Thursday, July 13, 2017

50 Albums that Influenced Me (Disc Four)

by Germar Derron

(find "Disc Three" here)

For a former music major-saxophone player-producer-audio engineer-songwriter-label intern-artist manager, I barely write about, talk about, or even think about music. Maybe I'm bitter. Did I just say "former?" WOW. This list covers the 50 albums that mattered most in my life. 

To make the list, I had to have acquired the full album through some legitimate means. So, very few post-2008 albums made the list because: 1) do CDs still exist?; 2) are there "record" stores?; and 3) Spotify, YouTube, and Pandora. These albums are not necessarily my favorites. And many of my favorite artists and most of my favorite songs are missing. The "then" and "now" scores depict how my feelings have changed with time. Those two scores combined determined the album's 
overall rank.

19.  Michael Jackson, Bad (1987) For most people, this album marked the unveiling of a new, "brighter" Michael. He was disappointed with the album's performance. It only: sold 20 million copies; produced a record four straight #1 singles; featured a hit from a 3D--theme park exclusive--film; included a duet with Stevie; introduced the CD bonus track, which introduced a hit film starring Michael; and inspired two of the top three best music video-short film events of all time. He was that good. Then: 9.9 + Now: 7.5 = 17.4

18.  Jidenna, The Chief (2017) I don't hate on today's generation of hip-hop artists, but not many made this list. Jidenna is doing something that matters. He's saying something more--more meaningful and more powerful--than "bottles at the club." And he does it without being corny or contriving. Then: 8.5 + Now: 9 = 17.5

17.  Michael Jackson, Thriller (1982) He changed the entire music industry with the release of this album. It remains the top selling album of all time, and that's not likely to ever change. The B-sides are better than most singles. Then: 9 + Now: 8.5 = 17.5

16.  The Strokes, Is This It (2001) I didn't fall in love with my favorite band, and this album, until I listened to random tracks on imeem nine years after Is This It's release. I'll never forget buying this, and Room on Fire, from Zia Records in Tucson, Arizona. T'was the best decision I ever made in Tucson. Then: 8.5 + Now: 9 = 17.5

15.  No Doubt, Tragic Kingdom (1995) Ten years passed before the hype moved me to consider purchasing this. It changed me. I'd not heard anything like No Doubt before, or in the time since. Horns. Funky, awkward rhythms. Piercing vocals. Ska-rock-alternative eargasms. Then: 9.9 + Now: 8.0 = 17.9 

14.  Mary J. Blige, My Life (1994) She's the Queen of Hip Hop Soul. This album legitimized her genre. Because of it, we got decades of top talent singing over good and grimy hip-hop beats. Then: 9.9 + Now: 8.0 = 17.9 

13.  LL Cool J, All World (1996) He's the G.O.A.T. And because of this album, I'll never deny that. At the time, it was an 11 year career. Today, his musical career spans two decades. On All World, he's a comedian, poet, battle rapper, romantic, gangsta, and player. And you know it's all real. Then: 9 + Now: 9 = 18 

12.  Kanye West, Late Registration (2005) I watched the "Heard 'em Say" video over and over and over again. On this album, Ye cemented his status as one of the industry's top producers. It's success proved that he wasn't a fluke. Before he said "how Sway" in meme form, he relayed "our" message as well as anyone. Then: 9 + Now: 9 = 18 

11.  Janet Jackson, janet. (1993) Every few years I listen to nothing but "Anytime, Anyplace," on repeat for days or weeks. It's her--more grounded--Thriller, and features six chart-toppers. Then: 9 + Now: 9 = 18 



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