10 Albums From My Youth

Recently, a friend of mine participated in one of those Ten Albums for Ten Days things on social media. You probably saw stuff like that (it was all the craze at the height of corona). It's where, over the course of 10 days, they list 10 of the albums that they grew up with. As per usual, they tagged the next person to participate in this "challenge". As it happens, in this instance, that person was me. Now, normally, I don't get involved in stuff like that. I'm not above it or anything. I just, I don't know... it just feels so pointless, I guess. However, for whatever reason, I nevertheless did contribute this time around. Not in the way I was supposed to, I guess, but I got to thinking about music and my youth and below is what poured out of me. 👇
Truth is, I really didn't grow up with albums so much. Mostly because we couldn't afford them but, also, because I was a Napster kid. I suppose, because of this, I missed out on a lot of those "album experiences" everyone talks about (anytime someone brings up their favorite color Weezer CD, I just sit dumbfounded and stupidly mutter something about the one with the sweater). 

I was mostly brought up on individual songs (typically ones I'd heard from movies and TV). And from those songs, I was introduced to other individual songs by the same bands that I'd pirate at random (usually with no clue of what album each song originated from, I'd just grab what looked popular). And if I was interested enough, I'd read about the artists, watch documentaries on them, and get introduced to their influences. And then perhaps download some random music of theirs, as well.

That being said, here's a longwinded list of the few actual CD's that I CAN remember, which I feel like may have been impactful in some way:

1. Pure Funk 
Pure Funk / Various
This was a collection of funk songs from the 1970s. The commercial always had a guy with a big afro dancing and all these cool songs like Brick House, Car Wash, Super Freak, Shaft, Kung Fu Fighting, Mr. Big Stuff, Word Up, etc., that I'd heard in the background of movies over the years. I was really excited about this when I was little and it was probably the primary reason I asked for a CD player on my birthday. I'd never had one before, and this CD, a Coolio CD, and Will Smith's Big Willie Style were the first albums I received. Out of all those, though, Pure Funk was the one I listened to the most and cherish the dearest. In fact, I still have home videos around of me singing along with some of the songs from it. Maybe I'll upload those at some point. 🤔

2. Now That's What I Call Music! 
Now That's What I Call Music! Vol. 1
Yeah. That's right. A NOW CD. This (along with the aforementioned Pure Funk) pretty much sums up my music tastes: Singles, hits, and one hit wonders. A nice, depthless, catchy tune is what I enjoy (eat me). 

This album had songs on it like Karma Police, Barbie Girl, I Will Buy You a New Life, Sex and Candy, and Flagpole Sitta. It was good stuff. I remember buying the next volume in the NOW series, though, and disliking it immensely. Still, however, I listened to this first one quite a bit (and I still listen to most of those songs today).

3. Significant Other by Limp Bizkit 
Significant Other [Explicit]
I feel like I should be more embarrassed by this than I am. We're obligated to hate anything Fred Durst related now, right? I forget the rules. Ah, well. I loved this CD when I was a kid. And, honestly, I still love it today. Remember Break Stuff? I'm robotically passive and that song still manages to amp me up.

4. Dookie by Green Day 
Dookie [Explicit]
This came out years before I was really interested in music, but once I had a copy I listened to it constantly (it's insane, by the way, that this band still comes out with big songs that young people enjoy).

5. The Slim Shady LP / The Marshall Mathers LP by Eminem 

I'll go ahead and lump these into one, as I listened to both all the time. I lost interest in Eminem by the time the next album came out, however.

6. The Doors by The Doors
The Doors (180 Gram Vinyl)
This actually was a full album -- by one band -- that I listened to a lot. In fact, I was this way with all The Doors albums. I'm not sure how I became so interested in the band (or, to be more precise, interested in Jim Morrison), because I don't recall any friends or family members ever mentioning them to me. It's likely due to that Oliver Stone movie about The Doors. Even back then, when I saw a movie based on a true story, I had a habit of researching the actual people afterward. I spent a lot of time online looking up information on Jim Morrison, I read his biography, and, I dunno, he just seemed really fascinating to my little, budding pretentious brain. He was one of the first "cool" people I recall thinking was simultaneously really intelligent (this later followed up by the obligatory teen-obsession with Hunter S. Thompson). I had Morrison placed securely on an irrationally high pedestal and it made all of his songs feel like they meant more than they probably did. But they meant something to me, at the time, at least.

7. The Velvet Underground and Nico (The Banana Album) 
The Velvet Underground & Nico 50th Anniversary [LP]
This was a direct offshoot from my interest in The Doors. And the bizarre, often-gloomy, extremely unusual atmosphere of this CD (and the history of The Velvet Underground, Lou Reed, Nico, and Andy Warhol, in general) really fit in perfectly with my early molding into a self-absorbed, striving-to-be-deep-intellectual-and-debaucherous hipster.

8. Elephant / White Blood Cells by The White Stripes 

Another two that I'm lumping into one, because I acquired both at around the same time. These were probably the last full albums that I really became absorbed in. I remember I had seen that Seven Nation Army video on TV a lot and I'd enjoyed it, but it wasn't until someone at school let me borrow these two CDs that I really started obsessing over The White Stripes. Especially after hearing The Union Forever and realizing it was referencing Citizen Kane. I was already really into movies at that point (and thinking cringe-inducingly high of myself for it) and that pretty much sealed the deal on my respect for the band.

Anything else, really, is just movie soundtracks. Since I only have 8 albums listed above (discounting the two-in-ones, which actually probably would have brought me to 10, now that I'm thinking about it), I'll go ahead and list two of those soundtracks that I think particularly affected me:

9. Almost Famous (Various) 
Almost Famous
It was a movie about music, written and directed by someone who worked for Rolling Stone Magazine in the 1970s (the movie was semi-autobiographical). It included a ton of great 60's and 70's bands, including Simon and Garfunkel, The Beach Boys, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, and Dr. Hook. Some of which, I was exposed to for the first time, and the movie included a lot of less well-known songs that I (being such a single-lover) probably still wouldn't have heard. All that being said, I didn't ACTUALLY own the album. And I didn't want to, either, as it didn't contain all the songs featured in the film. Instead, I burnt my own little more-complete version of it (I printed off a little cover for it and everything).

10. The Royal Tenenbaums (Various) 
The Royal Tenenbaums
To this day, I still keep a Royal Tenenbaum's playlist read-for-launch. Incidentally, this is where I was first introduced to Elliot Smith. Well, technically, Good Will Hunting was. But this is where I first began to appreciate him.

Anyway, I wasn't about to do this on a day-by-day basis (I don't even get on Facebook enough for that haha) and I would have felt weird just sending a series of album covers. So, yeah. I decided to bombard you with an avalanche of overly-elaborated verbosity instead. You're welcome?