Mar. 6th, 2011

janradder: (watt)
List your top ten albums from September of your freshman year to June of your senior year.

RULE: Only list albums you were aware of during your high school career. Example: I like Earth's first record, but I didn't know who they were in 1990. Therefore, not permitted.

Purple Rain, Prince
This was the beginning of my obsession with Minneapolis. I think I might have listened to this record every single day I came home from school for a long part of my freshman year. I always thought the title track was kind of boring but man, the rest of the album, especially "I Would Die 4 U," was amazing.

This Is What You Want… This Is What You Get, Public Image, Ltd.
I still remember the very first time I heard this record sitting on the floor of my friend's bedroom. It was the first time I'd really heard punk. That music could sound as different as I felt was a true revelation. And yeah, John Lydon/Rotten is an asshole, but he still helped save my life.

Plastic Surgery Disasters, Dead Kennedys
This was maybe the second punk record I ever bought and it quickly took the place of Purple Rain as the album I listened to every day after school. The music was fast and angry, but between the black political humor of the lyrics and the snide obnoxiousness of Jello Biafra's voice it was funny too.

My War, Black Flag
I absolutely hated this record when I first heard it. Yeah, the first side was sort of okay, but what the fuck was going on with the second side's slow, sludgy metallic mess? I still remember my friend Matt playing this to me over the phone after he bought it and both of us listening in disbelief. What had happened to our beloved Black Flag? And then it clicked, and totally got it. This album was the soundtrack for my high school years -- dark, depressed, suicidal, homicidal, angry, alienated, pissed-off-at-the-world, ready-to-kick-ass or ready-to-run-away-from-it-all. No record better described how I felt as a weird, lonely teenager or made me feel less alone than this one.

New Day Rising, Hüsker Dü
"You got your hardcore in my 60's pop." "You got your 60's pop on my hardcore." Listening to this record opened my ears to a whole new sonic landscape where noise and ugliness could become a thing of glory and intense beauty. I used to run my stereo through my bass amp when I played this and turn it up as loud as it would go, feeling the music wrap around me tight, like a blanket of sound.

Murmur, R.E.M.
When I turned sixteen, my mom bought me an old 1978 Chevette for fifty bucks. It had no stereo in it so I used to drive around town wearing headphones and listening to my Walkman, and more often than not, in the fall of 1986 it was this album I listened to. It didn't matter that I could barely understand a word Michael Stipe mumbled, it was the sound of the music, and the impressions I got from the little I did understand. I used to listen to it and drive around town imagining I had the courage to ask a girl out. And listening to this record made me almost believe that was true.

Master Of Puppets, Metallica
I'd been a huge metal fan in sixth, seventh and eighth grades. I loved Ozzy and Black Sabbath. I loved Judas Priest and AC/DC. But when bands like Ratt and Mötley Crüe came around I gave up on metal. I couldn't stand the looks of LA glam-metal, and I didn't really like the sound either. Metallica brought me back. This record took everything that was great about heavy metal and mixed it with the intensity and speed of hardcore punk. It's too bad Cliff Burton died when he did, because I think he was a large part of why this album is so great. Metallica has never approached the greatness of Master of Puppets since.

Get Happy!!, Elvis Costello
Truly, I can't think of a happier record that I listened to in high school. It's bouncy, it’s peppy, it’s full of life and energy. Anytime I was in a bad mood or feeling depressed, this album almost never failed to cheer me up. I still put it on to this day and can't help but smile.

Double Nickels on the Dime, Minutemen
The guitar had no distortion but was as kick-ass as any guitar I'd heard, serving as a high, trebly counterpoint to Mike Watt's fat bass. While d. boon attacked, prodded and cajoled with his six-string, Mike bounded, bopped, popped, and leaped with his bass, laying a foundation while at the same time telling his own distinct story. Beneath it, George Hurley's drums tripped out rhythms more akin to funk or jazz than punk rock -- snapping, rolling, and pounding each point home. The songs they told were short and angular yet fluid with an intensity that matched any hardcore band. There was nothing I'd heard in punk that came close to sounding like the Minutemen. Hell, there was nothing I'd heard in any music that sounded like them.

Ragin', Full On, fIREHOSE
When I first started playing bass I only did it because we couldn't find a bass player for our band. To me, the bass was boring and plodding. It was a necessity that anchored the sound and nothing more. The real flash and fire came from the guitar or the singer. Then I heard Mike Watt and what he could do with just four fat strings. From the moment I heard this and the Minutemen's Double Nickels I never looked at or listened to or played another bass the same way again. The possibilities of what that seemingly simple instrument could do were endless.


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