We all have music that reminds us of cer­tain times in our lives. So here are my top five albums from High School, and the top five from Notre Dame. Also, what I asso­ciate them with.

High School:

Stone Tem­ple Pilots: Core
This was the first CD I ever owned, and my first suc­cess­ful move away from oldies rock and roll. Thanks to BMG. I knew my cousin Luke was a big STP fan and since I looked up to him I fig­ured I’d give his music a try. Core is prob­a­bly their strongest album, I know it is the rockingest. I’d sit in my room with the door closed and my prim­i­tive CD play­er cranked. Imag­ine my sur­prise when lit­tle inno­cent me real­ized what some of the songs were about.

Toad­ies: Rub­ber­neck
I had no idea who these guys were, all I knew is that every­body on the Cross Coun­try did, and thought they ruled. The first Toad­ies song I heard was “I Come From the Water” at the Cathe­dral invi­ta­tion­al. Some­thing like three of my bud­dies were lis­ten­ing to it at the same time and Bo was pogo-ing to get psy­ched for the race. I was one of the last to fin­ish [of course] but at least I found out why Toad­ies were cool.

The Smash­ing Pump­kins: Adore
Although I always burn up this album in the fall, it start­ed out as a sum­mer album. After school I’d roll down the win­dows of my gold­en ’89 Cor­si­ca, adjust the stick that made the tape play­er turn on, fid­dle with the fade, hold my mouth just right and blast Ava Adore. This is one of those songs that will for­ev­er be asso­ci­at­ed with sen­so­ry stim­uli, heat and the smell of dry grass.

The Crow Sound­track
Anoth­er influ­ence from the good old Cross Coun­try team. It real­ly is strange, for some­one as dis­in­clined to ath­leti­cism as I am, how much team sports have been my favorite mem­o­ries of high school and col­lege. Any­way, to me this sound­track is one of the best of all time. Every song is pret­ty strong, even the mel­low ones at the end that put me to sleep, and it made me start to look in oth­er musi­cal direc­tions.

Metal­li­ca: Metal­li­ca
Thank you Rosie. Thank you Phil. I’d always thought Metal­li­ca et al. were evil [Thank you Mom] but Rosie grudg­ing­ly let me lis­ten to “Of Wolf and Man” [This was when they still want­ed noth­ing to do with me] on the bus to Jay Coun­ty. One of the next albums I got from BMG was the Black album, and it remains my favorite Metal­li­ca album. Phil gets thanks for let­ting me lis­ten to his oth­er Metal­li­ca albums.

Notre Dame:

Machines of Lov­ing Grace: Gilt
My love for MolG stems direct­ly from the afore­men­tioned Crow Sound­track. Track 2 is a MolG song called “Gol­go­tha Ten­e­ment Blues” and once I hit the T1s at ND, I start­ed down­load­ing music on Nap­ster like it was my job. For a while I think it was. One of the first things I down­loaded was a MolG album called Gilt. MolG was pop­u­lar when I was ten, so it was nigh impos­si­ble to actu­al­ly find their albums. I remem­ber tramp­ing to the JACC through a foot of snow at 5:45am to go fenc­ing and get­ting ready to kick ass by lis­ten­ing to Solar Tem­ple.

Poe: Haunt­ed
This album direct­ly con­tributed to me get­ting the most action I ever got from a Notre Dame girl. Thank you Poe. I still don’t actu­al­ly know what made the girl inter­est­ed in me, but when she found out I lis­tened to chick rock [and Poe in par­tic­u­lar] she real­ly became inter­est­ed. She was also a strip­per and danced to “Not A Vir­gin Any­more” but I didn’t find that out until lat­er.

Led Zep­pelin III
This was the last Led Zep­pelin album I pur­chased. I’d owned all the oth­ers since High School but wait­ed until I was a senior in col­lege to pick up III. Final­ly I grew to appre­ci­ate the mas­tery of Since I’ve Been Lov­ing You, and this CD sat in my play­er for the last three months of my col­lege career.

Dis­turbed: The Sick­ness
I don’t remem­ber why I start­ed lis­ten­ing to these guys, but they are the clos­est thing I can stom­ach in the world of nü-met­al. In any case, this album is awe­some com­pet­i­tive music, par­tic­u­lar­ly the song Vio­lence Fetish. I lis­tened to that song before every fenc­ing com­pe­ti­tion my senior year. I rarely lis­ten to the album now, which can’t be said for most of the oth­ers.

The Shins: Oh, Invert­ed World
To be that indie rock guy, but to also be truth­ful, I have to admit that I’ve been lis­ten­ing to The Shins ever since they were a third page google result for a ran­dom review of a con­cert in NYC. I was the guy who man­aged to bring The Shins to the atten­tion of my indie rock friends. There is a first time for every­thing, and this was the first time I actu­al­ly knew a cool band before any­one else I knew about.

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