Within every music enthusiast is an album that started it all. Some of us came out listening to critically acclaimed glory while the rest just wanted to be as cool as Avril Lavigne. No matter how embarrassing, or impressive, our first taste of music was, we all turned out alright. Here are some of ACRN’s first ever albums.
Jonathan Fuchs, Music Director: Discovery by Daft Punk
Having a majority of your childhood occur during the rise of social media had a ton of benefits for me. Mainly because I found out about so much new music, the first being with seven-year-old me discovering my now favorite band, Daft Punk, via a fan video that combined the band’s hit single “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” with various clips of Ed, Edd n Eddy (I was a really weird child). After stumbling upon that video, I became fascinated with the band’s music and found their MySpace page, where I nonstop listened to tracks like “One More Time” and “Technologic.” I immediately bought a CD copy of their incredible sophomore record, Discovery on Amazon and spent the rest of my adolescence dancing to bangers like “Aerodynamic” and “High Life” and falling in love with the beautiful melodies on “Something About Us” and “Veridis Quo.” Buying my first record was only the gateway into me loving all other types of music, from the French-house messiness of Mr. Oizo to the indie-psychedelic sweetness of Black Moth Super Rainbow. I owe so much to Discovery because it’s what helped make me a music lover.
Devon Hannan, Features Editor: Good Time by Alan Jackson
From the time I was born, my parents force fed me the classics. They always had vinyl spinning at all hours of the day: Joni Mitchell, The Beatles, Van Morrison, Donovan, you name it. I distinctly remember being six and singing along to every word of “The Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel. Truth be told, I was destined for greatness. And then in the blink of an eye, I ruined it.
I was sitting on the bus one morning on my way to your typical All-American, small town, elementary school when one of my friends popped a disk into her Sony CD player. That CD was Alan Jackson’s Good Time. I went home that afternoon begging my disappointed parents to make the $11 purchase. For about seven years thereafter I couldn’t get enough of bad country music. It ruined my reputation all the way through the 10th grade.
Luckily, I soon enough learned that you can’t love yourself and listen to Alan Jackson. It’s just not how it works.
Eli Schoop, Copy Editor: American Idiot by Green Day
I faintly remember the suburban Target where I bought American Idiot by Green Day. The distinct early 2000s Target smell permeated the air, and here lay this album that beckoned towards me with the pull of Maoist propaganda. It also had the eye-opening explicit content sticker, that showed promises of a new, more adult world. A simple enough introduction to punk, however perfect for impressionable kids living in a post-9/11 world. Even if my main attachment were the classic hooks and riffs, I wasn’t alone in relating to the growing themes throughout childhood heightened by Bush, Cheney, and Hailburton.
The freedom that comes with rock music feels absolute, and American Idiot totally fit the bill in delivering an experience superbly unique for the time period. Connecting the juvenile and the mature is pretty difficult, but Green Day handled deftly ruminating over 21th century malaise while still trying to throw a raucous party in your basement. There’s few better adolescent albums.
Cailynn Beck, Contributor: Talking Heads: 77 by Talking Heads
The first album I can remember bringing home was Talking Heads’ first album, Talking Heads: 77. I was probably nine years old and the only music I’d ever really listened to was music that my dad played like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Velvet Underground, Frank Zappa, and Wilco. (And then Hilary Duff here and there.) Talking Heads just so happened to tickle my fancy as a youngling and so that’s when, for my ninth birthday, my dad took me to a local record store in Columbus and bought me my very first album. I remember listening to it every single day after school in my room and dancing on my bed to some of the songs.
I feel like this is a good reflection of my music taste now because “new wave” is one of my favorite genres, although that term is very broad. I like a lot of bands like New Order and DEVO and Kraftwerk, but Talking Heads is just one of those bands that has always stuck with me the most. I keep a lot of memories connected with that album, which is another reason why I’ve stuck with the new wave genre throughout my life.
I think exposure to Talking Heads at a young age helped me think about music in the sense that it doesn’t always have to be serious, or have to have meaning; It can be as fun as what you make it.
