Over my life, few things have played a bigger role than music. And sometimes the few factors that are more important than music could not have been overcome without music. For years now I have toyed around with the idea of “100 Albums You Would Let Ruin Your Life”. To me the saying is cool and the meaning isn’t that deep. But just imagine the 100 albums that would serve as the soundtrack to your life. Some are just bangers that make you think about the good times. Others are emotional crutch, and some help instill life lessons. At the end of the day, I believe the music you listen too defines the path you take in your life.

So here is it, my ongoing series chronicling my life and the music that was there to help guide me along.

Chapter 01 – Little Sass and his first CDs

When I was a kid I so desperately wanted my own CD collection. Every year I would ask for CDs and Tapes for Christmas or my birthday. But the truth of the matter is that my parents didn’t have the money to turn over cd players and CDs to a five-year-old who would break them.

But on May 2nd, 1997 my dreams came true and for my birthday I received a Sony Discman player and three albums. The one we won’t discuss is The Wallflowers “Bringing Down The Horse”. Mostly because that album never stuck with me. I like One Headlight (who didn’t) but the rest of the album did stick to me.

However Sister Hazel’s, “Somewhere More Familiar” did.

So much that to this day when the opening riff to Just Remember plays I can feel the sun hitting my face sitting in the back seats of my Mom’s car driving down Even City Road. Folk rocky as fuck and unapologetically cheesy. If you don’t think you know this album I suggest you give it a spin. Soaked in 90’s nostalgia and four-part harmonies, its a can’t miss.

Tracks like Just Remember, Happy, All For You, and Look To The Children are essentials of this Album.

Fast forward to my sophomore year of high school. I had a nasty flu and stayed home from school for a week. That entire week was spent ripping CDs into iTunes to fill my first MP 3 Player. A blue Sandisk that only held 512 Mega Bites HA!

When I got to the bottom of the pile of my CDs I found Matchbox Twenty “Yourself Or Someone Like You”. 

I remembered getting it as a birthday present but hadn’t listened to it in years. The case was a little cracked but the CD was in great condition. I popped it in and the heart-wrenching vocals of Rob Thomas greeted me. Immediately I remember the music videos on MTV and the popularity of this band at the time. How Smooth took over the airwaves, and the music video sat atop TRL.

It had been years since the world had heard from Rob Thomas. But I felt like I had heard it for the first time. Well needless to say Matchbox twenty would never leave my zeitgeist after that. In fact the weekend before the Quarantine, I was at the house of Ryan and Kaeli of the Wrestling League hammered belting out 3 am at well frankly 3 am.

So are you impressed or what for a seven-year-old I had good taste. God forbid if these two ever team up and go to Jergels, I will be hammered, crying and screaming how much their music means to me. I think the thing that stands out to me the most is that both those CDs survived my adolescence, both physically and mentally.

I love both albums and physical CDs so much so that they made it into my first car. Then they went to college with me and they even moved into my first house. I think it goes to show the power music has over you. It is just a piece of plastic but to me, they were treasures that needed to be protected.

Eventually, I downsized my physical collection of media. But part of me always wished I would have kept those two albums. I’m sure they wouldn’t play anymore, but just the feeling of having them in my hand would be great. Now I search record stores regularly for both albums. One day I hope to walk into a shop and see them sitting right next to each other, just like they did in my hands in 1997.