Like a lot of people, the recent lockdown has led me to thinking about my life, past, present and future. I’ve had a lot of time to look back and peek forward and this reflective feeling has stayed with me. Also, as I’m sure is the case with a lot of people too, I’ve turned to music. Working from home has meant that I can blast my music out loud and have many a shameless sing-a-long to new singles, old classics and personal faves.
Both of these things put an idea in my head – what are the albums of my life? Music has always been an important part of my life; both my parents, albeit with different tastes, always had music on in the car or in the house and I grew up listening to such a range of music, from 90’s R&B and 00’s chart music to Queen and Fleetwood Mac, as well as some 60’s and 70’s bangers from my grandparents! As I hit my teens, I started to develop my own music taste which differed from that which I listened to with my parents, though Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio, Landslide by Fleetwood Mac and Dum Dum by Brenda Lee will always hold a special place in my heart!
So, in a sort of Desert Island Discs style, I thought I’d write about the albums of my life; those that defined an era of my childhood or teenage years, meant a lot to me or stick out as all time favourites. I thought this seemed like a good way to get to know someone, their music tastes and life experiences, so if you fancy doing your own version, I’d love to read it!
The Best Damn Thing by Avril Lavigne (2007)
Although the first album I ever got was Natasha Bedingfield’s Unwritten, purely for Unwritten and These Words I might add, The Best Damn Thing by Avril Lavigne was the first album I was excited for and loved every song of. I have a very distinct memory of my little sister telling me I was getting it for my birthday a few days prior which still makes me laugh.
This album sticks in my mind as the first time I made a choice as to what my music taste was, and I’m actually really glad it was Avril Lavigne. Listening back now, she represented a powerful woman which I think was good for 9 year old me to see – take the song The Best Damn Thing for example. Perhaps not a contemporary feminist anthem, but good for the time. Of course, Girlfriend was a firm favourite, but also Hot, Innocence and One of Those Girls.
Fearless – Taylor Swift (2008)
Ah, the moment my love for Taylor Swift began. Like most people, once Love Story hit the charts there was no going back. I was in my final year of primary school and Taylor sang of the life and love I dreamed of – high school, boyfriends and what I envisioned as ‘growing up’. But she also sang of break ups, heartache and the boys you like liking someone else which my 10 year old self thought she knew all about – to be fair, I knew a lot about the boys I liked liking someone else! It was the first time I related to music and I cried many a pre-teen tear to this.
My love for Taylor started with this album and I’m so glad it did. It was the soundtrack to car journeys to school and as I had the international version, Our Song was my favourite. Change and You Belong With Me were also my jam, as well as Love Story, of course. Now I’m older, I appreciate the sentiment of Fifteen, and Forever and Always gets to me, but I love looking back at what my pre-teen faves were.
Take Me Home – One Direction (2012)
Like so many teenage girls across the world, One Direction was a whole ‘thing’ for me. At the age of 12, going on 13, I discovered an interview One Direction did with Sugarscape (remember them!?) and I never looked back. My first little presence on the internet was actually a One Direction fan account and I loved it. I dedicated many an hour, a lot of money and plenty of energy into supporting One Direction and I’m so glad I did; I also still like to tell people Niall once answered my question on a Twitcam once… A combination of lockdown and their ten year anniversary had me 100% reverting back to my ‘directioner’ days and I’ve had a blast listening to their music again.
Whilst I was a fan from around mid-2011, before the release of their first album Up All Night, Take Me Home was the tour I went to so it felt only right to include it in the albums of my life. One Direction was a whole part of my life that really exceeded music, but I wanted to represent it with this one album. I find it really hard to include favourites here; what about Tell Me A Lie and I Want from Up All Night, Little Black Dress from Midnight Memories, Change Your Ticket or 18 from Four and Temporary Fix and If I Could Fly from Made in the A.M.! But, from Take Me Home, I’d have to say Little Things, Over Again and They Don’t Know About Us were definite favourites.
OK, fangirl moment over… for now.
RED – Taylor Swift (2012)
I’ve always said that Red is the album of my soul. I love every single Taylor Swift album, and often say my music taste is just whatever Taylor releases, but there’s just something about Red for me. I don’t know if it’s the emotional songs and party bangers blended together, the stunning lyrics or the undeniable autumn vibes, but Red is just the one for me (although folklore is starting to give it a run for its money! I’d love to write about my thoughts on this album, or others, in the future. Is this something you’d be interested in reading? Let me know!)
It still stands as the album with the most songs I can relate to and I never ever tire of it. It also holds so many memories of my friends and I getting so excited for each music video release and meticulously discussing the meaning of the lyrics or the hidden messages – trust me, I know All Too Well inside and out. Favourites have to be State of Grace, All Too Well (of course), Sad Beautiful Tragic and The Moment I Knew.
A Lesson in Romantics – Mayday Parade (2007)
As I hit Year 11 and Sixth Form, which was around 2014, my music taste shifted. I still listened to Taylor and One Direction (and was heartbroken when Zayn left), but I started to discover Green Day, Blink-182 and especially Mayday Parade. I have no idea where this came from, but A Lesson in Romantics will go down as one of my all time favourite albums. I listened to it over and over again.
I spent many a study session with this album blasting through my earphones and I still love to stick it on every now and then for a jam in the car! Favourites include Jamie All Over, Ocean and Atlantic and Miserable At Best, but by far, my most favourite is, and bear with me for this song title… If You Wanted A Song Written About You, All You Had To Do Was Ask. Bit of a mouthful, but I think it’ll always be one of my most favourite songs; perfect for belting it out in the car!
American Beauty/American Psycho – Fall Out Boy (2015)
This album will always bring back the most amazing memories for me. Nearly all of my friends were listening to this album when it came out and it coincided with people passing their driving tests, house parties, first relationships – all the things you can’t wait for in your teenage years. In short, for me, this album really represents that first taste of freedom you get when you turn 16 or 17.
When I think of this album, I think of my best friend driving us back from the city, all of us singing along and feeling so happy and free. Irresistible and Fourth of July are favourites, but The Kids Aren’t Alright seems to have been the soundtrack of 2015 for me. Listening to that song brings back floods of memories of being 16.
After this album, there seems to be a bit of a gap when I went to University. There’s not one album that seems to represent that time for me. But there are a few songs… Shout Out to My Ex by Little Mix, Sweet Creature by Harry Styles, Mr Brightside by The Killers, This Girl by Kungs, Cookin’ On 3 Burners, End Game by Taylor Swift and I Believe in a Thing Called Love by The Darkness. Those songs, and their significance, won’t mean anything to anyone other than the people I went to Uni with!
Fine Line – Harry Styles (2019)
And finally, the album of 2020 for me. This year, but lockdown especially, I’ve been listening to Fine Line by Harry Styles on repeat. Just over and over and over. I loved his first album, but there’s just something about Fine Line. I can listen to it at work, in the car, in the shower, late at night, when I’m happy, sad, mellow. If you can’t already tell, I’m still obsessed with this album.
I think I will always love whatever Harry puts out (and the rest of the One Direction boys for that matter) and I find it so hard to choose favourites from this album. I think the title track is beautiful, as is Falling, but I love a little dance to Canyon Moon and Treat People with Kindness too.
It’s been so nice to go down memory lane and rediscover all my old favourite songs. And, it really makes me think about the songs and albums that’ll represent the rest of my life too!
If you feel inspired, I’d love to know what albums represent your life, whether in the comments or in your own post! Even if you don’t write your own post, I really recommend thinking about all the albums and songs most important to you and giving them a listen – or adding them all to one playlist!