hello. it’s been a while. how are you? me? oh, i’m just fine. thanks for asking. you know, normally, i would be inclined to write a holiday-themed blog entry right about now… but i’m not going to. because i haven’t been thinking much about the holidays these days. well, that is to say, not nearly as much as i’ve been thinking about high school recently. i don’t know why, but it’s been on the brain.
and i got to thinking about the most important part of highschool. no, it’s not the extracurriculars or the fads or the embarrassing moments at social gatherings and formal dances. no, my friends. i think that the most important part of high school (you know, the 4 years that shape the rest of your life, as the grownups like to say) is the records you listened to. the records that undeniably changed your life. i’ve thought long and hard about this… and these are my top 5 (in chronological order):
#1) “Blue Skies, Broken Hearts… Next 12 Exits” by The Ataris.
yes, it was a simpler time. a time before iPods. a time where you had a Sony Discman and a stupid little leather cd booklet holding your cd’s. and, yes, i brought it to school. every day. for 3 years while i silently carpooled with the captain of the football team. who never spoke to me. especially not in school. but, i digress.. this record is incredible. i listened to it just about every morning. i loved the ataris when i was a freshman. in my computer class i made a fansite for them. this record has EVERYTHING a 13 year old boy could want. even if songs like “i won’t spend another night alone” aren’t exactly applicable to your prepubescent life just yet. it got me through those teenage heartbreaks more times than i can remember. it’s just perfect. it’s great. the end.
#2) “Everynight Fireworks” by Hey Mercedes.
i’ll say it right now and i’ll stick by it til the day i die: I LIKE HEY MERCEDES A MILLION TIMES MORE THAN I EVER LIKED BRAID. that’s an understatement, actually, because i LOVE hey mercedes. maybe Braid was just before my time. it’s very possible. i mean, god, i’m only 21 years old. what do you want from me!? but this record, god help me, was the single most pivotal album of my high school life. you want to know the exact moment when it changed me forever? listen to “eleven to your seven” (track 5) at exactly 3:10. i tear up EVERY FUCKING TIME i hear those distorted distant drums behind Bob Nanna’s sultry voice; a voice that spoke to me more than any voice i ever heard before. you listen to those 10 seconds of drums in that song and tell me it doesn’t hit you like a ton of bricks to your face. i dare you.
#3) “Something To Write Home About” by The Get Up Kids.
if this album ISN’T in your top 5 high school records then you have obviously failed at life and are now a mechanic in your father’s garage or something (nothing against mechanics or anything, but, well, hopefully you get my gist). yes, i’ll say it, this is the record that, in my mind, is the quintessential pivotal record of the “emo” generation. whether you like the word “emo” or not… this record IS emo. and that’s exactly why i love it. my love for this record culminated at the Worcester Palladium when i saw the Get Up Kids on their very last tour. i was in the front row when they played “i’m a loner, dottie… a rebel.” i sang that song, with the other thousand people there, as if my life depended on it. i couldn’t talk for a week after that concert. this record gave ME something to write home about, although i never really wrote home ever in my life. BUT! if i did! i credit this album for having something to write home about. it changed the way i looked at everything. it made me feel okay about not having a valentine or being dumped or liking girls. all of it. thanks you, Get Up Kids. thank you so much.
#4) “Give Up” by The Postal Service.
i don’t have all that much to say about this record. i can sum up its importance to me pretty succinctly. firstly, i lost my virginity to this record. my first “serious” relationship was in 11th grade. i “stayed home sick” one day. okay, yeah, i faked sick and stayed home. she snuck over. we did it. that was the day. i used to know the date but now i hate that bitch so i’ve erased that day from my memory. but i remember that the actual penetration occurred during “we will become silhouettes.” say what you will. but that’s what i remember. also, i love this record. it’s wonderful. there isn’t a single thing i would ever change about this album. the other thing about this album, which i think goes for a lot of people around my age, is that it turned me on to Death Cab For Cutie (their record “Transatlanticism” had just come out around that time, which is truly the most boner-riffic album ever, but unfortunately did not make this top 5 list). subsequently, this record is responsible for my love of Ben Gibbard, who i will probably always believe is one of the most important songwriters of my generation along with Jeff Tweedy from Wilco.
#5) “The Illusion Of Safety” by Thrice.
this album doesn’t necessarily follow my chronological pattern. it has been in my heart since 10th grade. it was… EVERYTHING to me. i listened to this record, with much credit to my older brother who gave it to me one fond autumn evening, all the fucking time. when shit went down in my life–the parental frustration, the teen angst, the confusion of growing up in general–this was the only album that was really there for me. i can remember so many times being in my bedroom and puching pillows and screaming in my room. this album, still to this day, helps me get all the frustration and anger out of my system. years later i would continue listening to Thrice RELIGIOUSLY and eventually get a Thrice tattoo on the back on my right arm. they are my favorite band of all time, and it’s all because of how much this album means to me. The Illusion Of Safety IS COREY MAJOR… in every way. and i wouldn’t be the same without it.
well, that was high school for me. in a nutshell, i suppose. i have a 3-way tie for a runner up that didn’t make the list (because these 3 records i found at exactly the same time and LOVED so much… and still do of course). those records are “Wiretap Scars” by Sparta, “I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love…” by My Chemical Romance, and “Worship and Tribute” by Glassjaw”. but those we shall save for another time perhaps. that’s a different story altogether.