Have you ever fallen in love with an album so hard that you listen to it over and over and over again, so that it somehow becomes part of you, part of your history? It speaks to you in such a profound way that you want to be listening to it every waking moment? I've had a few albums that have moved me in such a way:
December by George Winston is one of the most beautiful collection of songs ever. The overall feel to the CD is somber, pensive & quiet. It's no wonder that I clung to it like mad when I was going through a rough time my first year at college - in the winter, no less.
This is not a lengthy CD - only 39 minutes. But each song is perfect. If you're not familiar with George Winston, he is a pianist who composes his own work. Of course, this being a holiday album (somewhat), Winston puts his own spin on some traditional holiday melodies, like The Holly and the Ivy & Carol of the Bells (I think this one is my favorite here). There are also some original pieces as well.
Once you listen to this, I guarantee you will want more George Winston. I also love his Forest album and Linus & Lucy. If you ever get a chance to see him in a live performance, you'll want to do so - he'll be barefoot & he'll be doing some interesting things to show you how he gets some of the sounds from the piano - such as basically getting into the piano itself.
Every time I listen to this CD (and I listen to it year round, not just winter time), it comforts me as it once did many winters ago, like a gentle hug from an old friend.
Fumbling Towards Ecstasy by Sarah McLachlan. I had never heard anything quite like this album when I first listened to it, and it pulled me in right away. There's something about it that's dreamlike - like you're in the deep woods and you thought you saw something mysterious and you're following it to find out what it is.
I think the first song is the most "magical" in the set - it's called Possession. It starts with heavy chords on an organ, and I have a funny story about it. When DH and I were living in our old house, we had this album in the CD player. In the middle of the night, all of a sudden we are awoken by the ominous organ playing, extremely loud (as we must have had the volume cranked up from the last time). If you've ever heard this song, you might be able to understand how freaked out this would have made us! It turns out that some power had gone out in the surrounding neighborhood & the power company was out tinkering with the lines. Somehow, when our power went back on, it started the CD up all on its own. I thought for a moment that I was being haunted and my haunting even had a soundtrack!
The other songs on the CD are great too - most of them are sort of moody & ponderous. McLachlan has a beautiful voice and on some of the songs she's belting out, and on others she is singing in a quiet, understated way. This album has great singability.
I started listening to this album when DH and I first moved to Columbus, OH. And I listened (and sang along) to it so many times that it is forever etched in my brain and vocal chords!
Rock Spectacle by Barenaked Ladies. Oh, Barenaked Ladies, you had me from "hello." Seriously, it was love at first listen and I have been a huge fan of BNL ever since I heard The Old Apartment on the radio.
This album is a live album of some of their best songs they had to date of its release. And this CD was my first introduction to the group, although I love their other albums, too. This is an especially fun CD because BNL is a great band to see live - their show is energetic, funny and leaves you wanting more. I think I've seen them in concert maybe 3 times and it was always an absolute blast!
This CD has some of their most popular songs on it - Brian Wilson, the aforementioned The Old Apartment and If I Had $1000000. These are all great songs, so incredibly fun to sing to! But there are lesser known songs on this album that I love just as much - Hello City has always been one of my faves, as well as Life in a Nutshell and These Apples. The singability factor here is way, way up.
The downside to listening to an album so many times is that you can get burned out. I'm sorry to say that I haven't been listening to BNL as much the last couple of years because I think I might have overdone it a bit in my enthusiasm for their music. But I still adore them, and every time I play one of their CDs today, it's like instant-happiness.
Do you have any favorite albums that you couldn't stop listening to, once upon a time?