Hundreds of albums are released every year, that some may slip through the cracks, others are chart-topping, however, some will make such an impact that it’ll forever change your life. It’s truly special when an artist comes through with such a masterpiece that will knock the wind out of their listeners. Some albums have a long-lasting impact in the music scene, some that shape the new era of music, or even save people’s lives.
As Millennials we have different albums that have shaped and influenced the music we listen to. Sure, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, and Queen are legendary artists, but what about the artists that emerged through our time and made an impact on our lives? I compiled a list of a handful of albums that I believe have made a tremendous impact on us and are the next staples and standards in the music scene.
Nevermind – Nirvana (1991):
Never mind is Nirvana’s second studio album released on 24th September 1991 by DGC Records. It was the bands first time releasing an album on the label. The album unexpectedly broke success, mainly due to the release of the single ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. By the following year, they overtook Michael Jackson’s ‘Dangerous’ as the number one album on the US Billboards 200.
Nevermind brought grunge and alternative rock music to a mainstream audience and has been ranked as one of the greatest albums of all time. It was truly an impactful album in many ways, it was an album for a generation that felt misunderstood and overlooked. It was an important album for their time, and it’s still impactful to this day.
Enema Of The State – Blink 182 (1999):
Blink 182 is a household name for pop-punk, being one leading bands and veterans in the scene, paving ways and inspiring today’s new and up-and-coming pop-punk bands. Enema Of The State is their third studio album released on 1st June 1999 by MCA Records. This album is inspired by adolescent relationships and frustrations. These stories were compiled from Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus from friends and personal experiences of breakups, parties, and of course eccentric ideas of UFO theories. This album was a success, generating staple songs in everyone’s playlists such as ‘What’s My Age Again?’, ‘Adam’s Song’ and ‘All The Small Things’. I’m minty-nine percent sure that almost everyone in the world has heard at least one of these songs once in their lifetime. This album propelled to the top of the charts and still looms over the industry today as one of the 50 Greatest Pop-Punk Albums according to Rolling Stone.
Hybrid Theory – Linkin Park (2000):
Linkin Park itself has been an impactful band in the music scene. They are a standout band that has inspired so many musicians to this day. Hybrid Theory was their debut album, and it was more powerful than they ever imagined. It was released on 24th October 2000, through Warner Bro. Records and it was the best-selling debut album since Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction, and it was also the best-selling rock album of the 21st Century.
Lyrically this album spoke about the lyricist and vocalist Chester Bennington’s personal struggles when he was an adolescent, which involved drug abuse and his parent’s divorce.
Musically this album combined many different genres into one such as rap, metal, and rock, hence the name Hybrid Theory.
Hybrid Theory is listed in the book ‘1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die’.
The Eminem Show – Eminem (2002):
Eminem cited as one of the most influential artists of all time in hip hop, Rolling Stone’s placing him in the top 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. The Eminem Show is his fourth studio album, released in 26th May 2002. This album is viewed as one of his most personal and best work. This album may be honest but it is also very explicit and some parts could even be considered controversial. Even in the censored version it still contains some of the explicit content. I feel that way he expressed himself with no boundaries in this album, is the reason why it’s one of the most impactful albums. The Eminem Show smashed the charts and even made it into Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. It’s also labeled as one of the greatest and classic albums of the 2000s.
American Idiot – Green Day (2004):
American Idiot is Green Day’s seventh studio album, released on 20th September 2004, via Reprise Records. This album is labeled as a ‘Punk Rock Opera’ concept album by the band, which told a tale of Jesus of Suburbia, who is a lower-middle class American teenager, who is raised on a diet of soda pop and Ritalin who hates his town, there are many other characters’s throughout the album that help merge all the stories together. This album story conveys the disgruntlement of a generation that is emerging from a time social dysfunction in America, shaping them to be cynical and filled with doubt. This album addresses the sociopolitical issue of warfare and the lead vocalists feelings of skepticism about his countries culture of war, noting the division in the public towards the Iraq War.
Despite the message that they are trying to preach in the lyrics, the album musically sees them expanding on their punk rock sound and exploring styles such as Latin and polka music.
This album was later transcribed into a stage musical in 2009, which was a collaboration between the band and director Michael Meyers. To say that this album was a success is an understatement.
Back To Black – Amy Winehouse (2006):
Amy Winehouse is known for her expressive and dynamic vocals, as well as her ability to mix musical styles such as soul, jazz and R&B so seamlessly. Back to Black was her second and final studio album, which was released on 27th October 2006, via Island Records. This album was mainly focused on the relationship of her then-ex-boyfriend Blake Fielder-Civil (later to be her husband in years to come), who left her for his ex-girlfriend. Their separation inspired her to create this record which is racked with guilt, heartbreak, and grief.
Back to Black was a critically acclaimed album that saw how raw and vulnerable her songwriting and vocals could be. This album was a personal diary about her heartbreak and you can feel that ache with every line in every song. Amy and this album has become a staple in the music industry and is even cited in The Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Best Albums of the 2000s.
To Pimp A Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar (2015):
To Pimp A Butterfly is Kendrick Lamar’s third album, which was released in 15th March 2015. It was an album that turned heads and was quickly ranked by multiple publications as the best album of 2015. This album talks about heavy topics that affect the African-American community, such as police shootings and black on black crime. This album also explores themes of politics, and other themes connected to race, culture, and discrimination, making this a politically charged album. This album also explores topics of mental health such as addiction, anxiety, and depression. To Pimp A Butterfly is such an emotion-fuelled album, covering so many bases of different types of struggles that people today face, no wonder it was well received. This album shows Kendrick being open-minded and going against the grain of tradition hip hop.
All these albums speak of what life is like now. It isn’t glamorous as people would think, being a Millennial is hard, filled with so many ups and downs and experiencing technological changes fly by as well as the collapse of the economy and so much more. These albums made life more bearable for us, providing a cool soundtrack to us growing up and experiencing a new era that our parents would never understand.
What album had the most impact on you?