Inspired by Scott’s post (who was inspired by [dan], who was in turn inspired by Pitchfork), I’ve decided to highlight the music I was listening to at various stages in my life. I’d like to say that my musical tastes are more refined/hipper than what is represented here, but that’s not necessarily true!
Age 5– Country Crooner
Oak Ridge Boys, Greatest Hits #2
Road trips. Grey conversion van. Singing “Bobbie Sue” and “American Made” for hours on end with my family. My dad taking the low parts and the rest of us attempting to harmonize.
The Oak Ridge Boys will forever be solidified in my musical history as the first concert I ever attended. Even now, I can’t help but sing along to the baseline in “Elvira” (a-boom-bop-a-boom-bop-a-bow-wow) and “Thank God for Children” tugs at my heartstrings every time.
C’mon– I was five!!
Age 10– Pop Princess
Paula Abdul, Forever Your Girl
Forever Your Girl is the first CD I ever bought (along with Whitney Houston’s self-titled debut–the one with “Greatest Love of All” on it). I saved up all of my Christmas and birthday money, went to Good Vibes and for about $200 bought a state-of-the-art Sony CD player (sans remote) and two CDs. I thought I was soooo cool!
I would hang out in my “music room” (actually a converted walk-in closet that was once connected to my brother’s room) and listen to this CD over and over and over. I liked to rap along with MC Skat Cat on “Opposites Attract” and my friends and I choreographed our own dance routines to “Straight Up” and “Cold Hearted Snake.” Little did we know that years later, Ms. Abdul would become famous as the “nice but loopy” judge on American Idol.
Honorable mentions: Madonna Like a Prayer, Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814
Age 15– “Alternative” Angst
Nirvana, Unplugged in New York
By 1994, I was completely enmeshed in “alternative” (i.e. mainstream) rock. Kurt Cobain was my John Lennon and his suicide had a profound impact on my teenage disposition (and wardrobe). Even though the validity of its “unplugged” moniker is debatable, there’s something completely mesmerizing about the stripped-down music, the haunting melodies, and the raspy pained vocals of Senor Cobain. From the opening chords of “About a Girl” to the banter in between songs (“Am I gonna do this one… by myself?”) I can still recite every sound on this album and it will always have a place on my list of all-time favorites.
Honorable mentions: Tom Petty, Wildflowers;Weezer, Blue Album; Hole, Live Through This
Age 20– Rock/Rap Rebellion
Eminem, The Slim Shady LP
What’s more annoying than the rock/rap “craze” of the late 90s/early 2000’s?… The fact that I got sucked into it!
I’ll even admit to seeing Eminem and Limp Bizkit in concert together this year. I also saw Kid Rock/Metallica/Korn in STL, but I’m a little fuzzy on the dates.
I was in college when The Slim Shady LPcame out and my friend (and now sister-in-law) Jo and I would listen to this album nonstop. It’s definitely not my favorite Eminem album, but it introduced me to his unique blend of emotional poignancy, celebrity trash-talk and stupid-boy humor. It’s decidedly non-feminist, but that didn’t bother me back then… it was a rap album I could sing along too!
I make no excuses for liking Limp Bizkit, though. Fred Durst made the red hat a douchebag fashion symbol before douchebag was even an insult.
Honorable Mentions: Kid Rock– Devil without a Cause, Limp Bizkit–Significant Other; Korn– Follow the Leader
Age 25– Single Schmingle
Outkast, “Hey Ya”
It’s probably more telling what isn’t listed here than what is. 25 was a pivotol year in my life. By this time, I’d been working at my job for 3 years and had decided to end a long-term relationship and move back in with my mom to save money. Many of my friends were getting married and some were having babies, yet I can’t think of any one album or artist that I was listening to at the time. I searched the Top Albums and Top Singles charts and nothing really struck me. Maybe I was downloading individual songs by then. Or maybe I was just blindly listening to the radio, who knows.
“Hey Ya” introduced “shake it like a Polaroid picture” into the lexicon and the video was vibrant and colorful, but to say it is in any way indicative of this time in my life would be false.
Let’s just say it’s a catchy tune and leave it at that, shall we??
What are your definitive songs/albums? I’m hoping some of my blogger friends will take the challenge and write about what they were listening to back in the day!