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Introspection And Nostalgia

I'm in a sort of different mood tonight. I feel happy with what I've done in life thus far, and I'm going further in life these days as I progress with my music and writing. And yet I'm feeling a heavy dose of nostalgia and looking at my past compared to now. It may be nighttime, but I still look out at the night sky and remember all the years I've spent living here and all the friends I've met. Especially as it's autumn now, I listen to some old tunes from my childhood and proceed to listen to what appeals to me now as opposed to back then. Maybe I was listening to some stupid stuff back then and doing foolish things (even now really), but I've realized that sometimes it's time to look to the future instead. To look at what lies ahead of us and smile at the good times we had before. I know there were painful memories, but there were a lot of damn good ones too. Enjoy a list of some of my favorite albums. :]
1The Tallest Man on Earth
The Wild Hunt

My favorite album of all time, as it has recently surpassed Dirt by Alice in Chains. A
true folk classic, The Wild Hunt uses lovely acoustic guitar melodies and Kristian
Matsson's unique vocals to paint pictures of running away from or confronting what
life throws at you. The sound of the album is very nature-esque, great for a nice
walk on a trail. I love this and can't recommend it enough.
2Alice in Chains

A dark but immersive album, Dirt by Alice in Chains is an intense journey into the
depths of drug addiction and personal struggles. Every member is at his finest here;
you've got Layne Staley wailing out his most passionate vocal lines, Jerry Cantrell
using a diverse arsenal of guitar techniques and styles, and the rhythm section of
drummer Sean Kinney and Mike Starr holding everything together fantastically.
While it's more metal than grunge, that usually works more in its favor here; I love
the sludgy/doomy sound of these songs. Astounding stuff.

Probably the most flawless album on this list even though it's not #1 (for personal
reasons). 4 songs, 36 minutes, amazing songcraft and one of the best epics in
progressive rock. All of this amounts to one of my favorite albums ever made. Rush
made plenty of other amazing records, but this one stands out as the best in my
opinion. Oh, and I still believe that La Villa Strangiato is their best instrumental as
well. :]

It was a tough call between this and Homogenic, but I had to pick Vespertine.
While Homogenic is also a 5/5 for me, Vespertine seems more intimate and warm-
sounding. Along with continued experimentation with numerous samples and vocal
styles, Vespertine is rich in personality and sees Bjork in a very inviting state.
There's just something so fascinating with how personal and intimate this record is
in particular... it makes it pretty damn beautiful. Well, that and the lovely string
instrumentation and deep bass in most of the tracks.
5Simon and Garfunkel
Sounds of Silence

It may seem weird to put this of all Simon and Garfunkel albums up so high, but I
couldn't help it. Every song is so good, and the lyricism so simplistic yet so
delightful. The title track is a classic, but the acoustic ballad "Kathy's Song" is my
personal favorite song on the record. The record is diverse and spans from intimate
folk songs, moderate-to-fast rock songs, mid-paced pop numbers, and other stuff
in between. I quite love this one.
6Shiina Ringo
Shouso Strip

Sort of the curveball here, but I absolutely love this one. The Japanese singer
decided to create a pop/rock record that manages to bring out some of the most
pleasing melodies I've ever heard in my life. The album sounds like musical ecstasy,
I swear. Even during hard rock songs like "Kyogenshou" or "Byoushou Public" there's
still a certain airy lighthearted feel that offsets the heaviness. Then there are
amazing ballads like the piano-driven "Gibusu" or the distorted power ballad
"Izonshou, the latter's intro boasting one of the most beautiful clean guitar melodies
out there. This is just one of those records that makes me feel so pleasant, even
during the darkest times.
Nattens Madrigal

Going back to the metal side of things, this is still my favorite extreme metal record.
It's so damn noisy, so damn intense, and yet so damn wonderful. If you can get
past the ear-piercing distortion, you'll find so many well-composed riffs and such a
chilling atmosphere that you begin to forget how grating it initially sounded. That,
and the acoustic break in Hymn I just rules. If you can stomach high levels of
noise, this is black metal perfection.
Purple Rain

This one should really need no introduction. Prince made a pop/rock album that
completely changed the face of pop music forever, incorporating a lot more
diversity than Michael Jackson's Thriller and highlighting his amazing vocal prowess.
This album was the soundtrack to the movie of the same name, but I prefer just
listening to the album even though the movie is good in its own right.
9The Dismemberment Plan
Emergency & I

One of the quintessential records of indie rock, this album is a mix of indie rock,
progressive rock, math rock, post-hardcore, and some other stuff thrown in for
good measure. The music is nearly flawless, flowing so smoothly from each idea to
the next. The vocals take some time to get used to, but they fit so well with the
music that you could get used to it. I love this thing, even more now than I used
Reign in Blood

Probably didn't expect this one, considering I gave a 2/5 review of this in one of my
old write-ups. Well, I was being stupid back then. The reason I like this album so
much is because it's the album I listen whenever I'm pissed and want to punch
everybody in sight. It's one of the most violently therapeutic metal albums and, at
about 30 minutes, takes no prisoners in its conquest of speed and intense
thrashing. This seems like a generic choice for the list, but I really love it.
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