Then: Here it is: The very first CD i owned! I was in love with their music, I was in love with the sexy, Scottish banshee of a front-woman, Shirley Manson, and I may have even heard or knew something about that Butch Vig fella at the time. "Vow" was the first single picked up by my then local, Modern Rock radio station. It lasted about a week before "Queer" came along, and then the massively popular "Only Happy When it Rains" and "Stupid Girl" completely erased it from rotation. "Vow" was my first love, and I needed it back! Hence, first CD I bought.
Now: I lent this one out to my little sister some 5 years later and haven't properly listened to it since. I did, however go on to buy the next three studio releases.
Then: Growing up I never had cable television. MTV was just something I caught here and there at a friends house. So when it came to music videos I mostly relied on a one-hour long, weekly show that came on late Saturday nights on a local broadcast channel. "Modern Rock Live" it was called, and was produced by my local radio station, 93.7 The Edge. I looked forward to this show with great excitement every week, and saw the below video for the first time on this program. It was the video as much as the song that was responsible for me selecting Alice in Chains' self-titled album as my second, very own CD.
Now: Still love Alice in Chains, but I'm pretty sure this was one of the many CD's that I sold to a used record shop in 1997 so that I could buy a new BMX bike. Do I miss it? Yeah, sometimes.
Then: I was 12 years old when the hit single "Closer" ruled the airwaves. Honestly, the song kind of annoyed me upon first hearing it and I didn't think much of it. But when "Head Like a Hole" and "Sin" (from NIN's debut album Pretty Hate Machine resurfaced on the radio, along with the emergence of the single "March of the Pigs" I began to gain more and more interest. My love for Nine Inch Nails took full swing when my local radio station featured them on their weekly segment, "A-Z Uncensored". At 13 years old I diligently recorded their entire library off the radio and have been a huge fan ever since.
Now:The Downward Spiral remains one of my favorite albums of all time and is listened to regularly, especially if I'm in a dark and introspective mood.
Then: Before "Plush" became a karaoke staple around the country the harder-edged singles "Sex Type Thing" and "Wicked Garden" emerged from the San Diego rocker's debut album, Core. When "Wicked Garden" all but vanished from radio rotation I decided I needed to buy the album and see what else it had in store.
Now: Clearly STP was not the Nirvana-ripoff passing fad some expected; Some 40 million records sold world-wide total can attest to that. But my copy of their debut was sadly sold to fund BMX parts. On the bright side, Scott Weiland is somehow still alive.
Then: Speaking of Nirvana-coattail riders, anyone alive during the mid nineties knew of this one-band Brit-invasion known as Bush, and most people had a pretty strong opinion about them one way or the other. I dug "Everything Zen" and "Little Things" enough to want to make this CD mine.
Now; Not the CD purchase I'm most proud of on this list, but hey they rocked hard enough for a seventh grader, and let's be honest: Women wanted to be with Gavin Rossdale, and men (even young one's like myself at the time) wanted to be him. I eventually traded this CD along with something else to a friend so I could get #37 on this list in return.
Then: Before the Pulp Fiction and Natural Born Killers soundtracks came along, The Crow soundtrack was the one that every right-thinking teenage boy was required to own by law. So I complied. Of course, tracks by NIN, the Cure, Violent Femmes, and Stone Temple Pilots ensured an early purchase for this disc.
Now: Still own it, though it mostly collects dust. But this CD served as an original reference point for me for artists like The Jesus and Mary Chain, Helmet, and My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult.
Then: This was the first CD I ever purchased based solely on the strength of one song (which as it turns out falls under the weak side rather than the strong side if one had to divvy the songs up equally). I'd never heard of these guys before the below single came out, and frankly never heard much about them since. Except of course during the countless times I played this album over and over again in my bedroom!
Now: Not only do I still own this CD, but it remains among my favorite discs from the era. I really ought to track down their other stuff, huh giraffe?
Then: I'd of course knew Candlebox from their previous hits "Far Behind", "You", and "Cover Me". But the first time I heard "Best Friend" on the radio I knew I had to grab this album up.
