this is rather embarrassing, but in 8th grade I had Stryper tapes, posters, stickers and anything else I could find related to this yellow and black, hair-metal fiasco. they made me feel as rebellious as a christian metal band in tights ever could. i’m still trying to perfect my metal scream.
1992: The Beatles
when i was a sophomore in high school, my friend played me his Sgt. Pepper tape. literally, i have never be the same. the shadow of john, paul, george, and ringo - most notably from the second side of “Abbey Road” - is loitering around every note I’ve tried to write since.
1994: Keith Green
so i was standing in a christian bookstore with a gift certificate in my hands trying to figure out what to get, and i noticed “Keith Green’s greatest hits”. the piano pounding was inspiring, and even the cheesy 70s production couldn’t hold back this freight train of passion.
1995: Stone Temple Pilots
again. . .very embarrassing. but i have to admit that this band really influenced me during early college. they weren’t the most original of the grunge bands, but in my opinion, they were the most musical.
one of the most inventive, musical, gratuitously creative bands i’ve ever heard. rumor is that after their second CD, Spilled Milk, they decided that this was the best album they could ever make. . .and so they broke up. i can see why.
i tagged along with some friends to my first U2 show in 1997 because they could sneak me down to the second row. that night changed me. 3 chord rock and roll that wraps it’s arms around an entire stadium and won’t give up until it changes the world. . .so inspiring.
Table for Glasses, Jimmy Eat World
Currents, Sleeping at Last
Apocalypse Now, Muse
the first 5 songs from Ok Computer, Radiohead
Wake Up, Arcade Fire
Magic, Ben Folds Five
Redemption Songs, Bob Marley
Road to Joy, Bright Eyes
The Scientist, Coldplay
Father Figure, George Michael
Sabrina, Paste, and Plato, Jellyfish
Into the Void, NIN
Down to the River to Pray, Allison Krauss
The District Sleeps Alone Tonight,
Poses, Rufus Wainwright
Phantom Limb, The Shins
Oh the Glory of it All, David Crowder
John Wayne Gacy Jr., Sufjan Stevens
I’m Dying, VAST
Well, the five concerts I went to in the last year were Jonsi, St Vincent, The Killers, U2, and Sigur Ros. And each show was deeply inspiring and caused me to dive back into their music.
Especially The Killers recent album, which is strange because I'm not much of a fan. But "Battle Born" is a masterpiece of overblown pop 80s glory...and I couldn't get enough!
But without question, the album I've listened to the most in the last year has been "Some Nights" by Fun. This is the rare album that Shauna AND Henry AND I all love, so it was the only CD in our car for a long, long time. You should hear a five year old belt out "Carry on".
Another favorite is The Brilliance. David Gungor and band have created some of the most beautiful, honest, haunting spiritual music I've heard in a long time. If you want to connect with God but can't listen to "worship music", check these guys out.
Honorable mentions: Frank Ocean, Of Monsters and Men, Mumford and Sons, and Glenn Packiam.