My Formative Teenage Albums


This entry is inspired by something I read on Pitchfork yesterday. There, the staffers had listed the ten albums from their formative teenage years that have made the most lasting impression on them. As a list geek I immediately figured I wanted to do the same. In chronological order, here are the ten most important albums from my formative years, age 14-18. I interpret ”lasting impression” as either meaning albums that opened important doors to musical worlds in which one still dwells, or simply albums one thought was great back then and still does.

Billy Idol Billy Idol

– Time of discovery: late 2000, aged 14.

To be quite honest, Billy Idol is the original reason for me listening to alternative (pop/rock) music. Before seeing the White Wedding video on MTV’s ”So 80’s” Weekend in the fall of 2000, the only music I listened to was hiphop and Michael Jackson (which is great, of course). Seeing this video, this sinister, weird, gothic video, changed everything. The song was equally sinister and weird, yet catchy, and with strange lyrics. It didn’t sound like anything I had ever heard before, or like anything my friends or classmates listened to. And the guy singing it was pale, skinny, wearing a red leather vest (with nothing underneath) and black pants, looking all cool and threatening. This was the first time I could even remotely see myself in a musician (even though we only had the pale and skinny thing in common – I was the least cool person you would ever meet). Earth-shattering. I went out and bought his self-titled debut album. I remember being disappointed that the other songs were kind of poppy, but it didn’t matter. I became a Billy Idol fanatic, and through him I discovered punk rock, and through punk I discovered…everything else. I became a…person. I developed some sort of style. I got ideas. Opinions.  Values. Stuff that’s still at the core of my being. Thank you, Billy. You’re one of the most criminally underrated singers/songwriters of all time (not to mention vocalists!).

Sex PistolsNever Mind the Bollocks, here’s the Sex Pistols

Time of discovery: late 2000, aged 15.

– I had learned that Billy Idol was originally a punk and lead singer with original punks Generation X. This made me terribly interested in the genre, and for my 15th birthday I got a gift certificate at the record store CD Land and I bought this album. Another earth shattering moment. Again, it sounded like nothing I had ever heard. It was totally aggressive, but the lyrics were hilarious (without failing to convey important messages such as anti-royalism, solidarity and alienation) and their attitude was so off, so un-cool (the traditional sense of cool) and antisocial it instantly felt super cool. I was on my path to becoming an individual.

Ebba GrönKärlek och uppror

Time of discovery: 2000, aged 15.

-The dearest thing I ever discovered through punk rock. Cemented my love for all things Thåström – a love that gets stronger with each passing day. There’s no-one like him.

The CureThree Imaginary Boys

Time of discovery: early 2001, aged 15.

– I discovered The Cure on the same So 80’s Weekend on MTV as I did with Billy Idol (and a-ha! and The Clash!), although I had heard of them before. I knew they were moody and weird, and the video for Close to Me didn’t change that idea. It took me a few months, however, before buying my first Cure CD (and this was the only one that the record store had), but I liked it. It was guitar-driven, like the punk rock I usually listened to, but it was more understated, moodier, weirder. Mood-wise, this suited me better than punk and I got deeper and deeper into The Cure in the following years. They are still very dear to me.

Oasis(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?

– Time of discovery: mid-late 2001, aged 15 or 16.

I missed the Britpop wave of the mid 90’s (I was too busy trying to learn how to Moonwalk and rap along to Biggie songs). But after listening to punk and Billy Idol and The Cure for a year or so, I knew I wanted to take it further. I knew of Oasis and I knew their most famous songs, so I decided to borrow their albums from the public library. And I don’t know what it was exactly, but they spoke to me. Their music had the attitude I loved from punk, combined with the wistfulness I more and more felt I needed from music. And so, another life long love began.

Bruce Springsteen The Rising

Time of discovery: mid-late 2002, aged 16.

– I was exploring my increasingly deeper interest in music and decided to check out this legend and his newly released and much talked-about comeback album. It was instant love and Bruce is now one of my all-time favorite artists, and someone I keep returning to. This is far from his greatest album, but it was the first one I heard and that’s important.


– Time of discovery: late 2002, aged 17.

My teen angst had really started to gain serious momentum at this point, and this album spoke to me. It was like discovering an album you always knew was out there, but one you never really seemed to find – until one day.

Joy DivisionSubstance: 1977-1980

Time of discovery: early 2003, aged 17.

– I bought it because I had been knocked out by Love Will Tear Us Apart, and even though the other stuff on the album was far less catchy, I loved it. It had a seriousness to it that I had never heard before. The lyrics were very abstract to my 17-year-old ears. Very pensive.  Very contemplative. They matched my more and more frequent…moods. My love for the band would however grow even stronger in the years to come and I now consider them one of my top 5 all time favorite bands.

The SmithsThe Queen Is Dead

Time of discovery: early-mid 2003, aged 17.

