Music can have such a huge impact on a person’s life, especially during the teenage years. Recently, people have been posting on social media about their top influential albums that they listened to as teens. We thought it would be fun to ask Nobles employees, “What was your favorite album from when you were a teenager?” and “Why was it so important to you?” Here are their answers…
English Teacher Thomas Forteith:
Nothing’s Shocking by Jane’s Addiction because it rocks! And because “Summertime Rolls” makes me think of good-time high school romance!
History Teacher Brian Day:
Darkness on the Edge of Town by Bruce Springsteen. It gave a voice to those who aren’t always heard, and it empowered me with the feeling that I, too, could be heard.
Director of Graduate Affairs Greg Croak ’06:
Mezmerize by System of a Down. I generally think people assign too much value to the “importance” of music and often confuse it with other literary genres. This System of a Down album aurally kicks you in the face from start to finish and that’s exactly what my soul needed when I was 17.
Math Teacher Bill Kehlenbeck:
I received Meet The Beatles as a gift for my 11th birthday just around the time (late January/early February) that they were first appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show. It remained my favorite album for many years, as it inspired me to learn all of the lyrics and guitar chords of every song on the album, which led to my lifelong love of singing and playing rock & roll! (By interesting coincidence, I was listening to the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album this very morning as I drove to school.)
ATS Coordinator Alycia Scott-Hiser:
AC/DC, Back in Black. It spoke to my inner rebellious rocker.
Dean of Middle School Diversity Initiatives Erica Pernell:
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. This album is one that is still impactful for me, even as an adult. Lauryn Hill writes about love, justice, growing up, spirituality and materialism. She moves through different genres of music (reggae, hip hop, soul, r&b) while telling her story of growing up as a woman of color and an artist. I’m amazed at how it still speaks to me, with meanings shifting and changing as I get older.
Director of Achieve Nora Dowley-Liebowitz:
Fiona Apple. TIDAL. Best album EVER. So much teenage angst in an album, not to mention the beautiful songwriting and gorgeous orchestration. SHE. JUST. GOT. ME (as a 17 year old). Best Song – “Never is a Promise.” This song is the first time I ever felt the mic drop.
Assistant Director of Communications Kim Neal:
U2’s Joshua Tree. Amidst the other mainstream music I was listening to, this album stood out as really important: it was passionate, political and provocative, and it made me feel and think about a broader world and issues. Seeing U2 in concert is epic; they’ve connected with each other and their fans for decades because they are the real deal. And well, because Bono. Not only does he have an unbelievable voice, but he has always used his influence and resources for political and humanitarian justice.
Writer and Content Manager Lexi Sullivan:
Flogging Molly’s Drunken Lullabies. On repeat. For my entire adolescence. I once hugged the bassist (and promptly walked into a wall) and I still want “If I Ever Leave This World Alive” played at my funeral. This album, introduced to me via an Irish guy named Desmond (who once borrowed my blanket to watch a meteor shower), may be the actual spark that led me down the path to getting my master’s in Irish literature and culture.
Director of College Counseling Kate Ramsdell:
Indigo Girls – Indigo Girls (1989). I was introduced to the album (then a cassette tape!) by seniors on my high school swim team. We’d blast “Closer to Fine” on our way to school from morning practice. I felt cool being with them. When my friends and I were seniors we went to an Indigo Girls concert in Central Park, which was its own rite of passage for us as we left high school and friends we’d been in school with since kindergarten, and headed off to college.
Social Studies Teacher Fred Hollister:
Among many favorites of somewhat different sub-genres (rock more generally), I would have to say it was The Allman Brothers’ double LP, Live at Fillmore East, from 1971. While some live albums are not as good as the studio renderings of songs (musicianship, the vocals, sound quality, all of the above), this was the first album where I experienced the live versions of their catalog to that point (one album released as the Allman Joys followed by two studio efforts as the Allman Bros.) being taken to a completely different level. All the original members were still alive (Duane Allman and Berry Oakley would each be killed in motorcycle accidents over the next few years) and the band was really tight on all of these recordings. Bluesy rock, jam band length on several cuts, ballads and instrumentals – it was all there. Still remains one of my two favorite albums of all time these many years later. Seminal to me.
Science Teacher Mike Hoe:
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. This album is incredible. Lauryn Hill’s music is real & honest, she talks about tangible/relevant issues, and the interludes between each song with kids discussing big topics (i.e. love, family, etc.) are awesome. I still listen to this album pretty frequently to this day. This album is truly a way to use music as an outlet to be heard about life issues.
English Teacher E.B. Bartels ’06
In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel: To be perfectly honest, I first got into Neutral Milk Hotel when I was in ninth grade because a bunch of junior boys who I thought were really cool and edgy and cute loved the band. But it was really my sophomore year, when I was taking driver’s ed, that I fell in love with this album, because my driving instructor would always put it on during my driving lessons, and so I associated this album with growing independence. “Holland, 1945” makes me feel that rush I got driving a car alone for the first time—I could go anywhere or do anything. I was in control.
Director of Technical Theatre/Design Jon Bonner:
How’s it Goin’ (band: Bim Skala Bim). The lyrics, beats, and instrumental arrangements had me. There is so much going on with band of eight or nine players, but it all mixes so well!
Assistant Director of Graduate Affairs Michael Polebaum ’08:
Bruce Springsteen – The Rising. As a kid still trying to come to grips with losing a cousin on 9/11, this album gave me hope that there would be a better tomorrow.
