Music is one of the biggest influences on my life. I seem to always have some sort of music playing at all times. I really love it. I have a weird sense of music that seems to be all over the place. I feel that music is a way for me to emotionally connect and its been an outlet for many avenues in my life. I’ve noticed that I go through these phases and each phase comes with an album of its own. Those that know me best, know that I am an advocate for the album rather than a single. There is just something so special about an album to me. Its a true body of work that tells a story. I love the messages that can be found from a certain one. Whenever I transition into a phase of my life, there seems to be an album from an artist or band that just embodies my life. It becomes a large part of my life and I play that album on repeat for days, months, and even years (no joke!). Those around me have even gotten annoyed with me but don’t understand why I listen to it so much.
My whole life can be summed up by ten albums. Ten albums that show the progression of my life and have played major parts to the development of who I am. Those ten albums are some that I’m proud of and a little embarrassed at times. However, these albums hold a very special place in my heart, so no judgement.
Number 1: Millennium by the Backstreet Boys
The start of the boy bands for me. This was the first cd that I ever owned and it is full of the greatest songs. Growing up, the Backstreet Boys were the greatest band of all time to me. My sister, Kendall was all about N’Sync and we would often fight about which one of the two bands were better. For my birthday, my mother bought this album for me with a new walkman! I would rewind the tape just so I could hear I Want it That Way multiple times. My mother would eventually barrow this tape from me and we would jam out in her car. It was true bliss. My mother has always taught me to listen to music loud with the windows down. Those are some of my favorite moments with my mother as a child. Sundays usually would entail a drive in the country, listening to everything and then some. This album always reminds me of those good times. I then would fall asleep, and wake up in my bed some how. Having a young mother made for a lot of fun adventures. My mother is the one that triggered my sense of adventure and it all started in a Honda Accord with the Backstreet Boys.
Number 2 – Enema of the State by Blink 182
My first Nast CD and the begging of a new era. Byron Hunt, my middle school best friend, introduced this CD to me by giving it a birthday gift. My mother was not happy one bit and wanted to take it away many times. However, she couldn’t due to all the songs being entrapped in my mind. This album made me feel rebellious and helped me escape the world of middle school. My favorite memory was air guitaring All the Small Things with Byron to Ali Suhadolnik at the Toppinsh Livestock Show. Byron’s camper was next to Ali’s tent and she came out to quiet the show that evening. However, the album would help me escape the frustrations of life. I’d put this CD into my boombox and play Mario Kart for what seemed like an eternity. It spoke to the pains of hating the world that I lived in and being bullied by others.
Number 3- Plans by Death Cab for Cutie
I’m asked all the time what my favorite band is. Its no surprise that I love Death Cab! They just speak to me in a way that no else does. Death Cab came into my life my freshmen year of high school and has never left. This album expressed many of the things that I wanted to say but didn’t know how to. Growing up in a home where love wasn’t the first priority was hard. I began to trap the real feelings that I had inside and have begun to release them now. Death Cab was my first weird music that I listened to and became a gateway to many other weird things. Death Cab also began my obsession for depressing songs. This album is the one that scared my parents. I use to listen to this on repeat all high school. Eventually, my mother would sit me down and ask me if I was sucicidal. The answer was no. Looking back, I can see where she would think that. It became banned and wasn’t allowed to be played. However, when I moved to college, I bought another CD and it would help me get through the transition of adulating.
Number 4- Speak Now by Taylor Swift
Oh Taylor Swift! Taylor Swift was the love of my life. I could have married that girl. Taylor Swift is an incredible writer that seemed to write things about my life. This album came out at the end of my sophomore year of college and it was a time where I was frustrated with love. I was trying to hold on to a love that wasn’t in the cards. I was beginning to figure out the causes for all my problems. I just wanted to feel okay again. It was the start of a slippery slope. This album has a song called Never Grow Up. I was realizing that my life needed to take more direction and I didn’t want to grow up. I didn’t want to make those decisions and I wanted to live in a life with no responsibilities. More important, the song Mean became a staple for two individuals that had wronged me in life. As I was beginning to touch the surface of what made me feel the way that I did, I had so much anger for these two people and this song became my source of comfort. I began to move forward in life with the mindset of proving them wrong and being better than them.
Number 5- 21 by Adele
Pour Austin Stuchell would have to hear no end to Adele. I’m 90% sure that he can’t listen to this album to this day. As a junior in college, I became extremely depressed and I discovered that I had anxiety. I found myself extremely stressed from running track and cross country, working a full schedule, and taking more than 18 credits. As a perfectionist, I found myself slipping in all aspects of life. I didn’t want to be around others and I didn’t want to do anything. I was burnt out and angry at the world. Adele 21 helped me have hope for life again. It was angry white women music and it was depressing. It had so many things that I was feeling in regards to my life. I was really confused in life and didn’t know what I wanted. I had so many people telling me what they wanted me to do and I felt there was this pressure to please everyone. I just really wanted to have everyone be satisfied with the decisions that I was making. I found myself getting migraines daily and I just couldn’t be happy. This album made me feel okay with life and was there when I needed it the most. It paved the way for the next phase.