Tanner Bidish, Contributor: Hot Fuss by The Killers
My first album was The Killers’ Hot Fuss. I took it from my dad, probably because I thought I was cool. For about three hours, that delicious noise on repeat became the soundtrack to me level grinding through Paper Mario when I was ten. If that was the reason, the album certainly validated the feeling. Each song was gold to me, and for the first time it actually felt like I was listening to it. I was the guy in the songs; I was excited, and jealous, and riding this emotional rollercoaster for all it was worth whilst sitting in my bean bag chair. I still love it. Going back to it over the years brings understanding with each listen. And while I don’t care much for The Killers anymore, Hot Fuss still rings as tried and true as it did for me nine years ago. In a lot of ways, I feel lucky that the first record I was ever personally invested in is something that I still love.
Justin Cudahy, Contributor: Appetite for Destruction by Guns N’ Roses
Thinking back, the first album I can remember experiencing in full was Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction. Hailed by critics as being “One of the greatest albums of all time” I can’t really think of a better first album to have listened to.
I can still remember being in the car with my mom and two brothers, on our way to school, trying to mimic Axl Roses’ iconic scream at the beginning of “Welcome to the Jungle” (which I could never pull off because my seven-year-old lungs would always fail me), or practicing my air guitar skills during the solos in “Sweet Child O’ Mine” or the ending to “Paradise City.”
I always get this sudden rush of nostalgia every time one of their songs come up on the radio, thinking back on those car rides. Appetite for Destruction has had such a huge influence on me in terms of what I listen to now, which includes AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and others of the same genre. Back in July, I was fortunate enough to go and see Guns N’ Roses in concert with my mom, who I need to thank for giving me such a great taste in music.
Gabriel Dooley, Contributor: The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull by Earth or Graduation by Kanye West
I’ve had a big love for music since a pretty early age. This is most likely because my mom and dad, both being big music fans themselves, had a great deal of influence on me. By the fourth grade, I was listening to The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull by the doom metal band, Earth. This album was simply something my dad mentioned, so I found it at the library and had a great time listening to it. In retrospect, it seems pretty unusual that I would listen to that type of music at that age, but regardless, it was a favorite of mine for a long time. Of course, I knew nothing about doom metal nor any other similar bands.
Being such a long time ago, I also distinctly remember listening to Kanye West’s Graduation in my room at around the same age. Whether it was before or after the Earth album, I couldn’t say, but after listening to the song “Stronger” on the radio countless times, it was a priority of mine to have the whole album, despite me not being old enough for my parents to approve.
Carter Hickman, Contributor: Jibbs Featuring Jibbs by Jibbs
Passions don’t develop overnight; they emerge and grow over time. Playing and listening to music has been my passion for quite a few years, but it didn’t manifest instantly. My music preference has changed many times, but it is mainly rooted in indie rock and punk. It didn’t start there, though. Actually, quite the opposite. At the very beginning of the long winding road my music taste has traveled, there stands one man. That man was Jibbs.
It was the spring of 2006. I was 9 years old. I had been listening to “Chain Hang Low” on repeat for months. I was quite literally brainwashed by mid-2000’s crunk (I haven’t heard that word in a while). While shopping at an FYE on a family vacation to Disney World, I spotted the album Jibbs Featuring Jibbs by Jibbs (yes, you read that correctly). I had to have it.
My parents were very excited about my early interest in music and excited for me to buy my first album, so they didn’t hesitate to let me buy it. We got in the car, put it in the stereo, and then they took it out after about 1 song. I didn’t care though. Parents are stupid. Throughout the rest of the year, I listened to that album probably over 300 times. Long live crunk.
Claire Klodell, Contributor: Metamorphosis by Hillary Duff
In the same year Juicy tracksuits served as the paragon of fashion, a naïve five-year-old was unaware that Metamorphosis was about to serve as a biological transformation. For me, Hillary Duff was the butterfly, and I was a lowly caterpillar who worshipped the ground she walked on. As a five-year-old, every source of media is censored: television, radio, movies, the whole she-bang. I was completely unaware of any other television channel besides PBS and Disney. Holding a Hillary Duff album was synonymous to the Torah. If I dropped it, I felt like I was sinning. Her bubblegum pop songs made me feel like I was a pop star in my own home, before I could do anything for myself. Looking back in retrospect, there were far worse songs I could have been listening to. Although, a part of me wishes I would have been jamming out to Beyoncé rather than a Disney star who has since dropped off of the face of the Earth.
Maria Lubanovic, Contributor: Hot Fuss by The Killers
The first album that I brought home was Hot Fuss by The Killers. I was in the 6th grade, and I had been switching between the Cheetah Girls CD that my mom bought me and my sister’s favorite Hannah Montana CD. I had been listening to music online, and “Somebody Told Me” came up. I loved it. I didn’t really understand what the song was about at all, but it was catchy and I liked the lead singer’s voice. I immediately rode my bike to the library to see if I could burn it to my computer as soon as possible.
