Colin’s Top 5

1. Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run, 1975

The first time I heard this album, I didn’t really get the hype — 40 minutes came and went and I thought Springsteen was a little overrated. But later that night, as I was trying to go to sleep, I had an earworm that I couldn’t identify, a thundering piano part that I couldn’t run away from. I realized before I drifted off that it was the main melody of side A track 4, “Backstreets,” a ballad about summer romance gone bad. It quickly became my favorite of Bruce’s songs and Born to Run became my favorite album. It’s hard to articulate exactly what the album does for me that makes it so good — part of it is the music itself, inspired by Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound and full of drama; part of it are the lyrical themes, capturing both bright-eyed optimism and hope for the future, as well as loss and despair and the death of your dreams. It’s not a rock opera, but it does tell a story about (for lack of better words) what it’s like to be alive, and for that it is my favorite album.

2. Modest Mouse, The Lonesome Crowded West, 1998

A lot of people know Modest Mouse for their post-2004 output, where they became one of the standard-bearers of radio indie rock, but their stuff up to that point was raw and unhinged, not so much lo-fi as no-fi and at some points depraved. LCW is them at their peak, capturing all of Isaac Brock’s sound and fury and using the declining American West as both backdrop and macrocosm for his own intimate struggles — with addiction, with compassion, with a meaningless universe. There’s a lot of anger but also a lot of tenderness. It’s a very human record.

3. Los Campesinos!, Romance is Boring, 2010

Los Campesinos! are probably my favorite band in the world and they are never going to be famous. the lead-singer can’t sing, the songs are over-wieldy and composed entirely of obscure references and the sound (indie pop but with occasional nods toward sweeping post-rock and the world’s catchiest melodies) is, at times, obnoxious. But I love all of that. This record in particular might not even be their best, but it captures the band at its maximalist peak, throwing everything at the wall that they can and seeing what sticks. Some of it doesn’t stick, but most of it does. The last five songs are, for my money, the best run of five songs in history. It’s an important record not just in the band’s maturation but in my own.

4. Brand New, The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me, 2006

I don’t listen to a lot of emo, but then again, Brand New aren’t like other emo bands. This album elevated them from their basic pop-punk roots to something much more mysterious and, at times, seemingly sinister. There’s a really dark energy pervading through this one, in part because the narrative of a young girl’s death in a drunk driving accident occurs throughout, but also in part through Jesse Lacey’s cryptic, poetic lyrics. Through it all, it just sounds good: alternative rock suffused with emo and a healthy sense of drama. It may be the only album that has actually scared me while I listened to it the first time, and that’s high praise.

5. Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 2010

Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift at the VMAs changed my life, because I was left with so many questions: who is this man, and why is he such an asshole? Then he dropped “POWER” and I was immediately hooked. MBDTF is maximalism with a capital M, made by committee in Hawaii and jam-packed with guest features, prestige beats and Kanye at his braggadocious best. It’s an album about being (in)famous in the 21st century in a way that only Kanye can attest to, but it’s somehow as relatable as anything else on this list.

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Dreaming in the Music

Kelly Caner is one of those people that you meet who immediately draws you in. Her humor, her quirk and overall look at the world make you feel like you’re in an exciting, light hearted comedy when talking to her. So it makes sense that her music picks are partially inspired by stories and film.

The seniors english major’s  first and largest influence is the Wincing the Night Away by the indie rock band the Shins. She says, “It was the first album I heard that wa really different.” Kelly, who was in third grade at the time heard the album being played by her two older sisters and desperately wanted to know what it was. She says,” They would never tell me what it was because I wasn’t cool enough.”

And like fate, a song from the album came to her. She explains, “And then I saw a commercial for an mp3 player and I recognized a song.” Pre-Shazam, young Kelly googled the lyrics she remembered and found the band. She immediately fell in love. She says, “I would listen to it in my room, stare in the mirror and come up with stories and write a lot.”

