(received from richard - better late than never!)
I always have trouble with these type of "rate your favorite music/book/movie" questions, so these are subject to change at a whim. In fact, I was thinking about them a little too much, so I decided to go ahead and post it.
Amount of music on your computer?
Which one? I don't have any on my work computer, but that's a pretty boring answer. My iTunes folder at home is up to ~15.45 MB (though a lot of that isn't exactly "music," since I listen to a lot of lectures, sermons and the like).
Currently listening to?
Sufjan Stevens, Michigan
Five songs that mean a lot to you?
Uh ... this is tough.
"Big Mistake" - David Wilcox
"Time Stand Still" - Rush
"Close of the Day" - Sandra McCracken
"Gather 'Round, Ye Children, Come" - Andrew Peterson
"Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing"
Top five albums?
Again, I always have a problem with questions like these. How to choose? For some of these, I'll list a favorite band and a great album of theirs. But even then, it's so hard to choose ...
(In no particular order)
Rush, Presto: Easily my favorite rock band. Though I've grown to appreciate all kinds of acoustic, singer/songwriter-driven music over the last several years, I still have a deep-rooted love of heavy guitars and vocal wailing. Plus, Neil Peart (though writing from a decidely humanistic perspective) is one of the most intelligent and insightful songwriters around. It's hard to pick a specific album, since they have three decades of material, with notable evolution over the years. I picked Presto because it has some great songs, like the title track, "Chain Lightning" and the cleverly goofy "Anagram (For Mongo)."
Caedmon's Call, 40 Acres: Definitely one of my biggest musical influences. I didn't listen to a lot of "Christian" music before discovering them in college. (I tried to make myself listen to popular CCM, but I just couldn't handle it.) Caedmon's helped me realize that Christians could make quality music, even if the radio didn't give them much coverage. Again, it's hard to pick a specific album. Their indie stuff, like My Calm//Your Storm, makes up for its lack of production quality with an abundance of raw awesomeness. Their latest, Share the Well, is an amazing and ambitious effort in its own right. But 40 Acres is the high water mark, I think. The album is well-produced and sounds great, with songwriters Aaron Tate and Derek Webb shining on every track. (The only low spot is a cover, and even it is fairly decent.) It was also the last album before the band started going through significant lineup changes.
Andrew Peterson, Love and Thunder: Andy is an excellent songwriter and an all-around great guy. I've seen him in concert more times (far more times) than any other artist or band, mainly because his shows always manage to make me think and to make me laugh a lot -- often within the span of a few breaths! Similar to Richard, I had a tough time choosing between this album and Carried Along, but I think the overall cohesion of L&T as an album gives it an edge.
Rich Mullins, A Liturgy, A Legacy, and a Ragamuffin Band: The two previous artists list Rich as one of their major influences, and rightfully so. This album is simply beautiful, with Mullins' songwriting complemented by a host of talented musicians. What more can be said?
Joe Satriani, Surfing With the Alien: Remember above, when I professed my love of heavy guitars? Satch may not have the heaviest, but he certainly plays his with the best of them. I realize that not everyone appreciates rock guitar instrumentals, but it's their loss. Although Satriani possesses superhuman technical skills, he also has a great ear for creating songs with memorable melodies (instead of just recording a bunch of guitar speed drills). Surfing With the Alien is Satch at the top of his game. Strange beautiful music, indeed.
And that's five already! If I had more space, I'd probably find a way to sneak in Eric Peters (Land of the Living), derek webb (i see things upside down), Van Halen (either the self-titled debut, or 5150 from the Van Hagar era), Randall Goodgame (Arkadelphia) and Spin Doctors (Pocket Full of Kryptonite).
Last album bought?
Sufjan Stevens, Michigan
Harry and the Potters
Okay, the baton is now being passed on to: