There are some albums from our childhood days that just seem to stand the test of time better than others. Sure, we all listened to some baffling shit when we didn’t know any better, but amongst the sonic trash, there’s bound to be at least one diamond.
After recently revisiting one of these masterpieces, I decided to ask around for what others considered their golden nuggets of nostalgic bliss, with the only caveat being that they must slap from start to finish. No filler, all killer, and so on and so forth.
Allow me to kick things off with this belter.
The Offspring – Americana
I absolutely hounded my folks for this CD after hearing the single ‘Pretty Fly For A White Guy’ on the radio, as did just about every other skateboard-having kid around the same time.
Given that the single on its own is fairly benign, my parents gave in and Americana became the first record I ever owned. I listened to it constantly. So many times, in fact, that the disk straight-up wore out, but I still chuck it on via Spotify at least once every few months. It has everything you could want in a punk record: galloping fast-paced anthems, huge catchy riffs, and a couple of quirky tracks, which still go alright in the context of the entire album.
It should also be noted that three (3) other people chose this as their primary choice, cementing it as perhaps the greatest album of the time. – Matt H.
Dr Dre – 2001
Metallica – Master of Puppets
I’d begged my parents to let me learn the guitar ever since I could talk. First they threw me on the piano, then the trumpet, and finally, when I was 9, caved in and let me take lessons.
My guitar teacher was the most stereotypical metalhead ever – his name was Mick, had matching lip and eyebrow piercings, the longest hair I’d ever seen, and decided that the first song a 9-year-old should learn was the title track from Master Of Puppets. My hands were small but my need to thrash was large.
As lessons went on into my double digits, I slowly got better and started to appreciate the album even more. My sperm was starting to make me sad and Master of Puppets was the perfect release. While I’ve moved away from headbanging as the years went on, this album will always be one of my all-time favourites. Full of memories and with some of the most hectic riffs and singing to ever hit metal. – Jack.
Green Day – Nimrod
One of my first “alternative” albums I kept on CD. I actually stole it from my sister, who I found out 20 years later stole it from my brother and got reprimanded for not being able to return it.
Little did anybody know I had it for all these years. ‘Hitchin’ A Ride’ was the start of big riffing for me and when the album got going with ‘Nice Guys Finish Last’, I was just completely overwhelmed by the pace. Billy, the crazy bastard. – Matt L.
Blink-182 – The Mark, Tom & Travis Show
Hands down one of the best live albums ever made – even though it wasn’t technically recorded live – it opened my eyes to the world of Blink-182 (and punk rock in general).
It also gave me an insight into what a live concert was actually like, given I was only 10 when it was released. The swearing, jokes and electric atmosphere was unlike anything I’d heard before. My mum was super conservative and wouldn’t buy me the album as it had an “explicit language” warning on it, so I was restricted to only listening to it when I was at my mate Brad‘s house.
Still listen to it these days, mostly always from start to finish and without skipping a track. – Josh.
The Killers – Sam’s Town
I first heard ‘When You Were Young’ on the radio and thought it was/still is one of the greatest songs. I remember a radio station was giving away tickets (maybe in like 2007) to one of their Sydney concerts so I stole my Mum‘s phone, hid in the bathroom and called and called and called.
I FINALLY got through, the producer asked me to stay on the line… AND I DID until my Mum opened the door on me and forced me to hang up. RIP my dream.
I still know pretty much every song on their album word for word and cannot fault a single track. – Emma.
Presidents Of The United States Of America – Self Titled
I bought this album from HMV (!!!) when I was in primary school because my friend’s brother liked the band and I had a huge 8-year-old crush on him.
I genuinely liked the tunes ‘Lump’, ‘Kitty’ and ‘Peaches’ though and listening back now, the whole album is seriously fun. Wild that they ended up breaking up at one point because Sir-Mix-A-Lot, as in ‘I Like Big Butts’, started producing them and wanted them to go down an electronica path. – Mel.
The Living End – Self Titled
Since everyone else is frothing Americana, I’ll go for these homegrown heroes. Their breakout single, ‘Prisoner of Society’, made this 13-year-old teeny bopper feel like she was raging against society despite still taping the likes of ‘C’est la Vie’ by B*witched and ‘S Club Party’ on Video Hits on a Saturday morning.
For real though, these lads helped expand my early teens’ musical education and were a perfect example of how sick 90s Aussie rock was; from Jebediah to Machine Gun Fellatio and Magic Dirt. Slap, slap, slap. – Tegan.
The Lion King – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
From the opening “Mahhhhhhhhhsowhenyahhh mamabeatsebabah” (actual technical spelling) to the final, triumphant notes of Simba defeating Scar — spoilers, sorry — The Lion King Soundtrack is the ultimate childhood album that translates to adulthood for me.
‘The Circle Of Life’? A moving reflection on mortality and a sense of purpose. ‘I Just Can’t Wait To Be King’ is a hype song like no other, perfect for everything from job interviews to pre-drinks. ‘Hakuna Matata’ is literally still the problem-free philosophy I live by, while ‘Can You Feel The Love Tonight’ literally soundtracks two lions boning and is the horniest song Disney has ever recorded aside from ‘Under the Sea’.