Collection Management and Technical Services Librarian Emily Tragert:
American Idiot by Green Day. At the height of the Iraq War and the Bush administration, this album helped me make sense of my feelings of frustration and alienation. I had the CD in my car senior year and I think it was the only thing I listened to for months on end.
History Teacher Hannah Puckett:
One that comes to mind – and that I’ve been revisiting recently – was the Dixie Chicks’ album Home, which came out in 2002. Compared to their previous albums, it was a lot less country-pop and a lot more bluegrass. It represented a return to their Texan roots. I went to high school in California, but I was born in Texas, and this album helped me reconnect to and find pride in my first home.
Archivist Isa Schaff:
Elvis is Back. I just “discovered” Elvis when I was 13 through an old movie of his (he was more part of the culture of my sister’s age group than mine) and this was the first album I owned. When people ask me how I learned English when I lived in Italy, I always point out that I mainly did it listening to Elvis. I spent hours and hours and hours, trying to decipher what he was saying (he mumbles!) [and yes, language classes helped with the grammar].
Director of Foster Gallery John Dorsey:
L.A. Woman, The Doors. The Doors enjoyed a comeback in the early eighties and I totally rode the wave. I must have read No One Here Gets Out Alive a dozen times. Aligning yourself with a band was important back in the day and The Doors fit the bill. L.A. Woman was my favorite album of theirs, with its cool, slow riffs, two 7-minute epics (one on each side), and the knowledge that it was the last album they ever produced.
History Teacher Jenny Carlson-Pietraszek:
Rick Springfield’s Centerfold was the first album I owned. purchasing it with my own money and listening to it over and over made me feel independent and free!
Bookstore Manager Amy McHugh:
New Kids On The Block – Hangin’ Tough. It was the first concert I ever went to see- but I went to see Tiffany & New Kids opened for her. I was hooked on them ever since! I still listen to them and I still go to their concerts with my sister, we love to relive our youth and love the fact we still know every word to every song!!!
Receptionist Carol Derderian:
Carole King – Tapestry – It was a great time. All my friends and sisters love to sing those songs together and knew every word.
History Department Chair Nahyon Lee:
Joshua Tree by U2. Seems important right now since they are starting their Joshua Tree 30 Years tour! They will be in Boston this summer! In my opinion, the album’s lyrics are incredible and the first two minutes of “Where the Streets Have No Name” doesn’t compare to any other openings of any other songs (but I’m biased!). U2 stated that the album was inspired from American politics and landscape – they were critical about some of U.S.’s foreign policy but also fell in love with American landscape and the people. You can hear this reflection/soul-searching in their songs – something I think many us in high school did – who are we? Lastly, the album ends with “Mothers of the Disappeared,” which reflects U2’s politics. I had an opportunity to hear them sing this piece in Santiago, Chile, where Bono asked Pinochet and his government to answer for their crimes. This album made me more conscious about social issues around me and overseas, as well as US foreign policy, that I didn’t know about when I was in high school.
Director of Excel Ben Snyder:
Temptations – Psychedelic Shack – 1969/70. I was in middle school living outside of Detroit when this album came out. At that time Detroit (and the country) was engulfed in all sorts of conflict both at home (civil rights movement/riots etc) and abroad (Vietnam War) and that album – esp. the song “Ball of Confusion” – helped me make some kind of sense of it all (not that any of it made sense).
English Teacher Alden Mauck:
Album: The Skull and Roses album by The Grateful Dead. The Reason: Come on! It’s the Dead! The first album of theirs that I owned… but not the last!
Science Department Chair Jen Craft:
Favorite album: Nirvana’s Nevermind (1991). What can I say? I was an angsty teenager in Mississippi and this captured it. One of my first real rock shows too – life-changing.
Associate Director of Academic Support Sara Masucci:
10,000 Maniacs, Our Time in Eden. I don’t know that I can say why it was so important to me, but hearing Natalie Merchant’s voice takes me right back to high school and listening to “These Are Days” over and over.
Director of Academic Support Gia Batty:
I loved The Replacements album Let it Be. So good. When I hear any song from this album it shoots me directly back to my 1989 self at Trumbull High School. Every single song on here is good and triggers distinct memories of driving to a party, getting ready for school, driving to school, doing nothing in my room… I originally had it on cassette and this was the first CD I bought for the brand new stereo I got when I turned 18.
English Teacher Kim Libby:
Jagged Little Pill, Alanis Morissette. Jagged Little Pill came out when I was in middle school, but it continued to resonate. I appreciated hearing the edge in the voice of a female artist and a pushing back against common, tidier themes associated with relationships.
Information Services and Systems Librarian Talya Sokoll:
I was in high school during the prime years of Emo music. For me, Emo really resonated with my experiences as a teenager and made me feel like someone out there got me. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone and that other people had the same struggles and could understand what I was going through. The seminal album for me was The Place’s You Have Come to Fear the Most by Dashboard Confessional. It was like they ripped the lyrics directly from my soul.
Library Director Erin Twohig-Canal:
Music played such a huge role in my life during high school – sharing mixed tapes with friends, listening to songs in the car, and scanning the music aisles at my local bookstore was where it was at. I loved the alternative scene like The Lemonheads, Smashing Pumpkins, and The Smiths, but hands down, Morrissey’s Vauxhall and I album was one of my favorites. I have to laugh at myself because it was so annoyingly emo of me to love such sad songs like “The More You Ignore Me the Closer I Get” and “I am Hated for Loving.”
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