I've been thinking about music a lot these days. It's been pretty much on the backburner for me ever since CDs went out of style. I was slow to get a hold on downloading, and I was offended by the de-emphasis of the album. Songs became stand alone, and things like album covers, leaflets, and other tactile paraphernalia went by the wayside. It made me sad.

And so, an ode to albums... The albums of my life. The ones that mattered, that I think back on as landmarks in my checkered past.

The Beatles - Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

This is the first album I remember listening to on my own, in my walkman (which I got for my eighth birthday. It was a hunker, and didn't have a rewind). The first time I listened to "She's Leaving Home" I cried.

Oasis - Definitely Maybe

This album changed me because it made me realize that I can like popular music. I bought it for myself for my birthday in 1994, and I listened to it steadily. Songs like "Slide Away" helped with some of the teenage angst.

Yo La Tengo - I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One

This album made me realize that I really do like good solid indie rock. It opened my eyes to a whole other side of things musically, and I poured over anything Matador put out, hoping to find more gems like my lovely Yo La Tengo.

Elliott Smith - either/or

Gasp and sigh and choke and cough. How can this man be inside my own head? This was too much for me and I can honestly say that I was obsessed with Elliott. I was lucky enough to see him play live, meet him after the show and shake his hand for far too long. R.I.P. Elliott.

Joy Division - Permanent

In first year university, my roommate broke up with his first BIG LOVE, and after leaving her, he came home, walked right past me in the living room, entered his room silently, closed the door behind him, and moments later "Love Will Tear Us Apart" started playing. A few weeks later I picked up the CD and listened to it. I listened to nothing else for two weeks straight. It is by all accounts a masterpiece, and the first time I ever heard such quiet intensity. All of a sudden I felt on the edge of adulthood, and realized what kind of pain that could bring.

Joel Plaskett - Truthfully Truthfully

Thrush Hermit/Joel Plaskett made me fall in love with live music. Every show I ever saw of theirs/his has been awe inspiring and epic. The backbone of my music appreciation.

PJ Harvey - Stories From The City; Stories From The Sea

This album changed my life. I listened to it in its entirety twice on the bus ride to Montréal to break up with my fiancé. I listened to it on my flight to Banff. Everytime I listen to this album from start to finish, I feel as though I'm one step closer to putting all the pieces of the puzzle together.

Drive-By Truckers - Dirty South

I yearn for stories, and these dudes know how to tell a good story. The older I get, the more fervent my dream of immigrating down south. The picture they paint is full of hope and tragedy, and all the other contradictions of humanity. Really soul wrenching.