By Chris Meckes, lead singer of Position 9
My list is kind of all over the place, but I did it in chronological order according to my life and when I first discovered this stuff. Here’s my top five:
1. “Slim Shady LP,” Eminem – This was the first album I ever really owned. The wild, out of control thinking of Eminem really hit home in my suburban pre-teen mind. Especially because he was THE white guy in the rap game. I liked the rhythm and spoken word style of hip hop, which has carried over to my own music, but I could never really identify with life in the ghetto and the gangsta lifestyle. But wanting to staple my teacher’s nuts to a stack of papers or toss a fat chick from the top of a diving board? Totally made sense to me. And things only got better with Eminem’s next two albums.
2. “Elephant,” The White Stripes – This is the first rock album I ever bought. I was a weird kid, I guess, because at age 13, I liked to stay up until two or three in the morning watching Conan O’Brien. That was the first time I saw The White Stripes, but I never really thought much of it, still being into hip-hop and such. That all changed when I first saw the video for “Seven Nation Army.” I was mesmerized. Then, to hear songs like “Black Math,” “I Want To Be The Boy,” “Ball & Biscuit,” “Hypnotise,” and “In The Cold, Cold Night,” on top of the two singles they released, simply blew my mind. I had already listened to some Sabbath and some Hendrix, but here was a contemporary band that I could call my own. The White Stripes really got me into the blues and songwriting in general.
3. “Good News For People Who Love Bad News,” Modest Mouse – I picked up this album right before my sophomore year of high school and spent many a summer night playing it on repeat. This album, with its multi-tracked vocals and lonely, isolated guitar work, appealed to my angsty teenaged mind in a way that I can’t explain. It had a bit of everything, all wrapped up in a psychedelic framework that kept me company through a lot of lonely times in my life.
4. “Antichrist Superstar,” Marilyn Manson – This album, along with the rest of Manson’s triptych, made me understand the trappings of a rock and roll lifestyle in a way that just made sense to me. More so even than “Ziggy Stardust” or “The Wall,” this album made me believe that I could use music to make a monster of myself at a time when that’s all I wanted to do. This album made me think that it only takes a bullet to end the world because it’s all in your head, and at that time, that’s all I wanted to do. Like him or hate him, Marilyn Manson was, and to a lesser extent, still is, a powerful artist with a clear cut mission: To show the world exactly what’s wrong with society by being everything that a person shouldn’t be. Somebody has to play the bad guy and he did it as well as any. His distorted image was carefully crafted to shock the world and throw American culture in its own face. He made me fearless and maybe a little reckless too, but that’s not really a bad thing when you’re 16 and on the outskirts of a high school social scene. At least I was wise enough not to let it get too out of hand.
5. “Dark Side of the Moon,” Pink Floyd – This was a hard one. It was between this album and Tool’s “Aenema”, but I just couldn’t let this one go unwritten. This album is as complete a work of art as anything ever created. A whole lifetime can be summed up in under an hour when this record is playing, and the only complaint I have is that it’s so short that I want to play it twice just to get the point across. You don’t have to be tripping face to appreciate it either. In fact, even if you’ve never had a psychedelic experience in your life, you can get a glimpse into what it’s all about just by sitting there with a pair of headphones and listening to each delightful transition. For anyone that’s ever listened to it in its entirety, I shouldn’t have to elaborate on what makes this album so great. For anyone who hasn’t, there is nothing I’d recommend more.