[memorable/influential cds]

in alphabetical order...

Garth Brooks, The Hits: This album proves I'm a Midwestern girl at heart. Everyone loves Garth, even non-country fans. This album reminds me of my mother - the first Garth fan of my family. Singing the songs with her, and with the high school golf team, remind me of good times. Every song a winner, Garth can really do no wrong. Well, until that Chris Gaines thing.

Depeche Mode, Violator: To my knowledge, I was one of two people in my high school that a) knew who DM was b) loved them. Violator was that seminal album for me - the first non-pop, non-top 40, non-American album that I fell in love with. Each song, each melody, each lyric found a piece of me. Dave's awe-inspiring voice, Martin's words, Fletch's talent pulled me in and haven't let go since.

Metallica, The Black Album: This album signaled rebellion, music my parents hated, and the freedom to listen to angry, fast, loud music. I remember many a night hanging out with the guys, listening to this - and loving every song. It was irreverent, brilliant and LOUD. I know, I'm one of those people who believes this album is their best (blasphemy!) but I don't know if it's because of the music itself, or the rebellion and memories it held for me.

Journey, Greatest Hits: This album represents the common ground with my sister. My sister, 9 years older, was always so much older, cooler and smarter. I always wanted to be like her, and she liked Journey. So I liked Journey. But as the years passed, I loved this album for more than the desire to be like my sister - it was good, clean, music. Every song different, every lyric interesting. It's that album that you can start on Track 1 and never skip a song. I love that. And to this day, I can still sing every song - just like my sister.

Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine: Again, to my knowledge, I was one of two people in my high school that a) knew who NIN was b) loved them (yep, same guy as Depeche Mode). This album forever changed me. The darkness, the earnestness, the uniqueness of it all stayed with me. This was that album no one had ever heard of - then I listened to it and my friend gradually came to realize the genius of it - and now every single one of them own it. It was a seminal work of Trent Reznor, and while now not my favorite album of NIN, it holds so much for me. The most incredible concert of my life, the truest love song of my life (something i can never have), the most honest album…I can't imagine what my music would be like now without the influence of this album.

*NSYNC, No Strings Attached: This album, these guys, came into my life at a time when I needed them. Upbeat, infectious, and fun. It was time for my music to swing to happy and exciting. I listened to at least one song off this album every day for over a year - and I never felt the songs get old or boring. This album represents such a good year for me, when I was 24. I got a new job, a convertible, a leather coat and saw these guys in concert. I went to Prague for 2 weeks, began life AN, got closer to my sister, lost weight, stopped being stressed and upset, began writing again and even went to Boston on a roadtrip. These guys represent happiness, a hobby, new friends, new interests and a good outlook. This album, and loving *NSYNC, may have changed me more than I like to admit, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Pink Floyd, Pulse: I had never had any Pink Floyd exposure (besides limited The Wall listenings) until this album. "High Hopes" became my song, my anthem for college. I listened to that song, and this album, probably every day for a year, and it never got old. Each listening brings something different, some new sound, some new melody. This album haunts, excites and amazes me even now. Eclipse became my handle, my name. High Hopes my anthem. Wish You Were Here my wish. Comfortably Numb my melody. I love this album - and when I go months without listening to it, then pop it in, I wonder what took me so long to pick it up again.

Rush, Roll the Bones: This album always seemed to point out that I was never a girly girl. Only guys listen to Rush. Only guys appreciate Neil's drumming or Geddy's lyrics. Well, this girl became one of the guys. My first real concert, my first musical influence from my first serious boyfriend and his friends, my first real roadtrip…I cherish this album. Hearing the songs still makes me smile and sing every word.

Frank Sinatra, Sinatra Reprise - The Very Good Years: I didn't discover this album until I discovered my college sweetheart. On our first date, he sang "The Way You Look Tonight" to me, and I fell for him. This album became "our album", this music became the music I could always listen to, the music that never got old or dated. Though the boyfriend is long gone, this music is still so fond to me. Frankie's voice and charisma were truly amazing.

Various Artists, Sliver Soundtrack: This soundtrack has music from Massive Attack, Slid, Shaggy (before he was Top-40 Shaggy), Bigod 20…a host of groups no one had heard of. But after seeing the movie, the music stayed with me. I splurged the $18 for the album (hey, that was a lot in high school), and became the envy of my friends, who were hearing this type of music for the first time. I can't hear this album without memories of my first serious boyfriend, my old car, my girlfriends and I dancing around.