Whole LOTA Love

OTA Staff Shares Their All-Time Favorite Albums!

I asked employees to share their favorite album of all times. I suspect you may be wondering what their favorite albums has to do with OTA.


Music is not only enjoyed and valued in every culture around the world, but many list music next to food and travel, as one of the top ten most pleasurable experiences we encounter in life. In addition, music, whether playing it or listening to it, can help relieve depression, boost the immune system, and give one an incredible sense of feeling connected and belonging, which are essential elements in our main core value - love! 

Music is also about innovation - another OTA core value!

According to Valorie Salimpoor, a neuroscientist who specializes in music and the brain at McGill University in Montreal found that people not only get a sensory reward from listening to music, they actually receive a direct intellectual reward as well (2013). The origin of that reward, Salimpoor believes, is based on pattern recognition and prediction. “As an unfamiliar piece unfolds in time,” she says, “our brains predict how it will continue to unfold” (as cited in Time, 2013). This decision process, predicting what will happen in the future as a result of recognizing patterns, is based on the ability to imagine. And like the thumb, imagination, in all its creative and resourceful awe through the course of evolution, allows us not only to survive but to thrive, paving the way toward new discoveries. Without imagination we would have never created the internet, invented chocolate, walked on the moon, or developed CliK. It is no wonder that music is relished and adored by so many around the world.

With that being said, here is a list of OTA’s favorite record albums of all times. Enjoy!

Grant Grable, Owner & Presenter, Sacramento - Pearl Jam– Ten

This is hard, as I have so many favorites, but I have to say that Pearl Jam’s TEN album from 1991 is the one that jumps out the most. I can sing every song on that one!

Justin Cook, Writer, OTAF - The Refreshments– Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy

After seeing the music video for "Banditos" in 1996, I picked up the full album, and before long, I was listening to it every morning before school. I really dug the more tongue in cheek lyrical themes and southwestern imagery, which was in stark contrast to the darker, heavier music I was into at the time. It was just fun to listen to-- and it still is!

Deborah Speck, Operations Manager, Detroit - Beach Boys- Endless Summer

Dottie Rausch, Operations Administrator, OTAF - The Moody Blues- In Search of the Lost Chord

This is the one I can listen to from start to finish. I never get tired of it, especially on rainy days.

Gary Christmas, Senior Director of Media Production, OTAF Brittany Ducharme, Student Support, Atlanta - Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon

Deanne Brown, Success, Culture and Communications Coordinator, OTAF - Queen- News of the World

I would sit for hours when I was in Middle School listening to this album and singing the lyrics right along with Freddie, Brian, Roger and John.

Wendy Pine, Director of Customer Care, OTAF - Jim Croce– I Got a Name

Jim Croce’s, “I Got a Name” was one of the albums I listened to over and over. The songs painted stories, were lyrical and calming for me as I tried to balance my studies and my work. I could sing along and continue to sing even when the record player stopped.  As a plus some of the songs were a bit crazy and a bit fun!

Michael Gamerl, Presenter Trainee, OTAF - Michael Jackson - Off The Wall

Oh so many great albums, but I think I'll go with Michael Jackson's Off The Wall.  It's unapologetically pop and every song is simply fantastic.  It's impossible to hear it and not start to groove a little.

Anthony Navarro, Student Support Specialist, Charlotte - Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, Live!

Being Brooklyn born and bred, this album from Jersey Boy Bruce had a profound impact on my high school and college experience. The blue-collar working man, everyday joys and sorrows, stories of love and loss, all contributed to my love for the lyrics and the power of the emotion of everyday life put to song.

Dean Baretela, Director of Finance, Atlanta - Led Zeppelin II. First album

Whole Lotta Love is one of many songs that rocks. The whole album is awesome!

Ralph Loberger, Vice President of Business Development, OTAF - ABBA – Arrival

At the risk of totally showing my age (-J), my favorite all time album is “Arrival” released by ABBA in 1976.  This album was where their previously fun/energetic/light pop music began to grow up and exhibit the incredible talent of this group.  Some of their iconic songs were a part of this album: Dancing Queen, Knowing Me Knowing You, Fernando.  This was also the album where their music began to mature and explore the more challenging aspects of life and relationships that aren’t always perfect.  This would eventually result in the creation of some of their most poignant and timeless songs: The Winner Takes it All, Slipping Through My Fingers and others.  But, IMHO, the birth of their greatness occurred in Arrival.

