This week I listened to August and Everything After this week. It takes me back to 1993 when the album was released by Counting Crows. I remember that album and putting it on repeat for most of 1993-94. Although I had been to other concerts, I remember vividly my sister taking my friend Rick Ewing and I to see Counting Crows at American Theater in St. Louis. Later that next year, I listened to album on the 12 hour bus ride to Young Life camp in 1994 when I became a Christian. The album never gets old and when I play it, it brings great memories with a smile to my face every time.
In High School, it was hard to escape Dave Matthews Band’s Under the Table and Dreaming. It was a fun album with a unique sound that all of my friends could agree on. There became so many DMB haters in the following albums but the real sound of the band in this album is what defines them. High school was memorable because of an album like Under the Table and Dreaming.
Oasis’ (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? makes me laugh every time. For me, it fits into an era of high school into college in the 90s because my great friend Heath Hildebrandt and I would always have it blasting loud at home, in the car, and in the dorm. We would drive around playing Rock n’ roll Star and laugh to the lyrics of She’s Electric. I still get the lyrics messed up singing Wonderwall but it remains to be one of the greatest songs of the 90s.
David Gray’s White Ladder was special to me during my last month of college because I had it on repeat when studying for a month writing my final papers and finals. It also became a motivator to get me in the mood for my move to Britain in early 2001.
U2’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind was a powerful album because I was always was a big U2 fan but realized that the late 90s were not very good to the band artistically. They needed an album that embraced their late 80s sound while looking ahead. I like to approach life that way and the album became one that tells a story of passion and joy through Beautiful Day, adversity through Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of, and hope through Walk On. Walk On became an anthem to answer what happened on 9/11 for most of the world and I am inspired with each listen.
Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was such a unique album to me and helped me in my early 20s to learn more about great lesser-known artists. I remember the album releasing while I was in my early years of the work life and helped me to always stay connected with good, new art in the music community. It is an album that made me love St. Louis and Chicago more with songs that told their story.
The past couple years it feels a lot like Mumford and Sons’ Sigh No More has been a thematic album. The album takes you through great joy and sorrow as the story unfolds. It is a hopeful album to me because it didn’t feel that they were writing just for singles the iTunes era. Instead, they methodically selected songs that walked the listener through their day.
We don’t listen to albums the way we used to. For better or worse, we are marketed singles today and it much too easy to evaluate music based on that alone. Albums have the ability to mirror our personal story and I’m challenged these days when I hear a great song to dig deeper and listen to an entire album. Don’t be surprised if you discover some amazing songs that you never would have heard otherwise. I look forward to each day to discover something new, perhaps ever a soundtrack for this next stage of life.
What album brings you back to a special moment in life?