The Smiths “The Queen is Dead” (1986)
Another one that changed my perspective on music. I remember seeing a video or two for the Smiths on MTV’s “120 minutes” in the mid to late 80’s and thinking I’d never heard or seen anything it. Part gothic Elvis, part killer alt rock band, wrap in the mystery of Morrissey and his crooning cryptic lyrics, and you’ve got musical awesome. I was baffled, but hooked.The dark song/album titles, the album visuals, the black and white music videos w. old movie clips in them, all were one of a kind at the time. We were mostly listening to hip hop and punk at the time, but liking the Smiths in the late 80s WAS PUNK AS FU@#. I won’t call out particular songs as this album is one of those start to finish listens. For bonus fun and to truly annoy your homophobic friends who don’t like the Smiths, crack a bottle of wine and have a “Morrissey dance party” as you listen.
Beck “One Foot in the Grave” (1994)
Another game changer. This is one of the albums that really prompted me to buy a 4-track and start creating my own songs. Released shortly after Mellow Gold and the runaway success of “Loser”, “One Foot in the Grave” was the music lover’s Beck album. The alt-country vibes of the album, the humor, the DIY lo-fi production, the contributions from Calvin Johnson from K-Records, this album just rules. It also leaves you with the feeling, “wait a minute, I could do this”, which is why this is another album that influenced the music I made for our Stereo video “Tincan Folklore”. A few jams I love off this one include: “He’s a Mighty Good Leader”, “Sleeping Bag”, “I Get Lonesome”, “Cyanide Breath Mint” (classic Beck!), “Hollow Log” and “A*****e” which was later covered by Tom Petty. If your shopping iTunes, buy the Deluxe Edition w. a killer alternative version of the song “It’s All in Your Mind”.