several music albums choosing top 10 all time including beatles

Top 10

Someone is discovering the Beatles for the first time, right now, and is losing their mind at how incredible the music is. How amazing it makes them feel. How genius the songwriting and lyrics are. Right now. Even though their first album was made nearly 60 years ago, that first time experience is happening right now, for someone, somewhere.

“Legacy is planting seeds in a garden you never get to see” – Hamilton musical.

What are your top 10 albums of all time?

I’ve been doing the top 10 albums thing with mates for a while now.

The only criteria – it must be an original album, it can’t be a greatest hits, live or compilation album (that would be more reflective of your top 10 artists…not top 10 albums). And it can’t be a covers album.

Then you go for it. The process is simple. You must listen to the albums again. In their entirety. From start to finish as one body of work.

People tend to start by immediately writing down the albums that come to mind in a list. For most people their original list will contain around 30-50 albums. Then, you do something radical…start listening to them again.

For all the unique people, experiences, nostalgia attached to albums, memories and feelings. One thing is guaranteed.

The top 10 albums that you “think” will be there based on your memory of them, will not look like the top 10 albums you finish with.

That is how fragile memory is. So many of us believe that our memories of ourselves and the world are an accurate guide and compass for how to live NOW.

They aren’t. They are fallible. They are innacruate. And most of all. Your memories of something are not THE truth. They are your truth.

Write down your top 10 albums of all time, listen to them again, prove it to yourself.

The further the distance of our memories to the present, the more likely they are to be fallible. It is as if our minds and our brains are encouraging us to periodically, like cleaning out the house, let go of memories that no longer serve as being valuable.

Yet so many of us will hold on to beliefs or stories that came from experiences in the past. Repeating narratives that were once useful as a small child or rapidly evolving teenager, but don’t quite help us as growing adults. And for the late 70’s and 80’s children, in case you were wondering, yes – Nevermind by Nirvana is actually a pretty rubbish album with a few hidden gems. But of course, that’s my opinion.

And that is what is beautiful – that 2 people, in the same situation, at the same time, with the same stimulus, can have completely different experiences. Like listening to someone else’s top 10 albums.

I love love love it. Someone who is sharing why their number 1 albums is so important to them, oozes passion, story, conviction and vulnerability. It as if they are revealing a piece of their soul to you through the gift of music. They are revealing their unique take on the world, through a common medium of notes, sounds, voices and time. It’s a privilege to withhold judgement, listen to the music and then listen to the human share why it made their number 1 spot. You learn things about yourself, about others and about undiscovered existences by remaining open to listening.

As you listen to your top 20-30 albums, old favourites that have worn they way into your heart will fade.
B and C grade hits on a favourite album will spring into life suddenly. “How did I not notice this song!” You will exclaim, as that which was old is given new life from new your perspective. The gift of growing older and (hopefully) wiser is that you see the same things differently.
New lyrics will be heard that connect with where you are right now.

And the beautiful thing … everyone’s criteria is different. Definitely ask the person to share “how” they narrowed down their top 10 and top 5. For some it will be musicianship, for others – the lyrics. Many will be unable to decouple the music from strong experiences and nostalgia. That’s where the stories start to emerge. Break-ups, weddings, births, rebellion, tears, connection, adventures.

Same stimulus. Different experience.

(Long pause of dramatic silence that used to hint at hidden tracks)

You are not your memories. You are now. Right now. IN this moment.

Experiencing The Beatles for the first time.

And if you are now, not then, not ‘what happens next’, then trust yourself. To know how to be right now. To know that what you have to do next, what you have to say – will come naturally.

Our memories are full of songs, of greatest hits, and of things that never made it to the final album. Of songs created that we held back from releasing, left to the cutting floor. 21 years after releasing OK Computer, in 2017 Radiohead finally performed a song called “I promise” to a crowd. The song was originally written to be part of this breakthrough album in 1997…but it never made it on. Just before playing the song, Thom Yorke said “”What a bunch of nutters we were, and probably still are … One of the crazy things we did was not release this song, because we didn’t think it was good enough.”

How many brilliant creations have never seen the light of day, because of limiting thoughts in the moment?

But some memories of the past, some beliefs we have, were definitely useful “back then”. They simply aren’t accurate or particularly useful now. Like the voice in your childhood from someone bigger than you that told you you can’t, you won’t, you’re not good enough…you will never be.

They were wrong.

Like the top 10 albums on your list. The experience of listening, deeply, in the now, will show you what matters most.

And your top 10?

There are many stories to hear. Many songs that have not yet been written.

You can’t always trust memory, but you know when you are in the presence of legacy. It is a gift, planted long ago, brought to life in the present moment.

What memories do you hold on to, that are no longer accurate or useful for who you are today?

What seeds are you humbly planting that you will never see grow?

What are you hearing or seeing, for the first time, that always existed?

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