Veronica Kohl – “Aquarium” by Aqua
One of the first albums I can remember buying for myself, inspiring my first personal musical experience outside of my dad’s Beatles and ABBA collections, was Aqua’s “Aquarium.” I think on this same trip to the record store I got the cassette of Chumbawumba’s “Tubthumping” but that might be a longer story to get into.
Like most youths alive in 1997, I had been exposed to the song “Barbie Girl” through the radio but upon purchasing the CD I became enthralled with nearly all of the tracks. They were kind of psychedelic, nonsensical but had inescapably catchy melodies which I could eat a bunch of candy, dress up and jump around to. In combination with the oddly sexual male/female vocal dynamic, the songs were just enough to entertain my easily distracted 8 year old brain. While pleasure in listening to this album now mostly comes from nostalgia, rather than an appreciation for the intricacy of the music itself, I still can’t help but bop around and sing along with the lyrics I somehow remember word for word.
Annie Sullivan- The Beatles “Blue Anthology”
I vividly remember my first record. It was the Beatles’ Blue album, the two-disc compilation CD spanning 1967-1970. I would like to preface this with a nod to the fact that the Beatles might be a cliche record/artist to pick, but in all honesty, it really was my first record!
There was a constant flow of music in my parents’ house; mostly classical, but with some pop/folk/and disco in heavy rotation( ABBA, Peter Paul & Mary, and Gilbert & Sullivan to name a few).
But it wasn’t until I was introduced to the Beatles that my own identity as a music fan and musician began to develop. I remember being in our neighborhood HMV with my mother and sister, having stopped in to buy my father a new Beatles CD as a present for his birthday. As I remember it, the present quickly became one for my sister and me.
Once we began listening we could not stop. It was electrifying. It was like Beatlemania all over again, except just for my sister and me, and in 1996. We were obsessed, not only with the music but the shining personality of the four lads from Liverpool. The Blue compilation is a wonderfully massive collection of their hits from the time period which allowed us to explore and wallow in the lush and beautiful productions of the band’s later years. Twenty-eight songs in total, it introduced me to some of my all-time favorite songs: “Hey Jude,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Don’t Let Me Down,” “Let it Be,” and “Across the Universe.”
It’s not exaggerating to say it changed my life. It’s safe to say that without the influence of the Beatles the kind of music I love, and love to write, would not exist in the way it does today. My insane love of the Beatles has even effected the non-musical performance areas of my life, inspiring me to study social phenomena and fan culture in popular music.
Fronted by lead vocalist and guitarist Annie Sullivan, alt-folk trio Oh! My Blackbird harness the magic of close vocal harmonies and pissed off lyrics. With Nick Jozwiak (cello, bass, auto harp) and Veronica Kohl (tambourine, vocals), they create a tight yet playful folk pop sound, akin to the Fleet Foxes. Oh! My Blackbird released their debut full-length album Dare Me on March 26th.