4. Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy (1973)
This one time I went to Vertigo Records with my good friend Elliot Mayo, now world-famous DJ Elijah. I wasn't into looking at the electronic records just yet, but I did enjoy looking for cool Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin t-shirts. When I came across the Houses of the Holy t-shirt, I was faced with a dilemma: on the one hand, this was one of the most important albums I've ever listened to - it had changed me, but on the other hand, it was a t-shirt populated with naked children and I was still in high school. In the end I saved my money. I probably bought some issues of Uncanny X-Men with it. This would have been either during the Onslaught or Operation: Zero Tolerance days.
5. Smashing Pumpkins - Adore (1998)
Any time before my senior year of high school this album would have sounded much too dark for me. But when a girl I thought I was in love with began dating a good friend of mine I found myself really struggling with a kind of darkness that made this album accessible. I've since found several other boys who claim Adore to be their favorite album, and who can cite similar dark periods of life that the album helped them through. I would never again underestimate the healing power of a really sad album.
6. Red Hot Chili Peppers - By The Way (2002)
7. Ryan Adams - Gold (2001)
I don't know what had happened, but I remember driving in my GMC Jimmy and crying while listening to this album. I dried my eyes and met Brian Vandenberg at a coffee shop where we were going to hear our mutual friend Matt play some music. Matt ended up writing a novel in a very Dickensian fashion, so I'm sure he'd be fairly happy to be called "Our Mutual Friend."
Young Americans is by far not the best album put out by David Bowie, but it is the only album I owned on cassette during the lonely year in Toledo in which I couldn't get the car CD player to work. We bonded through struggle much like Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves did in Speed.
11. Neil Young - Harvest (1972)
I listened to this album enough times that I considered writing a book of short stories, one for each track on the album. The ideas were pretty interesting, but I was not very good at finishing things that I started back then. I didn't have any deadlines, so I never got anything done.
12. Prince and the Revolution - Parade (1986)
No need for an anecdote. It's simply the best.
13. Radiohead - In Rainbows (2007)
Becky, Elliot and I were walking around Manhattan, and I had this melody stuck in my head. It was Radiohead's "Reckoner." I didn't know any of the words. I just kept humming this melody. Suddenly, the sound was coming at me from behind. I looked at the storefronts and none of the stores were open. None of them were pumping Radiohead out of their speakers. None of them even had speakers. I was convinced for some time that Thom Yorke himself was walking several paces behind us singing this song to himself until a car pulled away and the music was gone.
14. Tom Petty - Wildflowers (1994)
You're just a poor boy along way from home
You're just a poor boy a long way from home
15. Arcade Fire - Funeral (2004)
I didn't fall in love with Arcade Fire because David Bowie loved them first, but it certainly didn't hurt. But seriously, how cool was it when David Bowie and Arcade Fire performed "Wake Up" together on VH1's Fashion Rocks. I don't know whether I was more excited about that or the Where the Wild Things Are trailer with the same song. Oooh.