Those of us who love music all have those certain songs or albums that completely changed the way we think about music or have impacted us and our lives in significant ways. Today I want to share 5 albums that left a lasting impression on me and had a significant impact on my taste in music.
Before we begin I want to say that this is by no means a list of my favorite albums of all time, although some of them may also be on that list too. These are just albums that left a lasting impression on me in one way or another. We’ll go through these in the order I first heard them in and not in where I rank them as favorites. Let’s begin.
Hot off the success of their single “Fly” from their second album Floored, which was a strangely poppy sounding track on what was essentially a funk/nu metal and skate punk album (that’s right Sugar Ray hilariously used to be a nu metal band before they moved into a poppier sound after their first two releases), Sugar Ray released 14:59 to say their fifteen minutes of fame weren’t up yet. This album moved in a more mainstream alternative rock direction with some poppier tracks, notably the singles “Every Morning” and “Someday,” which are among the only songs most people even know by the band. Liking those two songs from the radio, my mom purchased this album and one day it ended up in the CD changer in the car and when I heard it I fell in love with it. I ended up listening to this album over and over on my own CD player after that. I must have been like 8 at the time, and this was the first time I’d really gone and listened to stuff other than what my parents grew up with on my own. This is what began my love for all things rock. From poppy acoustic tracks like “Every Morning” and “Someday,” to punk tracks like “Aim For Me,” to hard rock tracks like “Personal Space Invader” and “Glory,” and even a cover of “Abracadabra” by the Steve Miller Band, 14:59 was a pretty diverse offering that started me on the path to my rock and metal music tastes. I never really got into their older music or anything released after, but this album still left an impression on me.
As 12 year old me was beginning middle school, Green Day had a career resurgence with their American Idiot album. Singles like “Holiday,” “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends” were all over the radio. There was no escaping this album, not that I minded. This was my first exposure to the band with the exception of “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” which I didn’t even know was one of their songs at the time, and they became my favorite band. I got my first iPod about a year later and it soon had a lot of Green Day songs on it, especially ones from American Idiot. With an iPod I suddenly now had more freedom than ever before to discover music on my own. American Idiot definitely influenced me in those early days of discovering music on iTunes. I was still finding out what I liked and didn’t like, but this was a good place to start. I haven’t really kept up with Green Day’s music and what they’ve released over the last few years except for a song hear or there on the radio, but I still can’t deny the impact this album had on me as I was taking my first steps into music discovery on my own.
Disturbed released their third album, Ten Thousand Fists, in 2005, but it was a year later that I first heard it. in the summer of 2006 I got the game Need For Speed: Most Wanted, and I was exposed to metal music for the first time. This game had a killer soundtrack with songs from Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet For My Valentine, Static-X, Mastodon, and, yes, Disturbed. Those are all bands I still listen to on the regular today, but it was Disturbed that made me fall in love with hard rock and metal music. The song “Blinded in Chains” by Avenged Sevenfold was the first song featured in Most Wanted that I bought from iTunes, but “Decadence” by Disturbed was second, and I got addicted to the song. I wanted more, so I checked out the album it was on, Ten Thousand Fists. After previewing a few songs off it, I bought the whole thing. Disturbed has been my favorite band ever since and Ten Thousand Fists will forever be my favorite album of theirs. It’s not my favorite album of all time, but it’s on my list of favorites for sure. Without Need For Speed: Most Wanted and Ten Thousand Fists, I wouldn’t be the metalhead I am today.
Trivium’s fourth album, Shogun, was love at first listen. I’d heard a few of their songs from their previous two albums on Pandora. I liked what I heard, but never got around to checking out more of their stuff. I fell off of using Pandora a while after that, but on a whim in the spring of 2009 I fired it up again and heard the song “Throes of Perdition” off Trivium’s latest album, Shogun. I went and bought it on iTunes right away, along with the entire album. That was one of the best decisions I ever made. Shogun blew my mind with how good it was. It was and still is an amazing example of what modern heavy metal music can be. It’s fast, it’s heavy, it’s melodic, it’s complex, it’s technical, it’s everything I love about heavy metal. Now, almost ten years after it’s release, Shogun still stands atop of my list of favorite albums of all time, and Trivium is my second favorite band, surpassed only by Disturbed.
Sweet Nothings by Australian prog rock/metal guitarist Plini is only an EP, but it’s had as much of an impact on my music tastes as anything on this list. I actually discovered this amazing set of four songs right here on TAY shortly after I started frequenting the site in 2014. A fellow author who has long since moved on from this site shared the EP in a forum post here and I fell in love with it. I’d never heard anything quite like this instrumental progressive rock before. There was just something magical about it. Fortunately, at this time, Plini gave away most of his music for free, so I went and downloaded Sweet Nothings along with everything else of his that was available. Sweet Nothings is the second in a trilogy of EPs along with the first release, Other Things, which I downloaded along with this EP, and The End of Everything which I bought on release day the following year in 2015. These three EPs are amazing works of music and set me on the path to discovering and loving a world of progressive rock and metal, both of the instrumental and vocal varieties. Sweet Nothings was the first release from Plini that I heard, the one that started it all, so it takes this final slot on my list.
That’s my list. These albums have all left lasting impressions on me in one way or another. I’d love too hear what albums have done the same for you, so feel free to share them in the comments!