I’ve found that the further away I’ve gotten from high school the less my musical tastes match up with those of my friends.
In high school it was almost a given that everyone in a given group liked the same music. Sure, there was always a weird person who kept trying to force country or hip hop on everyone, and individual tastes diverged at the edges, but we all agreed on around 83 percent of everything we were exposed to.
Now it’s a rare treat when I can toss band names at a party and get some nods of recognition. Over time musical tastes become more of a personality quirk than a passion for many of us, with previously insignificant traits such as one’s opinion on heirloom tomatoes, hydraulic fracturing or professions emerge as important signals.
This week we had dinner with friends of our expecting a kid soon. Eventually music came up, with a very specific intention.
“Basically I’m asking to talk about old punk bands,” our friend Sarah dropped onto the table.
The four of us are the rare meet up, people who met and became friends before music came up, only to find we shared many of the same tastes.
We spent the next half hour going through our CD collection, discussing the finer points of the career arc of the Suicide Machines and whether or not that guy from Bright Eyes has a weird voice.
So thanks to Sarah and William (and some inspiration from this Keith Law post) I started to curate the CDs and my iTunes library, looking for my favorite albums over the past 10 years.
I came in thinking I’d actually rank them, but I like it better as an alphabetical list. Seems cleaner. I came in thinking I’d add an explainer for each, but as the list grew that became more unlikely. I may still do it, but I wanted to get this up before it got buried behind other projects.
Also decided to go with 2000-09, an actual 10-year period and a very interesting period in my life. In that time I started dating my (eventual) wife, graduated from high school, moved 500 miles from my childhood home, graduated from college, got my first real job, got married and bought a house. I grew the fuck up (kind of).
So this really became a spreadsheet that tells part of the story of my life. From righteous high school anger (AFI), to righteous college anger (Against Me!), to subdued adult contemplation (Avett Brothers).
If you’re so inclined, here’s a spotify playlist with most of the albums represented.