FAVORITE ALBUMS, GRADE BY GRADE

Inspired by @samboyd. Also, for reference, I was born in 1988.
  1. FIRST GRADE - "Chipmunks in Low Places" by Alvin & The Chipmunks
    The Chipmunks sing popular country songs. For example, Simon sang "There Isn't Anything Wrong with the Radio" because "There Ain't Nothin' Wrong with the Radio" was grammatically incorrect. I couldn't get enough.
  2. SECOND GRADE - "The Lion King: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack"
    The "Frozen" soundtrack of its time. Inescapable. So at only a few years old, I was already a walking cliché.
  3. THIRD GRADE - "The Big Chill: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack"
    I didn't own a lot of albums as a kid, so a lot of what I listened to was what my mom listened to. And this was the best thing my mom listened to.
  4. FOURTH GRADE - "Middle of Nowhere" by Hanson
    This album was written and performed by children. And it's NOT BAD. Bring up Hanson at a party, and I will defend them. "Mmmbop" is a great pop song, we will never reach its heights, and that's all there is to it.
  5. FIFTH GRADE - "Backstreet Boys" by Backstreet Boys
    The boy band thing hit me hard. They were so cool, and they reflected all the different aspects of my personality! And while this is no "Millennium," this is the one that started it all for me.
  6. SIXTH GRADE - "Running with Scissors" by "Weird Al" Yankovic
    I love Weird Al. To this day. I think he is a brilliant songwriter (check out the original songs, they are GREAT). Up to this point, I only heard Weird Al's stuff through friends or randomly on VH1. Andy's dad had all of his albums on cassette, but we weren't allowed to listen. So Andy would tell me the parts he remembered, and we would laugh for hours. But then one day at the mall, my mom bought me "Running with Scissors." And for years, Weird Al was all I would ever talk about.
  7. SEVENTH GRADE - "Bat Out of Hell" by Meat Loaf
    VH1 was making a *lot* of TV movie biopics around this time, and I watched ALL of them. My favorite was the Meat Loaf one, and I became obsessed. I begged my mother to buy me "Bat Out of Hell," and she did, even though it was "a little inappropriate." God bless her.
  8. EIGHTH GRADE - "Flood" by They Might Be Giants
    It was perfect then, and it's perfect now. My cool older cousin gave it to me (is there any other way people start listening to They Might Be Gaints?), and I listened to it on repeat all summer. This album shaped my sensibilities in ways I will probably never be able to articulate. It's nerd rock in its purest form. I love it so much.
  9. NINTH GRADE - "Before These Crowded Streets" by Dave Matthews Band
    I went through a really big DMB phase. Like, huge. Embarrassingly huge. Like, I knew the difference between the Live at Red Rocks "Ants Marching" and the Live at Folsom Field "Ants Marching." It got pretty ugly. "Before These Crowded Streets" was my favorite of their albums (rightfully so, as it is the best one). I still say the latter half of it is really damn good.
  10. TENTH GRADE - "Les Miserables: Original Broadway Cast Recording"
    This was my favorite musical for several years. Many memories of driving around small town Mississippi blaring "Stars" with the windows down. No, I'm not sure why I didn't really fit in, why do you ask?
  11. ELEVENTH GRADE - "Transatlanticism" by Death Cab for Cutie
    Eleventh grade was a transitional period for me musically. My tastes went from fratty pothead to indie hipster almost overnight. And I've never looked back.
  12. TWELFTH GRADE - "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning" by Bright Eyes
    So many albums could fill this spot. Postal Service, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Killers, Modest Mouse, Dashboard Confessional, Rilo Kiley, Fall Out Boy, The White Stripes - I was really into music at this point in my life, especially if it made me FEEL THINGS. But I'm going to give Bright Eyes the top spot. My favorite band then, and my favorite band now. I loved this album so much. Still do. Probably always will.