Introduction to Music 101: Owning your first albums.

I brainstormed something most likely pointless the other night, as I do. My general distaste for the question of “What music do you like?” knows no bounds. The hefty answer can be picked apart for hours, something I reserve only for the friends that I know can handle this, and frankly I do not believe the usual person who is asking this question has readied themselves for such a chunk of information.

Lying there, in my sort of fury for dumb questions with even worse answers, I brought forth a much better one: “What were the first albums you remember owning?” A question that I think has a much more amusing answer. It could be something too shameful to admit (the best, honestly) or something that has greatly effected your life. I’m willing to bet that most people remember distinctly what it was, how it made them feel, the experience to actually have/own your first album aside from whatever your parents listened to at the time.

My first two albums go hand in hand and I still love them to this day. No Doubt’s ‘Tragic Kingdom‘ and Garbage’s self titled debut album.

MUDD231(No Doubt, ‘Tragic Kingdom’. Released October 10, 1995)


I remember this vividly. I remember seeing the album art and thinking that the shoes were very Ronald McDonald. The rotten fruit and flies somehow all appealed to a young version of myself. My purchase had a small amount of influence from my older sister. The album made the rounds on the Top 40 radio in the year 1995, and I wanted to hear more. I asked my mom to buy it for me and she obliged. It marked the first time I had a hunger for whatever else the presented musician had to offer, and then it was clearly all downhill from there.

More music nostalgia after the cut!

As a child (aaaand there goes everyone feeling very aged!), I clearly had no frame of reference. This was the first band I remember really liking that had a female lead, with songs mostly about the woes of being a girl.

(No Doubt, ‘Don’t Speak’)

Now the tricky and typical question being what were my favorite songs from this particular album. I was super into ‘Sunday Morning‘, but ultimately I was swayed by the ever popular ‘Don’t Speak‘. I remember this song as being a definitive piece to my childhood growing up, and the music video had a huge impact on me. I was usually just listening to the album continuously, but now all of a sudden I was presented with this amazing female to put my girl adorations onto. She was lovely and full of life and purely a physical representation of everything I had absorbed through the music.

My sister’s friends were really amused with how much I loved No Doubt, so a friend of hers ever so graciously bought me my next favorite thing to obsess over: Garbage’s self-titled album.

515z3hlvMkL._SL500_SS500_(Garbage, ‘Garbage’. Released August 15, 1995)


At first I remember being a little offended at the album art. Yes, even then I was a little snobby. I thought “How could you present me with this wussy cover?! Pink feathers? Insulted!” But, I trusted my sister’s friends and their superior taste to 7 year old me, so I listened. And then I listened again. And again. There was something so much darker than my beloved No Doubt happening here. It was dirtier, it had grit and a bitter taste. It had a lot I could not comprehend at the time, but it had something that I was ultimately into. It seemed to inhabit the same category as No Doubt, but it was definitely off to the corner. Therefor, I fully embraced it and fell in love.

(Garbage, ‘Queer’)

Aside from ‘Only Happy When It Rains‘, the music video for ‘Queer‘ sticks out like a sore thumb for my childhood. Story time! The music video for ‘Queer‘ came on ye olde Music Television station, and it was a greater feeling than seeing Miss Stefani in motion for the first time. I was completely in a trance. This woman, this Shirley Manson was a complete badass and I wanted to be just like her! She had dark-shadowed eyes and an attitude that pierced right through the television. I was firmly planted in front of the set when my sister came in to ask me “What the hell are you listening to?!”, I reply with “Garbage!”

Apparently I was gifted the album by one of my sister’s “cooler friends”, and she was not too privy to this music. She left with a totally 90′s threat of “If you ever let Mom know you have this CD, you’re dead!” and was on her way. Of course, this only made me love it more.

I’m so certain these two albums made a deep impression on me. They have a special place on my iPod and in my heart of hearts. And these answers are far more telling than “Well..I just kind of listen to everything.”

And now I pose the question for all of you: “What was the first album you remember owning?” 


- Katie

4 responses to “Introduction to Music 101: Owning your first albums.

  1. My first album, actually on cassette, was Vacation from The Go-Go’s. I got it for Christmas and I was probably five or six. What I remember was going to sit on Santa’s lap and asking for a Go-Go’s album. Santa started rattling off their albums (well, there were only two at the time), asking me which one I wanted. I kind of wasn’t expecting that.

  2. i bought a johnny mathis record and shout at the devil with 7th birthday money

  3. The first one I played to death was Yello One Second, I asked for the Ferris Bueller soundtrack, but that wasnt a thing I guess, and my Dad found the album from the final scene. I now have it on vinyl. All my favorite albums are soundtracks and sound effects. Chick-Chickchicka

  4. I like this take on he question! It’s very interesting to know where one started– what began their formation-instead of simply gathering the many threads evolved thereof. Which is not, like you said, a simple matter…And it’s more fun to consider and describe, ja? And of course, I got Don’t Speak stuck in my head as soon as I saw mention of No Doubt- and was extra glad you mentioned the song since it’s still a personal favorite (although I actually don’t know he lyrics– I have a hard time making words out in songs and find it distracting? I dunno, I’m dumb. So i like melody of voice, instruments usually).

    To answer you, my first album was Metallica’s Rode the Lightning. This also involved older sisters! It was passed on to me by my older sister– much older, as both my sisters were teens when i was born (and I ruined many teen things, so I’m told)– but as a mark of passage, since she’d groomed me long for Metal. I was allowed to watch MTV while mom was out, and hair bands with dark and mystic motifs were like… i looked on them as brilliant heroes and creatures of legend. I loved her shirt for the album since time out of memory (i predate it by only a year, and what child wouldn’t be delighted by an image of a a hand wielding a knife out of a toilet like excalibur?), and she let me listen to that album at her place and encourage me as i worked myself into an exstatic frenzy over the music. When I was about twelve, I was complete, and she gave me the tape for my own. It fueled so much art– I wasn’t allowed ro listen to music alone, only while engaged in other activities because my mom feared me going into a trance, so I put on headphones and drew ridiculous pictures of my cat as if imagined by Leifield and McFarlane because welll that’s who drew the badassest comics then lol. actually I thought of myself as some sort of badass at the time, not that anyone found a dean shaped dermott too impressive, due to knowing that album backwards and forwards (as well as boasts required of a dermott, alas lacking the size and countenance to lend credence).

    (Super sorry about typos, length- on phone and very bad at brevity, even on phone…tried but phone made editing a headache)

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