There's a meme going around on where people list the ten most influential albums of their teenage years. What are the odds of my being able to resist that? I am going to try to resist the temptation to make myself look cooler than I was. And I'm going to try to link to a track from each album on Youtube.
1. First and Last and Always
by The Sisters of Mercy.
If you were my friend when I was between 14 and 18, I undoubtedly forced you to listen to this album. If you're my friend now, the only reason I haven't forced you to listen to this album is because I'm somewhat more socially ept about that sort of thing. (Somewhat.)
I'm linking the track, "Nine While Nine", which is one of my favorites on the album not just for musical reasons, but because the title is a rather lovely Northern English expression for "from nine in the morning until nine in the evening" and my fondness for unusual idioms goes back at least as far as my affection for gothic rock: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qejxkXuURuk
by The Mission U.K.
Maybe this one ought to be at number one, because this was the album through which I discovered the entire genre of gothic rock. I bought this album on the strength of a single paragraph review in Rolling Stone
or maybe Spin
, which compared one of the tracks to something by Led Zeppelin.
This track, "Beyond the Pale", is the first thing I heard when I popped that brand-new cassette into my Walkman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lwf7DmM2TGM
3. Led Zeppelin IV
by Led Zeppelin.
I arguably ought to include the entire Led Zeppelin discography, because I was saturated in it through my teenage years. My local rock radio stations (in both Orlando and San Diego), regularly did a "get the Led out" feature at 9pm where they played 3 Zeppelin songs, and I regularly tuned in. But I don't think I actually owned every single Led Zeppelin album, and Led Zeppelin IV
was almost certainly the first one I purchased. And when I moved to California at age 16, Led Zeppelin IV
was the album I chose to listen to on the plane flight, largely for the song "Going to California." (I can be horribly literal in soundtracking my life, sometimes.)
I'll link to "Going to California," because you've probably all heard, "Black Dog," "Battle of Evermore," or "Stairway to Heaven" waaaay too many times: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IZ-jATBq9A
4. Zenyatta Mondatta
by The Police.
I could probably also include The Police's Synchronicity
or Sting's The Dream of the Blue Turtles
, but I remember a period of time where I listened to Zenyatta Mondatta
Linking to "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da": https://youtu.be/8qtJ9ZnDlpM
5. ...And Justice for All
The first heavy metal show I went to was Metallica touring for ...And Justice for All
. I purchased my first band t-shirt at that show. And I learned to never, ever go see a metal band without ear plugs. Metallica was probably the band that changed me from "a person who liked some heavy metal" to a metalhead
. For many years, I firmly believed that ...And Justice for All
was the last good album Metallica made. I've since come around to the opinion that The Black Album
is pretty solid, but it took me 24 years, because The Black Album
is not ...And Justice for All
I'm linking to "One." I remember tuning into MTV to catch the world premiere of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM8bTdBs-cw
6. The Best of New Order
by New Order.
One summer all the boys I had a crush on were into New Order, so I got a The Best of New Order
CD. I never got anywhere with any of the boys, but New Order went everywhere with me after that. I remember going on a road trip to visit East Coast colleges with a bunch of other teenage girls. We listened to a lot of New Order because it was the only musical artist we all liked. They made me sit through a lot of Andrew Lloyd Weber. I am now amazed that they all sat through an entire play through of Kings X's Gretchen Goes to Nebraska
, but at the time I was put out that rather than being won over by its musical genius, they just decided I was a weirdo.
Linking to "Blue Monday-88": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GMjH1nR0ds
When grunge got big, I listened to Nirvana and Pearl Jam along with everyone else, but the Seattle band that I really fell in love with was Soundgarden. That's not surprising - Soundgarden were always much more upfront about their heavy metal influences than anyone else in that scene. They were just unapologetically loud, sweaty, and heavy and I love them for it. Daniel got me tickets to see them live for my 18th birthday. I had already decided he was a keeper long before then, but if there'd been any doubt...
Linking to "Outshined". This song (with several others by Soundgarden) is on my gym workout playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4hm52SP-ls
by The Who.
When CDs were first a thing, and they were hugely expensive compared to cassette tapes, one of the first CDs I got was Tommy
by The Who. I actually can't quite remember if I bought it or my dad did. I remember that I got my dad into Tommy
, but I can't remember if I that happened when I owned it on tape or only after I got the CD. For a brief period when CDs were new, my dad and I pretty much shared our tiny collection. He got me into Janis Joplin and I got him into The Who.
Linking "Pinball Wizard": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pH_T72LgZTo
9. The Joshua Tree
U2 have just announced a tour in honor of the 30th anniversary of this album. Wow. When this album was released, my local rock radio station decided to play the track, "Bullet the Blue Sky" in heavy rotation even though it wasn't one of the album's official singles. The first time I heard it, it made my hair stand on end. It's not very representative of the sound of the rest of the album, but I loved the rest of the album as well. And I loved all of U2's previous albums, which I quickly bought. I utterly bounced off their followup album Achtung Baby
, and while I have respect for some of the music they've produced since, I can't really call myself a fan anymore. But I might just see if I can get a ticket to see them play The Joshua Tree
Linking to "Bullet the Blue Sky": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdmNC8ylrXI
10. Appetite for Destruction
Before the original line-up fell apart, before all curbs on Axl Rose's ego evaporated, before the band took a decade to record an album that nobody gave a damn about by the time it was released, there was a magical summer spent glued to MTV wondering how Axl's hips did that
. And like every other guitarist on the planet, I learned the opening riff from "Sweet Child O'Mine".
Linking to "Sweet Child O'Mine": https://youtu.be/1w7OgIMMRc4