It’s always been difficult for me to do things like this because there are so many songs that were “game changers” for me when I first heard them, so it took a little while for me to put this playlist together. When I narrowed it down to 10, I was really thinking about the first time I heard these songs, the exact moments where each song hit me emotionally.
A lot of these songs I had first heard between the ages of 8 and 15, all of which were very impressionable ages for me. I started my band when I was 12, so I’d like to think these songs played a big part in shaping me as a songwriter and musician. By the way, these songs are not numbered the way they are for any particular purpose, just the way I placed the songs in the playlist. Click to stream:
1. Big Star-“Thirteen”
I first heard Big Star when I actually was thirteen. I don’t know if “Thirteen” was the first song I’d heard from them, but it certainly stood out to me among the tons of great songs that band had to offer. Lyrically it was (and is) the most connected I’d ever felt to a song. Musically, and in terms of arrangement, it was everything a song of that caliber needed to get the point across. Not overproduced or flashy, just simply everything it needed to be. It was this song that made me want to produce records. I remember feeling like I just wanted to make everything I did from that point on sound like Big Star.
2. Chris Bell-“I Am The Cosmos”
I believe, if I’m remembering correctly, my friend Peter Holsapple (The dB’s) first turned me on to this song not long after I met him. We were talking about Big Star and he recommended I check this song out. I’m not sure how I hadn’t heard it before that moment, but regardless, I was instantly blown away. The thing that makes this song so big to me is the brilliant chord progressions. “I Am The Cosmos” really made me start to look at pop songs as works of art. It’s simply a beautiful piece of music.
3. Let’s Active-“Waters Part”
This song made me want to be like Mitch Easter. I spent a couple of months when I was young obsessively exploring “jangle-pop” music, if you’d like to call it that, from North Carolina. Let’s Active were one of the first bands I’d heard at the Winston-Salem stopover on my musical cyber road trip. “Waters Part” is just one of these songs that I keep coming back to, so much so that my band is recording a version of it during recording sessions we’re currently doing with Mr. Easter himself. I hope we don’t suck at it.