Now: While my interest in this band faded fairly quickly (As it did for nearly the entire world) I could never bring myself to part ways with this CD, no matter what I might have desperately wanted/needed money for. So it still sits in my car, and now and then during extended drives I'll give it a listen. And I every time I think, "You know, this is actually a pretty good album."
Then: Possibly in an attempt to appear more well-rounded, or possibly in attempt to placate my conservative Christian parents by convincing them I don't just listen to "trash" (who knows what goes through the mind of a 13 year-old) I wound up buying this Tori Amos release pretty early on in my CD collecting days. If it was in fact the "appease the religious parents" motivation, then it's pretty ironic, considering the controversy that arose over the track below. Either way, I did give this more than a few listens, and was especially excited to discover that my hero Trent Reznor provides accompanying vocals on "Past the Mission".
Now: Well, I know I owned this CD long enough to impress a couple high school girlfriends that came along down the road. But I couldn't tell you where it is today. Probably sold it.
Then: By the time I was of CD purchasing age I'd grown pretty damn tired of the hit single "No Rain" from Blind Melon's debut. (Though I still totally dug "Tones of Home".) So when "Galaxie" showed up on the radio for what seemed like only a week about nine people went out and bought this CD. I was one of them. Soon later singer Shannon Hoon died of a drug overdose and I imagine the album's sales rose quickly for a bit afterward. Already owning the album I had little to do but begin to understand what all those kids a year or two older than me felt when Cobain passed.
Now: Still own this one, and will never let go of it, if only for the song "Mouth Full of Cavities" which I simply adore.
Then: At 13 I think it's safe to say that I was pretty oblivious to the numerous heroin references going on here. All I knew is that Alice in Chains was badass, that Layne Staley had one of the coolest, most ghoulish voices I'd ever heard, and that I personally felt it was cooler to be an AIC freak than a Nirvana, Pearl Jam or Soundgarden freak.
Now: *Sigh* I fucking sold it. And I'm not even sure why. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Then: Spacehog was a complete one-hit wonder as far as the radio was ever concerned. But I bought this CD based on the strength of that one song. I never fell in love with this CD and not long after exploring the rest of the tracks I pretty much forgot about it.
Now: Pretty sure this disc got used as a coaster for a beer at some point. Who knows what happened to it since. Fun fact: Once in 2002 or so I sang this song during karaoke night at my old favorite bar. To my surprise it went pretty well and most people had no trouble remembering this song.
Then: Within my circle of friends and classmates everyone eventually had to make a choice: Are you a Nirvana fan or a Pearl Jam fan? So this was me announcing my position.
Now: As my Bad Religion and Descendents record collection grew, my Seattle band collection dwindled. But really, I couldn't have held on to this one?? A few years ago I purchased Pearl Jam's double-disc greatest hits collection Rearview Mirror in a feeble attempt to make up for my previous sins.
Then: "Mint Car" was the only song on this CD that I remember ever getting any radio play. But of course with 15 years or so worth of output already behind them (some of which I was familiar with and just about all of which I loved) I figured this CD was as good a spot to start with the Cure as any. At the age of 14 certain people gave me hell for liking this band so much, but it never bothered me.
Now: Still have this one (along with a number of other Cure cd's purchased since) and still listen to it now and then in the car.
If I could've traded my old baseball card collection for that hair I'd have done it.
Then: By this time I was becoming a full-fledged STP fan. I loved Core and couldn't get enough of "Big Empty" from the Crow soundtrack. "Vaseline" and "Interstate Love" song were all over the radio, but I remember hearing "Unglued" once or twice and that's the song that truly made me excited to buy this album.
Now: For one reason or another I didn't sell this CD along with so many others. And I'd still have it today except that this one was stolen (along with 79 others) the first time my car was broken into and someone stole all my shit (a little more than 3 years ago).
Then: Not too many people knew or thought much of Poe, but I was hooked on this song so badly that by the time it faded from the radio all together ("Angry Johnny" continued to get some radio play) I had already purchased it. To my delight I found that Poe was not only extremely talented but also pretty easy on the eyes. Move over Shirley and Liz, you've got company!
