Sometimes music says it all.
The final of my favorite albums from my teen years is Weezer’s Blue Album. I remember seeing the video for “Undone – The Sweater Song” on 120 Minutes one night and instantly fell in love with Weezer. The next day I picked up the album and was a fan for life. Pinkerton is probably my favorite Weezer album, but I was 21 when it came out, so it didn’t qualify for this list. I’ve seen Weezer in concert more than any other band that isn’t Motion City Soundtrack. Weezer are definitely one of my top five favorite bands.
It’s been fun going back and listening to some of my favorite albums every week these posts.
Punk in Drublic was the first album that I learned about online. If I remember right, I learned about NOFX and a bunch of other punk bands reading music usenet newsgroups on AOL. Back in 1994 there were very few ISPs in our little town. AOL was about it, and they didn’t have the web yet. It was mostly just email, usenet, and AOL chat rooms. fun times.
I discovered so many bands on the usenet those days. I would make lists in hopes to find them at Best Buy. It was always a hit or miss if they had them or not. NOFX is by far my favorite from those days, and still love them to this day.
Pavement’s first album, Slanted and Enchanted, is often thought of as their best album. I love all of their albums, but Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain was the first I heard. It holds a special place in my heart. I remember seeing the “Cut Your Hair” video in college and instantly fell in love with Pavement. Their third album, Wowee Zowee is probably my favorite, but I was 20 when it was released so it’s disqualified from this list.
It was a toss-up for what Letters to Cleo album to put on this list. I love Aurora Gory Alice and Wholesale Meats and Fish pretty equally, but Aurora Gory Alice is the album that made Letters to Cleo a household name. Letters to Cleo are one of my all time favorites from the 90s. I’m bummed I’ve never had a chance to see them live. It’s great that the band is back together making music again, maybe someday I’ll get to see them.
Most people probably don’t know who Frente! is. They are an Australian band that have been together on and off since the early 90s. They basically only have two studio albums, and I really fell in love with Marvin the Album in college in 1993. I’m listening to it now for the first time in probably 15 years, and it’s still great. I wish I knew how to describe it better, but you know what, you have the internet. You can go listen yourself.
I was a little late at discovering the Pixies. I actually became of fan of Frank Black first, and then went back and listened to the Pixies. Teenager of the Year is the first Frank Black album I discovered. I just love this album. So many quirky, catchy songs. It’s probably one of the most underrated 90s albums.
I discovered the Smashing Pumpkins with the Gish sometime in high school after seeing the video for “Rhinoceros”. While I liked the album, I didn’t love it. Siamese Dream came out the summer after my senior year. From the beginning riff of “Cherub Rock”, I new the Smashing Pumpkins were going to be huge. I love the beginning lyrics of “Cherub Rock”, “Freak out,And give in, Doesn’t matter what you believe in, Stay cool, And be somebody’s fool this year”. The album only gets better from there. Billy Corgan driving around the ice cream truck in the “Today” video is one of the memories from my freshman years of college. “Disarm” got so much air play, I kind of got sick of it. This album probably makes it into my top 10 favorite albums of all time list.
I was a little young when Hüsker Dü was big, so I never really got into them. My introduction to the greatness that is Bob Mould was Sugar. I loved Suger so much. It’s a shame they didn’t get bigger than they did. Sugar basically only had two albums and both are great. If I was to pick one band to describe the early 90s sound, it would be Sugar. Bob Mould isn’t from Minneapolis, but he spent some time there. That was where Hüsker Dü and Sugar were formed. His star at First Ave is right below Prince’s. Bob Mould’s solo stuff probably isn’t as great as Sugar, but I still like it. He wrote a book a few years ago that I highly recommend to any Bob Mould fans.
I don’t remember when I first heard The Lemonheads. I just remember trying to fill my Columbia House order (remember them?), and saw the It’s A Shame About Ray album and thought I would give it a try because at least I’ve heard of The Lemonheads. I instantly fell in love with The Lemonheads. Juliana Hatfield played bass and backing vocals on It’s A Shame About Ray, and I fell in love with her too. I introduced my college roommate to The Lemonheads and he loved them too, along with Juliana Hatfield. I started getting into The Lemonheads back catalog, and really loved their old stuff too. They were more of a punk band in the late 80s and I loved it. Then in 1993 Come On Feel The Lemonheads came out and everybody knew who they were.
I remember watching Alternative Nation on MTV at my buddies house when the “Somebody to Shove” video came on. I instantly fell in love with Soul Asylum. It was crazy that they didn’t break out until their sixth album. Grave Dancers Union is a great album from start to finish, but “Runaway Train” got too overplayed. To this day, I alway skip that song when I listen to this album. “Black Gold” always reminds me of my senior year of high school. Soul Asylum is definitely my second favorite Minnesota band. Motion City Soundtrack being my favorite, obviously. Sorry to The Replacements and Hüsker Dü, and yeah Prince; not much of a fan.
Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend came out in 1991. I didn’t discover it until my college roommate introduced me to it in 1993. I don’t know if 1991 me would have liked Matthew Sweet, but 1993 me loved him. Girlfriend has always been a good road tripping album for me. To this day if I’m ever road tripping by myself I will crank this album up.
Towards the end of my senior year of high school I discovered Lookout! Records. I bought almost every album I could find off the label. I loved so many of the albums Lookout! was putting out those days. The albums weren’t all that well produced, the songs were just stupid simple punk rock songs, but damn were they good. Kerplunk! was probably my favorite off of Lookout!. I still listen to it a couple times a year. Green Day has come of long way and I have loved everything they have done. In fact I think their latest is one of their best. But sometimes I just love the rougher, simpler, older Green Day songs. Plus I have so many memories attached to these songs. From “Christie Road”, “80”, “Android”, all such good songs. Then there was “Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?”. I had to look up who Holden Caulfield was and ended up reading The Catcher in the Rye. That was the beginning of reading for leisure for me.
This weeks revisit of albums from my teens is Blood Sugar Sex Magik from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Shortly after discovering Nirvana’s Nevermind I discovered this album. It was actually released the same day as Nevermind. I loved it because many of the songs were almost rap songs, and at the time I was still a fan of some rap music. One of my biggest memories from this album is listening to “Under The Bridge” on a band trip to Chicago. It’s weird how this is one of my few memories from that trip to Chicago. Hearing the album now for the first time in at least 15 years really brings back the memories.