6-5-12 Kirsten Kane’s List
Lou Reed’s wife Laurie Anderson born 1947, Psychedelic Furs Singer / Songwriter Richard Butler born 1956; President Gas.
Kirsten is my niece – this is her list. Amazing to me that her #1 title is 10 years old – proof that 20-year-olds have memories!
Kirsten’s Top 20 – In No Particular Order
1. Reanimation – (Album) Linkin Park, 2002
The simple reason that I love this album is because it’s composed mainly of their greatest songs from the previous two albums, only remixed and made better. It also contains a sort of nostalgia, when memories from years past come rushing back to you whenever you listen to a certain song, only with this entire album. This one always reminds me of playing World of Warcraft on a hot July day during the summer vacation just after my freshman year of high school. It was a simpler time.
2. Mass Effect 3 Original Soundtrack – (Album) Sam Hulick, Clint Mansell, Cris Velasco, Sascha Dikiciyan, Christopher Lennertz, 2012
I had already been blown away by how well done the original Mass Effect soundtrack had been, but little did I know that five years later it could only get better. The third game’s soundtrack combines the 80s synthesizer sci-fi feel with a dramatic orchestral tune, adding already to the game’s wonderment at the mysteries of the galaxy a feeling of melancholic purpose. Each track is unique in that when I listen to it my mind is always placed into the exact place it was when the track was played in the game. When I listen to Leaving Earth I can always picture in my mind Commander Shepard’s pained expression when leaving the civilians of Vancouver behind, and will always be reminded of the pride I felt during the last scene with Captain Anderson as I’m Proud Of You played in the background.
3. Mass Effect Original Soundtrack – (Album) Sam Hulick, Jack Wall, 2007
While this is from the same franchise, the music from the first game is vastly different compared to the third game. Much of the sci-fi feel comes from the use of the synthesizer, giving it an 80s-inspired soundtrack, but at the same time made so that it fits in with the new generation. Moreover, the soundtracks sounds very innocent, primarily emphasizing exploring the galaxy and learning everything the player does about the galaxy being immersed into that universe for the first time. At the same time, with tracks such as From The Wreckage, really get into the mind of the player during the game, as the sad piano track leads them to expect the worst, but then finish with an inspiring chorus of trumpets as the game draws to a close…for now.
4. Hot Fuss – (Album) The Killers, 2004
This album is another one for the nostalgia count. As a 12-year-old may have had a harder time understanding the true meaning of the songs’ lyrics, but the album forever burned into my memories the countless hours of enjoyment playing video games with one of my best friends as a middle-schooler with way too much time on her hands. Even today, fully understanding the more, dare I say, adult themes to the songs, I still find them catchy.
5. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban – (Album), John Williams, 2004
I particularly remember this one because it was the first Harry Potter movie soundtrack I had specifically asked my father to burn me a copy of. The music takes the series into a turn that I found both frightening and exciting. This album had taken the soundtracks to a deeper, darker level. Double Trouble I had found catchy even years before knowing it was a reference to Macbeth, and Window To The Past was a beautifully simple track exemplifying the sadness buried in all this installment of the franchise. It’s a beautiful track to play whilst in a pensive mood. This movie and album was the last Harry Potter movie I had seen with my father, another avid fan of the franchise and enabler to my addiction of the book series. After his passing in 2011 I listened to this album a lot, bringing back some of the fonder memories of him after all of these years.
6. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part II – (Album), Alexandre Desplat, 2011
The final movie installment in the Harry Potter franchise was an important landmark for my generation. This was the final, dramatic leap into adulthood for most of us, as the last remnant of our childhood came to its conclusion. As such, it should be conducted appropriately dramatically, and Desplat certainly succeeded in that regard. Being five movies after Prisoner of Azkaban, the soundtrack is appropriately dark in all the right places, hitting you right in the heart with the haunting voice singing over the violins: Lily’s Theme. Still, with all the sadness and despair rich within this final film, as an homage to the franchise Desplat re-uses John Williams’ Hedwig’s Theme bringing in a rather strange mix of nostalgia and sadness: an absolutely perfect finale.
7. World of Warcraft Original Soundtrack – (Album) Jason Hayes, Tracy Bush, Derek Duke, Glenn Stafford, 2004
I put this album on the list because even after the decline of the game, I still remember it. It’s the kind of album that incorporates all of the musical elements to make you completely immersed in the game, yet still enjoy the ambience. Every track is different to match with the area it’s supposed to be played in. The harp in Teldrassil is so contrasting to the ominous horns in Burning Steppes, because of the vast difference in the danger and environment in the two levels. This is the kind of music that can take you back in time years, and elicit the same emotions from you from that exact point in time.
8. Absolution – (Album) Muse, 2003
In the search to fill the void left by Linkin Park in the five year gap between Reanimation and Minutes to Midnight, I found something beautiful. Amidst the lyrics singing of the apocalypse also comes a mix of softer songs, though still with a hardcore element to them. It’s not entirely progressive or alternative rock, with soft piano mixes and electronic elements, particularly on the track Endlessly.
9. Mambo Italiano – (Song) Rosemary Clooney, 1954
My fondest memory of this song is sitting around with one of my good friends, who was getting married the next day, and the other bridesmaids, sitting around and finishing up last-minute wedding preparations when the inspiration to begin listening to this song comes on. That’s the beauty of this song: it’s fun, it’s catchy, and you don’t need to be from the 50s to enjoy something so simple. It’s just something you can listen to when you want to have fun, and we certainly did.
