So here it is folks, those Madison Institute of Musicologists (MIM) Top 15 Albums That Defined My High School Experience, in full. Take a look a couple posts down to read mine as well. Enjoy.
Peter Fahndrich - 1989-1993
15. Alice in Chains, Dirt This was mood music for me.
14. Dinosaur Jr, Where You Been J Mascis was my new guitar god senior year.
13. Jane’s Addiction, Jane’s Addiction (XXX) This is Jane’s live album and I listened to it more than Nothing’s Shocking or Ritual de lo Habitual
12. The Replacements, Let It Be The first Mats’ album I bought was Don’t Tell A Soul so once I worked my way back to Let It Be I was shocked to hear what I did.
11. Faith No More, Angel Dust FNM was a big band for me and I’ll be damned if this album doesn’t hold up relatively well today. My friend Andy & I trashed Stacy LaFave’s parents’ house while listening to this album.
10. REM, Automatic for the People The first album I really loved by REM. I hadn’t yet heard Murmur or Reckoning. One of 3 albums on my list that I first heard in Chicago with my cousin Peter Thomas.
09. The Rolling Stones, Hot Rocks (1964-1971) I listened to the hell out of this 2-CD collection. It was all there. I knew then what I know now – The Stones are the greatest rock n’ roll band period.
08. The Black Crowes, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion Great album. I’ve seen the Crowes more than any other live band.
07. Nirvana, Nevermind I kind of tried not to like this album, initially feeling as though I already had my Seattle bands in PJ, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains. It was too great to ignore.
06. Depeche Mode, Violator An album that was really out of my wheelhouse in high school. I liked that I liked it, know what I’m saying? This is a significant album in two of my most intimate relationships.
05. Bob Dylan, Biograph The 3-CD box set believed to be the first real box set. My Dad made sure I grew up on The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, The Kinks, and Motown but Dylan was kind of my own thing. No one has ever blown my mind the way Dylan did. He still does today. All the big songs were there but so was “I’ll Keep it with Mine.” Remember that feeling that you had when you felt like you had your own song that nobody else knew. That was it for me. I never shared that song.
04. U2, Achtung Baby Chicago. Lake Shore Drive. I was 16. The reason I pick this as my favorite U2 album over The Joshua Tree was because I experienced it as it came out. Someone told me how important TJT was. I heard along with everyone else why Achtung was so important.
03. Guns ‘N Roses, Appetite for Destruction I got this album in between 6th and 7th grade but it was the template for everything in my high school years. I’ve listened to Appetite more than any other album in my life. I know every note. Axl taught me how to swear. A lot of friends called me Slash for years. Plain and simple -this album sounded like I felt.
02. Pearl Jam, Ten My car ran on gasoline and this album. If I listen to this album and close my eyes I am back at Nouvel Catholic Central faster than any other album. It was everywhere.
01. Guns ‘N Roses, Use Your Illusion I & II Two albums? I know, I know. September 17th, 1991. Andy & I went out to Camelot Music at 7am before school to pick the albums up. It was the first time I am aware of that stores opened early for the release of an album. Everything breaks down to before and after that date for me in high school. We had waited so long for the new albums from the band that was “our band.” Though the albums sounded better then than they do today to me, they were the center of my high school years. For what it’s worth, I always preferred I over II. I’m off to go listen to “Estranged” and to contemplate why Marnie hasn’t called me back when really Nicole is the girl I want to call.
Kevin Kiley - 1990/1994
I absolutely hated high school. I was an awkward dude with an acne problem who played the drums and drove a $25 car (seriously). But, I’m extremely grateful I had the friends I did (some are dear friends to this day (Peter, I’m still convinced we went to high school together)). Anyway, what was a huge factor in connecting me to these friends? Music. We all understood the importance and beauty of music, as well as the release it provides, and we bonded by finding great music together. The times I spent with my friends listening to, talking about, and playing music, is what high school was all about for me, and that is what I’ll always cherish about that time of my life.
Alice In Chains, Facelift – My aforementioned 1982 Ford Escort had no radio. I just had a battery operated boom box, which played this cassette constantly. I bought three copies of this tape, because it kept wearing out.
Soundgarden, Badmotorfinger –This album sparked my Soundgarden addiction. I had a gigantic “Jesus Christ Pose” poster on my bedroom wall, which consisted of a crucified skeleton. I can only imagine what my folks thought when I hung that thing! Chris Cornell’s acoustic performance of “Mind Riot” at the Marcus Amphitheatre is one of my favorite concert memories.
Pearl Jam, Ten – I think I sang “Alive” in my head for a month straight when I first heard it. In my Junior year, my band played “Porch” at our high school talent show. I remember the dude who organized the show telling us, right before we went on, that we would win if we nailed “Porch”. I think we nailed it, but we were disqualified because our singer said “fuck”. We felt like the Doors.
Temple of the Dog, S/T – I remember seeing this album for the first time in the racks at Exclusive Company in Green Bay. I hadn’t heard anything about it. The cover said, “Featuring members of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam.” Holy shit! It was like discovering peanut butter and chocolate go well together! Chris Cornell’s vocal performance on this album is phenomenal. I had a Temple of the Dog patch on my backpack throughout high school.
