A few days ago I was tagged in a Facebook thing. Over ten days, post ten different music albums that had an impact on you. The rules said that you weren’t allowed to post an explanation as to why an album was included.
I followed those instructions on Facebook, but this isn’t Facebook and I can write whatever I want! Haha!
Here’s my list of ten musical albums that an impact on me, with some explanation as to why I picked them.
Linus From the Stars – Hopeless Dreamer
Linus from the Stars is a one-man, synth-pop side-project from the Swedish musician better known as “nanobii”. All of his albums are fantastic, but Hopeless Dreamer is probably my favorite. They all have a very optimistic focus, which was fortunate for me. I discovered Linus’ music at the right time, when my mental health was at its lowest. Whenever I listen to this album, it always makes me feel better.
Owl City – Cinematic
Owl City is probably my favorite musical artist ever. His most recent album, Cinematic, is unique because all the songs are biographical in nature, whether about him or members of his family. Having a musical autobiography is such a cool idea to me.
Ben Rector – Magic
I first heard of Ben Rector when he did a show while I was a student at Oklahoma Christian. I didn’t go to the show, but his name stuck in my head. Years later I heard a song in a bookstore that I thought was cool. Turns out, it was Ben Rector. At that point, I looked him up on Spotify and fell in love with his music instantly.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Original Soundtrack
Okay, this isn’t technically an album, but I grew up listening to the music of the video games I played as a kid. It was a huge influence on my own music. Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s soundtrack was always my favorite. You can listen to the entire soundtrack in this Youtube playlist.
The music from this game and its prequel Sonic the Hedgehog was composed by Masato Nakamura, part of the highly successful Japanese pop band Dreams Come True.
Katamari Damacy Original Soundtrack
Katamari Damacy is a video game where you roll a sticky ball around to pick stuff up making it bigger. As you get bigger, you can pick up bigger stuff. Repeat this process until you’re the size of a star. It was my first introduction to some of the wacky content that comes from Japan. The game is incredibly fun, but what made it so memorable to me was the music. I remember playing the game with my cousins and talking more about the soundtrack than the game itself, even though I didn’t speak a single word of Japanese. You can listen to the whole soundtrack in this Youtube playlist.
Non Non Biyori Original Soundtrack
Non Non Biyori is a Japanese anime of the iyashikei genre, which TV Tropes describes as “having a healing or soothing effect on the audience” and “involv[ing] alternative realities with little to no conflict, [and] emphasizing nature, the mundane and the little delights in life.” I watched this when I was in college and, to this day, it’s still one of my favorite series. The music really captures the rural setting and slow pace the show features. You can listen to the whole soundtrack in this Youtube playlist.
Kenshi Yonezu – Bootleg
The first time I heard Kenshi Yonezu was in the opening credits for My Hero Academia Season 2, where his song Peace Sign was featured. That song was part of his album Bootleg. While he wasn’t the first mainstream Japanese artist I discovered, finding that album was the catalyst for my personal J-rock playlist that, as of the writing of this post, is over 5 hours long.
Fleetwood Mac – The Dance
I’ve never been a fan of live albums. I prefer the polish that the studio can put onto the final product. However, there are two live albums that blow me away: The Bee Gees’ One Night Only, and this one. The mixing is so good and the performances are so flawless that I forget I’m even listening to a live concert recording. Oddly enough, I heard the live performances of these songs before hearing the studio versions.
Backstreet Boys – Millennium
One of my earliest musical memories is riding in the car with my cousins who had this album on cassette. It only seemed fitting to include it on a list like this.
Journey – Greatest Hits Volume 1
My introduction to the music of the 80s, which is still my favorite decade of music. Steve Perry could sing the phone book and it would be good. Journey had so many good songs that this album was followed up with a second volume.
Some Albums that Missed the Cut
There were a lot of albums that came to mind when building this list, enough that I had to leave some out. Here are a few more that didn’t make the cut:
- The Bangles – Greatest Hits
- Dwight Yoakam – A Long Way Home
- Cody Fry – Flying
- The Click Five – Tcv
- Huey Lewis and the News – Sports
- Hanson – The Walk