Now: Possible that I sold this one, but I'd rather think that I didn't. In any case, I don't know where it is now.
Then: While I had recorded nearly every original studio track NIN had released off the radio during the A-Z uncensored show, I ran out of tape halfway through "That's What I Get". Holy shit was I excited when this CD arrived and I saw the track "Wish" listed. Holy shit was I even more thrilled by the time I finished listening to it!
Now: This one was stolen at the same time as my copy of STP's Purple, difference being that I replaced Broken immediately.
Then: I heard this song ONCE and once only on the radio. I remember thinking at first that it might be a new Elastica single or something, only to be informed at song's end by the DJ that it was from some band called Lush. I'd never heard of them before. Later that week I called up the radio station (for the first time in my life) and requested this song. I stayed up most of the night waiting, but they never played it. So I bought the CD.
Now: I really dug this CD for a while, so I was pretty pissed when it was stolen.
Then: I remember talking about Matthew Sweet with this cool substitute teacher my class once had. (He also professed to be a Nine Inch Nails fan, something that could easily have gotten him uninvited to ever come back at the Lutheran K-8 school I attended. Anyway, I dug the guy and I dug this song, so I bought the CD and I dug that too for a while.
Now: Sold it, though I now wish I hadn't cuz I'd be interested to hear it again. My memory of this CD is very foggy.
Then: This was another band that I was introduced to very late, (but come on, I can't think of many 13 year old's at the time who knew Love and Rockets existed) but luckily Modern Rock Live fixed all that.
Now: Ha, I had to check, but nope, don't have this one anymore either. I think my copy was stolen the second (and so far final *knock on wood*) time a big-ass CD wallet was stolen from me.
Then: I never heard a Violent Femmes song I didn't like, but I'll be damned if I was sick of the radio playing "Blister in the Sun" 9 out of 10 times (With "Gone Daddy Gone" "American Music" "Add It Up" and my favorite, "Kiss Off" wrestling for the remaining 10%.
Seems to me a Rolling Stone magazine subscription between the years 1994-1997 was the only thing most teenage boys needed to fall in love with Liz Phair, music be damned. Luckily she also released awesome music during that time and I obtained said magazine subscription in 1995.
Now: I eventually got over my Liz Phair crush as her music became increasingly worse over the years. I think the moment I sold Whip-Smart to a used record store marked the official end of my infatuation.
Then: I was pretty angry for a 7th grader (at least in a vaguely introspective way) so when Korn took the world by storm I was happy to embrace it early. I'll admit to thrashing around my bedroom like a maniac screaming along to a number of songs from this album.
Now: I know I at least still have the CD case lying around somewhere (but that doesn't mean much when you've had two seperate 80-disc wallets stolen over the years). Let me check.... Nope. It's gone.
Then: Probably the most obscure artist on this list, as Ruby was pretty damn unknown even back then. But when I saw the below video on Modern Rock Live (as I explained earlier in the list) I was instantly hooked.
Now: If I remember correctly, this album turned out to be a lot more mellow and psuedo-sophisticated than I had the patience for at age 13. But I cherished its obscurity enough to hold on to it for years, until... I'm not sure what happened.
Then: This is another artist whose video I caught on Modern Rock Live inspired me too go ahead and buy the album. Sure, in some ways you could claim that they were riding on the success of NIN, but to my surprise the album was filled with tidy, hard-edged, industrial-pop songs that I really enjoyed for a long time.
Now: I've still got this CD floating around somewhere. Last time I think I listened to it was 2 years ago and I was sufficiently amused, though no longer terribly impressed.
Then: Oddly, I can't remember how I was first introduced to Ministry. It's unlikely that their Bob Dylan cover from this CD is in fact the first song of theirs I ever heard, but it's the one I first clearly remember hearing.
Now: It's in the driver side visor of my car right now, actually. "Reload" definitely remains high on the list of "songs that make me want to break things". ;)
There's nothing about this picture that doesn't make me break into a devilish smile.
Then: How this little band managed to catch my attention is beyond me. I credit a pretty damn fine Twin Cities radio culture. I remember trying to get a few friends excited about this CD but it never really took. Ahead of their time, I guess...
