Houston Music

That Facebook "Teenage Albums" Game Got a Little Out of Hand

Influential to the author as a teen: HSPVA's 1980 jazz ensemble album
Influential to the author as a teen: HSPVA's 1980 jazz ensemble album Photo by Jesse Sendejas Jr.
Early last week, a Facebook meme asked users to list ten influential albums from their teenage years. We enjoyed your lists, friends. On recommendations from your adolescent selves, we’ve even gone back to listen to some we might have missed.

The lists are fun and provide a little insight into our close friends and casual acquaintances alike. A killjoy or two has suggested the lists purposely omit the guilty pleasures our unsophisticated teen tastes were partial to, or that it’s not progressive to hearken back to those days. But we think music is formative, especially at those years. It's not something disposable that you listen to and throw away once you're done because something newer is coming. We asked some favorite musicians who feel the same to share a story about an album on their own lists because music isn’t just formative, it’s also a beautiful way to connect.

Top Dawg Entertainment
Singer-songwriter, Dallas

When Kendrick Lamar's Overly Dedicated mixtape came out, I had just decided to drop out of high school and I had quit going. It was wintertime and I was pretty heavily smoking herb and popping bars. Me and my group of friends used to skate around all the time and sell weed and just do little petty shit like car hopping and stealing shit from people's backyards. So the mixtape dropped and we had heard a bunch of Kendrick’s freestyles that had been popping off that fall and I downloaded it and it was snowing that day, so all the high-schoolers were outta school and we just drove around on the ice seeing everybody and smoking and listening to this mixtape. The first track, "The Heart Pt. 2" — it's not on the Spotify/Apple versions but it's on the actual mixtape — just immediately got us. The man is just rapping his ass off dropping insane wisdom.

Out in Haiti adolescents barely have a home
In L.A. everybody think they fuckin on
Hop on Twitter perpetrate we doing big shit
Who we hangin wit and bragging bout the iPhone
I swear half of y'all cats just don't know Kendrick

It was just mind-boggling.  I remember "Opposites Attract" having a huge impact on the way I had viewed relationships up to that point. All my friends and I were getting in trouble, getting locked up, dying. And Kendrick just gave our crew so much life. He had this urgency to his music and this desperation that perfectly captured the anxiety you feel being just broke and young but striving to elevate your situation. And then watching his rise from there has blown my mind over the years.

Allen’s list also includes Beck’s Odelay and Red Headed Stranger by Willie Nelson.

click to enlarge REPRISE RECORDS
Reprise Records
Chatterbox and the Latter Day Satanists, Boulder, Colo.

For me, thinking back on a band that influenced me growing up brings back 13-year-old me and a band that I didn't truly realize the effect it had on me till I was older. My Chemical Romance and The Black Parade always brings the image of angsty emo kids, but it was the first band that really meant something personal to me. I was broken by life by the time I was 11. With no one to confide in and no one to understand my pain, what I needed was empathy from anyone at all. That's exactly what those songs provided me with. It was an understanding of pain and a call to continue through the struggle of it all. "I am not afraid to keep on living/I am not afraid to walk this world alone." Those cries of courage will always push me through the roughest of times.

click to enlarge WARNER BROS. RECORDS
Warner Bros. Records
The Guillotines; Prophets of Addiction, Houston

My dad brought home the VHS Alice Cooper Trashes the World and he HATED it. Of course I loved it and watched it a million times over, but I had never heard the original group. This was back in the day when Warehouse Music let you preview CDs, so he took me in there and put on Love It to Death, Alice Cooper and put it on "I'm Eighteen" and my hair stood up! To this day it's my favorite song and those first five Alice Cooper records molded my musical life from then on out.

Gilbert's list also includes. Motley Crue’s Too Fast For Love and Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy. The Guillotines return to Fitzgerald’s Sunday, February 19 with Dallas’ Speedealer.

click to enlarge WIIIJA RECORDS
Wiiija Records
Giant Kitty, Houston

My story would have to be about Le Tigre's Le Tigre. My dear friend showed the album to me and I absolutely hated it. I didn't like that women were screaming in an annoying way, I didn't like that they were talking about what I saw as "inappropriate" topics since I was an uptight homeschooler with very rigid ideas of what women should be like and most of their message was in direct contrast to the mindset I was raised with and around most of the time. Somehow I went from playing the album to troll my friends to actually engaging with it, and I have to say that album was the first time feminism reached me in a real way. It also helped me realize that it was okay for women to be powerful and loud. I'd be a very different person without that album.

Hakim's list also includes Flogging Molly’s Drunken Lullabies and System of a Down’s Toxicity.

click to enlarge ROADRUNNER RECORDS
Roadrunner Records

The Unconvicted, Houston
So, my parents divorced in the 1980s and my dad moved to Tomball. It's not that we weren't close or had a bad relationship, but he moved to fucking Tomball! He might as well have moved to Mars. Anyway, he had a killer fucking stereo system and really liked rock. He never could get on board with my Slayer or Anthrax or much hair metal. He called it "headbangin' shit." However, one time I brought Type O Negative Bloody Kisses up to his place. I put it on and it was like magic. That motherfucker took it from me and has it to this day. We bonded over fucking goth metal! He still listens to the damn thing.

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Jesse’s been writing for the Houston Press since 2013. His work has appeared elsewhere, notably on the desk of the English teacher of his high school girlfriend, Tish. The teacher recognized Jesse’s writing and gave Tish a failing grade for the essay. Tish and Jesse celebrated their 33rd anniversary as a couple in October.