I’ve been fortunate enough to grow up in a big family, but have been unfortunate enough to be the middle child between an older and younger sister. Due to this, most of my childhood was spent hearing boybands & girlbands and wondering if there was music that didn’t make me hate life. Obviously there was, and here are five albums in particular that stand out as soundtracks to specific time frames of my life.
Justin Timberlake – ‘Justified’
This might be a strange option considering what I’ve just said but I can’t help it. Justin Timberlake caused heartbreak in the household when he decided to leave NSYNC but quickly rectified it thanks to Justified housing the likes of “Like I Love You,” “Rock Your Body” and “Senorita.” These three tracks in particular made the house shake for months on end, and while at the time I hated it, I have grown to love the grooves with age.
The Darkness – ‘Permission To Land’
The mainstream had a real sense of open arms to it back in the early 2000’s which allowed the likes of The Darkness to enter their brand of sleazy glam rock into the charts. This ballsy display of fabulous guitar work brought a real modern touch of old school metal to my eardrums and I loved everything about it, even down to frontman Justin Hawkins’ nipples. Still to this day tracks such as “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” and “Growing On Me” remain absolute tunes.
Red Hot Chili Peppers – ‘Stadium Arcadium’
This is the first album I ever received for my own collection. RHCP made a strong comeback with By The Way but reached out even further with the double album Stadium Arcadium. With hits like “Dani California” and “Snow (Hey Oh)” the main driving points behind it, I was ecstatic to have a copy. I’d spend hours on end playing this thing on loop. So good.
Eagles of Death Metal – ‘Death By Sexy’
After sticking firmly beside the mainstream for so long I decided to stray into the unknown and at age 14 I was a weird grunge kid with a love for stoner rock. By this point I was a huge fan of Queens of the Stone Age so to discover that Josh Homme played drums for Eagles of Death Metal immediately made me a fan of them too. Death By Sexy was an album that featured the heavy riffage I liked out of my music at the time but came with a strong sense of fabulousness, lust and sex that really opened my ears into grooves.
Queens of the Stone Age – ‘…Like Clockwork ‘
Despite a near-decade gap between this and the previous listed album, I truly believe I did all of my growing up because of this record. Back in the summer of 2013 I was heartbroken for the first time from a relationship that lasted nearly four years. It sounds silly to say in hindsight but in that moment I was lost and alone for the first time in a long time, and just seemed to go through the motions of life without having anybody to talk to or go to for help, advice, even for just a bit of entertainment.
Cue QOTSA coming back after six years of lying dormant to announce that Josh Homme had nearly died in surgery and was going to release an album. That album was …Like Clockwork and it was an album that actively put all of the pain and suffering out into the open for anyone to see, and did so in a way that made me feel comfort in knowing that it’s okay to be vulnerable. It taught me that it’s okay to ask others for help, to lean on others to help you get better and that it’s definitely okay to have flaws as a person. It helped me go from feeling overwhelmed with feelings into simply thinking “I feel shit, ah well” and getting back on my feet, eventually overcoming everything I was feeling. It was too much of perfect timing for it to not have a strong effect on me, and that’s why I ended up tattooing it on my arm as a reminder of that entire process.
It’s also clear that people can become attached to any album, which is why music is so widely adored around the world. It’s a tool that allows individuals to feel different from the rest by having their own taste, their own playlists and their own connections to certain records. It’s the beauty of music and for me it’s why I continue to celebrate it as often as I do.