Home for the Curious Musician

What Songs Were on the First Album You Ever Bought?

Themes and variation

That’s what we’re talking about this week on…. Episode 1 of our brand new podcast, Themes and Variation. You can listen to the episode in its entirety right here, or click over to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or anywhere else you get your podcasts to subscribe.

As we announced two weeks ago with the launch of our trailer episode, Soundfly is diving head first into the world of podcasting. In each episode, Themes and Variation will bring musicians and music lovers together to break down meaningful songs with a common theme. And with our very first episode dropping today, we figured it was an opportunity to look back at songs from the very first records we can remember spending money on!

Do you remember trying to peel away the cellophane shrink wrap of a CD, or dropping the needle on your first vinyl album and hearing it crackle into full audio bloom?

If you’re too young to remember that music used to be physical, we won’t hold it against you, but the theme of this episode still applies. Whatever shape your first album took, this episode will help you rediscover the joy you experienced after purchasing music for the first time.

Joining me on this maiden voyage across the airwaves are producer, composer, and Soundfly mentor Martin Fowler, and composer, lyricist, and occasional Flypaper columnist, Mahea Lee.

episode grid

Want to dig a bit deeper? Check out the companion course.

If you’re enjoying this episode, and you’d like to learn more about some of the musical topics we touched on, go ahead and visit Soundfly’s free companion course for writing prompts and additional resources. From modes to melody-writing, we’ve curated some extra resources for listeners to put stuff from the episode into action.

(Note: If you don’t already have one, you will be asked to create a Soundfly account to access the course.)

Episode 1 Highlights

1. A song can have an incredibly powerful impact on your musical life (and well, life in general).

Martin: I was listening to psychedelic rock, and prog rock, and some hip-hop happening in the periphery. The high school I went to was 97% white, I was not exposed to a lot of hip-hop until a lot later so this was a little mind-boggling for my brain which was only accustomed to thinking of music as being a thing that 3, or 4, or 5, people did by getting into a garage and playing instruments together, which I did at around this time. So as soon as I heard this I was like “the whole world is a lie, everything I knew in life is a lie”. I would say this record is one of the more pivotal things that ever happened to me, I mean I’m still trying to make music that sounds like this…

2. Pop songs can dig deep into complex emotions.

Mahea: I love songs that exist in that kind of emotional gray area where the topic isn’t super polarizing you know? Lyrically a lot of break-up songs just put you on somebody’s side and he’s (Folds) is good at addressing complicated situations that are actually fairly normal and relatable and you’re talking about a situation where two people are comfortable with one another but have a flawed relationship ultimately. 

3. It’s crazy to think about how different discovering music was 25 years ago.

Carter: One thing I was really curious about was how I discovered music. Dude, now obviously we just share music, I have no idea how I would have discovered this. So the record came out in October of ’95, I didn’t get it the day it came it out, I wasn’t reading BMG monthly magazine like Marty was.

Mahea: Did you watch MuchMusic?

Carter: Yes! I devoured MuchMusic!

Collaborative Playlist

We’ve created a collaborative Spotify playlist in order to share every song talked about and mentioned on this episode. We also want to hear what songs were on the first record you ever bought, so add them to the community playlist!

We’ll see you in two weeks with a new theme, new guests, and some new songs to break down. If you have any comments, questions, or theme suggestions, drops us a line at [email protected]!

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Carter Lee

Carter Lee is a bassist/educator/producer. He is originally from Edmonton, Canada and now resides in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to leading the hip-hop group, Tiger Speak, Lee is the music director for the bands of both Shea Rose and Moruf. He is also a sideman for countless other artists. Carter brings his wealth of experience in many different musical situations to the Soundfly team and is eager to help any musician who is hoping to better their band. Check out his course Building a Better Band on Soundfly today!