Currently trending on Twitter is the hashtag #3AlbumsThatChangedMyLife. Designed to have people tweet the covers of three albums that changed their lives in some way, it’s not meant to seek their favorites, which I love. It’s much easier to think of landmark events than favorite moments as those can shift on a minute-by-minute basis. But something that left an indelible effect on one’s life? Those are far easier to pinpoint.
That hashtag got me thinking of three albums that shaped my musical life. To be 100% honest, I only needed about 10 seconds before three immediately came to mind. Therefore, I figured I’d share my own and hope that you would all let me know yours!
Tangerine Dream – Legend OST
This was one of my favorite films as a child and Tangerine Dream‘s score was a big part of my love for this movie. It was also the soundtrack that got me hooked into film scores, the one that made me pay attention to the music of a movie as much as I paid attention to the visuals and story. I remember laying on my bedroom floor with a cheap keyboard in front of me, plunking away and trying to figure out to play the main theme. This soundtrack is what inspired my love of music and will forever be the most important album of my life.
Metallica – The Black Album
My sister had a party once and several of her friends brought CDs over so they could have music in the background whilst doing whatever it was that they did (I wasn’t invited). One of her friends left a copy of Metallica‘s The Black Album but no one laid claim to it. It’s as though someone left it deliberately, never wanting to have it in their possession again. So, I did what any rebellious young teenager would do: I took it and played it, wanting to see if I was going to be interested in “metal”. At this point, the only real albums I owned were Green Day’s Dookie, No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom, and, shame upon shame, ICP’s The Great Milenko.
The Black Album completely changed me. Suddenly, it felt like I found a genre that was meant for me, that spoke to who I was as a person. Prior to having this album, I never really took to metal, even though I liked the occasional “harder” song. But now it all made sense and I went down that path and have never looked back.
Porcupine Tree – In Absentia
In the summer of 2002, I was hanging out with a core group of friends and our big thing was going to concerts and blasting music at earth-shattering volumes, all while hooking up our computers and playing Diablo II via LAN. One of those guys was a huge prog rock fan and kept talking about a band by the name of Porcupine Tree. One day I was at a music store and I saw In Absentia for $9.99. That was back when CDs were anywhere from $13.99 to $17.99, so I saw it as a great deal and said to myself, “Fuck it. If I don’t like it, it was a cheap test.”
I got into my car and popped the album into my Discman, which was connected to the stereo system via a cassette adapter. I dug the first track, “Blackest Eyes”, but it was “Trains”, the second track on the album, that hooked me. The vocal harmonies in the bridge starting at 2:55 in the below video absolutely blew my mind. I rewound and replayed that section over and over and over. Then I replayed that song over and over and over. I think I listened to it maybe 20 times before I allowed the album to progress to the third track. What followed is an album that I still return to with enormous fondness and joy, now mixed with wisps of nostalgia because it’s been a part of my life for so long.
While The Black Album introduced me to my love of metal, In Absentia allowed me to stray into new and exciting territories. It was because of this album that I felt comfortable testing the waters of anything that came across my path. After all, if I took a risk on this album and it ended up changing my life, who knew when that might happen again?