Over my life, few things have played a bigger role then music. And sometimes the few factors that are more important then 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.
Ten is a weird age. You’re not really a kid anymore, but you’re also not a teenager. You are realizing you like girls, you have to start wearing deodorant, your body is all out of whack as hormones begin to flood in. You become self aware of how you come across to other people. You may also have had a sick collection of tech deck t-shirts.
So even though the lyrical content of these next three albums may have not been about losing in a Spelling B to the foreign exchange student from China. It sure felt like it.
“I want to be in another place
I hate when you say you don’t understand
I want to be in the energy, not with the enemy
A place for my head.”
The lyrics’ intentions are about anxiety, and not being able to communicate with those you love about why you feel the way you do. I don’t think they are about trying to explain to your Father why you can’t get an A on a spelling quiz. But to me that was exactly what the lyrics were about.
Linkin Park’s debut album Hybrid Theory dropped in October of 2000. And for me, music was never the same. The heaviness of the music with Chester Bennington’s airy haunting vocals turned into cries of pain resonated with me, and mostly everyone else.
YOU TRY TO TAKE THE BEST OF ME, GO AWAY! I remember the first time my mom heard that song. She slowly turned down the music and the car and said, “Joshua, what do you think this song is about.” Satan bless her, my Mother understands the healing effect of music. And despite that her 10 year old is screaming the lyrics to A Place For My Head in the back of her car. She never took music away from me.
However she did buy me some of the censored music. Mainly after one amazing Christmas Party.
A Christmas Party was held at my Grandparent’s house every year. A number of my cousins and extended family would attend. You see that side of the family is very christian. And most of them were pretty well off. My family always felt like the weird family. We didn’t dress as nice as everyone else, we weren’t taking horseback riding lessons, or having private guitar lessons from people. We were pretty run of the mill family.
The climax of the party every year was a visit from Santa Clause. Truly a special thing for any kid, but this year Santa brought me The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Californiacation. I was so eager to listen to my new cd, but my dad had taken my Discman until the party was over. He wanted me to be social. Big mistake buddy. So I asked my grandmother if I could play my new CD in her CD player.
Now at the time my grandparents had a full sound system in their family room. Like a 6 disc changer, speakers in every corner. So my grandmother thinking it was cute said yes. So in goes Red Hot Chilli Peppers and over the speakers at full blast comes this song.
Flea’s bass riff slamming the ears of the party goers, Anthony Kiedis screaming at the top of his lungs. My mother could not get to the stereo fast enough and as Anthony Kiedis raps the lyric, “I try not to wine, but I must warn ya about the mother fuckinn girl from California”. My Father pulled the power on the stereo.
Needless to say the room was silent, until my Uncle Tim piped up to break the silence, “I liked it, put it back on”. The room chuckled. Uncle Tim if you read this, thanks for being cool.
I have never gotten direct confirmation that this humiliating incident was the reason I got censored music moving forward, but you can put one and one together.
The next CD I would receive would be censored. Limp Bizkit’s 2000 release, Chocolate Starfish and The Hot Dog Flavored Water.
Man let me tell you something. I wore that CD out! So much so that my mom had to buy me another copy. Every morning I would pull my little cd player that ran on D batteries to the backward and just shoot a hockey ball into my net for hours.
As I write these articles I make sure to play the albums in my head phones. So when this song came on I had to take a break from writing.
No joke I just took a three minute and fifty second break and head banged to Hot Dog. My wife is looking at me with concerned eyes. Probably debating her decision to marry me, but I will worry about that later.
This album touches that rage nerve in everyone. The lyrical content is aggressive, edgy, and belligerent. Fred Durst delivers it in the finest example of Rap Rock to this day. The album isn’t for everyone, but the people it is for will tell you it was an album that changed them forever.
So in conclusion 10 year old Josh was riddled with anxiety, did a lot of drugs, and had anger problems. Like 90% of that is true if Oreos are drugs, Anxiety was bad at spelling, and well the anger issues were for sure right.