Recently I’ve posted on social media about the ten music albums that have been meaningful in my life. Music doesn’t mean as much to me as movies or books, but I’d say my life has a good soundtrack. During the challenge, I couldn’t explain why. I was only allowed to post the album cover. So here is the list along with some explanation.
10. 1984–Van Halen
Jason Greene and I listened to this album all summer long. We must have been twelve or thirteen years old at the time, but we wore that cassette tape out. We mostly hung out in his bedroom, read magazines, and listened to this album. In all of musicdom, there is no more recognizable or energetic sound than the opening keyboards to “Jump” and anyone who would say otherwise is just silly.
9. Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison–Johnny Cash
Plain and simple–Johnny Cash sings about pain in an unvarnished, human way that communicates to me.
8. Eliminator–ZZ Top
Its not ZZ Top’s best music, but this album connected me at a young age to what I would later recognize as Texas Rock-n-Roll.
7. Thriller–Michael Jackson
The video–the 14 minute short film directed by John Landis–is still one of the cultural touchstones of my life. it was perfect. I don’t know if we’re allowed to still like Michael Jackson or not because of the claims against him, but at the time we didn’t know any of that. All we knew was that the cool zombies wear red and black jackets and Vincent Price had the creepiest voice ever.
6. Come Away With Me–Norah Jones
Mrs. Greenbean and I discovered Norah together. She was our first foray into grown up music. We even saw her once in concert at Key Arena. She does a very good Axl Rose impression.
5. Sigh No More–Mumford and Sons
There is a line–and this album is on this list because of this line–in the song “The Cave” that says, “I’ll know my name as it’s called again.” When I left Port Orchard, I never knew if I would pastor again. But I definitely felt as though I had lost my own identity. For twenty years I had just been “Pastor”–that is what everyone called me, just “Pastor” or even more dehumanizing, “Preacher.” One of the things I was determined to do was discover who I was as a human, a Christ-follower, a husband, father, a man, a writer, and neighbor. In those in-between years, this was my mantra–“I’ll know my name as it’s called again”, and I am thankful for it.
4. A Very Veggie Christmas–VeggieTales
Our kids loved VeggieTales, and this Christmas album comes out every year during the holidays and we listen to it over and over again. If you’ve never heard it, give it a listen. It’s the best.
3. Apassionato–Yo-Yo Ma
Yo-Yo Ma was the soundtrack of my DMin years, especially while writing my project back in the days before iPods or iPhones. I just put the CD’s into my laptop and would listen away for hours. This album came out after I was finished with school, but it encapsulated so much of those years. It’s like he wrote it just for me as an ovation for the work I’d done. The first song on the album is even called, “Going to School.”
2. Out of Time–R.E.M.
There are two reason for this album. First, COLLEGE! I borrowed the cassette tape from a coworker during college and about a year later she asked, “Do you have my tape?” and I reluctantly returned it to her. I had listened to it so much that the letters were all rubbed off the case. The second reason is the song, “Texarkana” which is, I’m pretty sure, about The Blessed Leibowitz.
1. The Joshua Tree–U2
This needs no explanation, especially if you know me. The weird thing, in my opinion, their top five songs aren’t even on this album, but the album as a whole is just perfect, and it has the best collection of B sides ever.
Johnny Cash / At Folsom Prison LP 1968 1
Honorable Mentions: Take Me To Your Leader-Newsboys, Appetite for Destruction-Guns-Roses, Duran Duran-Seven And The Ragged Tiger, The White Album-The Beatles, Messiah-Handle Dir. Benjamin Zander, Sinatra At The Sands-Frank Sinatra, Hey Eugene-Pink Martini, Winds of Heaven, Stuff of Earth-Rich Mullins, and Led Zeppelin IV-Led Zeppelin.