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I Turn Twenty in a Week, Here's Twenty Albums that Soundtracked my Teenage Years

Updated: May 19

Music has always been the way that I've catalogued the years of my life. "I liked this album when I was 13, but this other one I didn't discover until I was 17," etc. These songs traveled with me through the highest highs and lowest lows, and I'm sure will continue to do so for the rest of my life. These are the twenty albums that have impacted me most deeply in my seven years of teenager-dom!

The Strokes- Is This It

I would venture to say that The Strokes have probably been the most influential band on my life. I've talked about this plenty before, but this band and album are what made me want to start The Music Box. 'Is This It' put into perspective how deeply I love music. I can't imagine where I would be without this album!

Maggie Lindemann- SUCKERPUNCH

Over the years, I've found that there wasn't a ton of female artists that I felt fully understood me. Most of my favorite bands and artists happened to be men, but Maggie Lindemann changed that. Her songs touched on topics that felt personal to me, and when she dropped 'SUCKERPUNCH' in 2022, my love for her music grew even more than it had already. Self Sabotage, Hear Me Out, and Take Me Nowhere really changed the game for me. This was my top album for both 2022 and 2023, so that should speak for itself.

Interpol- Turn On The Bright Lights

'Turn On The Bright Lights' soundtracked many of my lonely nights and quiet times. This was the first album that made me see how atmospheric an album can be, as its ability to create space and emptiness blew my mind entirely. I still find the crypticness of the lyrics rather endearing and experimental in ways other lyrics weren't. It's made for melancholy evenings and dismal moods.

The Last Shadow Puppets- Everything

You've Come To Expect

While I can't necessarily relate to a lot of what's being said on this album, I find it to be one of the most lyrically intriguing albums I've heard. The choices made for each song are unique and all-encompassing, like nothing I've heard before. It makes me want to dance, scream, cry, and lay on the floor in silence. It's a wonderful rollercoaster with something exciting on each turn.

Pierce The Veil- Collide With The Sky

I think this was the first full album within the emo scene that I truly fell in love with. The energy of every song was foreign to my indie-rock acquainted ears and it's stuck with me ever since. Vic Fuentes's voice has a very transportive and raw element that also attracted me, and this was also an album that I felt understood me in ways others didn't. I say that about a lot of these, but that's why they're on this list.

Omar Apollo- Apolonio

I remember so vividly the summer days in 2021 after I got my license when I could drive myself around and blast Useless and Kamikaze. It has a nostalgic ethereality to it that makes those days glaze over in a muted summer hue. Omar has ended up being a very big part of my life, and I was so grateful for the opportunity to be able to ask him some questions about this album in person in 2022. These songs remind me of my best friend and all the good parts of high school. 'Apolonio' on the way to school, 'Apolonio' on the way back. There were no CDs made of this album so I burned my own and played it all the time in my parent's old minivan that didn't have aux. Good times.

Evanescence- Fallen

This was one that was just a total obsession. Imaginary, Haunted, and Taking Over Me were the ones that I always had on repeat. There's something incredibly captivating about Amy Lee's voice and maybe that's why this album was so addictive to me. Her vocal range in Haunted was one of the most beautiful things I had heard at the time, and still is. I find a lot of inspiration from Evanescence too because they're a very famous female fronted rock band, which was rare when they first debuted. She inspired me to be strong and resilient, much like Hayley Williams of Paramore. These women have proved themselves to the world to be talented and powerful, and that's so uplifting for me to see in the world of rock music.

Paramore- RIOT!

As I mentioned, Hayley Williams of Paramore has very deeply inspired me last couple of years. I found this album to be influential in my life because of its themes touching on growing up, religion, falling in love, and taking on the world. At the time I found this album at a thrift store, these were all ideas very strongly on my mind. Williams's courage through band drama and the very sexist music industry has always reminded me to stay strong even through the worst. On top of that, it's just a fun and ever-exciting album to sing along to. When It Rains has always touched my heart, but crushcrushcrush makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs. The days when this album was still new and sparkly to me were some of the best!