Kathy Brown, Real Estate Student Support - Beatles – Rubber Soul

My response is the Beatles Rubber Soul album.  When that album came out, life was changing for many of us.  Woodstock was in progress.  British music was expanding into the US and life was good ?? We need more music like that.

Kevin Young, Owner, Minneapolis - Rush - 2112!

Rationale of very fond memories as a kid and incredible music!

Anthony LaBate, Education Counselor & Presenter, Boston - Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody

Michael Baker, Franchise Support Manager, OTAF - Jimmy Buffet-White Sportscoat and a Pink Crustation

Tillie Allison, Instructor, Kansas City - Erasure - Pop 20 Hits

My favorite album of all time!

Caroline Caraballo, Education Counselor, Seattle - DC Talk - Nu Thang

Embarrassing, but I was obsessed as a teenager. 

Ryan Herron, CliK Specialist, OTAF - Deep Forest - Deep Forest

My favorite album of all time is Deep Forest Self Titled Album from 1992. They take the vocals the rainforest and mix it with techno/electronic music that just soothes my soul. The reason it is my favorite is because it makes that tribal nature come alive within me. Namaste. 

Renzhi Zhou, CliK Specialist, OTAF - Modest Mouse’s - Strangers to Ourselves

I like how they mix melancholy cello and chime sounds with ghostly synth melodies but quickly transition into quick guitar riffs and excited drum beats. Some themes and motifs of the album are the emotional roller coasters associated with travel and going through cynicism-induced existential crises.

Mark Patrick, Vice President of Franchise Support - Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run

Started listening to “The Boss” in High School – Free spirit, gritty style and unbelievable supporting band, captured me forever. Seen live 5x – His latest Broadway show is on Netflix is amazing.

August Homeborn, Operations Administrator, OTAF - The Irish Rovers - The Unicorn

I grew up listening (and singing along) to my grandparents vinyl album of The Irish Rovers LP The Unicorn, as did my sons- the very same old vinyl. The songs evoke emotional complexity, making it very easy to laugh or cry or while singing along (having much to do with my bardic roots).

David Pelusi, Teleservices Agent - The Verve - Urban Hymns

It encompasses everything I love about the 90's and the Brit rock of that era. That and the fact that Bittersweet Symphony is the last truly great anthem of not only the 90's but of my childhood as well.

Tom Matisko, Event Coordinator, Atlanta - Led Zeppelin

It was tough. I have to go with Led Zeppelin recorded in the fall of 68 and released in January of 1969. I have to go with Led Zepplin because of the fusion of blues and rock. I love the fact that they weren’t immediately liked by the press and the music world, but the album, the sound, & the lyrics changed all that.

Cathie Morrison, Instructor - Joan Armatrading – Love and Affection

When I think of answers to “my favorite” question I think of an old cartoon about video stores in Hell – every title was Ishtar. The point is “my favorite” might show up as the only thing I get to listen to – so Joan it is. Love her voice, her lyrics, her rhythm and her cadence. Makes me feel good, sad, happy, encouraged and so many more.

And – no it has nothing to do with trading but it was a chuckle to me when I realized how long I have liked her and never thought of her name in terms of OTA.

Marcia Burt, Education Director, Houston - Michael Jackson - Thriller

I received the album and a record player as a Christmas gift, and it was my first album. Hearing any song from this collection takes me right back to being a kid again!

Ron Lembo, Student Support Specialist & Instructor, Scottsdale - Steely Dan - Aja .

This is the album that my 1st grade school bus teacher played just about everyday on the ride home.

Debi Knable, Director of Operations, Irvine - Marvin Gaye - What’s Going On  

His music is still so relevant today. It was an act of police violence against anti-war protestors that inspired the lyrics of “What’s Going On?”

"In 1969 or 1970, I began to re-evaluate my whole concept of what I wanted my music to say ... I was very much affected by letters my brother was sending me from Vietnam, as well as the social situation here at home. I realized that I had to put my own fantasies behind me if I wanted to write songs that would reach the souls of people. I wanted them to take a look at what was happening in the world." — Marvin Gaye