Do you remember the first band that you found that you could call your own? I grew up listening to my parents music. Truthfully, I never really remember thinking it was all that terrible until I began to develop my own tastes. I can remember my parents playing country music, along with other various forms of music, and never thinking it was terrible. I actually know I sang along. I knew all of the lyrics because it was always on. Then, I started listening to some of the stuff I heard on the radio. I still love a few of those bands, and will buy their albums when they are released. I feel like I need to support some of these bands that helped me form my roots.
There was one day, however, when my mom took me to the music store, and I purchased (most likely with my mother’s money) the first cd that would send me in a totally different direction of music. Walking down the aisles of the store, I looked at all of the typical things I knew to look at. Then I found this one cd. The cover art was very different from anything I had seen before. It actually felt kind of edgy to me. It was “Teenage Politics” from MxPx. I had no idea what the music sounded like inside, and I really didn’t care. Something about the artwork, and perhaps the middle school mindset, was speaking to me. I think I purchased a few other albums that day, but I can’t remember a single other cd. None of them left as big an impact on me as this one did.
Heading home, I popped this cd in and took a listen. I really did not understand what I was hearing. It wasn’t your typical clean production I was used to. These guys put out a fast dirty punk rock album that I was truly unaccustomed to. Of course, as I continued down the road into more diverse punk rock music and beyond, I realized this wasn’t even close to the roots of punk rock, but at that time, it was the edgiest thing I had ever heard. I remember taking the cd to school and showing it off to all of my friends. This was also many of their first listens to anything in this genre. It was the jump start to buying Mxpx apparel, writing the fan club, and buying up every cd that they produced for years. But ultimately, it started all of us on a journey of finding our own tastes in music. We looked into any and every band we could find that was like MxPx. It led us to metal, hardcore, ska, and a plethora of other types of music. Not all of it was great, in fact a lot of it was terrible, but it was an awesome journey. Probably one of my favorite times to look back on.
Utilizing my spotify account, I went back and listened to the album as a reminder. Even now I sing along with the songs. I won’t tell you it’s the most impressive music I’ve ever listened to. I found this CD at just the right time in my life, and it created a lasting impact. I haven’t listened to new MxPx material in years, and I may never go see them again, but that’s not what matters. Even though it hasn’t made it to my cd player in years, this is definitely one of the most important albums in my collection.
And now I ask you, what album do you cite as the most influential album in your musical history? It may not be as amazing as “Teenage Politics”, but that’s okay. What helped you find your own musical identity?