Music is one of the most important things in my life. I have favorite bands, instruments, and albums. Music was integral to my upbringing since before I was even born.
My taste has evolved greatly over the years. In middle school, I loved metal-core just like my big brother. Shortly after, I listened to nothing but classical music and Pentatonix. When I discovered Animal Collective in high school, I jumped into experimental and psychedelic pop. Now, in college, I have fallen head over heels for darkwave and gothic club music.
This month, everyone's Spotify Wrapped was published, enjoyed, and shared. But tastes are so malleable, as evidenced by my last decade of listening habits.
What about the pieces of music that will always stay with you, or the collections that changed your life?
This is where my third installment of favorite lists comes in: favorite albums. There are many that I would love to spend more time getting to know, as I'm sure this list would change thereafter. I'm also sure that this list is subject to change based on my mood at any given time. As it stands as I'm writing this, however, here are my 6 all-time favorite albums!
Wish You Were Queer: A Tribute To Ministry, by Various Artists (1999)
Fav song: Revenge by Paved in Skin
This album was sort of my introduction to the world of goth. I accidentally stumbled upon a goth playlist on Spotify (this one) after attempting to search for the band "Mass Gothic." I told my mom about the playlist and how it made me realize I am goth. She lent me this album and eventually let me keep it after I fell in love with it. Every time I listen, I notice new parts of all the songs that make me feel like I'm listening to them for the first time all over again. Pure magic.
Skeletal Lamping, by Of Montreal (2008)
Fav song: Mingusings
Oh, Of Montreal, where do I begin with you?
I've had the pleasure of seeing them live twice. They are my favorite band ever. This album, in my opinion, perfectly combines synth-pop and experimental psychedelia - two genres that are very dear to my heart and controlled my ears for a good two or three years. The playfulness of Kevin Barnes's voice despite the vividly macabre lyrics he sings never ceases to captivate my mind and soul.
Cows on Hourglass Pond, by Avey Tare (2019)
Fav song: Taken Boy
This album was a highlight to a hard part of my life. I had awful senioritis accompanied by insomnia that I eventually got medication for, all on top of everyone's favorite seasonal depression or winter blues. When singles started coming out for this album, I'd just lie down with my eyes closed and absorb every second of music I could. It's slow yet fast-moving, playful yet somber. Avey Tare can do no wrong, really. I will never forget how happy I was when I got a picture with him when I saw Animal Collective in 2019.
Centipede Hz, by Animal Collective (2012)
Fav song: Pulleys
Here they are! Animal Collective, the band that changed my life forever. "Ugh Gabby you're so dramatic." I mean... sure, but I'm serious about this one. Their music changed my idea of what music even is. Without this discovery, I have no idea how or who I would be today. Thank you to the Youtuber, Grav3yardgirl, for sharing a song of theirs on your Snapchat story for people like me to find and search.
This album is my favorite of theirs for its complexity and layers. There is a seemingly endless supply of effects and samples in each song, which I love. It is so unique in its combination of sounds that makes it a pretty bizarre piece of music, and I mean that in the best way possible. For about two years straight, I probably listened to this album alone 20 times.
Ephemeral, by Mr. Kitty (2019)
Every year, I ask for CDs for Christmas and my birthday. This gem was one of my gifts this Christmas. I cannot WAIT to listen to this album cover to cover. This album is definitely the black sheep of my list, as it is more poppy than what I typically listen to. Who cares, though? Music is fun and should never be confined to labels and stereotypes. I really enjoy Mr. Kitty's use of vocal effects and thick basslines to set a dark and dramatic tone for his music, especially in this album.
HanDover, by Skinny Puppy (2011)
Fav Song: Gambatte
I have recently discovered that Skinny Puppy is my fourth favorite band.
To me, having favorite bands is a huge deal, so this is saying a lot about how I freaking love this band. When my mom lent me that Ministry Tribute album from #1, she also lent me a Skinny Puppy album. I remember thinking it was okay at the time. I wasn't prepared for what the band was all about. After some exploration and learning, though, my eyes and ears have been opened. This album is special because I can dance to it, ponder life to it, and everything in between. It takes a special musical power to elicit both responses like that.
Honorable Mentions (in no particular order)
Pen and notebook
Rabies, by Skinny Puppy (Fav song: Worlock)
Daughter of Cloud, by Of Montreal (Fav song: Hindlopp Stat)
Amnesty (I), by Crystal Castles (Fav song: Fleece) *
(III), by Crystal Castles (Fav song: Plague) *
*There are a lot of traumatic allegations against the "leader" of Crystal Castles that makes me uncomfortable putting their music on my list, although they are my third favorite band, ever.
Thank you so much for letting me share with you!! I'd love to hear your thoughts and favorites.
Until next time! xoxo