art & identity

"Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness." - Maya Angelou

i have been seeing this trend going around online that people are posting their top 10 most influential albums from their younger years.

i love this, because i think you can really learn a lot about a person based on what art has impacted his or her life. out of all forms of art, i would say that music has impacted my identity most greatly.

this may be odd, as a writer, but i'm awful at reading (to my shame), so the poetry in lyrics and the emotions that music notes evoke has always brought me the greatest comfort.

it is so healing to listen to something that fits your exact mood in that exact moment. it's like floating down a river with the sun warming you, sparkling water surrounding you, and the earth accepting you as you are. you are free & alive.

music has shaped me in every possible way. i remember the first time i realized that i'm allowed to have a different taste in music than my friends. i was in 7th grade and was introduced to metallica. i couldn't get enough of it. this opened the door many new genres for me. i've always tried to keep an open mind, so i can honestly say that i love all styles of music.

so now, choosing only ten influential albums from my youth was more challenging than i thought. here is what i came up with, in no particular order:

death cab for cutie - transatlanticism
brand new - deja entendu
blink 182 - take off your pants & jacket
system of a down - steal this album
sigur ros - ( )
regina spektor - soviet kitsch
damien rice - O
bright eyes - lifted or the story is in the soil, keep your ear to the ground
taking back sunday - where you want to be
animal collective - feels

if you're on spotify, i actually created a playlist titled 'influence' with one song from each of these albums.

this part of your story is so vibrant and lovely, and when we share with one another, it can be like water running down a fresh painting, colors dripping down to give to others. sharing art with one other, as maya angelou said, can be one of the best cures to loneliness. i'd love to hear in the comments some albums or other forms of art that shaped your identity.


Listening to:

Freelance Whales - Generator 1st Floor
(fun fact: i walked down the aisle to this song at my wedding)


  1. I love your taste in music, Ashley! I always look forward to checking out the songs you attach at the end of each blog post. Three albums that have really struck a chord with me lately (as I am still a youth, haha) are: Transatlanticism (like you. absolutely stunning album), Vessel, and Vitals (by Mutemath). I adore hearing other people talk about the music they're passionate about, so thank you for this post.

  2. You're amazing. Thank you for sharing your music

  3. I had no idea this was a trend haha but just the other day I sat down and thought about my all time favorite albums, transatlanticism is one of them actually, so is "vitals" by mutemath; "+" by ed sheeran is one of those albums I need to listen to some days, It feels like 17 years old me, just chilling in my room trying to think straight on a cold evening.
    "+" is the only one on that list that's been with me for more than 5 years tho, I guess I just don't identify with what I used to listen to when I was younger, it took me a while to discover myself and what I truly like but thank god I did.

    (un) lost by the maine is also a very important song, and I'm looking forward for their next album, from what I've seen I would say it's gonna be intense and deep.

    ps: O is an amazing album, "volcano" has been one of my favorite songs for years.

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  5. Bright Eyes and Death Cab! I think those might be my favourite of their albums too actually. My most influential albums might be those two, plus Marilyn Manson's Antichrist Superstar, Owl City's Ocean Eyes (those are from two different periods in my life, but the but where they overlapped must have been confusing for the people around me!), and Carrie and Lowell by Sufjan Stevens. At least, that's what I think right now; I'd probably change my mind if you asked me the same thing tomorrow.

  6. Ashley! Thank you! I love that familiar blanket feeling of an album you have loved for years. There are a few albums that have shaped me tremendously (as like Caroline I am still a youth lol). Those are Crave (for King & Country), We Will Not Be Shaken (Bethel), Self Titled (tøp of course), and probably a lot more. Music is so special to me and I'm always glad to find another person who cares a lot about it.

  7. Oh my gosh, I am in love with so many of those albums! If I had to choose just a few of my most influential albums they would probably be these:
    Regina Spektor-Begin to Hope
    Avril Lavigne- Let Go
    The White Stripes-Self-Titled
    Pink Floyd-Dark Side of the Moon
    NeverShoutNever-What is Love?
    Owl City-Ocean Eyes
    Twenty One Pilots-Self Titled
    The Flaming Lips-Yoshima Battles the Pink Robots
    Bob Dylan-The Times They Are A-Changing
    Bon Iver-Self-Titled Just to name a few. :)

  8. The music was always part of my life in the moments that needed the most music to comfort me, the band red, skillet, third day , twenty one pilots And others 💕Music moves us

  9. hmm...10 albums
    think, albums of Queen are half of these.
    I was 15,16,17 and listened their songs, and found my thoughts, support...

    also was some russian groups f.e. DDT, Nautilus Pompilius, Technology - very hard choose one album...
    because I listened songs on radio, i haven't vinyls) It's difficult soviet childhood and youth:)
    some of us had tape recorders and we can heard lovely songs. I remember wonderful "Click on the button - get the result of
    And your dream will come true/ Click on the button, but what are you not happy/ You are no longer something to strive for"

    It was our religion)

    1. Queen - A Nigth at the opera
    2. Queen - A Day at the Races
    3. Queen - The Works
    4. Queen - A Kind of Magic
    5. Queen - The Miracle
    6. DDT - August snowstor
    7. Nautilus Pompilius - Silence Prince
    8. Nautilus Pompilius - Titanic
    9. Technology - Sooner or later
    10. Car-Man - Around the world

  10. Music is an important part in every person's life, it helps us to relax and get a break from everyday worries.

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  12. First of all, I love your blog and poetry so so much! You are amazingly talented, never forget that :) As far as music goes, its also my favorite form of art. Here are just a few of my favorite albums:
    OneRepublic - Native
    Adele - 25
    Lorde - Melodrama
    Alicia Keys - Here
    Twenty One Pilots - Blurryface
    Bastille - Wild World
    Ed Sheeran - X
    Alessia Cara - Know-It-All
    Coldplay - A rush of blood to the head
    OneRepublic - Oh my my

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