Meme: 15 Albums

Got this from Facebook, but posting here in my blog instead (which imports into Facebook anyway). I think I went a bit nuts on this meme, with links for your Amazon-carting, YouTube-viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

15 Albums

Think of 15 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life or the way you looked at it. They sucked you in and took you over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, emotions. These are the albums that no matter what they were thought of musically shaped your world. When you finish, tag 15 others, including me. Make sure you copy and paste this part so they know the drill.

Tagged by Popo, who drums like there’s no tomorrow!

Also, since most of my friends have already been tagged, I’m tagging the musicians themselves instead. You changed my life, you bastards! 😀

1. Death Cab For Cutie – Transatlanticism
2004: This album is an obvious first choice. It speaks of distance – whether literally or figuratively – between two lovers, and it’s so fucking _palpable_ that it hurts.  Many nights in 2004 were spent crying to this album, and I still can’t listen to “Transatlanticism” without choking up. DCFC played that song last in their Singapore set last year, and I would have sobbed my heart out then, if we weren’t trying to sneak out to get to the autograph line first.

2. Dave Matthews Band – Under The Table And Dreaming
1998: This album made me pick up a guitar to learn how to play the songs, which led to me auditioning for my very first band, Mr. JiL (who specifically looked for someone who could play DMB songs), which led me to be in bands for the next seven years. “Jimi Thing” was my audition song and I still get giddy whenever I hear it. There’s a simplicity and joy in this album, which corresponds to a simpler and happier time in my life as well, when I was discovering the wonders of music. I’m grateful I got to watch DMB before Leroi Moore passed away.

3. +/- – Let’s Build A Fire
2008: There is no way you can play “Steal the Blueprints” without me leaping to my feat and dancing like a maniac, which is exactly what I did when Plus Minus performed it here. Twice. This album stayed in my car CD player for weeks, has been in my Walkman phone for months, and probably will never leave my hard drive. Hell, I played it in Boracay last week! There’s an infectious optimism in the album that I hope will never, ever leave me.

4. Bloc Party – Silent Alarm
2007: I have one clear memory of standing on the balcony of a dark sweaty gig place in San Francisco, knowing nobody else in the crowd, as Bloc Party performed onstage in perfect (actually, faster) time. I loved Bloc Party at the peak of my “I’m so happy I’m in a band!” phase, and playing “So Here We Are” is one of my favorite memories onstage. Not to mention that the band I was in (We Kick Ass For The Lord), quite frankly, rocked.

5. Indigo Girls – Rites of Passage
1997: Growing up with my older sister’s music in the house meant I was exposed to serious stuff early on. I _loved_ “Rites of Passage”, used to sing it all throughout high school, wrote a paper comparing “Ghost” to a poem by Rumi, etc. It helped a lot during my creative writing phase. I still love all the songs in it, and know most of them by heart, even if we don’t have the CD in the house anymore.

6. Twisted Halo – In Loving Memory of the Fearless Exploits of the Bolo Brigade
2004: 2004 was the year when I was a huge fan of Pinoy indie rock. I pretended to be a  music journalist, going around interviewing bands and reviewing gigs and reselling albums around the world. Twisted Halo encapsulates that for me – a fierce fire of local indie. I spent my 22nd birthday walking over to the gig place near my office and watching them alone, hahaha. Those were good times. I still feel bad that they’re gone.

7. The Purplechickens – Here’s Plan B
2006: Everyone knows how “Dream Systems” changed my life – the video shoot, the long months of painting, the emotional upheavals that led to winning awards and losing friendships. But when I listen to this song (and the rest of the album), I think of none of that. Instead, I’m always consistently hit by the sadness of it, inherent in the lyrics and the melody. “Dream Systems”, as a song, is just sad to me. Sad and beautiful.

