Monday, November 24, 2014

Top Tens #1: Top Ten Favorite Albums That Got Me Through High School.....

I cannot believe that it has been so long since I have posted something here on my personal blog that isn't connected to "The Reel Perspective" podcast I have. It's been way too long. I have been really busy, but still, I don't have an excuse.

So, being a media critic, I am always asked what my top ten favorite things are, whether it's movies, music, books, video games, comic book, anything dealing with entertainment. It's always hard to answer those questions because when you are so busy being immersed in the media and arts, you experience so many different things and enjoy different things. It's hard to do because there are are so many different ways that the media and arts inspire us about a wide variety of many different subjects. So, I decided that I will do some top ten lists about things that I love, but I am narrowing the categories so that I can share more things.

My first list is the top ten albums that got me through high school. They aren't exactly listed in order, but it doesn't really matter. Here is my list and explanations.

The first thing you need to know is that I was in high school from 1996 through 1999, so you won't find anything after that.

10. The Beatles: Rubber Soul  (UK Release)

While I listened to every Beatles album all the time with them being my favorite band of all-time, Rubber Soul is my favorite. Not that the others aren't amazing, but there is something wonderful to me about this record. It doesn't have a lot of the big number one hits, but it has Nowhere Man, I'm Looking Through You, and In My Life, which is probably my favorite track. I love the idea presented in that song that people come in and out of your life. You have family, friends and lovers that you share life with, wonderful experiences with, and then people change, or pass away, or leave. Not only is it deep, but I think it describes high school, or being a teenager really well. You see these people you go to school with for a few years. They are part of your life, almost everyday, and then you graduate, and people move on out and up in the world. It doesn't mean they weren't special, it just means life is happening. John Lennon recorded a song during his solo career that says "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.", It really shows how life changes.

9. The Smashing Pumpkins: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

When I received my first CD player when I was in 7th grade, I only had Beatles albums for a while, ha ha ha. Seriously, I listened to them a lot. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness was my first album that wasn't a Beatles album. I loved the song "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" which I watched the music video of on "The Box". If any of you know what I am talking about when I say that, then good for you, you are awesome...and old, lol. Anyway, I remember getting the album because my dad tried to talk me into getting another Smashing Pumpkins album because Mellon Collie was a double record, so it cost more, but I insisted on it. Thanks, Dad. Anyway, I listened to this album a lot driving out to school and back, since I was traveling from West Jordan to Magna. I might have had it earlier than high school, but a lot of the songs from the album were great for high school and teen angst. Their follow-up album, Adore, didn't come out until close to my graduation, so this was the Pumpkins album that I listened to most.

8. Oasis: What's the Story Morning Glory

As I said before, I loved The Beatles, and Oasis, although not nearly as good as The Beatles, still had a lot of great songs on this album. Oasis is still around, but really, their best stuff came out in the 90s. Their follow up album, Be Here Now, had some great stuff too, but overall, this is the Oasis album that I have always loved the best.

7. The Mr. T Experience: Our Bodies, Ourselves

My super cool cousin, Greg, got me into punk rock, and I mean, really got me into it. The Mr. T Experience is so awesome. Dr. Frank (A.K.A. Frank Portman, author of the young adult novel, King Dork), may not be the greatest singer at times, but man, this guy knows music and how to write it, and his lyrics are absolutely genius. This song had my high school anthem on it..."Even Hitler Had A Girlfriend". A guy singing how he can't get girls, but the worst guy in history even got them, so what's wrong with girls?  When I heard the recent news this past week that Charles Manson is getting married in prison, this is the first thing I thought of. The funny thing is, Charles Manson is mentioned in the song as well. This record has some really great west coast bay area punk at it's best. I also wanted to put their album, Revenge is Sweet and So Are You on the list, but I wanted to add variety.