And to this day, Kelly still listens to the album. It’s made her who she is today. She says, “Sleeping Lessons, has been my favorite song since I was nine years old.”

“It’s so unique, it’s dreamy. It starts out really slow & then it picks up into this happy sounds. I just clicked with me and made me live in my head for the rest of my life,” she says.

In Rainbows by Radiohead, takes the cake for Kelly’s current favorite album. The english rock band’s seventh studio album just makes her smile. She say, “It makes you feel so many different things. I don’t know if I feel sad, happy when I listen to it. I don’t know if I want to go to sleep or take a nap. It’s so many emotions.”

And continuing the trend of stories, the album came to Kelly from the ending credits of the cinematic masterpiece Twighlight.

Summing a person’s life in an album is extremely hard. But Kelly chose the album that is a part of her. Literally; She has it tattooed on her.

The Icelandic rock band Sigur Rós album Takk came to Kelly at the age of 15, when she like everyone else was awkward and figuring her lie out. She says, “It’s very dreamy. I am not really present all the time.

And so when she came to Fredonia, to pay homage to her 15 year old self, she got a tattoo of the band on her arm.

In closing she shares how music simply add to her view of the world.

“A lot of who I am is wanting to bring my daydreams into life. I am trying to make my life as theatrical as possible.”

 

Help Creating

Elliott Tessmer is the guy who just wants more. The junior Music Industry major, has always loved music but finds that getting out of your comfort zone and listening to new music is the only way to quench the thirst of new and good music.  

Elliott’s pick for the album with the most influence on his life is That’s The Spirit by Bring Me The Horizon. The English rock band’s most recent album was long awaited by Elliot, who immediately listened to it on it’s release date. “It’s a pretty intense album,” he begins as he explains how the band has been one of his favorites since high school.

But what puts this album in Elliot’s favorites is the lyrical content that shies away from attaining happiness very quickly. Instead, in Elliott’s words the album has messages that say, “You are in a dark place now, but you’ll be okay.”

Currently, Elliot is listening to the band that immediately reminds us of being in middle school. Blink-182. He says, “For right now, it’s what you need. It’s just fun.” And the most recent single release Can’t Get You More Pregnant made an honorable mention. Elliott and I had to agree on the light hearted music that he describes to be “like an angsty-nostalgia vibe.”

When it comes to music, Elliot is very clear how he feels. “I love being around it and I love what it can do for people.” As a music industry major, he feels that by maybe managing a band or helping with finances is doing his part.  “I want to help music being created.”

Living with a roommate who is part of a band seems almost like fate for Elliot. Living in a house filled with music helps Elliot explore music he might never have heard on his own. He says, “It’s great to be around that and it makes you just want more.”

And when it comes to finding new stuff, Elliott’s advice is to turn to friend who know you way better than you Spotify account. He says, “Everybody is stuck in their niche, but you shouldn’t be scared to explore.”

360 Spectrum

It can be extremely hard to determine who has better taste in music. But, when a person is a musician themself, you have to assume they know their stuff. And that is the case for Gabe Puccio, the senior Biology major who plays the drums and uses inspiration from many different genres.

Gabe’s pick for the album that has had the most influence on him is Kanye West’s fourth studio album 808s and Heartbreak. The album which features an eclectic mix of hip-hop, synth-pop and R&B influence Gabe’s love for percussion. He says, “I have always been someone who feels motion and rhythms….I just love the rhythms of hip-hop. I would always be listening to the drum parts.” The idea idea of playing the drums came naturally to Gabe, considering that he remembers being in his own world and constantly tapping on the desks in school.

When I asked Gabe about his current favorite album he easily said with a smile, “Shvat by TATRAN.” He explained that he found the Israeli trio from a long Youtube rant. He eagerly described the group’s cover of the Beatles ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ as “next level.” He described how each group member brought something new and brilliant to the song and giving particular praise to the group’s drummer, Dany Mayo. “I hope that by listening to him, I absorb some of his awesomeness.”

