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A Nomad’s Notes: The quintessential Kriz albums

I’m forever bound to technology now. I felt naked when I cracked my phone screen two weeks ago and had to be without it for about eight hours (although to be fair, I need it for my job). And I always have to have my iPod and iPad with me as well.

But there were times before then when I didn’t want new technology. In 2006 my mom said my sister and I needed cell phones. It was only a $10 phone, but I told her I didn’t need it and only gingerly accepted it. About three years before that iPods were the huge thing, and my mom wanted to get me one. I told her I didn’t need it: I already had my portable CD player and a binder of CDs I carried with me everywhere. Once I used an iPod, all those album purchases would’ve been superfluous. But I finally gave in, obviously.

But if I really like a movie, I’ll still buy a physical and digital copy. If I really like a book, I’ll get it on Kindle and get the physical copy. And if I love an album enough I will have it on my iPod, in CD form and even vinyl, if possible. So here are some of the albums I know I have at least one physical copy of somewhere in my house or car:

 

Ten — Pearl Jam (1991)

I’ve written a whole column about the song that ends the album that is my favorite piece of music of all time, so naturally Ten is on this list. I listen to that song more than any other song on that album, but of course there are other amazing songs on the album, like “Alive,” which I love to belt when I’m alone, or “Garden,” which I didn’t listen to until recently, and am mad it took me so long to find it. The song “Release,” which plays just before “Master/Slave,” always makes me cry, as it talks about Eddie Vedder and his father. For much of his childhood Vedder believed another man was his father, until finally his mother revealed to him that a man he had met when he was young, who was introduced to Eddie as a friend of the family, was his real dad. That pain can definitely be heard on so many of the Ten tracks. And given that this album was recorded and released the same year I was born, I love that I’ve grown up alongside it.

 

Dirt — Alice in Chains (1992)

I remember exactly where I was when I first heard the cords of the song “Rooster” by Alice in Chains. It was 2004, and I was sitting at my mom’s computer in her kitchen, where I basically lived, with the VH1 music video channel on in the living room. The first few chords of “Rooster” came on the TV and I stopped what I was doing and just listened and watched. I’m pretty sure my mouth dropped open, too. Some of the most haunting guitar riffs I’ve ever heard. It was written by singer and guitarist Jerry Cantrell about his dad’s time in Vietnam. I’ve still never heard anything like it. That whole album is fire, and pain, and rage and just so damn good. I told a coworker it breaks my heart because I can tell that many of the songs lead singer Layne Staley wrote were about such negative emotions, and yet their music makes me so happy I’ve cried at times. Staley died in 2002 of a heroin overdose. Of course I was too young to have seen them in concert anyway, but I still get sad knowing I missed him by two years. But I think wherever he is now he has more peace there than he did here. And Alice in Chains continue to make music with another singer, William Duvall. In fact, as I type this I am downloading a new song they just released. And surprise, surprise, I love it.

 

Zenyatta Mondatta — The Police (1980)

I used to make my dad play the cassette tape in his car of “Zenyatta Mondatta” every time we took a drive when I was in middle school. And my dad’s never been quite as passionate about music playing at all times as I am, so of course there were times when I had to fight him to play it. “Let’s just have some silence,” he’d say. No, Dad. I need my “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” fix. That’s still my favorite song on this entire album, and definitely in my top five to 10 favorite songs in the world. Except for one odd non-vocal song called “Behind My Camel” that I think sounds hilarious and have a hard time taking seriously, every song on that album is divinely inspired, I swear.

 

Gorillaz — Gorillaz (2001)

The self-titled album is the amazing work of Damon Albarn, a British artist who also sang for the band Blur and did his own work. You might remember Gorillaz: their music video features an animated gang of characters. I remember in 2001 when “Clint Eastwood” came out. It came over the intercom at Gattitown in Lexington, Ky. and I remember singing along. I forgot about it for about six years and rediscovered the song while sitting on my couch one night. I can’t think of a day when I don’t listen to that song at least once. Other favorite tracks include “Dracula” (which you can only find on the CD version for some reason), “Double Bass” and “19-2000.” But nothing touches the almost circus-like quality of “Clint Eastwood.”

 

IV – Led Zeppelin (1971):

In 2003 I remember breaking into my dad’s stash of music and discovering Led Zeppelin. Before that I liked to listen to Aaliyah and other songs that were on the radio (and still love her, may she rest). But I decided I wanted something more, and more I found when I heard “Stairway to Heaven” the first time. I remember reaching out to my mom and letting her know that I wanted to listen to more Led. I remember how excited she was in scrambling to get me more albums of hers that I could listen to. All of their albums have at least one amazing work on there, but nothing touches IV. My favorites, not including “Stairway to Heaven,” are “The Battle of Evermore,” “Misty Mountain Hop” (I listened to Led during my “Lord of the Rings” phase) and “When the Levee Breaks.”

Lindsay Kriz is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email lkriz@brunswickbeacon.com.