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What Your Favorite Artist Means To You

Discussion in 'Music Forum' started by Kiana, Jul 13, 2016.

  1. Kiana

    Goddamn, man child Prestigious

    So there's always lots of listing and ranking about people's favorite artists and that's awesome, but this thread is for more in depth discussion on why your fave is your fave! What do they mean to you? How did they become your fave? What connects and bond you to their music? Or anything else you feel like writing about them. Feel free to be as long and rambly as you like, or talk about multiple faves, and only get as personal as you feel comfortable with.
  2. cshadows2887

    Hailey, It Happens @haileyithappens Supporter

    I am so here for this thread and will wax poetic myself probably tomorrow or some time I'm not on mobile
  3. iam1bearcat Jul 13, 2016
    (Last edited: Jul 13, 2016)

    i'm writing a book, leave me alone.

    Brand New

    i know, i know, original.

    i don't recall where or how i saw them, but i saw them play live way back when Your Favorite Weapon first came out. They played "Jude Law and a Semester Abroad" and i remember distinctly telling my girlfriend at the time, "this band is gonna be something. they're not just a pop punk band". she scoffed and rolled her eyes - never liked pop punk or alternative music anyway - but that was the start for me for a never ending obsession with Brand New. looking back at what they've become, i find that moment incredibly eerie.

    that night after the show, with my gf's sister driving, we listened to WYF for about four straight hours as we drove around. i remember our journeys past the lake most vividly. i was only 13 or so at the time, but hearing, "we're gonna stay 18 forever" of course had a memorable and lasting impact on me, like it did on millions. and with my girlfriend's head on my shoulder i remember thinking how cool all this way. how this was living! but being able to connect with the almost-sorrow sounding Lacey on the track. i was living in the moment, but i've never been able to do that too well, but the image of my girl next to me, her sister driving and her friend in the passenger seat is forever burned in my memory.

    fast forward two years or so and Deja Entendu is about to come out. I'm sitting around after a really heated break up, unhappy with numerous recent choices in my life and in one of those moods where no music you currently have works for you. lo and behold, the music video for "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows" comes on Fuse or maybe MTV2. I was drawn in, hypnotized most likely. It fixed my day, week, month, whatever. it was the song i needed to hear.

    I still remember what i was doing when i first listened to Deja the day it came out.

    that album changed who i listened to, what i thought about music, what music could do to you, how smart it could be and how honest and viciously clever the lyrics could be. i remember their last album cover of Alternative Press in the white suits. i remember taking down my posters of all other (likely) horrific bands i listened to at the time and began trying desperately to find more bands like Brand New / albums like Deja Entendu.

    my first kiss was during "Guernica". the first time i slept with a girl, Deja was playing.

    2006: the leaked demos come out. a friend and i drive that summer to see Brand New play in Minnesota, then to Chicago the following night, then to (i think) Cleveland or some nearby city for three shows in three or four nights before heading back to Wisconsin. the merch guy at the time, Jesse's younger brother, recognized us at the Chicago show and we were able to chat with him and Garrett and Brian after the show for a few minutes. when we left for the show in Minny we expected to drive home afterwards (six hours there, six hours back, genius move by 18 years old) so when we got tickets outside of the Minny show for Chicago we had no extra clothes so all we wore those days were the merch we bought at each show (looking back we could have gone home first and then headed to Chicago, but again, 18). it was one of the funnest and liveliest weeks of my life.

    fast forward to 2006 - the fall of 2006. i had just graduated high school and was at the University of Cincinnati. i was all alone, without a single soul that i knew - just the way i wanted it. and i remember listened to The Devil and God the morning it came out after walking to a local record store. brought my CD PLAYER (REMEMBER THOSE?) with me along with my best pair of headphones and walking along the brisk streets while "Sowing Season" destroyed me along with the rest of the album. i don't listen to album leaks, and i hadn't heard any songs released so i went in to TDAG with absolutely no idea what to expect.

    while on that walk i ran into a girl who i would end up dating for a year. without that walk on that day with that album (likely on it's third play through by now) we never would have met.

    Daisy carried me through my final years at Cincinnati and emerged as a favorite of mine during my stints in Delaware and a few other states. Daisy was the end of another era for me as i said goodbye to all the people i met during college and the few friends i stayed in touch with as we all moved away and started our lives. At a dinner before we all left Cincinnati (all leaving within the span of a four days for seven people seemed terribly sad in a way) we talked about Brand New, mostly because of me and one other, and before we left the hole in the wall restaurant we had the staff play "Noro" over the speakers as we paid our bill and left (we were the only customers left). i'll never forget the tears that fell and the sound of laughs / crying as we all said goodbye (i didn't cry, i don't have those types of emotions) and were about to walk out the door. i was on my way to driving to Delaware in the morning.

    the following morning when i left, the song that kicked me off was "Good Man" from the leaked demos.

    Brand New comes with me as an almost physical entity on every road trip i take, to every state / city i go to.

    in 2011 they were the band i listened to as i saw the Atlantic Ocean for the first time ("Play Crack the Sky", obviously). in 2013 they were the band i listened to as i tried to hold it together as a longtime friend passed away. in 2013 when i drove to Seattle by myself from Wisconsin, i listened to Deja in its entirety from the top of the Space Needle.

    my first tattoo was "Fight Off Your Demons", my second the Deja album cover. the phrase fight off your demons is one of those things that keeps me going at the most expected of times and the most unusual of times.
  4. Kiana Jul 13, 2016
    (Last edited: Jul 13, 2016)

    Goddamn, man child Prestigious

    Ok. So Christina Aguilera obv.

    I think people assume I love her for her voice which is weird cause they act like she has no other redeeming qualities (altho I do think she's masterful at emoting in her songs. I'm nhf her oversinging so idk why ppl act like I am!!). I’ve loved her since childhood like many ppl, and she was my first introduction to feminism with Can’t Hold Us Down. Legit that's what got my wheels turning about feminism, even if I didn't really know what that was yet.

    However, I was always a fairly casual fan who thought her catalog overall was pretty weak. I was 18 and in an abusive relationship, my first relationship, when I decided to put on a throwback and listened to Stripped. It tackled love, loss, sexuality, vulnerability, abuse, and the frustrations of being a young woman in a sexist world. I realized through the journey of this album that this was the exact cycle I was in and that is not what a healthy relationship is. It took me a while longer to leave that relationship, but when I did I listened to Stripped every day, sometimes 5x a day on repeat, for months. Songs like Fighter helped me stopped blaming myself for what happened, Walk Away helped me realize I wasn't alone, and songs like Keep On Singing My Song helped me try to move on. It gave me an appreciation for her catalog in general. I think it’s easy for pop empowerment songs to be disingenuous or pandering, but all of her breakup and empowerment songs come from this place of someone who has survived abuse and is trying to heal and become stronger, not just a bunch of clichés thrown together. The fact that she came from that abuse and is so strong and outspoken now inspires me that I can do the same. Before it was as common in mainstream pop as it is now she was talking about feminism and slut shaming and her struggles with mental illness and abuse and I always found it brave that she did even if I don't always agree with her execution. And the fact that she’s Latina and proud and continues to record songs in Spanish is icing. So no I don’t agree with all her vocal choices or cultural appropriation and I don’t love all her songs or albums, but she could put out 1000 more albums like Lotus and she will still always have my top spot.
  5. George

    Trusted Prestigious

    Copying and pasting what I put in the Tegan and Sara thread.

    In 2009, just before Sainthood was released I was in Vancouver, I was eighteen and had just split up with my first "real" girlfriend. I'd just booked a 36 (!!!) hour bus ride from Vancouver to San Francisco, and before I went I downloaded 11* Tegan and Sara songs at random from a file sharing website. I knew a wee bit about them beforehand, but had never really listened to them.

    Over the course of that 36 hour ride through American nothingness and service stations, I listened to those 11 songs constantly. As soon as I'd heard them, I put them straight back on repeat again and again and again. They hit me like a ton of bricks in a way that I've never experienced before or since. Usually with bands and music, it takes a while for me to love an artist, I like them initially and gradually that builds up to loving their music over time. This was instantaneous for me.

    As soon as I got to San Francisco, I bought So Jealous, The Con and the just released Sainthood, at the first record store I found. I had no way of actually listening to the CDs for a couple of weeks, so I just devoured and pored over the lyrics and imagined what the songs that went along with them would sound like. After a few weeks, I caught the bus back and listened to those same 11 songs again.

    Having three of their albums to listen to at once, and already adoring their music, was a bit overwhelming at first, but they were basically all I listened to for the next month or so.

    *The 11 songs if anyone is interested; Frozen, Not Tonight, Back in Your Head, Burn Your Life Down, The Con, Dark Come Soon, Call It Off, I Bet it Stung, I Know I Know I Know, Walking With A Ghost and We Didn't Do It.
  6. Garrett

    i tore a hole in the fabric of time Moderator


    In 2005, I hadn't joined AP yet (s/o to Feb. '06), but I still used the front page to get news about upcoming releases, tour dates, and whatnot. My buddy Aro mentioned liking Thrice one day on the bus to a state tournament and I remembered the commercials/music videos on Steven's Untitled Rock Show. After Jason's review of Vheissu, I immediately bought the album on iTunes. Remains the only full album I've only ever bought on iTunes to this day, actually.

    The thing that originally drew me to Thrice was the balance of lyrical and musical excellence, and moreso, Dustin in particular. Here was a well-read man with strong political convictions, a firm grasp on the theological background of his faith, a voice I've never gotten tired of, and immense talent at writing lyrics. He was willing to balance his questions about life, God, the world around us, himself, all in this wonderful art. It was inspiring to a young Christian aspiring artist (novelist, for specialization). I could be honest, doubt-filled, and searching and still make something to be proud of.

    A few years later, we moved from Tampa to Knoxville and I experienced my first very expansive time of depression. If I wasn't in class, I was huddled in my room, only my music and my dog getting me by. For what seamed like six months straight, all I could listen to was Thrice, Brand New, and Underoath. But mostly Thrice. The Water EP -- Open Water, Night Diving in particular -- helped keep the anxiety at bay.

    The day I took my last test in high school, Mom drove me to Nashville with a friend to go see Thrice and Circa Survive on The Alchemy Index tour. This was the first time I was seeing them headline, (second time overall: the simply untouchable Brand New, Thrice, and mewithoutYou fall tour in 2007), and it's a night I'll never forget. It's the night I knew they were my favorite band. I remember crying to "For Miles." When I got back in the car, Mom started crying. I asked her what was wrong. "It's the first time I've seen a light in your eyes in months."

    Ever since, it's been a wild ride where I've gone to four years of college, thirteen countries, multiple jobs, no romantic relationships, and all along the way Thrice has remained. I experienced an even deeper level of depression than I did in high school, coupled with insanely dark thoughts, and even though Thrice was hiatus at that time, I could still return to "Hold Fast Hope" or "Stare at the Sun" or "Identity Crisis" or "Talking Through Glass" and know I still had that safe place.

    Their headlining tour for TBEITBN, and the album itself, has met me at an interesting time this year. The political frustrations, the doubting of faith and love... once again, I find myself experiencing life through the pen of Dustin. (Hell, my Pokemon GO avatar's name is Kensure.)

    Sorry it's such a sad story, but damn if you don't cling to what brings you joy in the darkness and enjoy it even more in the light.
  7. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

    To pick Bruce or Butch...
  8. Henry

    Moderator Moderator

    I might post a few because I love a lot of things. Some have fallen out of favor, while others have risen to the top.


    My freshman year of high school was pretty huge for me musically. I was on the biggest AFI kick and looked for more in that vein. I used to go to the record stores and pick up random records. (It's how I discovered The Early November and a few other gems) I hadn't listened to Thrice, but saw Identity Crisis at FYE and thought I'd give it a go. It turned out being the best impulse buy ever. I have no idea what drew me to it. I'm not even sure I had even heard of them at that point. lol

    My first time listening to the record was a trip. Phoenix Ignition blew my socks off. The lyrics to that song just resonated with me. I was still trying to find my own in high school, and basically hated everyone (still do). The line 'A NEW FIRE EACH DAY' was kinda huge for me. Stop giving a shit about how bad today was and move on. Better things are on the horizon. Everything about that record just hit so hard at that point. It's weird looking back at it now, given how dated it sounds.

    Not long after that, I picked up the Illusion of Safety which had been recently released. Having thought Identity Crisis was as good as it got, this was an eye opening album. The way that they were able to transition between different sounds was something that truly captivated me, and still does. You never have to worry about songs sounding too similar since they bounce around so much. See You in the Shallows is just a perfect song to me. Ugh. My earliest memory of my first girlfriend is actually her putting In Years to Come on a mixtape for me. lol. Hearing them play it live recently brought back the silliest feelings.

    The Artist in the Ambulance came out at peak fanboy time for me. I was so hyped for this record. They had released All That's Left and Under a Killing Moon and I was all in. I downloaded file share programs to try and get my hands on it early but for some reason, those were the days when people would just loop tracks and get you to download nothing. When I finally did get my hands on it, it very quickly became my favorite record. Dustin's vocals were at their best. Songs like Paper Tigers and Silhouette just hit everything that I ever wanted out of Thrice songs. I think during this period, I saw Thrice or Dustin solo about 8 times. Probably my favorite run of sets for them. I very much miss them closing with To Awake and Avenge the Dead.

    Vheissu lost me a little bit, and I blame AP for that. I was so hyped on this record prior to its release, but found it a little underwhelming given everyone else's reaction. I liked the record a bunch, but just didn't feel as high on it as everyone else. Looking back, I was an idiot and now consider it to be my favorite release.

    The elemental EP's are just kinda there for me. Don't love them. Don't hate them. I think Fire is the one I enjoy the most because I love Dustin's deep vocals so damn much.

    Beggars and Major/Minor were huge misses for me. I didn't listen to them a ton when they were released. Even now I rarely see myself going back and listening to a handful of tracks.

    The new album was a bit of a renaissance for me. Maybe it was the hype of seeing them live again a few times. I'm not sure. The break from making new music was something they and I both needed. Now that we've had that time apart, I can really enjoy this new record. It's given me a bit more desire to go back and listen to those records I missed out on.

    Going forward, I look forward to what they have in store next. I don't expect anything to blow my mind like those initial records had, but I know I can appreciate Thrice as the reason I listen to music and will always support them in the future.
    Dirty Sanchez and Garrett L. like this.
  9. Kiana

    Goddamn, man child Prestigious

    Craig Manning likes this.
  10. Dirty Sanchez

    Prestigious Prestigious


    It was the summer of 2008 when I first heard them. I was perusing the local library whilst trying to kill time before conditioning for my sport (aka running for 3 hours straight at some park). I was looking through their CD collection and for many months, I saw TAITA and TAI Fire/Water there. Well, I finally decided to check them out. I checked them out and brought them home later that evening. Conditioning was really messing me up as my legs were so tight and sore, I could only walk when running at conditioning. The rest of the time was a struggle and at home I would crawl around like a lobster (not sure why I'm including this). I put all of the music onto my ipod and started with Water. I enjoyed what I had heard and I enjoyed the atmospheric sounds and overall feeling of water. I had no idea what to expect with Fire/TAITA lol. When I started listening to those, I was so confused, but I liked it a lot. A few days later, I went to Target and bout Air/Earth and ordered Vheissu/Illusion from Amazon. Been a fan ever since.

    this was a horrible write up
    Kiana likes this.
  11. Horrorca


    I have various

    I'll start by cross-posting this from the Bright Eyes thread

    Bright Eyes

    one of my favorite artists, many of the BE records are very personal to me

    Fevers is an album I would listen to a lot in university, I kind of felt alone and miserable and would take refugee there...

    Lifted I would listen to religiously whenever I was hungover when I was 21 y/o & was doing a lot of stupid shit - I would lay in bed just absorbing the greatness of the album - all that knowledge that comes with the confusion of growing older - this one is probably BE's magnum opus - can't believe he was 25 when he wrote this

    Digital Ash, contrary to popular belief, is a fucking masterpiece - I listened to this one a lot during a time I was quite depressed and would abuse drugs - very special atmosphere and great songwriting - if this had been released under another moniker and NOT at the same time as I'm Wide Awake, it would have been received more kindly

    Wide Awake is BE's officially best album, and with good reason - it is a singer/songwritter masterpiece, perfectly capturing a very specific feeling and moment - noobs should probably start here - mindblowing

    Cassadaga took me some time, but I eventually got into country, returned to it, and now I consider it up there with the rest of the BE albums - love love love the string arrangements on this

    People's Key is actually a really cool album, but obviously the weakest of the bunch I posted - if you like BE you'll like it, if you don't care about BE there's nothing for you here

    solo albums and live performances, I'll leave for another post : )

    I don't know, man - it's been beautiful growing up with Connor/BE and it will always be a part of me

    thank you, Connor
  12. CoffeeEyes17

    Reclusive-aggressive Prestigious

    Motion City Soundtrack

    One of the first scene bands I ever came in contact with, I stumbled upon the "Everything Is Alright" music video during a time in which I had just recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was terrified of my own mind. I'd always been real nervous and paranoid and freaked out by most interactions with anyone, I still kind of am but I've gotten better.

