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160/365 – 6 Albums That Changed My Views on Music
© 2012 Timmy Tamisiea. All rights reserved. ok-computer

160/365 – 6 Albums That Changed My Views on Music

I can’t exactly pinpoint when I really stopped searching for new music.  Probably when the Backstreet Boys broke up . . . that was a real hard time for me.  Can you give me a second . . . ok.  Whew!   I can say that my halt in the search for new bands probably had a lot to do with the demise of the music industry.  Once things went digital, browsing for CDs at Best Buy just lost all it’s flair.  Well, that and the fact that there’s barely a CD section of Best Buy anymore.

Yep. This is what's left of the Best Buy CD isle.

I remember spending hours at a music store just listening to new bands and searching for something cool.  The height of this was when music stores had listening stations where you could scan the UPC code of a CD and  sample the entire album.  That was where it was fun trying to find the next best things for your collection.  Digital music has made it hat listening to whole albums is rare (we’re all “shuffle” fields) and buying it so easy that when I do buy a new album, it gets lost in the iTunes.  One day, a sing from the album will pop up and I’ll think, “Wait, do i own this?”  This happened, pleasantly, with Death Cab For Cutie’s album, Codes and Keys.

I would never question owning this. NEVER!

I can go back over the years and pinpoint certain albums that really changed my perspective on music.  There are at least a dozen or so that have really directed my music tastes.  They helped shape my tastes and my preferences.  I can actually recall when I got these albums.  They were that important.  Here’s 6 of them:

1) SO by Peter Gabriel

This was my very first album.  It was a cassette tape I bought with some money I earned doing chores.  I was infatuated with his music video for Big Time.   Seriously, crazy claymation acid was all a 10 year old weirdo like myself needed to be hooked.  The music was just a bonus!  I hoped the whole album would be more of that video . . .

It wasn’t.  It was better.  I was really embarrassed, though, by my purchase.  I was 10 years old, buying my first album and when I brought it home, I was afraid my older brothers would laugh at me.  They were listening to Thriller and I was getting this weird Prog-Alt Rock album.   Well, they did laugh at me.  My grandma, however, asked me to put it on.  She said it was excellent and that I shouldn’t let my brothers get to me like that.  That was the last time I was ever afraid of my music tastes . . .

I shouldn't have listened to grandma. This was my second album I ever bought.


R.E.M. would eventually become my favorite band of all time.  And it all stemmed from this album.  In fact, every album of their’s gave me a new perspective on music.  Later album made me hate myself, but this was the first that really blew open my mind.  I remember listening to It’s The End Of The World in my brother’s car when he picked me up from grade school.  The lyrics scared the shit out of me.  Who were these guys and how did they know the world was ending?

Copious amounts of blue eye shadow put on wrong gives you pre-cognition. Right, Michael?

However, the non-stop lyrics and pounding, relentless beat drew me in.  I borrowed the tape from Jimmy and never looked back.  Eventually I would own every album they ever made.  I list Document here because it brought me to R.E.M., but the two albums I could not live without are Murmur and Life’s Rich Pageant.  Do yourself a favor and get them . . . now!

3) MYSTICAL SHIT by King Missile

I never knew music could be truly hilarious.  I mean, Weird Al was funny, but his parodies made me smile, they didn’t exactly make me laugh.  Then, in high school, my best friend and I were roaming around the Old Market in Omaha and went to into the best music store on earth, Drastic Plastic.  A song came on in the store that made us both stop.  It was down right sacrilegious and mildly offensive and the funniest, best thing we had ever heard.  It was a song all about Jesus called “Jesus Was Way Cool.”

We asked the giy behind the counter about the album and he sold me a copy right there,  I must have listened to that CD till it was scratched up and broken.  To this day, I think it’s one of the funniest albums ever made.Come on!  That’s the greatest thing ever written!  The whole album was irreverent and weird.  I mean, there’s a whole song trying to get you to steal things from work.  It’s called Steal Things From Work.  There’s another with the lead singer yelling at Martin Scorsese for making “Awsome fucking movies.”

4) OK Computer by Radiohead

In college, I picked up Radiohead’s The Bends and liked it.  Just liked it.  I wasn’t in love with it, but I did enjoy it.  Then, I went to study abroad in London.  I somehow came across an advert in a Time Out London congratulating Radiohead on Album of the Year for the British Music Awards.  I also read that David Lettermen had them on his show and the set was magnificent.  It’s crazy, but being in London, I still always felt about two months behind all American entertainment news, so this was the first I had heard about this OK Computer album.  I rushed out to Harrods and bought a new pair of Adidas black Gazelles and OK Computer.  I laid down on my bed, out on my new shoes, and listened to the album . . . and I knew right away I was listening to something great.  It was like the band completely reinvented themselves.  Form The Bends to OK Computer was like flying light years from your point of origin.



I just left Milwaukee.  I was a college graduate.  I had a plan.  Well, I thought I had a plan.  I was leaving my girlfriend and everything I knew to move to New York, making a 6 month pit stop in Omaha make some cash.  I ended up buying this album one cold winter’s day.  I listened to Don’t Change Your Plans and suddenly, for the first time, I owned an album that made me feel genuine emotion.  I wanted to cry.

That song said everything I was feeling about leaving everything I knew to go to New York.  It gave me chills.  It wasn’t just sadness in that album.  Every song on that album made me feel something different.  Ben Folds is a genius when it come to simple, truthful lyrics.  I love this album to this day.  It’s so full of depth that I just can put into words what a winner it is.

6) KID A by Radiohead

Maybe its’ a cop out having another Radiohead album here.  You’d think I’d have another R.E.M. album listed.  Nope.  Kid A, more than any album I’ve ever listened to, took everything I thought I knew about music and raped it.  It was my birthday, September 14th, and I was living in New York.  My roommate, Jennie, handed me a gift as I was getting ready to go out.  I put in in and . . . I hated it.  I just didn’t get it.  And I wasn’t the only one.  A lot of my friends had the same reaction.  What is this weirdness?  If OK Computer was a reinvention of the band, then Kid A was like the Face Off of the music industry – they were no longer “Radiohead.”  They were some weird version of Catsor Troy.

Talk about Fake Plastic Trees.

Then, I gave it another shot one night.  Just by myself, relaxing and looking out the window onto the yellow night sky over New York, and it clicked.  Its ethereal, clanging mish-mash of sounds felt perfect.  More than OK Computer, this album sucker punched me.  It was like one of those magic pictures where you have to quint to see the sail boat.  I never saw the sail boat,  Musically, though, Kid A was my sail boat.


Yep. There's Thom Yorke.



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