The Most Impact

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine tagged me in a Facebook post, challenging me to share a list of ten albums that had the most impact on me, and that still got regular play. I’ve made this sort of list many times in the past, and have my *go-to* albums I usually pull out whenever someone asks for my favorites.

I fully intended to do the same with this challenge, convinced that these records still were representative of my current tastes. I stood in front of the stacks of records and CDs, pulling out the albums I wanted to use. I made a mental note of them, made my first post.

I wrote a few paragraphs detailing why this record was important to me, how it has affected my musical appreciation and the sorts of music liking this record opened up for me.

So far so good.

Day two was much the same- an album, a description, an hour spent thinking about what that music has meant to me. Then my father commented that while he loved the album in question, it was not his favorite from the band. I was about to argue in defense of my choice when I realized it wasn’t my favorite either. In fact, it might have been my third favorite. At that moment, I realized this list was going to be very different from others I’d created. I no longer had interest in a list of favorites, but rather a list of records that pushed me forward.

Any mental notes I’d made about the remaining albums were tossed aside. With a different perspective and mission, I went through the records again. At least four of the titles I planned to use didn’t remain on the revised list. Some I never expected to be on the list suddenly needed to be there.

In the end, I think this current list is a much more accurate representation of my musical education. One realization, I talk a big game about my varied musical tastes, and while I do enjoy all sorts of music, my favorites reside in a very narrow style window. Which means I need to give more attention to other genres, styles, and see if one of those albums might push its way onto the list. Some are very close. Some I haven’t owned long enough to see where they take me.

It was a very fun project and as I always love listening to music, a great opportunity to spend ten days listening to the stuff that had the greatest impact.

Here is the list if you’re interested. It isn’t in any particular order.

Isis- Panopticon
Big Country- The Crossing
The Cure- Pornography
The Police- Synchronicity
David Bowie- The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
The Nocturnes- Aokigahara
Russian Circles- Station
Siouxsie and the Banshees- Peepshow
Nine Inch Nails- Pretty Hate Machine

If asked, what sort of list would you make?

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About Ryan Carty

There are some who call me, Tim?

4 responses to “The Most Impact”

  1. Liesbet @ Roaming About says :

    You take these challenges seriously, Ryan. Good for you, as it brings you reflection, purpose and joy. Making lists like these, I find hard. It’s a bit like when asked “What are your ten favorite places in the world?” So much depends on the season, the mood, the time, the company, the interests, the encounters you had those times in those places.

    I’m happy to recognize some of the bands in your list! While I enjoy music, and even more so when I grew up than now, I never listened to the lyrics (or understood them by lack of English). Therefore, music had much less of impact on me than on many other (English speaking) people I know.

  2. jmh says :

    I could have sworn I’d left a comment on this post; I know I read it. Oh, well.

    I tend to get embarrassed when it comes to these music challenges. I’ve yet to respond to one, because the music I love isn’t necessarily considered cool. For instance, I love the Barenaked Ladies (when Steven Page was still lead vocals), and I’m one of the few hardcore Metallica fans who loves the “Black Album” and doesn’t feel it represented selling out to the masses.

    Or, maybe it did, but it’s how I first discovered them, so I’ll keep appreciating it.

    • Ryan Carty says :

      I also adore the “Black Album” and will always have a soft spot for Barenaked Ladies as well. They remind me of a friend I knew in college who loved to play their songs on the guitar. Whenever I hear them, I am always reminded of that person (and strangely, a trip to Yellowstone with my wife and siblings where we played them quite a bit).

      Someone wisely told me recently that when it comes to music, there are no guilty pleasures, just music that moves you or music that doesn’t. Love what moves you.

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