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10 Years Of Sputnik - A Decade Under the Influence

It has been 10 years (and some months) since I joined this site. I don't know what has kept me here, but here I am. As such, here are my 10 favorite albums from each year I've been a member of this site. Be sure to check the first comment for a massive list of awesome people.

2007 - I hadn't quite turned 20 when I joined Sputnik on April 30th, 2007, because it was one of the few sites that had any record of the band The Ernies and their awesome album, 'Meson Ray'. When I found that anyone could add albums to the database, or add a rating to any of them, I created an account (oddly enough, it wouldn't be until 2008 that I made a soundoff for the Ernies record). At the same time, I was podcasting to my friends on MySpace, and using it as an excuse to explore music in earnest. I'd already been acquainted with Anberlin with a few of their songs, but this was the first full-length album I got to be excited for, and boy, it did not disappoint! It codified the exact brand of alternative that I was into, and helped me plot a course through music from then on. Big competition for this spot with Fair To Midland, though--'Fables From a Mayfly' arguably started my progressive alt-rock kick.
2Sleep Parade
Things Can Always Change

2008 - This was probably the most important year I've ever had in terms of my musical journey. My friend let me borrow a hard drive holding almost a terabyte of music on it, and I was free to pick and choose whatever I wanted. Never before had I had free access to so much music, and from so many genres. That event led me to making the decision to not care in any way, shape or form what genre a band or artist was--if I enjoyed the music, I'd pursue more. This led me to, among other things, admitting I liked a Coldplay album ('Viva La Vita', which to this day I consider underrated despite its massive success). It also led me deep into Sputnik, and eventually (years later) to this album. I discovered Sleep Parade after finding The Butterfly Effect, and I fell in love with its dark atmosphere and textured soundscapes. It was about what I was into at the time with Progressive Alternative, and I had some late nights just chilling and listening to this.
3Devin Townsend Project

2009 - Hot damn, this was probably the most fruitful year of new music I've had in my life. Japandroids, Manchester Orchestra, John Frusciante, Brand New, He Is Legend, Karnivool, RAEKWON (especially Raekwon)...all of these could have made it into this spot. I was never into music the way I was in 2009, and Sputnik was a HUGE part of that. It's no surprise that this is when I started taking to Sputnik in earnest, posting an average of one list every one-and-a-half weeks (by comparison, this is my second list this whole year). Devin Townsend gets this spot because this was a distinctly Sputnik album for me, and it opened up an entirely new section of music I'd never explored. Listening to 'Addicted' for the first, second, third time was something that defined what it meant to be on this site for me. To this day, Devin Townsend (in all his incarnations) is probably the musician I listen to more than any other (though 'Only Built 4 Cuban Lynx...Pt. II' was just as influential for me).
Diamond Eyes

2010 - Fully into Sputnik culture now. It is probably my second-most visited site, outside of Facebook. Started getting my name known, people kind of had an idea of what I enjoyed, and I found like minded people like SowingSeason, AnotherBrick and SANICSHPEED. On the music side of things, Deftones' destroyed me with 'Diamond Eyes'. It was gorgeous and haunting and heavy hitting, and when I saw them in concert that year, it was perfect. Dead Letter Circus released 'This Is The Warning' this year, which wouldn't become important to me for a few more years, at which time I wouldn't be able to stop listening to it. BT, my favorite electronic artist, released 'These Hopeful Machines', which gave me what is probably the song I have listened to more than any other song I own ("Suddenly"). But it was Deftones who defined the year for me, without a doubt. Them, and Caleb McAlpine (Waior), who released what is to this day the only Sputnik-user album I ever liked (and reviewed).
5Fair to Midland
Arrows and Anchors

2011 - The year of Tinychat, and the year that Sputnik became way realer than it ever should have been--I actually visited with some Sputnik people in real life. This was also probably the first year that bands that I had firmly established as "Sputnik" bands came around again with new albums. Devin Townsend Project, Thrice, Manchester Orchestra, Raekwon, Pharoahe Monch, Blackfield...they all released albums for better (Manchester Orchestra) or worse (Pharoahe Monch). Surprisingly, Jane's Addiction released an album that has probably been forgotten by everyone except me--it's my favorite by them, by an inexplicable long shot. Oh...and we got "Midnight City" this year! But it was 'Arrows and Anchors', which I was worried we wouldn't get at all, which kept my headphones glued to my ears. They somehow managed to match their previous record with the same elegant ferocity, but with a completely different energy. An incredible record which still sees plenty of rotation.
6Killer Mike
R.A.P. Music