10. I’m Yours – (Song) Jason Mraz, 2005
For this song, the simplicity of the acoustic guitar is what does it for me. This is a song that can be sung around a campfire, and is one of the reasons that this song holds such a special place in my heart. This is one of the songs that was sung around the campfire during a senior-year ‘field study trip’ down to Baja, California. The bonding with friends / classmates sitting around a campfire after just having spent the day snorkeling around a coral reef and eating freshly-caught fish tacos in the middle of a desert is something that can only be experienced, not described.
11. Nothing Else Matters – (Song) Metallica, 1992
This is probably one of, if not the only, mellow song done by Metallica. It’s a rather typical love song, but it’s very well done. The first two bars of the song flow so nicely together, that when I heard it (despite my lackluster guitar-playing skill) I tried to learn how to play it. The rest of the song was arguably more difficult, but learning it made guitar-playing all that much more fun, especially to the biased ‘mother audience’.
12. Pieces – (Song) Red, 2006
Simply put, this is a beautiful song. I love the way the cello blends in with the piano, it’s heartbreaking, but beautiful. Call me a hopeless romantic, but a song about a man despairing over the loss of a loved one is still beautiful in this day and age.
13. Clubbed To Death – (Song) Rob Dougan, 1995
This song is…strange. It’s a blend of electronic music and has what appears to be some classical elements to it. Most people know this from The Matrix soundtrack, and it certainly seems to fits the movie perfectly. The electronic elements help it fit into the technological age of the film, and the classical elements give it a more serious tone. It can be either uplifting or relaxing, depending on your mood, but it always manages to make my imagination soar with thoughts of how awesome it would look running away from an explosion in slow motion (on film).
14. Cinema – (Song) Skrillex, 2011
Say what you will about dubstep, but I will argue that music is entirely subjective. When most people go to concerts they already know and love the music, and what they expect is to join in with the other fans and just have a good time, which still places a large burden on the performing artist. If they don’t get involved with the audience, the experience is less memorable, and Skrillex certainly knows how to get the audience to be connected to one another. Cinema, a remix of Benni Banassi’s song with Gary Go, has memorable lyrics that always get the audience to sing together, and enjoy the experience.
15. Grandma’s Boy – (Movie), Nicholaus Goossen, 2006
Despite some of the jokes in this movie being rather vulgar, I love watching this movie. It’s a wonderful combination of video game nerd jokes, with a side of ‘pot jokes’ for those who appreciate it. What I like most about this movie is that you can get a great (albeit fictional) inside look at the life of game developers. This movie is just great to watch with nerdy friends, especially while intoxicated.
16. 28 Days Later – (Movie), Danny Boyle, 2002
This movie is a fantastic British contribution to the ‘zombie movie’ genre. I’m not a horror movie nut, but I agreed to see it after being assured that it wasn’t going to be what horror movies had seemed to become at that point: a 90-minute gore-fest. I was pleasantly surprised. Not only do we get likeable, believable characters, but an emotionally charged story that also shows the chaos that can evolve from even our own kind in the midst of an apocalypse. Very tastefully done.
17. Star Wars – (Movies 4-6), George Lucas, 1977-1983
These movies are simply classic. They’re the perfect archetype of the sci-fi / hero genre. Maybe not archetype, per say, as George Lucas himself had inspiration from epics before him, but you would be hard-pressed to find a work of fiction that hasn’t had some influence directly or indirectly inspired by the franchise. Not much more can be said about this that hasn’t already been said. The films inspire so much imagination with the lovable, explored characters, the beautifully strange alien worlds, and the magical element of the story inspired by the Jedi and the force.
18. Mean Girls – (Movie), Director Mark Waters, Written by Tina Fey, 2004
At first glance this movie seems like a typical teen chick-flick about girls in high school. While it largely is, the writing is so well done that it transcends the genre into an extremely quotable classic. Through the characters, Tina Fey tries to teach the audience about the effects of social cliques on girls in high school. Though watching Lindsay Lohan’s character develop through the story is nice, probably the most enjoyable aspect of the story is Tina Fey’s almost trademark self-referential humor, both drawing from her own experiences in high school and self-insulting jokes.
19. Harry Potter – (Books 1-7), J.K. Rowling, 1998-2007
There is no other way to put this series than as the defining element of my generation. The wonderful part of this series is that it didn’t only reach out to children, but adults as well. It’s the perfect bildungsroman where we get to see all of the characters that we love grow up and become the adult heroes we know they would become in the final novel. The characters are lovable and believable, the setting so imaginative and immersive it feels like the reader becomes a part of the world Rowling has created. It’s a personal tragedy when one of the characters die, even if they are fictional. Not only had it the power of teaching an entire generation of the joys of reading, but it taught us harsh life lessons, such as dealing with the pain of losing a loved one, or the value of friendship, without us even knowing.
20. Hitchiker’s Guide To the Galaxy – (Books 1-5), Douglas Adams, 1979-1992
I think the only way I could possibly describe this is that it is a sci-fi “adventure” story told by an extremely British author. I’m all about learning about new fictional universes, characters, and the like, but pretending that John Cleese was reading it to me made it all the much more enjoyable. It’s dry British humor explaining everything there is to know about the galaxy. It’s wondrous, it’s hilarious, it’s everything that a child could want who grew up on BBC shows such as Are You Being Served, Fawlty Towers, Keeping Up Appearances, Monty Python, etc. The list could go on. Also, 42.