Game Changer Albums
- Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago. Most people know Bon Iver for Skinny Love, and it is a harrowingly stunning song, but not many people talk about Bon Iver's discography as a whole. This, to me, is one of the best debut albums there's ever been. Skinny Love is, of course, the main attraction to the album but the title track itself is just as heartbreaking in it's sorrow and honesty ("with all your lies, you're still very lovable") as it is instrumentally catchy and pleasing to the ear. The album is raw because it's obviously so personal, and it's different because it's subdued and timid but it feels like Bon Iver's inviting you into his little melancholic bubble and saying "I wrote this album because I know what it's like to be heartbroken, and I know you do too".
- Mumford&Sons, Sigh No More. This album came out when I was in the midst of teenage-dom, when I was at my most solemn and reclusive. This album was perfect for a young, angsty girl still forging her own identity because it is the perfect combination of relaxing, folky charm (Sigh No More, The Cave) and reasonably heavy, dark melodies for playing in a pitch black room and shutting the world away (Dust Bowl Dance).
- The Smiths, Hatful of Hollow. Every Smiths album was a game changer for generation upon generation of young people. Like most Smiths albums, Hatful of Hollow is a perfect balancing act between Johnny Marr's rip-roaring riffs and Morrissey's warbling voice and cynical lyrics. It's a compilation album of BBC Radio 1 live session recordings, singles and B-sides, and it's the album that I like that wee bit more than the rest because it's just so quintessentially Smith-y, and every song is an anthem.
- Fleetwood Mac, Rumours. I'm named after a Fleetwood Mac song, so I pretty much grew up listening to them. Rumours is the fine wine of albums, it ages beautifully and never ceases to provide something delicious and moreish. Dreams is up there with my favourite songs of all time because it's just so masterfully constructed and performed I can't help but listen to it on a loop.
- Biffy Clyro, Only Revolutions. I can't remember the first time I listened to this album, but I know I was introduced to Mountains first and it had me hook, line and sinker. This album was the stepping stone for my long-lasting love affair with rock music. It's more mainstream than Biffy's previous work, but I think it's their best work to date and it's the album I always think of first when I'm debating the best albums of the past decade.
- The Black Keys, Chulahoma. I've always been a massive Black Keys fan, but had never heard of this album until a good friend recommended it to me (with a hint of "oh my god I can't believe you've not listening to this album" in her voice). So this is a newcomer on the list, but it's earned is place. It. Is. Wonderful. All these songs were originally written and performed by Junior Kimbrough, but there's so much genuine emotion, passion and pain in both the instrumentals and Dan Auerbach's voice that it's evident these songs are dearly treasured to them. What makes it such a special album is that Kimbrough's widow leaves a message for the band congratulating them on the beauty of the album, and it's played right at the very end of the LP.
- Arctic Monkeys, Humbug. The Marmite of their career. I remember when this album came out, and indie fans across the school were in two minds about it. Alex Turner's long shaggy hair? Yes, I can deal with that quite well. Softer, more inoffensive songs where Matt Helders' doesn't smash the shit out his drum set? I dunno man. But it grows on you, slowly and then all at once. Secret Door and Cornerstone are very different to Dangerous Animals and Potion Approaching but that's the beauty of it, because they make this an album that's relevant to all kinds of moods and situations. Plus Alex Turner's hair, just to remind you all again.
- Royal Blood, Royal Blood. When this album was released, there was so much anticipation and hype around it because, aside from Arctic Monkeys etc., there has been a noticeable lack of rock bands in the charts and the mainstream music scene. This album is full of the carpe-fucking-diem carnage that we'd been waiting for; the sheer talent of the two band members and the clever lyrics are to be applauded and will surely be influential for years to come.
There are obviously a lot more albums that I adore and could talk about in-depth for days on end, such as The Stone Roses' debut because I Wanna Be Adored and other tracks resonate with me in so many ways. but these are the ones that I have the most emotional attachment to. They're the albums that I turned to when I was cooped up in my bedroom, bored beyond belief, trying to fathom how and why the world is such an oddly shit yet wonderful place.