2012 - This is about where my activity on Sputnik started to wane. I became more of a lurker, and made less lists than before. I was still getting involved in the comment sections of my favorite albums, and still doing TinyChat, but there was a noticeable decline in my on-site activities compared to 2011. Actually...TinyChat probably had a lot to do with that. My friends on Sputnik were slowly becoming my friends OFF of Sputnik--I had a great circle of people who I started adding on Facebook, and other platforms. I think this was the year Turntable was around, as well. Good times, definitely. Still, Sputnik was my most important website not called Facebook. This year, it gave me an album that, out of nowhere, became one of the most important for me--Killer Mike's R.A.P. music. I was blindsided by my obsession with songs like "Ghetto Gospel" and "Willie Burke Sherwood," and I can thank Sputnik for getting me into it (and subsequently, Run The Jewels...more on that below).
7Run The Jewels
Run the Jewels

2013 - My participation in this site dropped off dramatically in 2013--I wrote one single review, and made all of 11 lists the entire year (granted, one of those lists garnered the most comments I've ever had on one). Most of the friends I had made during this time were sparsely seen or gone altogether. I was still lurking for music recommendations, however, and that led me to a few things--most notably, Justin Timberlake's '20/20 Experience' (my one review), which I would not have checked out without Sputnik. Bad Religion's 'True North' was released as well, and I enjoyed it immensely...but it was Run the Jewels that held my attention most this year. After my obsession with Killer Mike's 'R.A.P. Music', how could it not? It seemed that they just threw something together to keep that momentum going, and it turned out to be one of the best albums of the year, and one of my favorite hip-hop albums of the new millennium. Also got to meet Taxidermist in San Diego. Ballin' dude.
Are You Kidding Me? No.

2014 - The unthinkable happened--my interest in music as a whole waned. I just wasn't as interested in searching out new music as I was before. I had moved cities the year before, and I was settling in. Really, there was a lot going on in my life that caused me not to care about finding new music. As such, I was basically a full-time lurker on Sputnik at this point. I made three lists for the entire year, and listened to all of eight albums. Against Me!'s 'Transgender Dysphoria Blues' made a lasting impression (especially with the title track), and Flying Lotus's 'You're Dead!' had my song of the year with "Never Catch Me," but my favorite album of this year is one I listened to for the first time in 2016. Destrage came up on a Spotify Weekly Discovery Mix, and never left my rotation. What an album! I hadn't been that singularly obsessed with an album since the one from 2015. I wish their most recent album was as catchy, but I'll always have this one.
9Kendrick Lamar
To Pimp a Butterfly

2015 - Still only lurking on Sputnik, but I kind-of rediscovered music this year. My vehicle crapped out on me at the very beginning of the year, so I found myself riding the bus for the first few months of the year. I had a lot of time to fill with music, and it just so happened that hip-hop was doing it big in those early weeks of 2015, with Joey Bada$$ and Lupe Fiasco releasing incredible albums, and me discovering Jay Electronica. Also in there was Steven Wilson's 'Hand. Cannot. Erase.', which hit my prog itch when I needed a break from hip-hop. Later in the year, Failure would come back with an absolutely stellar album. But really, there's no doubt which album was most important to me this year. It took me months to "get it," but get it, I did, and it has since become one of the most important albums in my life (and I'm certain in the lives of so many others).
10A Tribe Called Quest
We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service

2016 - I tried mounting a comeback on know, made an effort to make myself known. But that amounted to six lists the entire year. By now, I've kind of resigned myself to the fact that Sputnik will never again be to me what it was between 2008 and 2012. Still a hardcore lurker, however...still visit at least once a week to see what people are listening to. But I feel I'm a member of the old guard, a part of a bygone age where Grumblecunts pissed shit, and the phrase "Nicer Dicer" could get you banned. 2016 had great albums, though--Devin Townsend Project came back strong with 'Transcendence', Norma Jean had 'Polar Similar' (both groups I had the great opportunity to catch live); Anderson Paak and Thank You Scientists kept me nodding and singing along, and Common gave me the song of the year with "Black America Again," but Tribe won the year with 'We Got It From Here'. RIP, Phife Dawg (and David Bowie, and Lemmy, and Scott Weiland, and Prince, and fucking everyone else).
11He Is Legend

2017 - And here we are, halfway through 2017. And life goes on--Sputnik keeps orbitting, and I keep lurking. Most of you don't know who I am. All my Sputfriends are dead (on this site); I still talk to quite a few people I met on Sputnik, just not on Sputnik. I still use the site to find new music and keep up with bands I enjoy, though. And who knows what will pop up? Ride, Slowdive, Anathema, Kendrick and Ulver all put out great records this year. He Is Legend has the early lead, but anyone could come out of nowhere and knock it out of the park. Right now, I'm enjoying just listening to, and discovering new music. And even though I don't really frequent the site like I did back in the day, I will never, ever take for granted all this site has done for me in my musical journey. I honestly don't know where I'd be without it, or which music I would have missed. 10 years on, I can honestly say that I'm glad Sputnik exists and that I was a part of it.
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