Nick Brown (MONA): 5 Albums That Changed My Life
Nick Brown, lead singer of the essential country rock group, MONA, shares with 5 albums that shaped his life and work.
Bob Dylan, Infidels
I remember for a few of these, at the time or maybe even still now, it’s great artists but it’s not necessarily considered their great work, but maybe that was the way I was introduced to them, so to me it was the great work. To me it was Blonde on Blonde, you know. There’s a song on there especially that made me dig through the whole album called “Sweetheart Like You” and it’s just about this woman in a dump. Basically, ‘What are you doing in a dump like this?’ Obviously, we were around for all the protests and that kind of stuff, so to me as a lyricist, it was this “love” concept that was my intro to Dylan.
Some people still consider it their worst work ever, like the way it was rolled out, but for me, I drank the Kool-Aid. Obviously, anyone can say Achtung Baby and The Joshua Tree are the classic cliches of best albums of all time. No ones really going to debate it, but I like digging on the stuff that didn’t get the love. Even the way they rolled out the album, they did the press release and they had the disco balls and the techno color stuff which was, even then, hilarious and tongue-in-cheek. A lot of people then didn’t get it, but now we live in a time where everyone is doing that. So they got all this shit for the creative rollout because it was cheesy, but now we live with Instagram and everything that we live with. It’s the land of cheesy rollouts and disco balls and releases from K-mart, we’ve stooped way lower.
Over the Rhine, Good Dog, Bad Dog
I grew up in Dayton, Ohio and it’s not far from Cincinnati, so going to shows and stuff in Cincinnati while growing up, that area of town (Over the Rhine) was a really bad area of town and now it’s the hipster area. It’s really all my childhood friends who live in that area, so when I go home I stop through there. But I remember that album, I don’t even know when I was introduced to that band. Me being drawn towards vocalists like Karen because it’s like Mary Gump, she’s one of my favorite female vocalists ever and that album is pretty damn beautiful.
Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
When that came out, the production on it and what it was, it speaks for itself. I think that was when hip-hop and rock, I mean we still live in a world of genres, but more and more they disappeared, and I think that album had a big impact. It dabbles in the occult, it dabbles in secret society, it gets scary sometimes. For a dude who is up there with the greats of shit talking, it delivered. What was the one before that, 808’s and Heartbreak? So, he had a flop, he had a tragedy then he kind of dug in and channeled it. I was on Island/Def Jam at the time so I remember people talking about it before hand and they were like “This is going to change things.” I remember hearing that and being like, “What’s going to change things?” If you love him or hate him, I think that one gives him his place alone.
New Radicals, Maybe You’ve Been Brainwashed Too
I have two older sisters and had a lot of people around me growing up that played it and I just remember the title. The lyric notes all of the lyrics are about the music industry and his label telling him that pretty much, too. I remember he did Letterman and then he quit the band and that lead song that was nominated for an Oscar. This dude, who was kind of this badass who was in this band in the 90’s, has still been writing songs since and like, massive songs. At the time, I didn’t have a band or anything, I just was acknowledging the industry. There are some big songs on there that people probably don’t even know are by them.
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