Solidified my lifelong love for Morrissey (and Marr). Helped me survive my teens, my twenties and with a little luck, my thirties and beyond.

Bright Eyes Fevers and Mirrors

Time of discovery: late 2003, aged 18.

I would become a full-fledged hardcore Conor Oberst fan in 2007, but this album blew me away four years prior. Conor is a more interesting songwriter now, but this album is definitely intense. I bought it on a whim, without having heard a single note from it, having read a blurb at the back of a three-year old music rag. I remember it said something overblown about angst. That sealed the deal for me. Glad it did!


Photo by me.









2016 in Review: The 20 Best Songs

20. True MoonVoodoo

– Svensk postpunk lever och frodas.

19. The Radio Dept.Swedish Guns

– Radioavdelningen visar att det tydligen går att blanda atmosfärisk pop med politisk text.

18. Christian KjellvanderThe Dark Ain’t That Dark

Jason Molina nickar uppmuntrande från sin himmel.

17. Iggy PopChocolate Drops

– 2016 var året då Iggy kom tillbaka. Tusenfalt. 2016 var inte bara elände, alltså.

16. Marie DanielleOne Night Stands

– Drygt 150 lyssnare på Spotify. Perverst. Denna låt har en av årets största och vackraste refränger.

15. Marissa NadlerKatie I Know

Chelsea Wolfe på stesolid. ”Hänförande” är ordet.

14. Ivy BellsGoing Home

– Skulle ha slagit igenom. Borde ha slagit igenom. Skimrande vemodig pop som för tankarna till Days, The Field Mice och The Mary Onettes. Skamligt förbisedda.

13. 1900 (feat. Ossler och Thåström)- Vi

– Solidaritet gestaltat av en skör melodi, och hummande från Sveriges två tyngsta röster.

12. AllseitsSink In Sideways

– VM-guld i dark ambient 2016 går tveklöst till tyska Allseits. När det moderna samhället äntligen rasar ihop, så är det denna låten som kommer att spelas. Kom ihåg var ni hörde det först.

11. The Good Life Are You Afraid Of Dying?

– Temat ”underskattade band” fortsätter med Omaha, NE:s The Good Life, frontat av Tim Kasher (även känd från Cursive). Ett band som oavsett hur bra de är aldrig får ett riktigt genombrott. Sådan är världen vi lever i.

10. kentDen sista sången

– kent avslutade 2016 karriären med (ännu) ett undermåligt album. Stundtals upprörande dåligt. Men också stundtals riktigt fint. Som i fallet med denna låten. En varm bris i solnedgången, på väg bort mot något annat.

9. Frida HyvönenFredag morgon

– Från ingenstans dyker Frida Hyvönen senhösten 2016 upp och släpper ett makalöst album. Denna blytunga pjäs är skivans mest imponerande stund.

8. Minor Victories (feat. Mark Kozelek) – For You Always

– Ett något poppigare Slowdive möter klassisk (sentida) Kozelek. Enkel lyrik (om man ens kan kalla det för lyrik), men så naket och romantiskt att man får hjärtsvikt.

7. Nick Cave & the Bad SeedsJesus Alone

– You believe in God, but you get no special dispensation for this belief now. Inte ens gudsfruktan hjälper när det allra värsta händer.

6. Leonard CohenYou Want It Darker

– Cohen släpper hösten 2016 en av de tyngsta låtarna i hela karriären (hämtad från det starkaste albumet sedan 1988). Kort därpå dör han. I’m ready, my Lord.

5. Maria Taylor  (feat. Conor Oberst) – If Only

– Mig veterligen hade Maria och Conor inte samarbetat sedan 2007, så detta var mycket välkommet. Och vilken återförening, dessutom! Så vackert och vansinnigt sorgset om andra chanser att ögonen trillar ur skallen på en.

4. David BowieLazarus

– Med facit i hand, det brutalaste som släpptes under 2016.

3. Conor OberstNext of Kin

– Oberst följer upp 2014-års Upside Down Mountain med vad som måste räknas till en av karriärens tre bästa skivor. Här ringar han in förlust på ett fantastiskt och rått sätt:

Her bathrobe hangs on the bedroom door
Though she’s been dead for a year or more
He buried her by the sycamore
So that he could keep her close
It broke his heart and it made him old
Tries to rebuild but it just erodes
Some people say that’s the way it goes
But he don’t feel that way

2. Sun Kil Moon & JesuGood Morning, My Love

– Mot Justin Broadricks blytunga fond ställer Mark Kozelek en av livets viktigaste frågor:

What does rekindle mean?

1. Rome (feat. Thåström) – Stillwell

– 2016 var året då även Jerome Reuter nådde nya höjder. På Stillwell föräras han med ett besök av vännen och ikonen Joakim Thåström, och resultatet är bortom denna värld. Måste upplevas, kan inte vidare beskrivas.


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