Gabe currently plays in two bands and is loving it. The first, The Redwood Trio, is a departure from a band originally created in high school. With inspiration from jazz, blues and John Mayer the group plays locally. The second band, Gabe found from a chance encounter from an Open Mic. While there, he met an amazingly talented 13 year old who was already making music and performing on his own. Gabe reached out and four months later created Battle Studies.

Lastly, Gabe’s choice for the album that could represent him as a person is Lonerism by Tame Impala. He first heard the Australian group his freshman year at Fredonia and classifies it at “neo-psychedelic.” The album was one that introduced Gabe to new styles and genres he’d never really heard before. He says “I was really one-track minded and so it was mind blowing. There is a whole 360 degree spectrum of what music could be like.”

 

Pirates Picks!

This past weekend, Pirates of Penzance opened. Since the students involved love theatre, I asked some of the cast and crew their personal favorite musical theatre soundtracks! Here they are:

 

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Collin McCrea, plays a Pirates

“The 2010 cast album of Les Miserable. It was the first one to get me into musicals & it was one of the reasons I started performing in shows.”

 

 

Kaitlyn Meegan, assistant stage managerIMG_4433
“Probably Once On This Island. The music is so beautiful. I love how it’s one big story that everyone can relate to.”

 

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Mickayla Greco, plays Ruth
American Idiot, the musical because it tackles that we are such a media driven world, drug abuse, politics. But it’s through music that our generation want to listen to.”

 

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Leander Andrews, plays a Policeman

“I really like Catch Me If You Can. All the melodies are really catchy.”

 

 

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Tito, Hair and Makeup

Evita. It’s a very dynamic soundtrack and it’s a good sound.

 

 

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Katelyn Crall, plays a Pirate

Once because I like it because I listen to a lot of folk music & it’s very true to the non theatrical secular music I like.”

 

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Eva Mancarella, plays a Daughter

“Probably Bridges of Madison County because each of the songs is so different and tells a different story and each time I listen to it it’s like the first time all over.”

 

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Lucas DeNies, plays a Policeman

Next to Normal because I love the storyline & the music enhances it even more.

 

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Genevieve Ellis, plays Mabel

Spamalot. I love how ridiculous and over the top the show is. It makes people laugh and I like shows that do that. Like this one!”

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Dana Katz, Stage Manager
“I would say In The Heights. It’s just a fun one with really good music.”

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Gretchen Martino, plays a Policeman

The Lion King. Because it’s so different from every musical album. Some songs you want jam to and some you want cry.

 

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Nick Jasek, plays Sam

Mamma Mia because it’s the first smusical I ever heard.”

 

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Angela Wheeler, plays a Daughter

Hair because I can groove, get down & belt all on just that one album.”

 

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Paul Orama, Wardrobe Head

In The Heights. It has the latino flare the I crave.”

 

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Kordell Hammond, plays the Pirate King

“I would have to say Shrek the musical. It has a good message & the music is good.”

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Jake Badding, plays a Policeman

Newsies because that is all that i would listen to when I mowed the lawn.”

 

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Rebecca Martin, plays a Daughter

Hair because it’s a great style. It’s very singleable but has deep political message.”

 

Chelsea Ann Baron, Wardrobe CrewIMG_4441

“Original Broadway Cast of Grease. I have been obsessed with it ever since I was young. I was Jan in High School.”

 

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Patrick Brett, plays a Pirate

Sweeney Todd because the way Sondheim writes; he writes his characters into the music & it’s really cool.”

 

 

IMG_4421Tom Gruenthan, plays a Pirate

“The Original Broadway Cast Recording of The Book of Mormon. It was the first show I saw on Broadway. The music is so blunt with it’s comedy and I really love that.”

 

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Carl Denlinger, plays a Policeman

Hair because I like the new orchestrations & the singers are better. I think it’s a better representation of what hair is supposed to be.”

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Sam Sticker, microphones

“I would say Once on this Island because it was the first show that I did professionally & I like the music.”