Posted by: deerharas | February 22, 2009

Another “Tag, you’re it!”

These “all about me” memes are certainly making their rounds these days.  But rather than telling you my “gangsta name,” I thought I’d latch onto another and share fifteen life changing albums.

Stand by Me Soundtrack
This is the first album I can remember loving.  As I child I remember dancing around to “Mr. Lee” and giggling at the humor of “Yakety Yak.”  My greatest accomplishment as a first grader was perhaps the mastery of the “Lollipop” finger/cheek pop sound.  I credit this album with planting the seeds of my music obsession.

George Strait – Greatest Hits Volume Two

That’s right, a country album.  I wouldn’t be a Texas girl without it!  And while country is certainly not representative of my overarching musical tastes, my list would not be complete without old school George. No music evokes memories of childhood visits to the grandparents in south Texas like this.  Of course the double entendres of “The Fireman” were lost on me as a five year old, and I remember picturing a literal blue man whenever “Am I Blue” would play.  My favorite (to this day) is “All My Ex’s Live in Texas.”  I still sing out just a little bit louder when he gets to “Sweet Eileen’s in Abilene …”

Wilson Phillips – Wilson Phillips
Another childhood album.  Man, me and my mom wore this tape (yes, a cassette tape … long before iTunes or even CDs) out.  I still know every word and what song’s supposed to play next.  I would definitely categorize this one as a guilty pleasure; however, I embrace it wholeheartedly.  I felt much more mature than a third grader whenever I listened to them.

James Taylor – Greatest Hits
If the Stand by Me soundtrack planted the roots of the obsession, James Taylor pruned the emerging plant.  I don’t remember when I started listening to this album … and it was a literal “album”; my parents had the record.  Even as a child I knew there was a qualitative difference between this and the other music I enjoyed.  Something about the acoustic guitar intro to “Fire and Rain” still stirs my soul.  I didn’t wear this record out; I just broke the record player listening to it.

Nichole Nordeman – Wide Eyed
Enter my Contemporary Christian Music phase.  This album was a jem.  I listened to her words and felt they were my own.  Her sincere desire to know God despite doubts and questions was liberating for me.  She didn’t offer pat answers but was honest about her own faith struggles.  Nichole Nordeman ministered to me through her music, and she was the first.

Caedmon’s Call – 40 Acres
I had a hard time picking which CC album to include.  My freshman year in high school I got their self titled album on blind faith because I liked the song “Lead of Love.”  Little did I know what inspiration result from that one purchase.  I don’t know that I would say 40 Acres is their best album, but it’s probably the most personally impacting.  Remember “Shifting Sand”?  I still resonate with each lyric.  And “Faith My Eyes” was my going to college song.  Gah … and “Table for Two” continues to speak truth and wisdom into my life.

Andrew Peterson – Carried Along
Another hard choice on which album.  I went with his first.  I fell in love with Andrew my senior year in high school the moment I heard “Nothing to Say” on the radio.  I can’t help but be quiet and still upon hearing this incredibly personal and poetic praise to the Lord of creation.  Again, I bought the album for the one song, and have since bought every album he’s released, never being disappointed.

Jill Phillips – Kingdom Come
I also found Jill in high school after especially resonating with her song “Steel Bars.”  She picked up where Nichole Nordeman left off in terms of musical discipleship.  Again, her honesty captivated me.  With every song I sensed the struggle, yet was challenged and encouraged by her tenacity in perseverance.  “Kingdom Come,” her masterful reworking of several hymns, has become my Sunday morning staple.

Ben Harper – Diamonds on the Inside
And then comes Ben.  A friend introduced me to his music while in college, and I am forever indebted to her!  This album certainly reflects his self proclaimed “Folk/Rock/Reggae” eclecticism with songs ranging from the Marley-esque “With My Own Two Hands” to “Picture of Jesus,” reminiscent of Paul Simon.  “Blessed to Be a Witness” wins the day … and the album.

Pieces of April Soundtrack

Bless you, “Pieces of April” for introducing me to Stephin Merritt and his haunting voice.  Besides being one of my all time favorite movies, I think this album emerges as my all time favorite soundtrack.  From the start I was captivated by the quirky instrumentation and odd arrangement of sounds. When I play this album, I somehow feel like I have a more interesting life than is the case.  And I can’t help but smile every time I hear the line, “I know Professor Blumen makes you feel like a woman, but when the wind is in your hair, you laugh like a little girl.”

Damien Rice – O
I just love the sound of this album; it’s strikingly intimate.  It reminds me of my last apartment … my beautiful deep red wall and the ugly, yet cozy, brown carpet.  His music, too, is haunting … evocative and penetrating.

Derek Webb – Mockingbrid

For thirteen years I have loved this man’s work, the wisdom he so artfully conveys through his music.  On this album you are consistently challenged to question what you’ve always believed, not for the sake of deconstruction but for a strengthening of faith that leads to good works.  Jesus is exalted, and His teaching revered.  Everyone should find himself somewhere on this album, and hopefully walk away changed.

Jack Johnson – In Between Dreams
This album makes me want to fall in love.  Pretty much any Jack Johnson album is good for background music, and if you parse through his lyrics you’ll find some good stuff.  However, “Better Together” may be my favorite love song of all time, replete with its clever quips on real aspects of partnership.  And Banana Pancakes!  Who doesn’t want to stay in bed on a rainy day with someone they love?  “When the whole world fits inside of your arms, do we really need to pay attention to the alarm?”

Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
I was first drawn to Wilco because I knew Derek Webb was a fan.  It’s taken me awhile to get on board, but after giving this album several listenings, call me a seaman … or seawoman, I guess.  This album is good on a level beyond my appreciation.  I know I don’t get it in its fullness, but that makes me like it even more.  I feel like this album has opened up new avenues to other artists that I might have previously written off but now have come to love.

Over the Rhine – The Trumpet Child
What to say, what to say.  I don’t want to waste my time with music not as good as theirs.  Who else could have coined the phrase “sexy cocktail hour stubble”?  I want to BE the girl with dahlias in her hair.  I listen to this album, and I truly thank the Lord for gifting this woman and this man with their ability to write and perform music.  Every listen fills me with a hopeful expectation of what is to come.  Whether that be for the Trumpet Child to blow His horn or the chance to share the thoughts I’ve long been entertaining about the one with whom I’ll someday read Shel Silverstein in bed.  Everyone I share this album with becomes a fast fan.  It’s impossible not to; they’re that good.

Hmm … time for tagging.  If you’re tagged I have some interest in hearing what albums have most affected you.  Tracy, you’re not on Facebook, but consider yourself tagged, my friend.  I especially would love to hear your top albums.



  1. Hey, Sarah! Go here:

  2. […] Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, Jill sang “Hosanna” from her album Kingdom Come (which I’ve written about before) followed by Andrew’s song of the same title.  I want to share the words here, since as of […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: