The Album That Changed Everything (Spring 2019)

The Album That Changed Everything (Spring 2019)

Some of our favourite past Songwriting interviewees reveal the seminal albums that have inspired them the most over the years


Veruca Salt
Eight Arms To Hold You (Outpost/Geffen, 1997)

“I was somewhat familiar with other 90s punk bands, but I clearly remember one day Ally (Einbinder) put on Seether in the car and thinking, ‘Where did this song come from?’ It was the first time I heard music that sounded tough but hooky. Most of my musical inspirations up until then were male-fronted bands, so hearing female vocals over rock music was really important for my personal development as a songwriter. Having just started Potty Mouth with no clear expectations, it felt like the perfect sonic aspiration for our band.”


Ensemble Of The Bulgarian Republic
Music Of Bulgaria (Nonesuch, 1955)

“My first harmony love was the Everly Brothers, who were a really good lesson in harmony. Listen to people that sing harmony the way you like it and then learn from them. That’s what I did. I learned from the Everly Brothers, I learnt from The Weavers and I learned from lots of people in folk music, that’s where I got my start in harmonies. Then, if you want to get advanced listen to the Music Of Bulgaria album that came out on Nonesuch Records, it’s the record that changed my life and has the most amazing vocal harmonies I’ve ever heard.”


Sonic Youth
EVOL (SST, 1986)

“It’s unlike anything I’d heard before. It was patient and mysterious, dreamy and hazed out. It was the first time I felt like the people making the music were not superheroes. ‘Sound collage,’ and ‘spoken word,’ were not words I had even combined in a sentence, and here they were on this completely strange record I could not stop listening to. The guitars were all working together – there was no lead, rhythm or bass – notes spider-webbed perfectly, all space and hanging dew. I have literally worn a hole in my original vinyl copy.”


Miles Davis
Kind Of Blue (Columbia, 1959)

Kind Of Blue was the album that taught me to love jazz. I was stuck up on a mountaintop in the 1970s and the only FM station to reach me was a jazz station. So I began to listen to jazz because that’s all I could get. Miles is so melodic in his playing, that’s what captured me about it. The things that I listened to, the notes were always so beautifully chosen and played with so much feeling. I’m a singer who loves melody and when jazz musicians get to playing too many notes I get lost, but that was not the case with Kind Of Blue!”


Joni Mitchell
Blue (Reprise, 1971)

“It would have to be Joni Mitchell’s Blue as that really did change everything for me, because it was the first time I consciously realised that a woman could be a songwriter. I was a teenager and I just had this unconscious assumption that songwriters were all men. Then, when I heard Blue, I actually realised that it wasn’t the case and not only could a woman be a songwriter but she could write about her inner life and turn it into poetry and have it be legitimate in a public sphere and that changed everything for me.”


A.B. Original
Reclaim Australia (Golden Era, 2016)

“The album that blew my mind two years ago was actually by a First Nations band here. It’s a hard-hitting hip hop record and I humour myself to think that if Midnight Oil was starting now then we might make an album as strong as this. It’s by a band called A.B. Original, the musicians are Briggs and Trials and they had a single called January 26 – Australia Day which many refer to as “Invasion Day.” It was written so strongly on this album and it was a hit here. We actually got them to open for our Sydney shows during our Great Circle tour.”

Read the rest of The Album That Changed Everything feature, along with more artist interviews, news, tips, reviews and gear in Songwriting Magazine Spring 2019

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