I was inspired by a bit of Facebook stalking to write a blog about my favorite 10 albums. I’m not giving this a whole lot of thought, if I’m honest…but I’ve found that sometimes I operate better on instincts….plus it’s late at night and I can’t sleep and I want to write. So.

10. The Beautiful Letdown – Switchfoot

One of the first “rock-y” albums I ever truly liked. I remember feeling really hesitant about listening to it on my stereo, as my parents wouldn’t have really liked it, so I used my CD Walkman. Yes, my Walkman. It was much later down the road when I got my first….mp3 player (no, it wasn’t an iPod). I remember, recognizing how truly brilliant the album was, though, even when I was…oh, 14 or so.
Favorite tracks: The Beautiful Letdown, On Fire, Twenty-Four

9. Listen – Michelle Tumes

An odd choice, maybe, but I love this album. It instantly takes me back to a much, much simpler time of my life. The first time I heard Listen, the title track, I was maybe 10. It was on KLJC, back when I wasn’t really allowed to listen to it, but Kristin had it on anyway (haha, sorry darling, wasn’t trying to rat you out, it’s just part of the story). I can’t remember if she liked it or not, but I remember it wouldn’t get out of my head. Then I heard Life is Beautiful, and my overly melodramatic 10 year old mind clung to it. I loved the little reveal at the end “And I’m still singing…”. I thought it was clever.
Favorite Tracks: Listen, Healing Waters, Heaven Will Be Near Me, He’s Watching Over You

8. Run The Earth, Watch the Sky – Chris Rice

Another childhood album — Kari loved Chris Rice, and I wanted so desperately to be like my older sisters…even if I wouldn’t have admitted it at the time. Kari waited a long time for it to come in at the library, and I remember we came home — with several bags of books, I’m sure, and we put it on our stereo. We’d heard the title track song before, and I remember we sang along with the parts we could remember enthusiastically. Chris Rice was the first artist that I really connected with, the first artist I actually wanted to listen to. Before him, music was something we did at church, and fun songs like Veggie Tales. It wasn’t really something that was recreational. I got all of his CD’s from the library, though, and listened to them over and over.
Favorite Tracks: All of them. Seriously.

7. Why Should the Fire Die – Nickel Creek

Nickel Creek, like Chris Rice, is never bad — there are just simply some songs I like more than others. Why Should the Fire Die has the most of my favorites. I should mention that Melody was the first one to introduce me to this band, and The Fox (a song that isn’t on this album! Darn!) was pretty much our Haiti theme song. Also, when we were 15 or so, we assigned songs (by the lottery of “the shuffle”) to the boys we said we loved at the time. Oh, gracious. What did I know about love then. What do I know about love, now? The songs, if you’re curious, were Scotch & Chocolate and Stumptown. The boys will remain nameless.
Favorite Tracks: Jealous of the Moon, Anthony, Why Should the Fire Die, Doubting Thomas, Somebody More Like You

6. Pride and Prejudice Soundtrack – Dario Marianelli

This is another CD that was introduced to me by Melody — and I remember that one of my favorite songs on the whole album, The Secret Life of Daydreams drove me crazy the first time I listened to it. I truly really hated it, haha. It’s a trend I’ve noticed recently, though; sometimes my favorite kinds of music are like an acquired taste — I’ll be introduced to them, hate them, but they’ll sit and take root in my mind, until when I stumble across them again in the future…I love them. I think that was some sad form of mixing metaphors, but we’ll carry on. I have listened to this CD over and over and over again, and I will never get sick of it. Dario’s composition and Jean’s piano playing (I use their first names with the deepest respect, please understand that it’s only because they have particularly un-spell-able last names) combine in this thing of beauty that, when I heard it, I felt like I’d been waiting for it. It’s possible that it should be higher up on my list, but really, all of these albums are so close, there’s no clear number one.
Favorite Tracks: Dawn, Liz On Top of the World, Darcy’s Letter, The Secret Life of Daydreams, Credits

5. Only With Laughter Can You Win – Rosie Thomas

Like with Nickel Creek and Pride and Prejudice, Rosie Thomas was an acquired taste. I positively hated her when I first heard her, and now I feel like she and I are dear friends. There is so much about her as a person and her songs that I relate to. It was impossible to pick my favorite album, as she — like Nickel Creek and Chris Rice — has never written a bad song. I do have a favorite song, though, Let Myself Fall. It is…well, as Buddy Glass would say, Poetry. In so many ways. So this is the album that surrounds that song, and that is why I choose it.
Favorite Tracks: Let Myself Fall, Gradually

4. Fiction Family – Fiction Family

This is the first album (of several, I’m afraid) that I bought impulsively, after only listening to a few snippets of songs. Paul Winfield wrote in his status something about Switchfoot and Nickel Creek collaborating, and I about had a conniption, I was so eager to buy this combination of genius. I wasn’t disappointed. It’s…so different. It’s unique. It’s special. It’s altogether itself, and each song is a jewel. Buy it.
Favorite Tracks: All of them. Every single one.

3. Bomb in a Birdcage – A Fine Frenzy

Ali is her music, and her music is beautiful. She crafts her lyrics, and every word is sincere. Her sound is unique, and her songs specific but oh-so relate-able! Her happy songs positively glow, and her sad songs break your heart. I’ve stayed away from her recently. I was listening to her almost non-stop, and I didn’t want to….well….how do I explain it…over-stay my welcome.
Favorite Tracks: What I Wouldn’t Do, Electric Twist, Happier, Swan Song, Elements, Bird of the Summer, Stood Up, The Beacon

2. Counting Stars – Andrew Peterson

Melody, you have shared so much good music with me. I’m almost sure I discovered Andrew Peterson on my own. I heard Holy is the Lord and was in awe of it, and I later loved After the Last Tear Falls, but Melody told me that he had a new album out, Counting Stars. It is…genius. He is genius. I just….wow. If I can be a lyricist and musician like him someday, I’ll be absolutely blissful.
Favorite Tracks: Many Roads, Dancing in the Minefields, World Traveler, Fool with a Fancy Guitar, You Came So Close, The Reckoning

1. Ellipse – Imogen Heap

Oh, Immi. I sort of fawn over her. She’s so extraordinarily herself, so brilliant in what she does, so brutally honest, so mature in her songwriting…so…amazing. She does everything herself – recording, editing, songwriting, etc. She lives in a big old house in England…she’s just. My. I don’t know. I suppose it sounds like I just want to be her, but actually, she simply inspires me to be myself. Wholly who God created me to be. I almost felt like I was a part of this album. I watched the vlogs she made during the album-writing process, so when it finally came out I was ecstatic. Never before had a single CD meant so much to me — the order of the songs, the high note right there, the trouble she’d had with the lyrics there, the story behind that one, and oh-my-that-song-changed-so-much-since-the-first-time-she-played-us-a-clip. Even though there are several songs I don’t particularly care for, I appreciate all of them so very much. I understand the effort and the tears and the joy that went into making every one of those tracks, and I love her and her music for it.
Favorite Tracks: First Train Home, Wait it Out, The Fire, Half Life

Well. There you have it. That took quite a long time to write, and I am sufficiently exhausted enough to sleep now, at 2am in the morning.

Someday, SOMEDAY, I will straighten my sleeping habits out. For now, it seems like the schedule is staunchly in my subconscious, determined to do what it likes.

Dear reader, thank you for reading, even when I am frightfully self-indulgent.