8. Brain Salad – Brain Salad
2001: We used the song “Bulong Mo Sa Dilim” as the soundtrack for our thesis, which meant I got to meet the members of Brain Salad and have them sign this “please let us use your song” agreement, and I remember shoving my album in their hands and asking for autographs while they were at it. I loved “Bulong Mo Sa Dilim”, its haunting beauty, the tragedy in it, and I’m so happy we got to use it. When I hear this album I remember staying up till the early morning in Cavite, holding up lights, watching as we fumbled with cameras and actors and ended up making a really crappy short film with lots of love.

9. The X-Files – The Truth and the Light
1996: I was the biggest X-Files geek in high school. As in, the biggest 😛 But I’m glad that’s where I pledged my fandom allegiance – it got me interested in screenwriting and everything else behind the scenes. I studied “The Truth and the Light” with the same intensity as I studied everything else about the X-Files. It was an instrumental album with musical scores from the best episodes, mixed with some lines from the show, and it was a long, grand, scary, indulgent, emotional piece of music. I loved it.

10. Taken by Cars – Endings of a New Kind
2008: This was my favorite album of last year. I tried to stay away from TBC as long as I could – everyone said they were the local Bloc Party, which doesn’t give them any original credit. But when I heard “December 2, Chapter VII“, I just died. It was a live clip from Kathy (thank you, Kathy!) and the vocalist introduced it with, “For the always broken-hearted.” I still love this song; I think it’s brilliant, not to mention hard-hitting where it hurts. If you were to make me a mix CD about my life, this song better be in it.

11. Ang Bandang Shirley – Themesongs
2007: The members of ABS probably won’t believe me, but I really am a big fan. It was “Patintero” that changed my life – I equated it to a time when I liked this guy a lot, and at one gig I held up my phone and let him hear the band play it live. (Hahaha! Say Anything 2.0! Well, needless to say I don’t do that anymore.) It’s a great song though, and I still get emotional when I hear it. I feel sad for everyone who can’t speak Filipino and therefore won’t ever get the subtlety and brilliance that is the poetry in “Patintero”.

Dammit, this list is impossible! I’m just going to pick random things now.

12. The Postal Service – Give Up
?: While this is one of my favorite albums of all time, I wasn’t sure I’d put it here because I think of the Postal Service as “emotionally generic”. I can apply it to any point in my life with any person or place. For a while, my favorite song was “Recycled Air”, because I was always in an airplane travelling from point A to B.  I can’t even choose a year when this album hit me the most – I feel like it’s been there forever. Like an old pair of Chucks. (However, I would like “We Will Become Silhouettes” to be played at my funeral. Friends, please don’t forget.)

13. Broken Social Scene – You Forgot It In People
2005: I remember standing right in front of the stage in Barcelona with BSS singing in front of me, banging my head to “Almost Crimes”. The place wasn’t packed at all, it was just a bunch of us indie kids banging our heads in place. A Spanish photographer took my picture twice; I smiled for him the second time. Then they played “Anthems for a 17-Year Old Girl” (which I heard first during that show) and I fell in love with it – yet another song for the forlorn! It’s still my favorite BSS song. Maybe someday I’ll be in a band that’ll let me sing it.

14. Ben Folds Five – Whatever and Ever Amen
2003: I can’t listen to Ben Folds Five without thinking of my best friend Joon, who’s now happily parked his ass in Hong Kong and has moved on from such childish times. Hahaha! Anyway, they were good times. We used to hang out every weekend eating pizza and watching indie films, or trying to make our own ridiculous short films about shadows that ate people. He lent me his BFF live DVD and I watched it at home; it converted me immediately.

15. Tonic – Lemon Parade
1996: There used to be a small music shop near our high school, where they would sell original/imported CDs at half-price. Demos, used, I’m not really sure how they did it. I never thought of myself as a music fan, but sometimes I’d wander in and go through the CDs, a kid with all these “serious” people. I didn’t know what I was looking for. Then I saw a copy of Tonic’s “Lemon Parade” – it seemed really cheap at the time, so I bought it. Learned it on the guitar. Taught “If You Could Only See” to my high school friend Fawie, and we’d play it together. I have good memories of that album, just sitting in the classroom strumming our acoustic guitars and rocking out. Oh, if only life could be that simple now…


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