Soundgarden, Superunknown – Although this came out late in my high school years, it was a joyous signal that, finally, high school was coming to an end! This album had me hooked from the first note and solidified Chris Cornell, in my mind, as one of the best lyricists of the time. “Fresh Tendrils,” ”4th of July,” and “Like Suicide” were lesser known, but some of the most powerful songs Soundgarden ever recorded.
Alice In Chains, Dirt – The day this album went on sale, we were so fired up, one of my friends called Best Buy to ask that they set aside 3 copies for us. They assured us that they had PLENTY of copies. I raced there after school. It didn’t disappoint. It was more mature, dark, and brooding than “Facelift “ but it got me through some depressing times in high school. “Junkhead” always makes me think of how terribly Layne Staley’s life ended.
Black Crowes, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion – My first big concert was the Crowes on the Southern Harmony tour at the Riverside in Milwaukee. I was 16. I loved this album back in the day, and I appreciate it even more today.
Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction – What more can be said about this album? My band in high school tried to play Appetite front to back. Some songs were more successful than others.
Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral – This was also released late in my high school existence. I loved “Pretty Hate Machine” and “Broken,” so I didn’t think “The Downward Spiral” could possibly surpass them. It did. I worked this terrible, soul sucking job at a grocery store the summer before college. I used to sing the following line from “Piggy”: “Nothing can stop me now, cause I don’t care anymore. Nothing can stop me now, cause I just don’t care” each time I walked through the doors of that place. It was cathartic.
Nirvana, Nevermind – This album single-handedly got me through some shitty work days slinging bushes at ShopKo’s outdoor lawn and garden department when I was 16. My favorite songs on the album were and still are: Lounge Act, Drain You, and Territorial Pissings.
Rage Against the Machine, S/T – I bought this album and brought it over to my friend Jon’s house to listen to it. Jon’s mom, who was uber strict, found the CD case and was, first, mortified by the cover, then, by the song titles, which she read slowly out loud as her voice escalated, “Bombtrack,” “Killing in the Name,” Bullet in the Head”??!! She forbade Jon to listen to that “filth,” but we did anyway, over and over and over. I wasn’t into rap, but this was different. The aggression of Zack de la Rocha’s voice and lyrics mixed with Tom Morello’s guitar, which was a completely new style to me, absolutely blew my mind.
Pantera, Vulgar Display of Power – Pantera is the hardest band I’ve ever listened to. I listened to this album before every football game. I like this record because it’s a really heavy, aggressive, and hard-driving, but it’s still melodic. Every mix tape I made for myself in high school included the song “F****** Hostile”. (Editors Note - Keep it clean Kevin, this is a family show!)
Living Colour, Vivid – One of the most underrated bands ever. I spent a good chunk of high school trying to recruit disciples into Living Colour fandom. This album is great from “Cult of Personality,” which, although played often, I’ll never tire of it, to “Broken Hearts,” which is my favorite song on the album. I used to put Living Colour songs like “Broken Hearts” and “Solace of You” on mix tapes for girls I had a crush on. I was convinced they would win them over. Didn’t work. Damn.
Tool, Undertow - An extremely powerful album. In high school, I wanted to sing like Chris Cornell or Maynard James Keenan. I lost my voice more than once trying to sing like them. Believe it or not, I got into Tool after watching the “Sober” video on “Beavis and Butt-Head.”
Primus, Suck on This – Although I listened to “Sailing the Seas of Cheese” and “Frizzle Fry” a lot, this album, because it was live, really captures the band’s energy. I had a Primus static sticker on the rear window of my car throughout high school.
For the record (pun intended), we should have gone with 25 albums as opposed to 15. I wanted to send my list before reading Peter's, so because I'm dying to read his, here's mine:
1. Sting, Nothing Like the Sun - to the Sting haters: while I would agree his career has waned over the last 20 years, Nothing Like The Sun is nothing but great (seriously, he recorded a version in Spanish, too -- an automatic indicator of a good record). It is, for sure, the album I listened to more than any other during high school. It suits every mood . . . or at least, it suited every mood I had in high school
2. Rickie Lee Jones, Flying Cowboys - I still remember the day I bought this album (on cassette, of course) along with Toni Childs' Union at the Musicland in Bayshore Mall (remember when malls had record stores?). I have no idea what motivated me to make the purchase, but it was instant love.
3. Paul Simon, Graceland - all the Loftons love this album. When we would take car trips (the only kind of trips we took), there were only two albums upon which we could all agree: Graceland and Jimmy Cliff's In Concert. I know: it explains a lot, doesn't it?
4. Peter Gabriel, So - remember Friday Night Videos? I first saw the "Sledgehammer" video one Friday night at Megan Stefanich's house. The next day, I bought So. And, then, I listened to it for six years straight. I knew I had to stop when I caught my mother singing along to "Mercy Street".
