Let’s just get right into it, the ten albums that defined my teen years in no particular order.
This album! I was obsessed, so obsessed. Literally none of my friends could understand why I loved it so much, but let me just say that I’ve own three copies of it in my lifetime because I kept playing it out so hard. “Can’t Get Enough” and “I’ll Be There” were my favorite jams on it. If I hear either of them right now, I’ll start to cry. I know — there’s a thing that rarely happens!
(Really fun side note for no one but me, Bigbang’s “Café” reminds me SO MUCH of El DeBarge that I started feeling like I was legit 15 again the other day when listening to it and Henry was like “Well you act 15 so you might as feel 15 too.” He didn’t say that, really. But HE WAS PROBABLY THINKING IT. Anyway, El DeBarge has been on my mind this week so that’s why I decided to do this dumb list thing that everyone else was doing.)
Like…le duh. Creepin’ on ah Come-Up was also my jam, but this album start to finish was something that I really connected with. Which is weird I guess, because I was a suburban white girl, but you have no idea how much soul I had back then, you guys. When my friend Christy got her drivers license, I begged her to drive me to Cleveland so I could try to see them; she refused, but SPOILER ALERT: I got Henry to take me in 2003 and it’s surprising we’re still together after that fuckarow. I did get to see them in concert in 1995 though, at the Palace in Monroeville with my then-boyfriend Russ who embarrassed me by wearing a NIN shirt. Also, there was a shooting in the parking lot afterward. Also, my aunt Sharon drove us (and also my friends Erika and Jameelah). So fucking cool, yo, rolling up in your middle-aged aunt’s car. But yeah, Bone was a huge chunk of my teenage years, for sure.
This came out during the tail-end of my teen years, but it sent me down a path of alt-obsession. I had it so bad for OLP for years and years, until Mike left the band and then they shifted from being that weird, quirky alternative band to safe, radio-friendly generic band. But holy shit, the amount of times I scream-sang along to “Superman’s Dead” in my 1995 Eagle Talon, you guys. Those were the motherfucking days.
Probably not a surprise to anyone who knows me, because I have never one to hide my affinity for soft rock. Phil Collins not only was a huge part of my teen years, but also my early childhood…and present. Hearing any of his music from the 80s conjures up the happiest memories of my Pappap. I finally got to see him live when I was in high school, at the old Civic Arena, and it was mind-blowing.
Even though my relationship with Psycho Mike was tumultuous at best (did the “Psycho” in his name ruin that surprise?), he definitely broadened my musical horizons. When we first started dating junior year, I primarily listened to rap (gangsta) and r&b. He had me listening to Neutral Milk Hotel, Radiohead, and Hayden in no time. But the one that really affected me was Billy Bragg. I will always owe Mike that much.
(I also listened to a shit of soft rock then too, and he was the first person my age I ever met who would actually sing those songs along with me. We loved us some soft rock. Whaddup, England Dan & John Ford Coley?)
I “bought” this through Columbia House or BMG without knocking much about her, other than I had 12 free CDs to choose and needed one more. THIS ALBUM IS EVERYTHING. I had all this insane mood lighting in my childhood bedroom (obviously where my love of lights and marquees come from) and I would throw this CD on my 6-disc changer and just cry and cry.
MY LIFE IS SO DIFFERENT NOW. I just use Spotify or an actual record player.
Or YouTube. Whatever gets ‘er done.
“Come Undone.” That fucking song. I remember it so vividly because my bed placement. It was against a different wall when this album came out, and so anytime I hear any song from it, I’m looking at my old childhood bedroom from that specific perspective of sitting on my bed, and it’s so weird because my bed wasn’t against that wall for very long.