Ryan Adams: Love is Hell Pt. 2source: unknown
Several years ago, I picked up Love is Hell: Part 2 in a music store. I didn't know much about Ryan Adams at the time, but I knew that his music was important to a lot of people, so I figured I'd give it a try. The album protrays one of the many sides of Adams. His music, to me, has a little piece of something dark in every song. But you have to really listen for it. Love is Hell put those feelings on the table. In the opening track, he describes his lover "making snow angels in the gravel and dirt." The image of purity, the beautiful snow, is mixed with fowl and gritty elements. Adams' accessable level of vulnerability is heightened, the depth exposed. Almost a year later, I found Part 1 in a different music store. It, too, is a great EP, but Part 2 remains my favorite Ryan Adams album. I was very shocked to later on discover that this was the album his label rejected when he used his jilted feelings to make Rock n Roll.
Fiona Apple: Tidalsource: unknown
Tidal was a Christmas gift that I got around the age of 15. Fiona Apple's level of vulnerability, and ability to form something so compelling with words, still fascinates me. I went on many snowy walks with Tidal in my walkman (I actually chose my coats by whether the pockets were large enough for a CD player).
Placebo just has this sort of dark, desolate vibe with an energy of its own. Stefan Olsdal remains my favorite bass player. Especially in their oldest, darkest material I feel so much emotion in every note. I was at first able to come to grips with this being what I love about Placebo when I first heard "Lady of the Flowers" and "Without You I'm Nothing." I hope I get to tell him this some day :)
The band also has some wonderful instrumental material that they recorded a while back. One winter I made a mix cd of those songs and listened to them every night before bed.
Nine Inch Nails: Still
My relationship with Nine Inch Nails is one that spans many years. I used to be terrified of the guy. In grade school, I saw the video for "Closer" on TV and I wanted my mommy. I avoided his music. Upon entering high school, I began to listen to Nails out of curiosity. I found beauty and vulnerability and suffering that I empathized with. Years ago, Trent described his music as an exploration of self-inflicted internal decay. I was finally old enough to understand that.
Nails has touched other areas of my life. A few years ago, when my mom tried to teach me to play the piano for the 100th time, I finally came away with a result. She left the room frustrated to go make a cup of tea. When she returned, intending to make me learn to read music, I had figured out the guitar and paino parts to "Something I can Never Have." One of the beauties of Nails is that the music translates seamlessly from this mecha creature into something so delicate in an acoustic form. Transcendent music is very special and rare.
Alter Bridge: Blackbird
Ok. Honestly, I listen to this album every day. ABIII is great too, but Blackbird remains my favorite Alter Bridge album.