6. The Groovie Ghoulies: Fun in the Dark

Another awesome "Ramones" style punk band. The Groovie Ghoulies had quite a few albums, but this one is my favorite. The song "She's My (Vimpire Girl), is freaking awesome, and ends with the lyrics "I wanna rock n' roll every night, and sleep through every day." sung over and over, and since I have insomnia, and loved going to punk rock shows, those became some of my favorite lyrics of all time. Other notable songs on the album are Carly Simon, Brain Scrambling Device, Outbreak, and Don't Make Me Kill You Again. Although they broke up in 2007, they were around since 1986, their lead singer, Kepi Ghoulie still writes, records, and tours today. He has some great stuff, and even just released a new album last week called "Kepi Goes Country". He took some of his rock music and has recorded them with acoustic guitars and classic country instruments, not modern twain country stuff. More like Johnny Cash country. He also did that while the Groovie Ghoulies were still together under the band name The Haints. It's great, fun and energetic music.

5. Bush: Sixteen Stone

I got this album when I was in 8th grade, but I didn't care too much for their follow up album, Razor Blade Suitcase, so this was my go-to Bush album. Everything from "Come Down", "Machine Head" and "Glycerin" always put me in a good, energetic mood. I loved listening to this album before track meets or whatever.

4. U2: Achtung Baby

Although most people consider U2's album, The Joshua Tree, to be their best, Achtung Baby (Achtung is German for attention, by the way, just in case you were wondering) is my favorite. It has some of their biggest hits including: "Mysterious Ways" and "One", but it's the other songs that really make it my favorite. The song "So Cruel" is incredible, and "Light My Way (Ultraviolet Rays) is a wonderful song. While I still consider "With or Without You" to be the greatest song to slow dance to at dances, as a whole, this one is super awesome.

3. The Aquabats: The Fury of the Aquabats

I love The Aquabats. I heard about them and how they went to BYU and are Latter-Day saints was icing on the cake for me. Their brand of humor and Ska music really connected with me. To this day, this is still my favorite Aquabats album. I love to watch their TV show with Elliot, and even got Elliot to love them as well. It's a father-son bonding experience to have fun with The Aquabats. It's not the best video recording in the world, but here is a link to a video I posted on Youtube with Elliot and me playing "Guitar Hero" guitars while watching an Aquabats concert DVD that I have.   This was also my first Ska album in general, but it really got me into the genre and is still one of my top favorite genres today.

2. Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin IV

Three words: Stairway to Heaven. Also, Black Dog, Rock And Roll, and When the Levee Breaks.  I love tons of Led Zeppelin, but this was the first time I "Got the led out". I remember buying it and listening to it with my headphones because my mom told me a story that whenever her good friend used to listen to Led Zeppeling, she would drink a lot. I thought that that was my mom's way of telling me it wasn't very uplifting and that I probably shouldn't listen to it. However, one day, I thought everyone in the house was gone, and I put it on my stereo and cranked it. My mom came running down the stairs and half said and yelled "Yeeahhhh, Led Zeppelin".  All of that sneaking around to feel rebellious blew up in my face. I could have been blasting them that whole time. My one "guilty pleasure" album ended up being not guilty. It wouldn't be until I started listening to Sublime that I would get that back.

1. Journey: Journey's Greatest Hits

Although I did have a vinyl of the Journey Album "Frontiers", (Which was awesome, the label on the record had a picture with the band in skydiving uniforms holding hands in a circle, so while the record was spinning, it looked like they were doing a skydiving trick formation.) When I got around to getting an album, I got their Greatest Hits. I feel like this is kind of a half point because I don't exactly count greatest hits albums as a real album, since usually albums are works of art themselves and songs fit into albums for a reason, well, most of the time anyway, but I loved this greatest hits album. Most people consider "Don't Stop Believing" and "Any Way You Want It" to be their biggest hits, I have always been partial to "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" to be my favorite. Which is also the song that opened up their album "Frontiers", that I mentioned above. There are even more awesome songs on the album, but I think you get the point.

Anyway, that about does it for the list. Like I said, they weren't numbered in a "countdown to my favorite" list. It would be impossible to rank them. Other bands that are honorable mentions are The Guess Who, The Who, Green Day, I can't believe that I didn't have Green Day on there somewhere, but to be honest, Green Day was kind of something I was into more in Middle School. I still love them and listen to them all the time, but when I think of my favorite albums from Green Day, they are from different time periods.

Anyway, I hope you like the list and are inspired to check some of them out. I hope this was a fun blog for you to read. It was a blast to write.