My Favorite Mainstream Albums
Music has always been a big part of my life. I started playing percussion for my high school marching band but soon shed the “band geek” label after joining a punk rock band during my undergrad days. It was easily the most fun I’ve ever had. We played at some seedy venues and often jammed late into the night.
After undergrad, I moved cities and stopped making music for a while. I soon decided to pick up the guitar during my grad school days. I feel lucky because playing both the drums and the guitar has made me appreciate music at a much deeper level. So I’ve decided to compile an eclectic list of a few of the mainstream albums that I’ve enjoyed over the years.
The Stone Roses by The Stone Roses
I was an avid gamer growing up, and the song “Fools Gold” would frequently pop-up playing FIFA 2004. Many years later, when I moved to the UK, someone recommended that I listen to The Stone Roses and I rediscovered “Fools Gold” on their eponymous album. I love the melancholic sound of The Stone Roses and find myself revisiting this album frequently.
Badmotorfinger by Soundgarden
I saw Soundarden live in concert many years back and Chris Cornell still had the best vocals in the business. Badmotorfinger is Soundgarden’s magnum opus, a truly underrated metal album with incredible guitarwork and unmatched vocals. Legendary metal band in my book.
Wish you were here by Pink Floyd
Over the years, my list of favorite bands has been like a revolving door but Pink Floyd has always stood strong at number one. I credit this to the brilliance of “Shine on you crazy diamond”. A song so delicate can propel even the most mundane album to great heights but coupled with the title song, this album places well above even “Dark Side of the Moon”. I’ve been fortunate to having seen David Gilmour live in concert and even in his twilight years, he put on a mesmerizing show.
Ten by Pearl Jam
My parents used to put on MTV when I was a child and I loved watching all these alt-rock videos. “Jeremy” had a lot of airplay back then but I only dicovered it as a young adult. I guess Pearl Jam was one of these bands that was hidden in my subconscious brain. “Ten” is a gritty album and has some of the best grunge music made during the 90s.
Exodus by Bob Marley
Bob Marley used his music to spread his message about fighting injustice and oppression. Yet for me, his most enduring songs are those that celebrate the little things in life. I used to have “One Love”, “Three Little Birds” and various other Marley songs as my alarm ringtones during my undergrad days. My logic back then was that I would wake up feeling happy and grateful in the off chance that I woke up on time.
Electric Ladyland by The Jimi Hendrix Experience
“Voodoo Child” singlehandedly inspired me to pick up the guitar. I even bought a white Fender Strat in the hopes that Hendrix would bless me with great musical talent. Alas, there can only be one guitar god.
Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park
During my middle school days, one of my friends picked “Cure for the itch” as his background music for a talent competition. I loved the beat the first time I heard it. Around the same time, “In the End” became really popular on the radio. So I saved up the cash to buy my first ever album, Hybrid Theory. I’ve definitely heard this album more times than the rest of the albums on my list combined and this one has a special place in my heart.
Paranoid by Black Sabbath
I learnt to play “War Pigs” on guitar-hero well before I picked up “Iron Man” on a real guitar. Those two songs encouraged me to listen to the entire album. I’d be doing a great disservice by not including this as one of my favorites given the amount of time and effort I’ve spent learning the solo for “Planet Caravan”.
Thriller by Michael Jackson
As a child, my mom says that “Remember the time” was my favorite MTV music video so I guess I’ve always loved Michael Jackson’s music. “Thriller” of course is MJs best work and I’ve heard this album way too many times. It’s amazing to me that this album has no fillers. Every single song has reached legendary status, and a lot of MJs video’s have ensured that his music will always remain firmly embedded in my memory.
The Joshua Tree by U2
My dad really loved U2 and his musical taste has clearly rubbed off on me. The lyrics of many of the pieces in The Joshua Tree are very moving and remind me of him every time I listen to it. The edge is also one my favorite guitarists and his chiming tone is something that I have tried to replicate at home. This one is definitely in my top 3 favorite albums.