The Strokes- The New Abnormal

I had to include a second album by The Strokes. Like I said, this band has certainly been the most influential in terms of how my life has progressed and the path I've taken professionally. 'The New Abnormal' is stacked with both incredible upbeat songs and some more solemn ones. Ode to the Mets was, and still is, a song I turn to in times of disorder. It has some miracle calming effect on me, it's the Bohemian Rhapsody of The Strokes. I think that's a song that will always take me back to high school within seconds, back to the days when I thought my life was ending over one tiff with my friends. It's a perfectly crafted album.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club- B.R.M.C

This album totally opened the doors to rock 'n roll. It made me fall in love with an era of music that I thought was long over. I heard Spread Your Love on some curated playlist and fell head over heels in love with this band, and eventually this album too. I found solace in the words of Too Real and Head Up High, the thoughts I couldn't express were found somewhere in this album. There's no better feeling than finding an artist that understands you. I love all of thier albums now, but because this was the first, it sticks with me the most.

JAWNY- For Abby

Much like Omar Apollo, JAWNY is one of those artists who remind me so vividly of high school and summertime. You may have heard his song Honeypie which is on this album, but that isn't even the best song. My personal favorite will always be Super Bad Mantra because of its playfulness and what I call "blast-ability" (it gets a ten in that category). My best friend and I still think that this is the anthem of our friendship. When I Fall Apart also very much stands out to me, as does Sabotage.

The Black Eyed Peas- Elephunk

This was a really fun phase. I honestly wish I could go back and experience the excitement and sassiness that this album gave me again for the first time. Shut Up will always ALWAYS be my favorite, but I absolutely adored turning up the volume to Smells Like Funk and The Boogie That Be. It's nostalgic of when I was first learning how to skateboard and having those songs on rotation while I consistently fell on my butt. Fun times!

Daft Punk- Random Access Memories

I first listened to this album because Julian Casablancas from The Strokes is featured on the song Instant Crush (still one of my favorite songs of all time), but I ended up becoming deeply enthralled with the whole thing. The grooviness and danceability was infectious, and that was the energy I needed over quarantine when I was locked up in my room alone. Lose Yourself To Dance and Giorgio by Moroder were the other two I remember being my very favorites. This wholeheartedly made me love Daft Punk.

Cuco- Para Mi

Cuco so distinctly reminds me of freshman year of high school. 'Para Mi' feels like slow summer days when all I did was lay around all day with my headphones in. This is a wonderful album to listen to cover to cover as I find it's a very cohesive work, rare these days for modern artists. We've lost the art of making an album to be listened to in order with purposeful intermissions. This was another I frequented when I was learning to skateboard, specifically Keeping Tabs and Perihelion.

Tame Impala- Currents

I feel like everyone has a history with this album in some way or another, and I was no exception. I loved it when I was in middle school, but it was also one of the few albums I had on CD when I was driving my parent's minivan and could only listen to music on the CD player. Love/Paranoia and Past Life will always have a place in my heart.

Panic! At The Disco- Death of a Bachelor

Nothing feels more 2016 to me than this album. Brendon Urie wedding photos, Kinky Boots, Panic! merchandise in the Hot Topic. Those were the days! Even if it isn't their best album, it will always stay with me because of how deeply I was obsessed with it. Between LA Devotee and Hallelujah, it was impossible to escape the grips this had on me.

One Direction- Made In The A.M.

I feel like at least one 1D album was expected. Whose childhood wasn't formed by these guys? I was having a hard time picking which album I wanted to include, but I chose this one because It came back to me over quarantine and (as cheesy as it sounds) was a big comfort over those isolated months. A.M. will always have a special place in my heart, as does What A Feeling. I will never be ashamed of my One Direction phase!!!!

Sabrina Carpenter- EVOLution

As many were, my childhood happiness was dictated by what was playing on Disney Channel. Girl Meets World was my favorite show and it starred Sabrina Carpenter, so naturally, I continued to be a fan after her Disney says were over. She released 'EVOLution' in 2016 and my friends and I were head over heels for it. I was an early enough Sabrina fan that her music videos were still playing on Disney Channel! I miss the days of On Purpose and All We Have Is Love.

Bruno Major- A Song For Every Moon

After six years of loving Bruno's music, I finally got to see him live in 2023 and it was such a long-awaited night. This album will always feel like an old friend to me, one I turn to in search of nostalgia and a big hug. It's quite peaceful and serene with wonderful songwriting and a beautiful voice to deliver it all. I still have some of these songs downloaded to my MP3 player from middle school.

Billie Eilish- Don't Smile At Me

Last but certainly not least, Billie Eilish's debut album. I thought this album was the future for music, and honestly, it did change the game quite a bit. Although listening to it now I don't find I experience the same level of awe as I once did, I still remember the days when it was all I listened to. I appreciate the gratification it gave me then!


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