I was listening to some new Taking Back Sunday recently and it gave me an epiphany. Music often helps give me epiphanies, but this one was a bit more…lasting. You see, as I grow older and my beard becomes a permanent part of my face, I happily look back at all the music that has been a permanent part of my life. It plays out to be a wonderful timeline of nostalgia and one that I think may be worth sharing with our fellow music lovers.
So please enjoy a trip down this aging dude’s memory lane in the form of memories laden with music!
8 Great Albums from 1994 to 2004:
1994: MxPx – Pokinatcha & an 11 year old.
I cannot exactly remember where I was when I heard this album, but I will admit that I did not really understand it at all. I did not know what “punk rock” was, much less did I listen to rock that was faster than Guns N’ Roses. But being a young and impressionable kid, I listened and immediately fell in love. MxPx helped define most of my musical tastes throughout my teenage life and for that I am grateful. This stuff was constantly blasting through my headphones as I mowed the lawn, hiked through Montana mountain trails and rode the long bus rides to and from school.
Standout track: “Realize”
1999: Blink-182 – Enema of the State & a country punk rocker.
As MxPx introduced me to punk, Blink-182 helped add the catchy pop sensibility that captured my musical taste buds and got me addicted to it. By ’99 I was cruising the long cut off shorts, spiked hair, and chucks with the long pulled up socks plus a chain wallet. All while growing up in a small town whose idea of punk rock was anything that isn’t country. Thanks to late night MTV and Much, I was innocently perverted by the childish antics of Blink, but despite it all Enema of the State left a huge impact on me and my country self. Trouble was, no one else really even knew what a Blink-182 were. I remember trying to tell other kids about them, and they couldn’t help, but think I was talking about blinking my eyes 182 times! Hicks haha! Lucky for Tom Delonge, Mark Hoppus, and Travis Barker, this album blew them up! Editors Note: Sad to hear that Tom DeLonge won’t be part of Blink-182 anymore. Update: Tom DeLonge is actually still a member of Blink-182.
Standout track: “Adam’s Song”
As my musical tastes began to break into new territory, Dashboard Confessional was the first artist/band whose acoustic sound I really loved. Chris Carrabba had sadly left Further Seems Forever, but awesomely created this gem. Charlie, a real sweet dude from Cali, was nice enough to introduce me to Dashboard Confessional. Some of my fondest memories were singing along at the top of our lungs to these songs as we cruised the gravel roads at night in my ’93 Olds Cutlass. ‘Merica a bit more poetically…
Standout track: “Saints & Sailors”
2002: Red Hot Chili Peppers – By The Way & my headphones.
My Discman was my best friend in my teen years as music was always being pumped into my ears. One of the albums that was often on repeat was By The Way, as it struck a cord in my soul. I clearly remember taking walks at night in the mountains under the stars and bobbing my head to the funky rhythms that Red Hot Chili Peppers offered up. RHCP had a way of feeling indie, even though they were all over the radio; but I made them my own. inside the world that existed between my headphones.
Standout track: “This is the Place”
2003: Thrice – The Artist In The Ambulance & intriguing artwork.
I was in a target in Denver Colorado and I saw this CD. I had to buy it simply because I needed to know what was inside. I had listened to Thrice previously, but wasn’t really into them. I took a risk buying it, but after one listen, it was on repeat for a long time! I remember taking a plane ride across the U.S. and I had an unforgettable experience listening to the whole album and reading the lyrics on the original release card stock. I thought, ‘This is brilliant!’ A true milestone in that 2000-2005 era in which many stellar albums were made. Standout Track: “All That’s Left”
2003: Beloved – Failure On & those annoying CD demoing stations.
Remember when record stores had the “DEMO COPY” compact discs? You had to root through hundreds of discs in the bin, put the disc into the player and then skip through the songs to see if you liked it? Nowadays you can instantly look up anything to sample it. Anyways, that is how I discovered this standout hardcore/metal/screamo-emo recording of pure musical beauty. I must have spent over an hour in the record store going through piles of crap until I “stumbled onto this one.” I am grateful that I did, and ungrateful that Beloved called it quits soon after Failure On came out.
Standout track: “Death to Traitors”
2004: Taking Back Sunday – Where You Want to Be & burned CDs in the mail.
I was working as a videographer in Nebraska, documenting youth, tornadoes, lightning, and the staff of the camp we were at (so much more exciting than it sounds!). An old friend sent me a bunch of new music on some burned CDs and Taking Back Sunday’s Where You Want To Be was in there! At first I didn’t love the album as much as their first, but then it got me, the way Adam Lazzara always does. And for those of you too young and hip to remember “burned CDs”… well just google it. Its the way us old people used to share music in the stone age before the internet made life way too convenient. Standout Track: “Set Phasers To Stun”
Side Note: I could do one on Underoath – They’re Only Chasing Safety for 2004, but there would be too many memories to choose from.
I suppose that getting into 2005 and beyond would be less nostalgic, as really that isn’t too long ago. Ya know only ten years give or take. There are many more albums and songs that strike up pleasant memories, heart break, and everything in between.
I think music can be therapeutic in helping us deal with the past and present. It helps us make sense of a life that can often be lost in confusion. Or it may just fit our present mood and help us cope with the day. Whatever the case, if you feel so inclined, what are some your old favorites? Leave a comment if you want!
Thanks for reading.