I don’t remember much about elementary school thanks to a bad concussion. I know my music tastes then, one health like most kids, visit this revolved around what was on the radio and I was really REALLY into Madonna but even that didn’t last for long (the last album of hers I owned was True Blue). My Junior High years were filled with tapes taken from my older brother who finally thought I was interesting enough to be deemed worthy of some of his time – probably due to the fact that I liked his music. The first four albums were his but I listened to them so much I started wearing out the tapes. The last album was one I asked for at Christmas one year much to my family’s shock and resulted in much teasing.
Hours were spent listening to these albums on my giant blue Sony Sports walkman (I’m still the only person I know to this day who had a blue one – those things were awesome and indestructible given the teenage girls penchant to obsessively rewind a tape to listen to the same song over and over again) either laying in bed at night, see on the bus for my ridiculously long commute to school (a bus, then the train, then another bus) or while walking Belle, our Dalmatian in the field near our house. That Dalmatian got walked A LOT – when the weather was nice and one of us kids needed to get away. Otherwise she got ignored and pooped in the basement.
Oh REM, how I still love you so. I recently bought this one on CD after years of pining away for it. I remember listening to these songs over and over again: Radio Free Europe, Driver 8 and The One I Love during angsty days walking back and forth in the field by our house.
I think for a time 54-40 were like Canada’s REM except you have probably never heard of them – which is very typical for even our biggest bands. I remember having a 54-40 shirt and wearing it to the Hard Rock Cafe in San Francisco when I was there on a choir tour in Grade 9 and being impressed that the waitress had heard of them (that memory JUST came to me too, I totally forgot about that t-shirt. There is a good chance it belonged to my brother). I picked this album because I remember the cover but I think I was listening to a couple of their albums at once since Baby Ran and One Gun feature prominently in my memory. For the record, Hootie and the Blowfish DID NOT write I Go Blind. I did find this interesting tidbit of info out from Wikipedia though: “Royalties from the Hootie and the Blowfish cover enabled the band to build their own recording studio in Vancouver.” Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be a Canadian musician unless someone else is singing your songs.
My one claim to being somewhat cool in junior high was that I had a photo of Robert Smith in my locker instead of anyone from New Kids on the Block like most of the other girls. Of course, much like not watching TV these days, that just meant one more thing I couldn’t talk to people about. How crazy is Killing An Arab (the title used to scare me)? And how freaking sexy were Lovecats or Close to Me when all you wanted as a teenage girl was for someone to love you so much it would make them sick.
This was the first CD I ever purchased and I bought it after I had worn out my brother’s tapes. I think I went for almost a year where I listened to nothing but New Order. Some of my friends were listening to Depeche Mode at the time but I had no time for any one else. Temptation, Everything’s Gone Green, Blue Monday, Ceremony – those songs still mean so much to me. I still have the CDs I bought in Junior High too – it is scratched to hell from over play. I went through a period where I just couldn’t listen to them anymore because I overdosed on them but that has since past and they are currently on heavy rotation on my iPod (although with a new found love of Joy Division).
The funny thing about this album was that I don’t even remember it that well but I know I listened to it a lot – it was huge after all. Also, it was one of the first albums I wanted that had nothing to do with my older brother (who, incidentally, bought it for me for Christmas while we were out shopping while teasing me mercilessly about it and then tried to get me to wrap it when we got home. Jerk.) Grade 7 dances were all about the Def Leppard, Poison and Guns & Roses (and if you were me, hanging out in the hallway avoiding the dance because the Grade 9 boy I liked wasn’t going to show up anyway). Love Bites anyone? To this day I’m still not a Def Leppard fan, I don’t own this album nor do I want it. However, I suspect Hysteria, along with my best friend Lori who was a total Banger, probably ingrained in me a love of rock music that makes my current friends laugh. After all, I count Nazareth and Alice Cooper among some of my favourite CDs and will argue that Thin Lizzy’s Jailbreak is better than AC/DC’s Jailbreak – although I enjoy them both immensely.
What are your top 5 albums from your early teens?