    2 years ago I was in an abusive relationship and was drinking alcohol to cope with it instead of getting out of it. At the time I felt demasculated but with my recent acceptance of dismantling gender I'm over it, but I'll get to that in a bit. I was drinking a lot, very unhappy and frustrated and this all culminated in an unsuccessful suicife attempt that eventually led to me being forced to go to a mental health and drug rehabilitation center somewhat recently. I feel much better now, and MCS had a large part to do with that. I listened to CTTM memory every night and cried.

    Now, having recently come out as both queer and as someone who identified as genderless, this band is bringing me even more comfort by telling me it's ok to feel weird but it's also ok to want to feel comfortable in your skin and be yourself whatever that may entail.
    Craig Manning, ImAMetaphor and SpyKi like this.
  13. iCarly Rae Jepsen

    run away with me Platinum

    I don't really have a favorite artist per se,so I'm going to talk about getting into music instead,sorry it's not as pretty and flowery as y'alls prose

    so the first two bands I really got into were Blink 182 and Red Hot Chili Peppers

    I remember being really excited to get to go to Best Buy and buy TOYPAJ, because Best Buy was new and I think it was my first time getting a cd by myself,and I think being a 13 year old boy it was the perfect time for me to listen to that

    as for the Red Hot Chili Peppers I remember first listening to them at camp and I'm not sure what grabbed me about songs like Otherside and Scar Tissue because they're both fairly dark, I wasn't really a fan of camp, kids bullied me and I had trouble fitting in, but RHCP is a good memory from that time and even though I know they're a band that gets made fun of a lot they still have a special place in my heart
  14. Leftandleaving

    I will be okay. everything Supporter

    The Hotelier

    When I was fifteen, my two best friends attempted suicide.

    I didn't know what to do. I felt helpless and hopeless. I tried my best to reach out and be there however I could and none of it felt like it was working. I got depressed and I felt like I couldn't do anything.

    I saw people on Twitter raving about some band called The Hotelier. As it happened, I got an advance copy of their then-upcoming album in my email. Sure, I'll try this out, press play.

    "So fragile are bodies, so concave, work in self-destructive ways." It gave me something to relate to, to tell me how I felt about the situation was alright, that I had to keep trying.

    "Your Deep Rest" was playing in my head when I called my best friend's therapist, "Discomfort Revisited" when I heard she was in an outpatient program. As far as I know, it helped.

    Goodness came out after a fight she and I had, in which I learned she'd lied to me about a lot of important things. Goodness helped me forgive that. Goodness came out a month before I graduated high school, leaving most of the people and the life I'd known until that point. I don't think a day's gone by since that I haven't listened to "End of Reel." Goodness came out almost a month after I became a Taoist. It seems every time I could use a new Hotelier album, I hear a new Hotelier album.

    I got to see them last night and I spoke to Christian before the show. I thanked Christian for their music, and Christian was extremely nice (and just generally fuckin awesome). They played "An Introduction to the Album," and when I heard every single person in the crowd singing, "Open the curtains," along with Christian, it gave me the same feeling as I got the first time I heard the album: the feeling of not being alone.
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  15. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

    For me, Butch Walker has seriously been like a brother or something. It's pretty nuts how frequently his albums have come along at the perfect time. I first got into his stuff in the winter of 2005, when I was in the middle of probably my first big crush and thought it was something profound. It wasn't, but Letters was a perfect soundtrack to that feeling like I was on the cusp of a big change in my life. And I was: a few months after I found that album, I finished out my time at a school where I'd spent eight of my nine years of education up to that point. It was a small school and we'd all known each other forever, and the year after that, we were all heading to high school and everything was going to change.

    A few weeks ago, I went back to that school for the 20th anniversary of its opening (it opened when I was in kindergarten) and it felt fitting to drive over there listening to Letters, since that had ended up being my "goodbye" album 12 years ago. I was performing a song off my recent album for the concert at this 20-year celebration, and I wasn't sure at all which of my classmates were going to be there. But I ended up getting a chance to catch up with like 10 of my closest friends from back in childhood (as well as my old teachers, who all still work there), and afterward, we all went out to catch up over a beer (or five). It was an awesome reminder of how friendships don't always die just because you stop seeing people every day, and it was probably like the thousandth time Letters came to mean something new and incredible for me.