5. REM, Green - I had an immediate, completely emotional attachment to this record. Seriously, I felt like everything that had been my life and would be my life was encapsulated in the eleven songs on Green. I don't like to think too hard about whether I was right.
6. Fishbone, Fishbone - I know no one will believe I actually used to do this, but on Saturday nights, we would drive around the east side of MKE, and the boys would hood surf. To Fishbone. I am amazed (a) no one died; and (b) we never got arrested. Even though it's been 20 years, I still think it best that we not tell the Ls.
7. Enya, Watermark - I had a boyfriend who loved Enya. That should have been my first clue it would never last.
8. Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes - During a snowstorm, my dad and I walked to a local record store (that sold only cassettes, mind you) expressly so I could purchase this record. I don't think I actually had any real idea who the Violent Femmes were or what kind of music they played, but I had a feeling I would love the album. My instincts were right -- I still have to stop what I'm doing any time I hear "Please Do Not Go".
9. 10,000 Maniacs, In My Tribe - My version included the "Peace Train" cover. To this day, when I first walk outside, I often think "the color of the sky as far as I can see is coal gray."
10. New Order, Power, Corruption & Lies - Amina gave me this album for my 15th birthday. I have no idea why she picked it, but my life was forever altered.
11. The Sundays, Reading, Writing & Arithmetic - I have always been someone who walks for pleasure (really, you don't think walking is delightful?). The east side of Milwaukee was and is one of my favorite places to walk. And, for a long time, Reading, Writing & Arithmetic was my preferred album to listen to while walking.
12. Billy Joel, Storm Front - As a sophomore, I joined Law Explorers (don't ask) with Chris Kinney and Lisa Harrower. We all hated Law Explorers, but loved singing along, in unison, to "We Didn't Start the Fire" as we drove to and from the meetings. I was the only one of us who failed to learn from the experience and became a lawyer anyway. In case you're wondering, I don't blame Billy Joel.
13. The Smiths, The Queen is Dead - "Frankly, Mr. Shankly" + "Bigmouth Strikes Again" + "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" = need I say more?
14. Depeche Mode, Violator - I love every track on this album, but I love "Policy of Truth" best. Never again is, indeed, what you swore the time before.
15. The Cure, Disintegration - While Nothing Like the Sun suited any mood, Disintegration was perfect when I was depressed. My sister and I shared a room (for 14 years!), and this is the only album she ever begged me to stop playing. Apparently, she didn't enjoy being depressed like I did . . . but then, she wasn't a teenager at the time.
The 15 albums that defined my high school years: Not ranked, but the first album in my alphabetical list just so happens so be my number one:
Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes: The first time I was truly blown away by an album. The album I've listened to more than any other in my life. How can one woman and one piano create this? Mary played this for me in her beater Nissan before we went to the Option nightclub in Green Bay to dance (and smoke my first cigarette).
Tracy Chapman, Self-Titled: Kevin said it best the other night - I still get chills when I hear "Talkin bout a Revolution".
Cranberries, Everybody Else Is Doing It So Why Can't We?: Making out with Eric in my parent's basement. Ugh.
The Cure, Staring at the Sea: "Killing an Arab", "In Between Days" and "Boys Don't Cry" are perfect. Perfect.
Billy Joel, Greatest Hits vol 1 & 2: The second album I bought on CD, immediately after Storm Front. Brenda and Eddie! "The king and the queen went back to the green, but you can never go back there again"
Sarah McLachlan, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy: The sentimental choice - Until a few days ago, I hadn't listened to this album in years, at least 5, maybe more. I don't think I went more than 2 days without playing this on my crappy Sony boombox when I was a senior at Notre Dame Academy.
Nirvana, Nevermind: "Smells Like Teen Spirit" didn't really do it for me... but "In Bloom" and "Lithium" convinced me.
Pearl Jam, Ten: My younger brother turned me on to PJ. Summer 1992. My parents finally got cable which meant we finally had MTV. I'm making chocolate chip pancakes for us in the kitchen when Drew calls me into the den to watch the "Evenflow" video. Eddie Vedder is climbing the rafters and I'm in love.
REM, Life's Rich Pageant: Dissecting every lyric: Is Fall on Me about acid rain? And who is this Johnny Reb dude?
REM, Automatic for the People: I hated, hated, hated high school. The worst 4 years of my life. Automatic, specifically "Find the River" got me through.
Replacements, All Shook Down: The coolest magazine ever, Sassy, told me to buy the Mat's album. The last album I ever bought on tape. The beginning of my entry into the "alternative" music scene. Never would have guessed that my future husband would be a Replacements fanatic and our mutual love of the Replacements would be the spark of our romance.
Sugar, Cooper Blue. Sassy again. I didn't even know who Husker-Du were when I bought this album. The bass on "A Good Idea". The pop perfection of "If I Can't Change Your Mind".
The Sundays, Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic: Thanks again Sassy mag.
10,000 Maniacs, MTV Unplugged: It was a toss-up between this album and In My Tribe but this ultimately won because of the live version of "What's the Matter Here?"
U2, Joshua Tree: There's nothing new or original to say about U2. Their greatest album, hands down.