Now: The whereabouts of this CD is a mystery to me. The above song is admittedly cheesy, but after youtubing a number of the other tracks and refreshing my memory I wish I'd held onto it!
Then: Seems strange to me now, but before I went back and bought Pretty Hate Machine I opted for this collection of remixes first. Obviously I wasn't yet done dwelling on the Downward Spiral songs, and happy for me, neither was Reznor!
Now: Extended versions of "Mr. Self Destruct" in 3 parts! Are you kidding me?!? Of course I still have it!
Then: Honestly I probably would never have gotten around to buying this CD if it weren't for having heard its entirety at a friends house. I was perfectly fine with listening to the 3 or 4 radio singles, but when I heard the below song along with a number of others I decided this album had to be mine!
Now: Any affection I had for The Offspring has pretty much disappeared over the years, along with my copy of this CD.
Then: By the time I got around to obtaining this, Green Day's very first release, Insomniac had already come out and Dookie had sold roughly a billion copies. I wasn't terribly interested in spending money on either, but I heard a friend's copy of this and simply had to have it! With no real way of knowing how else to get my hands on it I traded him my Bush and Candlebox CD for this one.
Now: Stolen. (Along with Dookie and Nimrod) The only Greenday CD I currently own is their follow-up and final LookOut! release, Kerplunk which I listen to exactly never.
Then: This was probably the number one owned albums among my classmates for a while before I finally got around to buying it. Not sure what exactly took me so long.
Now: When I bought Weezer's follow-up release, Pinkerton I may as well have forgotten this one even existed. I think I gave this CD to my little sister at some point, which I'd be fine with if I knew they'd only go on to put out two good albums. But at least I still have my Pinkerton!
Then: Around the time I reached 8th grade I was beginning to realize that punk rock was my new favorite thing in the world. And with the purchase of their two previous records soon to follow, Rancid was quickly becoming one of my new, very favorite bands. I played the hell out of this CD. Never before had learning every single word to every single song been so so easy.
Now: You guessed it, stolen. Along with their self-titled, and Life Won't Wait. The first two I've learned to live without. But last year I broke down and repurchased Life Won't Wait. Simply had to be done.
Then: I first heard this CD in my friend's mom's car on the way to the movies. She hated it, I loved it! And somehow (largely because this was released on Interscope Records I imagine) this CD was actually available through Columbia House Music Company! I couldn't believe it. At around this point my music tastes turned almost exclusively toward indie-label punk rock or ska bands and trips to the mall or used record stores became the way I shopped for music.
Now: It wasn't long before my younger brother became an even bigger RFTC fan than me, and when he left for Milwaukee to go to school he took this CD with him. I lived without it for years, (though I acquired plenty of other Rocket albums to help cope) until he finally returned it, having replaced my copy with his own vinyl version. Ha, from there on out my brother has become entirely cooler than me when it comes to music, new or old, while I continue to listen to my copy of Scream, Dracula, Scream and love every second of it.
Not sure how I missed them
Albums that were all over my radar (and the airwaves) that I never caught up to back then, and have actually never owned, period.
At 13 years old, I was late on the whole owning a CD player thing (at least in comparison to some of my friends) and relied on blank tapes and a radio to satisfy my young passion for rock n' roll. My Ultra-Christian parents weren't in any hurry to indulge my musical tastes, so it wasn't until I stared mowing my neighbors lawns and making my own money that I could really do much about any of it. With a bit of pleading, my parents agreed to let me join Columbia House Music Club and begin to purchase and receive CD's through the mail. Glory Halleluiah! BMG Music Club soon followed.
I'll never forget the excitement of receiving this first collection of CD's in the mail-- a highly anticipated event that preceded music shopping trips to the mall, and later used record stores and concerts. The youtube video's included feature the single song from the album which MOST influenced my original decision to buy the CD (though in most cases, there were several songs/reasons that motivated me). So here it is: This is exactly what my 40 CD collection looked like some 15 years ago. Albums are presented in the order purchased, starting with the earliest.
*Dedicated to the giraffe with special thanks for reminding me now and then what it was once like to be a truly passionate appreciator of music*