Fast forward to several hours later, when my mom caught me burning the CD to our 10-year-old Dell computer, singing at the top of my lungs, “Somebody told me, that you had a boyfriend, who looked like a girlfriend…” within earshot of my 7-year-old sister. Long story short, I was not allowed to burn CDs of my choosing from the library anymore.
I still love that album. My mom not allowing me to listen to it made me search for more music by The Killers. They still have some of my favorite songs of all time. I learned to play guitar just so I could play “Human” at my high school talent show. What can I say? I’m a victim.
Diana Powers, Contributor: Let Go by Avril Lavigne
One of my most vivid childhood memories is spending summer mornings watching MTV2 music videos with my sister. Of those videos, “Sk8er Boi” by Avril Lavigne was my all time favorite. After seeing the music video countless times, my sister and I bought Lavigne’s debut album, Let Go, from our local Borders. As an angsty first grader, Let Go instantly spoke to me. I’d listen to it on the way to park district soccer practices in my mom’s mini-van and it later was one of the first albums I downloaded on my hand-me-down first generation iPod. Let Go was the first album I really listened to all the way through and paid close attention to.
I honestly still love this album. Nearly every song is a banger (especially the opening track, “Losing Grip”), and I can probably sing along to the whole album. Let Go was my first foray into anything slightly punk-esque and laid the base for my love of slightly emo, pop-punk bands such as Joyce Manor. Although Avril Lavigne’s music quality has considerably decreased in recent years, I’m unashamed to admit Let Go is probably one of my favorite albums of the early 2000s.
Alex Sherry, Contributor: Adore by The Smashing Pumpkins
The first album I purchased was Adore by The Smashing Pumpkins. I remember seeing the cassette tape sitting on a table at a garage sale. The mysterious woman on the cover immediately caught my eye. I scanned over all the song titles wondering what each one sounded like. Songs like “To Sheila,” “For Martha,” and “Blank Page” introduced me to a darker side of music I never experienced while listening to popular songs. This album started my obsession with music. After listening to that album The Smashing Pumpkins became my favorite band for quite a while. I had to buy every album, listen to every B-side, and eventually see them live.
While I don’t listen to them much anymore, if I hadn’t bought that cassette, I don’t think I would have been inspired to create music myself or have the love for music that I do. I can still hear the influence it had on me in a lot of the bands I listen to today. An album is an experience. Each one captures a certain point in your life and can transport you there – better than anything else. Listening to this album again takes me back to the first time I put it in my cassette player, letting those sullen oscillating synths welcome me to a whole new world.
Allegra Solomon, Contributor: Songs About Jane by Maroon 5
In my early life, I’d been raised on a strict diet of Gospel and old R&B. As crazy as it sounds, my tiny mind couldn’t grasp the idea that there were different genres out there. As far as I knew, the only people on this planet with singing voices were Kirk Franklin and Stevie Wonder.
Even though when I was in the fifth grade Songs About Jane was six years old, I heard “Harder to Breathe” playing on a radio station my family normally didn’t listen to. After that moment, I’d fallen in love with this whole new world of sounds and rhythms. Granted my opinions about Maroon 5 have changed drastically between that album and their newest album but, that’s a different story. This album was the first crack that broke me out of my two-genre shell and it’s been a slow and exciting progression since.
Kieffer Wilson, Contributor: Two Lefts Don’t Make a Right…but Three Do by Relient K
During the 6th grade I went to summer camp in Pennsylvania for a week. It was there I would shoot a bow and arrow for the first time, realize my fear of haunted houses, and eat a sickly combination of ice cream, mayonnaise and relish. It was also where I learned about Relient K for the first time. During recreational time, a couple of friends and I hung out with our cabin’s counselors. We talked about some video games and he asked if any of us had listened to Relient K before. He played us the entirety of Two Lefts Don’t Make a Right…but Three Do and my little mind was taken by the escalators of pop punk to leave for my plane of music.
I went home that summer and purchased Two Lefts immediately. For the rest of that year I would spend hours blasting that album in my room and jamming to “Chap Stick,” “Forward Motion,” and “In Love with the 80s.” Relient K ended up being the 2nd and 3rd album I would bring home as well. I didn’t just discover my taste in music that summer, I learned about being a fan.