12 College Girls Share The Albums That Changed Their Lives

In the human brain, sound is strongly associated with memory. That’s why we always get songs stuck in our heads; how we can remember song lyrics from tunes we heard over a decade ago; and why hearing an old song on the radio will take us back to the days of our youth. Songs are like mini-time machines that remind us of all kinds of moments in our lives. I asked 12 Lala readers and friends to share with me the albums that mean the most to them.

Bloom – Beach House (2012)

“Beach House does what nobody else can. Their sound is ethereal and otherworldly. This album is really cool because the songs blend one after the other. Travel makes me nervous sometimes, and I found Bloom when I was travelling a lot one summer. It kept me calm on long plane rides and road trips.” – Anne P., 21

Seeds – Hey Rosetta! (2011)

“The first times I heard the songs ‘Yer Spring’ and ‘Welcome,’ I cried. As weird as this sounds, I feel like infinite when I listen to Hey Rosetta! Their lyrics are spiritual and their music is intense, different, and thoughtfully written.” – Samantha B., 22

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel (1998)

“Neutral Milk Hotel was different from everything else I was listening to when I was a preteen. It was catchy and commercial but also edgy and weird. I think the fact that this album is almost as old as I am and is still popular really says something about how special it is.” – Holly A., 21

Shadow Shows – Seryn (2015)

“I discovered Seryn in high school on a local independent radio station, and I have been listening to them ever since. Their music is beautiful and uplifting. I can ‘feel’ it, as cheesy as that sounds.” – Teagan A., 20

In Colour – Jamie xx (2015)

In Colour makes me feel motivated—motivated to achieve dreams that I thought were impossible. Whenever I felt stressed and down, the song ‘The Rest is Noise’ never fails to lift up my spirit and reminds me that life is too short to not be happy.” – Tram P., 19

Before the Waves – Magic Man (2014)

“The album has a song called ‘Chicagoland’ (where I grew up my whole life) and a song called ‘Texas’ (where I moved to for college), and I listen to the album when I’m homesick or feel lost. It makes me feel like I have a home in both places.” – Alie A., 19

The Sunset Tree – The Mountain Goats (2005)

“I found this album at a time when I just really needed to hear its message. It’s not love songs and it’s not really positive: It’s just music written by a guy whose life sucked for a while. It helped me embrace both the good and the bad in my life at the time. My top song recommendation is ‘This Year’ because the refrain is: ‘I’m gonna make it through this year if it kills me.’ And hey, it’s not necessarily positive, but it is pigheaded persistence, which is what I’m all about.” – Domino W., 19

All At Once – The Airborne Toxic Event (2011)

“I’ve been listening to The Airborne Toxic Event ever since this album came out when I was in high school. It’s definitely their darkest and angsty-est album, and I would listen to it throughout my own angsty high school years. Some of the songs about love really mean a lot to me, and the emotion in the songs is very powerful. It’s not really music you listen to when you want to be in a happy mood, but it has a lot of depth and passion and I love it.” – Jessica M., 20

High Violet – The National (2010)

“This album put into words the strange and indescribable feelings I felt as a teenager. I think everyone has that one album in high school that makes them feel less alone, and this was that album for me.” – Meraal R., 21

Contra – Vampire Weekend (2010)

“This was probably the first album I listened to that wasn’t like from the Top 40 section, when I started coming into my own and figuring out my music taste. It was also when I started getting into understanding the meaning behind lyrics instead of just listening to them, and these songs are upbeat and catchy but also really meaningful. Contra came out when all my friends and I were starting to get our driver’s licenses, so I remember listening to this album while we were driving around, starting to be independent. It brings back good memories.” – Kelly Q., 21

Graduation – Kanye West (2007)

Graduation inspires confidence, and nothing else will prepare you for a good day better than listening to this album first thing in the morning.” – Natasha V., 22

Live from Space – Birds of Chicago (2013)

“My best friends and I were driving through Colorado on Spring Break, and the stereo was broken in our car and this album was stuck in the CD player, so it was the only thing we could listen to. Now we know all the words to every song and sing them to each other surprisingly often.” – Elena K., 21

Olivia Arredondo

Editorial Contributor, The University of Texas at Austin Major: English/Communications Her heart belongs to: mocha lattes, 80s pop music, and live-tweeting The Bachelor Take her away to: the mountains or the beach

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