time. I liked that Jermaine was able to paint a picture and tell a story through his rhymes. His music just felt genuine like he was taking from real experiences and it was not forced like most rappers at the time. Plus I just felt like I could relate to what he was saying like we were going through similar situations even if we weren’t. Oh and his samples and hooks were on point.It’s a beautiful concept and what I love most about Forest Hills Drive is that it’s got layers. At first hear you might not really get it fully but think it bangs. Your second hear you might understand it a little better but not fully and third you might hear it different and so on and so forth. To me I found it to be a breath of fresh air as he was talking about something real. A lot of people praise Kendrick’s album which came out a few months later in 2015 a little more than Cole’s as they feel it has this theme of pro-blackness and his lyrical game is more on point. To a point I understand that but I like Cole’s better as his them of love is more of a universal theme that anyone can get behind and understand.
13. Humanoid- Tokio Hotel:
Favorite Track: That Day
Favorite Music Videos: World Behind My Wall
So if you know me then you might not know that I am a huge Tokio Hotel fan. I have been since they first made their 2007 American debut. Let me explain. During the summer of 2007 I was watching tv one day while I was babysitting and I saw a commercial and their music video came on. It was for their highly successful single Monsoon. After that I started following them like white on rice. Every little thing they did I was on it. New music, live performances, pics, interviews, you name it. In 2009 their 4th album came out Humanoid and it was the first album I got to experience with this band so I was hype. This album is a little more electro rockish then their previous stuff which was more so straight up glam rock. There was a lot more production done to this album then any other before. I loved the sound and vibes it gave off.