Number 6- Up All Night by One Direction
Thats right, I bought 1D’s very first album. One Direction is my guilty pleasure in life. Its that band that I secretly love and don’t want anyone to know. However, senior year of college in Montana will always be remembered by this album. It was the era of parties and late night papers. I started senior year still depressed and looking to escape. I lost a lot of friends that year. However, second semester was a time of bouncing back. I finally figured out what I wanted to do with my life. I finally was going to live my dream of living in Portland and it was time to let loose. My closest friends and I took a road trip after graduation and this CD was the only source of music for us. Lucky for us that I had brought it! Senior year also found me with an injury that ended my running career as a collegiate athlete. 1D became a source of taking my mind off the pain and helped me not go back into depression. My landlord, Virginia, would always tell me that she could me hear me singing to the album when I was in the shower. She told me that I could be part of this band and I would just laugh at her. It was a change of pace that was needed in my life.
Number 7- The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Moving to Portland was a dream since I was child. I got accepted into school and was all ready to start my life there. Then, the Lord told me no. He told me to go to home and stay there. I couldn’t figure out why but after six months home, I found myself leaving to start a mission for my religion. I had been called to serve in the Florida Jacksonville Mission for a period of two years. For two years, I put my life on hold as I served the Lord and those that live in Georgia and Florida. I wan’t allowed to listen to music except church related. Before my mission, I hated the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. However, luck found me that everyone of my companions loved them. It was weird to me but in time, I found myself tolerating them. This was a time of much spiritual growth and for the first time, I felt that I knew who my Savior was. I had a front row show to the atonement of Jesus Christ and I loved it. My mission was not easy and taught me many things about who I was, life, and about what I wanted to do in life.
Number 8- Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens
Coming home from my mission was probably the hardest thing that I have ever done. Life was really hard to adjust to, especially not being able to walk. I found myself missing and longing to be back in Florida. I was able to find help from five major people. However, life was talking many turns. Again, I found myself under lots of pressure and it was hard to handle. Carrie & Lowell is an album that Sufjan Stevens wrote for his dead mother. I felt dead inside and this album matched my pains. It made me think of life previous to my “death”. I didn’t know how to have fun anymore and I began slipping back into a depression. I was trying so hard to make decisions that pleased others and not myself. For the first time, I found myself wondering if life was worth living and the last few songs on this album taught me that I could. They give a new respect to the life that we do live and caring on the legacy of those before us. It gave me a bounce back and sense of being. It literally saved my life.
Number 9 – Strange Trails by Lord Huron
Alright, I will admit that this is a weird album. I love it so much though. They truly are songs from the unknown as the cover art tells. However, they spoke to my soul when moving to Utah. Utah is a strange place and I was broken hearted. I had lost the girl and I was in an unknown place full of weird people. Provo, Utah is quiet the experience and is a bit of cultural shook at first. This album couldn’t describe Provo any better! Lord Huron sings about how love is like ghosts and wanting to go back to in time and stopping himself from loving the girl. Well, thats how love was for me at first here. My heart was empty and I didn’t know what to do. Going on dates was hard and I wasn’t invested in them. Fool for Love reminds of me just wanting to be in a relationship so I would ask many girls out. There for awhile, I averaged three to four dates a week. Not the most healthy thing that I have done. I was hallow inside and unsure of what to expect. It truly paved the way for the next album.
Number 10- Cleopatra by the Lumineers
This phase has been lived for about a year and half now. It was a fun phase as I begun to live a life similar to these songs. I was grieving life like Cleopatra as I was beginning to say goodbye people. I was growing up in ways that can’t have been guessed. I’ve been focusing on school and my career, instead of not focusing on love. I wasn’t being a fool falling in love and I’ve been focusing on the things that matter most. I’ve felt like Gale’s song not wining the love of a best friend. I’ve learned patience, more so in myself than in others, just like the song depicts. I’ve seen the light and have had hope to carry on with my life. I find hope in all aspects of my life.
I’ve entered the 11th album of my life- Harry Styles by Harry Styles.
An album that I never dreamed that would fit me so good. I kinda felt that Cleopatra would be around much longer. However, a new phase of life begun at the beginning of May. A new phase that I am excited to see where it takes me in life. So, with every new phase, a new album begins. I look forward to taking this journey and seeing what good will come out of it. For now, I continue to listen and see what happens now. After all, its the sign of the times.