In a lot of ways, my musical experience has been one of blundering from my sheltered past into unknown universes. Cool, but also a little embarrassing when I arrive somewhere everybody's already been.
I'll shoot for albums that changed my outlook. These are pretty much in chronological order. I put in some samples, too.
- Bad Religion - Suffer. I grew up listening to classical music, Dust Bowl folk and country & western. I rarely listened to rock 'n' roll until high school. I mean, I knew about Ratt, Styx, Foreigner, all that in middle school, but that wasn't what I usually listened to. When I heard this (with my best friend, Chris, over at Jay Dunlap's house), it blew me away.
- Jimi Hendrix - Some compilation or another. I was unaware of the existence of classic rock that was other than what you might hear in Back to the Future.
- Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers - My introduction to reggae. Chris bought that one.
- Pink Floyd - The Wall. Weird-ass movie but a ton of great music.
- N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton. My exposure to rap was pretty limited until college (first roomie was an Army brat, a black guy from Oceanside, not a jazz guy). "Fuck the Police" was a revelation.
- The Geto Boys - The Geto Boys. Pretty much the most outrageous and funny gangsta rap ever made.
- Richard Thompson - Rumor and Sigh. Opened my eyes to the folk scene of the early 1990s.
- Tori Amos - Crucify. My favorite from the angry woman movement. Alerted me to the existence of a completely unexpected scene.
- The Butterfly Lady - Her musical taste is similar to mine, but she searches for new music in completely different circles, so I get a lot of exposure to music I probably wouldn't find on my own, like Ali Farka Toure, Outlandish, Mister Gang...
that one is aka:
- The White Stripes - The White Stripes. Opened my eyes to garage rock. I think I listened to this album about 50 times in a row.
- Townes Van Zandt - Live at the Old Quarter. I obviously had heard his songs before, but not performed by him. This is a fantastic album. Minimal production is a big plus. This album got me to check out a lot of folk/country from the 1970s.
- Joe Purdy - Julie Blue. Uh, yeah, there's a pattern here. I didn't know there was an L.A. folk scene until I blundered into Joe Purdy, who incidentally kicks ass live. Here is a song from his supposedly upcoming album, Last Clock on the Wall:
- Mitch Hedberg - Mitch Altogether. Not music, right? Yeah, but he changed how I tell jokes and how I look at run-of-the-mill stuff, which was his bread and butter.
- 9 Songs. OK, that's a movie. But it tuned my in to music of the hipster scene. What they were listening to in that five minutes, anyway.