    Every album after that, Butch was always there at the right time. In the summer of 2006, he released The Rise and Fall and that was the album he was touring in support of when I went to see him live for the first time. It was also my first concert ever, and it made me love music even more than I already had. More than I thought was possible. He's such an electric, emotional performer, and it blew the fucking doors off my 15-year-old mind.

    The next time Butch dropped a record, it was 2008 and I was in the middle of my senior year of high school. Sycamore Meadows was a personal record for him, because he'd just lost his home and all of his belongings in a California wildfire. It felt like a turning point in his career. It was a turning point for me, too. The previous summer I'd fallen for this girl, one of my best friends, and gotten my heart broken. I'd also gotten stuck working a shitty job and just nothing seemed like it was working out right. But all of that ended up being good for me, because it forced me to grow up and gain a lot of perspective about my life and who I was, about where I wanted to go in the future. Looking back, I think of Sycamore Meadows as the dividing line between childhood and something approximating adulthood.

    In 2010, I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart came out, in the middle of my freshman year of college. It's probably my least favorite record of his, but it was still important. I remember it dropping in the dead of winter, but hearing songs like "Don't You Think Someone Should Take You Home" and "She Likes Hair Bands," I knew it was going to be a great summer night album. One night in early July, this girl who had been a good friend of mine gave me a call just as I was getting off work. She was fighting with her parents and needed to get out of the house, so we met up and just went to the beach and laid out on the sand and talked as the sun set, and then late into the night after that. It felt like the beginning of something, and I'll always remember I Liked It Better playing in the car when I finally drove home at like 2 a.m. A week later, that girl and I were dating. Four years later, we got married.

    In 2011, The Spade released, and Butch dropped it too late to be the legendary summer soundtrack that it should have been. But it also came out the day I had to go back to college and move into my apartment, so I listened to it on repeat as I left town and drove the three hours to school. It was always bittersweet to leave my hometown at the end of a great summer, and that was especially true that year, since my previous semester had been serious bottom-of-the-barrel shit. Driving back with that album playing, though, it felt so hopeful. I knew things were going to be better somehow. And they were: that semester was when I started writing and reviewing albums and stuff, and it's where I laid down a lot of the foundations for where I am now.

    Last year, Afraid of Ghosts came along at the perfect time too. Butch lost his dad in 2013. I lost my grandfather toward the end of 2014, and that was my first real brush with death. Ghosts was this beautiful but wrenching expression of grief, and it's frankly just not an album I can get through without choking up because I relate it so much to my memories of my grandpa and the pain of losing him. "Father's Day" especially just wrecks me on a regular basis.

    And then this year, with Stay Gold, he's back to this extremely positive, hopeful vibe. After what happened with The Spade, I can't help but feel like this album is heralding something good to come in my life. I guess I'll have to wait and see. A lot of the record is about combing back through memories and reconnecting with old friends, though, which has already been a defining theme of my year so far. My best friends are scattered all over the country, but I've remarkably been able to see them all this year, on separate occasions. That, plus the perfect summer soundtrack vibe of Stay Gold, is keeping the "Butch Walker knows what is going on in my life" streak alive.

    Plus, I got to interview him last year and that was a huge dream come true/geek out moment.

    #thisisanovel #sorry #iwritetoomuch
  16. cshadows2887

    Hailey, It Happens @haileyithappens Supporter

    Billy Joel

    It's hard to even trace back, honestly.

    I do know that the very first song I ever heard on the radio and thought "I love this. What is this?" was "Piano Man". I think I can't have been more than 4 or 5 and my parents were taking me up to stay with my grandparents for two weeks and it was the first time I can ever remember being so grabbed by music that I had to know what it was.

    It would happen again in 3rd or 4th grade when my dad, who always woke me up for school playing music, put on "I Go to Extremes". The jolt I got out of that song, the intensity of the melody and the drive of the music, grabbed me like nothing had. I made my dad take me to Strawberries for Storm Front.

    Then my dad gave me his cassette of 52nd Street because he thought I'd like it. It was the first time I ever really listened to an album as a complete, artistic work and it opened a whole world to me. Music has been the great love of my life and Billy Joel opened the doors.

    I bought everything he ever made. Memorized every lyric. Learned how to sing harmony from copying his.

    I related very strongly to someone with huge ambition and a love of great music of all types, but who was maybe a bit too simple and graceless to ever really reach those heights in the way he meant to. I still do.
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