Spinning Platters Picks Six: Albums I Am Thankful For

by Marie Carney on November 26, 2009

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On Thanksgiving, the holiday season begins with family, stuffing your face, and thinking of the things you can give thanks to.  As a music nerd I would like to take time to thank the albums that have changed my life in one way or another.  Some of them have brought me comfort through the years and others have helped to shape my musical taste and turned me in to the reviewer I am today.  Some may surprise you and others should be extremely obvious to those who know me.  To all of the artists involved I say a warm thank you and a happy holidays.  To you, dear readers, hopefully one of these albums can bring you a little warmth on a cold winter day.

1.  The Muppet Show/The Muppet Show 2 – The Muppets

This was the first tape I owned and I listened to it religiously.  My brother gave me a cassette copy of the records with the first Muppet Show album on side A and the second on side B.  Then my parents gave me a hand held tape player when I was about five (1983 if you’re counting).  I used to carry it around the house playing the Muppets CONSTANTLY.  Frankly, I’m surprised my parents didn’t kill me.  This album was the set up for a future of my obsessive love for music.  Thanks family!  To this day I still know every word and how to make the “sound that’s made by worms.”  Also, I discovered my love for Bernadette Peters, who to this day is my favorite singer, with this cassette. Her sweet version of “Just One Person” was a strong favorite then and now:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioR28cNX33Y

 

2.  The Cure – Disintegration

At the age of 15 I was already wearing all black when I got this album from those columbia music club mailers (which was also my first foray into debt, but that’s another topic).  To say this album fit me and my teenage emotions like a glove is an understatement.  Disintegration has gotten me through every break up I’ve ever had.  I was proud of myself for memorizing all 402 words of the title track and would display my prowess by writing the lyrics over and over again on all my high school notebooks in the smallest writing possible.  Anytime I have a really bad day this is the album I turn on to wallow in it.  Lights out, curled up in bed, there is nothing better for a case of the mean reds than turning the volume way up and alternately whispering and screaming along like the sullen teenager inside is begging you to.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isCv6k0U2k4

 

3.  Blur – Parklife

I don’t know what my life would be like without Blur.  They have been my favourite band since the moment in 1994 when I was recording 120 minutes on MTV and a live acoustic version of the song “Parklife” came on.  Blur has influenced the way I spell (wanton ‘ou’s’), vocabulary, my taste in clothing, cheese, movies, television and of course music.  Without my obsessive reading of interviews I would have never discovered Nick Drake, Francoise Hardy, Robbie Williams, Stephen Duffy, and countless other British bands.  I made internet friends I still talk to today on aol message boards.  I don’t want to think about how much money I spent on my first trip to London buying anything that said Blur on it.  I still get all weak in the knees if a member of Blur is within 100 feet of me (see SXSW last year).  I will always be the over excited fangirl for Blur and I am very proud of that fact.  In all honesty I wouldn’t be the person I am today without this album.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBk0C3VX8lk

 

4.   Bright Eyes – Fevers and Mirrors

The first time I heard Bright Eyes is etched into my memory the strongest of all.  It was summer 2000 and I’m hanging out with my ex-boyfriend in his bedroom.  We are talking about music and holding hands while sitting on his bed; I want nothing more than to make out with him, but I know that it is not going to happen.   He jumps up and walks over to the cd player and says “You have to hear this kid.  He’s only 20 and has been releasing music for years, playing parties or wherever he can.”  He puts on Fevers and Mirrors, skips to track 3, “The Calendar Hung Itself,” and we sit in silence and listen, heads down.  It was like hearing my every thought and feeling screamed into the room.  I’d never heard something so raw and wonderful.  I was especially impressed by the weaving in and out of lyrics from “You are my Sunshine.”  It was something truly different and original.  I bought the album the next day and never looked back.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kwJaFnmHo4

 

5.  Benjamin Britten – Serenade for Tenor, Stings and Horn Op. 31

I was raised on classical music and musicals by my father, but it was always Beethoven, Bach and Mozart.  I loved it, still do (well, except for Bach), but it was always my Dad’s music.  In my 20th century composition class I finally found MY classical music.  Before hearing Benjamin Britten’s Serenade I hadn’t found music that could combine my love for passion, dissonance, non-traditional instrumentation AND strong melodic lines.  Thank you neoclassicism!   This piece also helped encourage me to explore chamber music, which then influenced my intense love of classical instruments and arrangements in indie rock.  The cycle of discovery continues. 
The version below is sung by the composer’s lifelong partner, tenor Peter Pears.  My favourite moment is at 2:02 when the horn comes in, btw.

 httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q88svqsTgYQ

 

6.  My Chemical Romance – The Black Parade

There’s this sad moment in life when you grow up.  It happens so subtly you don’t really notice it.  It’s just like all the edges get flattened out; nothing is as exciting as it used to be, but it isn’t as bad either.  Days melt into each other and your life starts to be about waiting for the weekends.  In 2004 when I first heard My Chemical Romance that was my state of mind, whether I realized it or not.  But this band woke me out of my adult slumber.  By the time 2006’s The Black Parade came out I was alive again.  I finally knew what I’d been missing for the last few years was the excitement of discovering great new music.  There’s a certain tingle and feeling in your heart that happens when you find just the right band and just the right album for you.  My Chemical Romance was like my high school feelings adultified.  Lead singer Gerard Way and I are about the same age and have similar musical influences (Blur especially).  Finally a band made me feel like I still had a place in the musical world even after my wannabe music career went nowhere, my music degree went nowhere, and I didn’t know what to turn to next.  There they were, shining in their goth-punk glory: the sound of me in high school finally glorified to the teenage masses.  Redemption at last.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWQ6S7LXgRI

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Vanessa Romero November 26, 2009 at 11:21 am

Aww I’m thankful for you! Great list!

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