The first CD I owned was Hammer's "2 Legit 2 Quit" single. This was a present from my aunt, which made me absolutely the coolest kid in class. Prior to owning this single I was just arguably the coolest kid in class. I had Zack Morris' haircut and a real, live girlfriend and the teacher hated me, so that made me marginally cool. Throw in actual ownership of a rap CD and my coolness was above reproach.
This lasted until Girbaud jeans became popular and I wore khakis from the Gap.
The first wave of records I owned were actually co-owned with my older brother. He watched MTV, decided what was cool, acquired records, listened to them, and I soaked it all in. So, R.E.M.'s Automatic for the People and Pearl Jam's Ten were the first two tapes I co-owned and heard constantly. Turns out my brother, as an eleven year-old, had better taste than I do now. He set our tastes. He casually showed me what was cool, what was acceptable, and what was absolutely not good.
In 1994, Green Day was absolutely not good.
But in 1994, I was 9. So the first actual CD that I bought independent of my brother was Green Day's Dookie. Broseph's musical tastes were skewing jam-band by the mid-90's, and admittedly juvenile, aspirationally-dumb mall-punk was not his bag. Me being juvenile, aspirationally-dumb, and a punk who occasionally went to malls, Green Day was the best thing since Kelly Kapowski. I parted ways with Brother's tastes and brought home the Dookie.
Just to give you a sense of how awesome Green Day was to a nine year-old Chris, I've supplied this chart:
The Best Things Of Chris's Life, in Chronological Order:
Alabama Football, the aforementioned Kelly Kapowski, Green Day, Baywatch, Chicken Wings, TBD.
Fourteen years later, Green Day is one of the best rock bands on the planet. They've done nothing but stay relevant, make hits, and author American Idiot, arguably the best rock record of this decade.
All that came later, of course. In 1994, Green Day wrote really smart, well-crafted, energetic pop-punk songs about being 1) really dumb, 2) incredibly lazy and 3) bored stiff. To a slightly older, more discerning ear (the kind of folks hearing "Ants Marching" for the first time and heading in that direction), Green Day was lame, annoying, and (worst of all!) decidedly un-serious. But to a 5th/6th grader, they were the best thing on the planet.
While "Basket Case" was their definitive hit (and, according to my yearbook, Houston Middle School's favorite song that year), "Welcome to Paradise" was the song that made me a Green Day fan. Its appeal was so strong, in fact, that I'd pray to hear on 96X every time I went to soccer practice. When my teammate actually bootlegged it off the radio, onto a cassette tape, he could've sold each copy for $3000.
Let's now pause for a second to consider how incredibly different bootlegging is today than it was fourteen years ago.
Green Day - Welcome To Paradise.mp3
I still consider myself grateful that, 1994, I was just young enough to like them wholly and without guilt. Now, in 2008, it turns out I was right.
Chris, 1. Chris's Big Brother, 493.
About nothing and everything,