Curious to see what soundtrack the reboot comes up with because IMO, even Donald Glover and Beyonce can’t beat the genius of Elton John and Tim Rice, don’t @ me. – Josie.
Missy Elliott – Under Construction
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better hip-hop album from 2002, let me tell you. An album with both ‘Gossip Folks’ AND ‘Work It’ on the tracklist? Jesus H Christ, we are not worthy.
‘Under Construction’ was one of the first Proper Adult Albums I remember owning on CD. I can’t remember how exactly it came into my possession as well as her next album, ‘This Is Not A Test!’ but I think it might have been a present from my parents (???) I DO definitely remember listening to it on my Sony Discman under my bed because it had swear words in it. It also took me a hell of a long time to realise what the song ‘Pussycat‘ was about.
It sparked my love for hip-hop (before my huge emo phase), and though I didn’t realise it at the time, Missy’s influence as a bigger woman really owning her body and sexuality, and taking up as much space as she god damned pleases, subliminally taught me that women can be powerful as fuck and should not be messed with.
Oh and I also begged my parents for a pair of shell-toe Adidas simply because Missy wore them. I think I ended up getting a pair of chunky pink Etnies. – Courtney.
Timbaland – Shock Value
Because I pretty much missed the 90s and 12-year-old me was also ready to join a street dance crew (somehow that didn’t work out though?) Maybe it’s the nostalgia but I still dig the production on this. – Rachael.
Hilary Duff – Metamorphosis
Queen Duff’s second studio album slapped me back into the dinosaur ages. I will personally argue anyone who disagrees (I won’t, cbf).
I bought the album back in Christmas 2003. I remember the fateful day like it was only 16 years ago. While my cousins were outside riding motorbikes on the farm, I locked myself in a room and popped my bussy so hard to Metamorphosis I was personally responsible for The Great ‘03 Earthquake of Oceania.
She taught my 8-year-old self how to sexy dance. She also single-handedly invented math (“Is it a minus or a plus / Does enough equal enough?”) and equipped me with some life-long lessons about relationships (ie. “Love just.. is. J”). ‘All those boys on the playground are so yesterday,’ I’d eventually murmur to myself.
The album is SO great, in fact, that it doesn’t exist on Spotify. It’d send the platform into irreparable meltdown. Goodbye. – Louis H.
Blink-182 – Take Off Your Pants And Jacket
I was a kid and mum wouldn’t take me to see them live because they had that big sign that lit up saying ‘FUCK’. Just made me want to listen more. Lessons learned. – Brad.
My Chemical Romance – Welcome To The Black Parade
I KNOW, I AM YOUNG. But that doesn’t change the fact that this album made my little emo heart bleed pure joy when it first came out back in 2006. From the first piano notes of the title track through to the unlisted song at the end, I held onto every last word that came out of Gerard Way‘s mouth – and to be perfectly honest, I still do.
Sure, my parents were concerned when their 12-year-old daughter was singing along to lyrics like “I’m a bad motherfucker, tell your sister I’m another” at the top of her lungs in her room, but I simply could not be silenced. I WILL NOT be silenced. Even now, if I’m pissed off or stressed and need to really focus, I’ll chuck on this album and get shit done.
Let’s just be thankful that my eyeliner game has improved since ’06. – Steph P.
Phantom Of The Opera – Original Cast Recording
I somehow got my hands on a copy of this despite never having seen the show, and listened to it pretty much every night of my early teens, imagining what the sets might have looked like and mouthing the words “in sleep he saaaaaaang to me” as the Phantom lured Christine to his underground sex dungeon.
I later got a copy of the sheet music and would furiously bash out the DUN-DUN-DUN-DUN-DUNNNNNNN chords on the piano, much to the delight of my family members. Did I mention I was a precocious teen and fairly gay from a fairly young age? Anyway, the Phantom soundtrack still slaps from beginning to end and I still know all the words to ‘The Music Of The Night’. – Alasdair.
Avril Lavigne – Let Go
My sister introduced me to this angry chick and I must have resonated with her angry chick lyrics, as I became obsessed immediately. I am talking TOTAL GIRL/GIRLFRIEND/DOLLY/TV HITS posters everywheeeeeeerrrreeeeee.
I would force my family to listen to Complicated on repeat on our way up the coast for the annual Turner holiday.
I also have a distinct memory of listening to ‘I’m With You’ on the radio. I was staring out of my kitchen window and would reply to her lyrics.
“Isn’t anyone tryin’ to find me?”
*Whispering* I am.
“Won’t somebody come take me home?”
*Wailing* I WILL.
“It’s a damn cold night. Trying to figure out this life…” – Georgia.
Nirvana – Nevermind
While my first ever tape that wasn’t Playschool – Britney Spears ‘…Baby One More Time’ – will always hold a special place in my heart, the first CD I ever bought for myself was Nirvana‘s Nevermind and I still listen to the whole thing basically once a week, or just whenever I’m in a particularly teenage-angsty mood. – Kassia.Image: The Offspring / Frank Kozik