Music was a huge part of my upbringing—we are a music kind of family. My first cassette tape that I bought myself was Jewel’s Pieces of Me and my first CD was No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom. Most parents either listened to a lot of oldies or the local pop and Top 40 station on the radio. My parents weren’t going to sacrifice their ears to Britney Spears and N’SYNC, so we had to listen to what they wanted to hear—current alternative rock as well as classic rock. Boy bands and pop stars just weren’t a part of my life, except for the greats like Spice Girls and Destiny’s Child.
Other kids thought I was weird. In elementary school, kids called me goth because all I wore were band shirts and studded wrist bands. Blink -182 was my favorite band by age six or seven. I had a poster up of one of the lead singers, Mark Hoppus, up on the ceiling over my bed. From the years 2001-2004, I carried around a double CD wallet that had a capacity of about 50 disks and my portable CD player with me everywhere—every day to school, long car rides, the dance studio. I was in that early teen angst mood and it translated through my music taste. My sister was pretty much the same, but she did like more of the whinier bands like Dashboard Confessional and My Chemical Romance more. None of my close friends were into to this kind of music, so it was a way for my sister and I to bond.
I was driving in my mom’s new Mini Cooper Countryman the other day, taking advantage of her nice and comfy car. Much to her chagrin, I borrow it a few times a week. It’s much nicer than my 2007 old man gold Camry, but most importantly, it’s so I can listen to her Sirius XM satellite radio. My favorite stations are Pop2K and PopRocks, two stations dedicated to giving me all the nostalgia feels I needed. As I was driving, an old My Chemical Romance song popped up on Pop2K and I was instantly transformed back to middle school. The days of emo, pop-punk music and endless trips to Hot Topic.
The past few weeks, I’ve been feeling very nostalgic. I’ve been going back and listening to some of these bands, wishing I could go back to simpler times where the biggest tragedy is that my Good Charlotte CD won’t stop skipping during my favorite song. So let me take you on a trip down memory lane as I list my favorite albums from this important and emotional time of my life.
Rock Steady – No Doubt (01)
In no way my favorite No Doubt album, but still had some great songs.
Fave Tracks: “Hella Good”, “Running”
Take Off Your Pants and Jacket – Blink-182 (01)
I didn’t get the title pun until many, many years later. This is one of my favorite albums of all time. I think every single song is a knock-out. This is when they started getting more serious in their songwriting, but still having fun and staying true silly selves.
Fave Tracks: “Anthem, Part 2”, “Stay Together for the Kids”, “Reckless Abandon”, “Please Take Me Home”
The Young and the Hopeless – Good Charlotte (02)
Good Charlotte were my boys back in the day! I was a major fan during this album. They toured with New Found Glory and I got to go with my two guy friends at the time plus my sister and her two friends. The poor mother that had to deal with us…
Fave Tracks: “The Anthem”, “Wondering”, “The Young and the Hopeless”
Sticks and Stones – New Found Glory (02)
NFG was a lot like Good Charlotte. If you had to ask me back then what my favorite bands were, it would be a three-way tie with Blink, GC, and NFG.
Fave Tracks: “Understatement”, “Something I Call Personality”
Drunk Enough to Dance – Bowling for Soup (02)
What a fun band! My sister introduced them to me when this album came out. They are kind of a precursor to Fountains of Wayne’s “Stacey’s Mom”. They are super silly and catchy.
Fave Tracks: “I Don’t Wanna Rock”, “Emily”, “Running From Your Dad”
Drunken Lullabies – Flogging Molly
Irish punk! Best played very, very loud. I got to see them live in a small club in Oregon and it was such a blast.
Fave Tracks: “Drunken Lullabies”, “What’s Left of the Flag”, “Rebels of the Scared Heart”
Box Car Racer – Box Car Racer (02)
A lot of people have never even heard of Box Car Racer, especially because they were only around for a few years. Their only album (*tear*) was comprised of Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker of Blink-182 and David Kennedy of Hazen Street. Tom created this side project when Blink-182’s tour dates were postponed due to 9/11. There is definitely a different sound compared to Blink and it also displayed much darker lyrics that helped to inform Blink’s next album. Every single song is incredible. I’m still bitter that I didn’t get to go to their concert with my sister.
Fave Tracks: “I Feel So”, “Watch the World”, “There Is”
Blink-182 – Blink-182 (03)
I feel like this was Blink at their peak. They were no longer the goofy boys running naked down the street. People started to take them really serious as a band. A few years ago, they did a few shows in LA for the 10 year anniversary of this album and they played it in it’s entirety. Even though we were in the literal last row, my sister and I had a blast.
Fave Tracks: “I Miss You”, “Violence”, “Always”
Deja Entendu – Brand New (03)
This is probably the farthest I go in the Emo music genre. The songs are a little whiney/screamy but in a way that rips your heart out. I always put on this album when I need to drown out the rest of the world.
Fave Tracks: “Sic Transit Glory…Glory Fades”, “The Quiet Things That Know One Ever Knows”, “Jaws Theme Swimming”
American Idiot – Green Day (04)
The album that seriously brought punk rock to the forefront during the 00’s. They went super hard with their politics and weren’t afraid to share their opinions. I had been listening to Green Day for most of my life—I don’t remember a time when they weren’t being played on the radio or in the house. I have to admit, I was one of those people who got mad when this album blew up and brought in crazy super fans that had never even heard of the bands earlier stuff. I was a music snob.
Fave Tracks: “Jesus of Suburbia”, “St. Jimmy”, “Give Me Novacaine”
Survivor – Destiny’s Child (01)
The best album Destiny’s Child ever released. Hands down.
Fave Tracks: “Survivor”, “Nasty Girl”, “Emotion”
Dangerously in Love – Beyonce (03)
MY GIRL! I’ve been in love of Destiny’s Child from the beginning and when Beyonce stepped out on her own, I knew it would be big. I mean, I didn’t realize then that she would become basically royalty, but Queen Bey forever. I still lose my mind when “Crazy in Love” comes on the radio.
Fave Tracks: “Crazy in Love”, “Naughty Girl”, “Baby Boy”
Confessions – Usher (04)
I don’t know why I loved this album so much. It was a huge leap from the rest of the music I was listening to at this time, but I would jam out to this album in the backseat of my parents’ car. This was also peak bar/bat mitzvah season, dancing on the dance floor to “Yeah!”
Fave Tracks: “Confessions, Part II”, “Burn”, “Caught Up”
I hope you enjoyed my little trip down memory lane. Next week, I’m going to post my favorite songs from my middle school years. This was so fun!