1. Licensed to Ill, Beastie Boys. I listened to that album again and again. I bumped it until my speakers blew out of my Nissan Sentra. My friends and I made a music video to Sabotage for a school project where we jumped around on farm equipment and rapped and danced our hearts out. My parents still have that on VHS somewhere. I still know every word.
  2. The Bends, Radiohead. I was 16 when it came out and I had my first "real job" at an IT company. I did data entry all day, ate chicken soft tacos at Chilis, and listened to this album nonstop. Every song is better than the next. I love it to this day. (20! Years later)
  3. Nevermind, Nirvana. My friend's older brother played it for us and I ran home and begged my parents to buy it for me. Smells Like Teen Spirit was and is one of the best songs ever made. Obsession of Kurt Cobain followed.
  4. Ten, Pearl Jam. This album made me realize how emotional music is. I have nearly 800 PJ songs that stop me dead in my tracks, bring back memories of friendships and what I thought was young love. This music started it. I have butterflies just thinking about it.
  5. Shake Your Money Maker, Black Crowes. My dad has great taste in music and when he bought this, I stole it pretty much right away. I wrote about the song Hard to Handle to my second grade teacher in my writing journal. She was a tough cookie, but admitted she loved this song too. I was so shy then, but we connected thanks to this song.
  6. There Is No Enemy, Built to Spill. Songs bleed and blend. It's poetic and calming and beautiful. When it rains, I put it on and it feels like my mind can rest.
  7. Dulcinea, Toad the Wet Sprocket. Another constant in my adolescence. I saw them in concert a couple of years ago and they played this album start to finish. That was on my bucket list and I didn't even know it. So good.