Albums That Changed Us – Gregg’s Picks

record-playerAll this week, Why So Blu will be featuring some of its writers albums that, while not necessarily their favorites, were recordings that changed our lives in some way, shape, or form.  Each day, Monday through Friday of this week, will highlight a different writer.  When the crew sat down and discussed this, we figured everyone likes music and this will give our readers a little insight into what makes us musically tick.  So, without further ado, let’s kick the week off with Gregg’s albums that made some kind of lasting impression on him.

Well here’s a little about me and maybe a few people out there will share my sentiment with some of what you’ll find below.  Heck, maybe a few can relate to the experience or opinion or maybe I’m just coming out of left field.  Either way, 40 years from now when I’m an old man, I will still be listening to these albums when somebody’s kids will look at me with a raised eyebrow and ask, “You actually listen to this?”  Indeed I do.


the real thingThe Real Thing – Faith No More
Like most adolescents, I was struggling to find my identity through my transition into junior high.  I liked a song here and there but never connected with an artist.  The cheerleaders all liked stuff you could dance to; pop, R & B, etc.  The jocks were into rock and rap and the stoners were into metal as they always donned their Metallica shirts.  Yeah right, I wouldn’t be caught dead in one.  After all, I was no stoner.  I was the average-Joe that laid low and kept my head down.  Then I discovered metal as a classmate introduced me to the music of Faith No More.  It was like plugging in a lamp and flipping the switch.  I was instantly hooked. Hellooooo adrenaline!

 With frontman Mike Patton unleashing his voice into the studio mike and the hard guitar riffs being belted out in sequence, I had found an album that gave me an anger-unleashing outlet.  No, I wasn’t out smashing mailboxes at 2am while blasting ‘Epic’.  Rather, I was reeling in the energy of The Real Thing as listening to a few tracks of its playlist was something that allowed me to forget an otherwise dreary day or the occasional bad mood.  Plus it was my so-called entry drug in the world of heavy metal.  For me, the album is timeless and I’ll still pop it in the CD player for a good jolt during a workout or maybe just to reflect on days gone by.  Either way, these guys rocked it out with their songs varying from sounds of hard rock to heavy metal.


DMBUnder the Table and Dreaming – Dave Matthews Band
Technically, this was DMB’s second studio album, but their first on a major label.  The first single to hit the airwaves, ‘What Would You Say’, was, well, music to my ears.  You can look back over the last one hundred years of music and find a lot of the songs sound the same in their respective genres.  How do you break that in the modern era?  Take one very ecclectic songwriter with a non-traditional singing voice, throw in a violin, a saxophone, a bass guitar, an acoustic guitar and one of the best drummers around today and what do you get?  The Dave Matthews Band and a sound that is all their own.  Their multi-faceted tunes provided lyrics that are often cryptic, subtly substituted with words shrouding the true meaning of the song.  It has character.  It has substance.  This was music that I related to.  This is what made me say, “I really don’t care what you think about the music I like because I’m getting too strong of a vibe off of this stuff to care!”

While Faith No More had its place for me, it wasn’t something I could listen to all the time.  The music of Under the Table and Dreaming was.  It was music that taught me to relax, be yourself, be creative, have fun, and enjoy life.  While DMB has a considerable library of studio and live recordings to their credit, none will ever top the one that put them on the map.  Twenty concerts later and a few friends picked up along the way, I’m still jammin’ out to this CD and I’m still singing out loud in the car with the windows down, just like I did 15 years ago.


LOTDLord of the Dance (soundtrack) – Ronan Hardiman
Michael Flatley has inspired me like no one else.  This guy is the most successful dancer of all time, but all his flare would have never been part of his show’s success if it wasn’t for the musical mastermind behind it.  Former bank teller, Ronan Hardiman, was picked by Flatley to compose the music for what was then his upcoming Irish dance show, Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance.

Star Wars would be a lot less than what it is without John Williams.  The same goes for Lord of the Dance and its affiliation with Ronan Hardiman.  His music was Irish at heart, but with a vibrancy and kick so unequaled and new, that it sold from store shelves faster than you could blink.  This may sound cliché, but the production and its music changed my life…I mean, obviously, right?  That’s why it made my list!  It removed shyness and taught me carpe diem better than any book on history or Latin.  It was soothing, exciting, ominous, jubilant, riveting, and euphoric…all on the same album.  This was music that reached down into my very soul and said, “Buckle up, we’re about to take off.”

There was a time when I absolutely dreaded engaging an audience through public speaking or any other kind of activity that put me in front of a group.  Today, I embrace the opportunity.  I cannot wait to get out in front of a crowd because I know I’m going to impress a few people along the way.  Does that sound arrogant?  Sure it does, but a little bit of confidence goes a long way.  After all, since when does a job ask you to timidly underachieve?


In Closing…
As we gear up for the rest of the work week, I’m anxious to see what albums my co-workers here at Why So Blu will list.  I’m sure the variety will cover a wide range of tastes, as will the reasons why it made their lists.  Heck, I’d be interested in knowing what albums made an impact on our readers.  The great thing about this is, regardless of our opinions and tastes, music is the one thing that always manages to bring people together.  It can be a very empowering tool, far more so than the face value of its entertainment factor.



5 Responses to “Albums That Changed Us – Gregg’s Picks”

  1. Gerard Iribe

    Awesome, Gregg!

  2. Gregg

    Thanks, man. I wrestled with Metallica’s self-titled album making this list. I even had a whole thing typed out for it. While I enjoy that album more than “The Real Thing,” it wasn’t the ground-breaker that “The Real Thing” was for me.

  3. Brian White

    Sorry to be so late to the party here. I never made it to the Internet yesterday. I’m not surprised by your last 2 picks, in fact, I kind of assumed they would have to be on the list. But, Faith No More… there’s a welcome surprise! It’s one of my faves too. I hope they remaster that CD one day. I’ll plop the money down for it. My only complaint is how quiet the CD is mastered compared to today’s albums.

  4. Sean Ferguson

    Nice eclectic choices Gregg! I like your musical variety! I never would have guess Lord of the Dance! Nice job!

  5. Brian White

    Gregg…you need to tell Sean all about your Irish dancing!

    @ Sean – Actually, that’s sort of how Gregg and I became friends. He performed a solo dance at our wedding reception. Quite cool!