Ian’s Challenge #001 (Part 1 of 3)

This guy I know, Ian, is a talented individual, who is currently living in Syracuse with his talented wife, Christie.  They both have been mentioned before in a gut spilling post I wrote last year–On Being, Simply–and it was in response to a prompt by Christie, a challenge that she tackled.

To stay more focused and organized, it was written in the beginning of January and at the turn of the new year that lists were to be made.  Last week this attempt, start was applauded.  Life is a story, and stories revisit and aspects tie in together.  This list concept has already been revisited, and–in the world of blogging, writing–this feels like ages ago, but it hasn’t been two months in reality.

Like Ian, I’m not a fan of the Facebook tag chains; however, this challenge did not have any false threats (i.e. If you do not do this task and tag ## people in your post, you will (a) spill coffee on yourself when you order a cup, (b) never fall in love with your true love, (c) spend eternity walking in circles, etc).  Instead of writing it as a wall post, it will be done as a blog post.  Cuing people to partake might not happen either, because at least someone will get offended at such a childish request to list albums.

The task at hand is to list 15 albums that have stuck with you through the years.  It’s very difficult to just pick 15, but it’s all good with me since the number at hand is odd, and this will prevent me on going on tangents.  Everyone’s  life has a soundtrack, and it’s important to recognize your own.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Guster – Parachute (1995)

The Syracuse stations played Guster’s “Airport Song” (off the album Goldfly), on the radio in the late 1990’s, which won my affection immediately upon hearing it.  After that, the stations stopped playing the independent band, and it was believed–on my part–that they disbanded.  How they were forgotten about?  I’m not sure and unhappy about my neglect.  The band was revisited in college when “Either Way” (off of their Lost and Gone Forever album) was played in a friend’s room.   Their very first album, Parachute, however, got my attention.  The title track and “Mona Lisa” captivated me, and I learned to play both on the guitar.  The latter has stuck with me.

Guster’s acoustic endeavors with hand-made percussion was nothing short of delightful to my ears, mind.   I saw the musicians for the first time a handful of years ago in the Carrier Dome, and the band opened for Ben Folds.


The Beatles – Rubber Soul (1965)

I am my parents’ kid.  Being brought up on The Beatles was nothing short of appropriate; in fact, not doing so would have been inappropriate and unforgivable.  Although my folks never played instruments, they have been music lovers, pushers.  The Beatles were first experienced while I was in the womb, but it’s uncertain as to what album or song for that matter was played initially.  As the years have passed, my favorite Beatles album is clearly designated as Abbey Road.  It was a pleasure walking upon the same crosswalk in 2007, as the quartet had done (and many times, assured) in the 60’s, writing on the wall surrounding the the studio, and sitting on the studio’s steps.

The acoustic and folk that is found on Rubber Soul has captivated me until this day.  “Girl” was performed by Jim Sturgess in Across the Universe, The-Beatles-inspired film by Julie Taymor.  I know I’ve told this story before, but seeing the movie trailer in the theater and hearing the a capella version by Sturgess–starting on a beach, starting from the top: “Is there anybody going to listen to my story…”–knocked the wind out of me to the point where my eyes welled a little.  I remembered mentally asking myself if this was really happening.

It’s amazing how music affects you.


Beck – Odelay (1996)

Beck won my heart with the single, “Loser,” which was off of 1994’s Mellow Gold.  However, Odelay contains “Where It’s At,” the single that helped define the entrance into my teenage years, and my brother’s hitting double digits.  Our friend, Dan, took the initiative of inserting my brother’s name into the lyrics of the song, because it perfectly rhymed with microphone.  The song, lyrics would never be uttered the same:  “…two turntables and a Mike Malone”–from that point on and still to this day.  This was one of the many albums to definite the Sherwood kids’ Garage Days.  We’d hang out in the Malone family garage, huddled around a boombox and a collection of CDs, playing cards and joking around like little jackasses.


Cake – Fashion Nugget (1996)

Since we’re on the topic of the Garage Days–definitively the Sherwood boys’ days of causing trouble and havoc around the neighborhood in the most benign ways possible.  (Let it be known that we couldn’t get away with anything, so our views of mischief isn’t malicious by any means.)  Cake’s release, which was highlighted by the ever popular “The Distance.”  The family-friendly (well, for the most part) album would be played constantly, loudly.  The exceptions were the tracks:  “Race Car Ya-Ya’s” (turning down the volume for the lyrics highlighting the “large fuzzy dice hang proudly like testicles from rear view mirrors;” the fuck-filled title track (“Nugget”), but our parents would have never told us to shut up in that same fashion(they would have simply taken the music away and destroyed it); and the enticing lyrics from “Italian Leather Sofa,” which had us prepubescent boys wondering if breasts did in fact bounce better on said specific furniture.

We were typical and obvious kids.  Our parents weren’t (still aren’t) that dumb to not think past our playing music loudly, turning it down, but then turning it back up again.  Who were were fooling (aside ourselves)?

However, Cake’s cover of Willie Nelson’s “Sad Songs and Waltzes” is one of the best covers ever.  It competes with the original–a bold opinion that I stand behind.


The Clash – London Calling (1979)

I’d ask my parents, “Rock the what?”  They would answer appropriately, but would never explain what the hell Casbah meant.  As my taste in music expanded and evolved, turning toward the punk and metal while my brother ventured into hip-hop and rap, The Clash was able to fuel my rebellious side as docile as it was.  My parents didn’t listen to punk despite their love for heavy classic rock–the rockers–which included Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and The Who among many others.  But I picked up where they left off, if that is the right phrase.  With the encouragement of friends, this taste of punk and metal evolved, bringing me beyond what Green Day was starting for us middle school kids.

16 thoughts on “Ian’s Challenge #001 (Part 1 of 3)

  1. Wow, I never thought of actual albums, I just throw out songs here and there. I might need to consider what would be on my list.

    I like your list, and I also love Cake greatly. And the Clash…and the Beatles.

    1. It’s been a tough process, deciding. There have been so many memorable albums in my life. A couple songs have prompted their album’s consideration, but it’s strange how the album doesn’t stand out as much as the song; so the consideration was scratched off the list.

      I’m glad you’re getting a kick out of it. I’d challenge you to do the same if you’re hit a wall of writers block. You’re on a great streak now. Keep up the great writing.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      1. Right, with the downloads and all now it is even harder sometimes to differentiate the album vs. just one song in terms of impact.

        I’ve been writing all week about depressing things, so this may be what I do next week to bring some more liveliness back into the blog. Thanks! 🙂

      2. We appreciate your honest writing, depressing or otherwise. Writing makes you feel good to let this out, to explain where you’re coming from, and it creates awareness for us readers to sympathize and understand where we cannot.

  2. Can’t wait to hear the rest! Next to the Ramones, The Clash is my favorite. Saw Cake several times in concert. They did a secret show here in Sacramento (their hometown despite what they say to the contrary) at a dive bar maybe 40 people in the place in support of their B-sides release. Was the best time! And Beck, where is that SOB these days? Miss him. Last saw him in Santa Cruz when Odelay was new. Genius! Nice work nailing these down with supporting details even! Fun.

    1. Beck actually just released an album called Morning Phase 🙂

      To see a secret show from Cake is crazy, but the B-Sides release is a great album. I don’t know anyone who can cover those songs as great as they have. Despite putting out their own work, their covers cannot be dismissed.

      You’ve seen a lot of fantastic shows. 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

      1. That’s good to know! I guess I’ve been spending more time in the kid section of the music dept to notice. The most recent show I’ve been to was Lisa Loeb in support of The Disappointing Pancake, a kids book and a collection of children’s songs. She is as adorable as ever. And I love that my daughter likes her music too. We live so many lives through music. Great post! Thanks so much!

      2. Lisa Loeb is adorable. She’s a very talented person, artist.

        :::Upon realization, Chris sits back in chair and takes a moment, exhaling. He utters, “I need to find my Lisa Loeb.”:::


  3. The thought you’re putting into this list is impressive, Chris.

    Back in my past career for the big daily, I compiled “My top 100 listening songs” to share in print.

    I tinkered with that list for weeks.

    The bottom line is, individual taste could and should be unique. Good start with yours, putting the Beatles, Beck and Guster, in all their diverse glory, at the top. Bravo, maestro.

    1. Thanks, Mark. Music-related choices are difficult choices. I have 10 more to be split up into a couple more posts, but the more I keep thinking about the list, it keeps changing. I might add a short list of honorable mentions at the end.

      I’m very happy you enjoyed this. It means a lot.

      1. Honorable mentions on lists like this is kind of like cheating the rules. That said, when I had to pick my annual top 10 concerts and local CDs, I regularly added honorable mentions, too. So I’m with you there, bud.

Comments.... ?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.