You never forget your first time — buying an album that you want, that you really really want. This week Flavorwire writers talked about their first CDs, so I asked the AfterEllen gang to own up to theirs. Now you must follow suit!
What was the very first album you bought or had purchased for you on your own volition?
Erika Star: I’m not sure if it was my first, but I remember desperately needing Kissing to Be Clever by The Culture Club because of my raging crush on Boy George. I watched the “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me” video on a loop and wore out the liner notes gazing longingly at the pictures. My parents have no recourse for not knowing I was queer, they were warned.
Trish Bendix: For some bizarre reason I just really had to own Ace of Base‘s The Sign and dance to it in Alicia White’s front yard with the sprinklers on. I’m sure her neighbors were like “WTF?”
Jill Guccini: The Cranberries everything. Puh-retty sure first cassette was No Need to Argue (although it might have been August and Everything After by the Counting Crows), and first CD was definitely To the Faithful Departed.
Elaine Atwell: When I was nine, my parents sent me to a summer camp for academically gifted children (this was one of many ideas for my betterment to which I was subjected without my consent) and I ended up being the very youngest kid there. I was the weird kid at weird camp, and so miserable that I broke my braces ON PURPOSE just so I could have a brief respite at my orthodontist’s office. But I watched the “cool kids” carefully, and observed them lounging around the recreation field, listening to Hanson on their smuggled-in boomboxes and seeming impossibly sophisticated. It was there my brain forged the connection: HANSON=COOL. When I returned home from camp, I lobbied my parents relentlessly for a copy of the CD, but by the time they relented, the moment had passed and everyone was all about Third Eye Blind. The happy postscript to this story is that years later I returned to that camp, had an amazing and soul-nurturing time and suppressed some of my very first homosexual feelings. Yay, Camp Broadstone!
Punky Starshine: I had a hefty collection of cassette tapes for my Walkman at a very young age, but the first one I obtained on my own was when I traded one of my cassettes (I don’t remember which one) for TLC‘s “Waterfall” single. Whatever I traded, it was totally worth it. The first CD I bought on my own, with my own money, was Hanson’s Middle of Nowhere. Which is still, to this day, one of my favorite albums as a whole. (It was probably telling that the closest thing to a boy band crush I had in the ’90s was on a boy who looked like a girl.)
Lucy Hallowell: I can’t remember but I think it was probably in high school because for years I just borrowed, stole, or was handed tapes by my older siblings who are obsessed with music. If I had to guess I would say Dilate by Ani DiFranco which, of course, earned me a hearty lecture from my older brother about why P.J. Harvey was so much better.
Karman Kregloe: I was crazy for records even as a small child, so I had a pretty impressive (quantity, not quality) collection from a young age. For some reason, the first album I have a really clear memory of actually buying for myself was the retro Sweet Baby James by James Taylor when I was about 11 years old. I guess I was always into the rock-country-folk blend (and aspired to be a dude with long hair). The first CD I bought was Sign ‘O’ the Times by Prince. I am a sucker for the ambitious bloat of a double album, and this is still one of my favorites!
Dorothy Snarker: The first cassette tape I purchased with my very own hard-earned allowance money was Tears for Fears, Songs from the Big Chair. I believe my love for the band and its big-poofy mullets was a sign of my future inclusion in tribe Lesbiana. I, however, was lucky enough to evolve out of the subset that enjoyed business in the front, party in the back. Though “Shout” is still a really fun song to sing along to in the car.
Dara Nai: I honestly have no idea what I first bought with my own money. I’m sure it was terrible; children have awful taste. What I do remember are the tapes that I first really, truly loved. Everyone from Jersey knows Bruce Springsteen‘s Born to Run, but I found The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle in a flea market when I was in high school. This older one is full of great stories, tragic characters and the amazing keyboard riffs of Dave Sancious.
The first time I went to China with my mother, Depeche Mode‘s Violator was in my backpack, I fell asleep with my headphones on and it ingrained in my brain forever. And Stevie Nicks‘ Bella Donna, reminds me of the super hot girl who lived in my neighborhood. She used to invite me over, and sexy-dance to it for me. And Ray of Light by Madonna. ‘Cause, ya know. Madonna.
Emily Hartl: Alanis Morrisette‘s Jagged Little Pill. Previous to this purchase I had gotten certain single cassettes but this was the first album I chose to grace my CD/Cassette Player.
Ali Davis: This goody-two shoes quickly learned who in her elementary school was a friend or foe when she, desperate but not serious, (OK, maybe a little too serious) brought Adam Ant in to sharing time in music class. It did not go well.
(And, in all honesty, our usually useless class provided a valuable life lesson that day: Everyone in class claimed to hate the album, but then about a third of the group quietly came up to me later and said they’d actually liked it, but didn’t want people to think they were weird. Which is why I later had this freak flag holder installed instead of getting a tattoo.)
Heather Hogan: The Top Gun soundtrack. I used to turn up the volume just as loud as my cassette player would go and turn down the volume all the way to zero on the TV and blare to “Highway to the Danger Zone” and see how fast I could make it through Super Mario Bros. and beat Bowser, in one life, using no warp zones. (My best time ever was 3.5 Highway to the Danger Zones.) My life hasn’t changed very much since I was a kid. Lately I’ve been listening to Tegan and Sara‘s new album at top volume while playing Lego Batman 2: DC Superheroes.
Marcie Bianco: Salt-n-Pepa‘s Very Necessary. My aunt and uncle agreed to buy it for me for XMas and then, after opening it in front of my entire Italian family on XMas eve, demanded that I read the track list on the back of the CD, including “Sexy Noises Turn Me On” and “I’ve Got AIDS.” Humiliated, I was still relieved that my grandparents barely knew English and could only naively laugh along with everyone else taking the piss out of me.
Grace Chu: CD? Tape? Damn, I’m old. I received Michael Jackson‘s Thriller LP from my dad in first grade. Actually, I had no idea who Michael Jackson was, and really, my dad just wanted to buy it for himself, but it turned out to be pretty amazing. For the longest time afterwards, I thought the Billie Jean he was referring to was Billie Jean King, and yep, she was definitely not his lover.
Bridget McManus: Mine was the album for the dramatic animated film An American Tail. “Somewhere out there…”
Dana Piccoli: Taylor Swift‘s Red, ‘cuz I was feeling 22. Ha, I wish. My first CD ever was Jonatha Brooke‘s Plumb, which is still an incredible album.
What was yours?