The above image is something that many young people today are unfamiliar with. The joy of stepping into a well stocked record store, filled with both new and rare tapes, CDs and albums is one of the fondest experiences of my youth. Sure, there are still great record shops to be found. But these days, most teens and even adults like myself tend to consume music digitally. I recently made a post on this site indicating that I plan to start sharing my love for music. In true RetroSensei style, I’m going to be going back and talking about music that meant a lot to me personally over the years. It’s my hope that I might help spark an interest in an artist or even an album to those of you reading, and thus, help you discover a new world of music.
This is going to be a project of sorts. One that will continue for the foreseeable future. A few times a month, I’ll be discussing a particular album – how I encountered it, what I think of it, and what it meant to me. If you’d like to participate, I’d recommend that you subscribe to one of the many music streaming services out there. Most of the records I’ll be discussing should be available to listen on nearly any of these services. However, there may be a few “deep cuts” that I discuss from time to time that might not be so easy to come across online. I’m posting links at the bottom of this post to some of the more popular music services out there.
The first real post will be coming within a week. However, I wanted to take this opportunity to discuss a little bit about my musical upbringing. I’ve been a music lover for as long as I can remember. When I just little child, one of the first gifts I remember receiving was an old Fisher Price record player. My mother would let me listen to her old 45s. I remember listening to singles by Neil Diamond, Elton John, The Doors, etc. Years later, I discovered my father’s LP collection which included gems such as Grease and Saturday Night Fever. He had a massive collection of Beach Boys, Olivia Newton John, and Righteous Brothers. The first record I remember wanting for myself was Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. I wore that record out. Oddly enough, the second album that actually remember personally owning was Twisted Sister’s “Stay Hungry”. (I really liked “We’re Not Gonna Take It)
For most of my early grade school years, if I wasn’t listening to my parent’s old record collection, I turned to the radio. The 80’s was great time for pop music. I can recall vividly hearing hits like “Caribbean Queen”, “Rhythm of the Night”, and “I Just Died in Your Arms” on the radio. The 80’s were also the age of Mtv. Videos were everywhere; Van Halen, Madonna, – all of it. It was a good time to be alive.
As I got a bit older (I’d say around the ages of 11-14), pop music and early hip-hop held my interest. I didn’t really care for a lot of the hair metal that was big at the time, but stuff like Madonna, MC Hammer, and Paula Abdul could always been found in my CD Player. In those days, I was living overseas on an Air Force base in Japan. When I returned home to the US, I found that the music scene had changed drastically. I came back to an era where rap music had started to become “gangsta”. Naughty By Nature and 2 Live Crew were dominating the space where C+C Music Factory and Vanilla Ice used to be. Then, one day I turned on Mtv and heard a song that changed my life forever: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. For the first time in long time, a rock song had captured my attention. I recall tuning in to the local rock station in hopes of hearing it. This resulted in me being exposed to other great music; Pearl Jam, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Stone Temple Pilots.
The alternative rock/grunge scene of the early 90’s pulled me in, and in many ways – never let go.
I hope you guys will enjoy my retro record reviews. If you want to listen along with with me as I post, any of the fine music streaming services below should be a good place to start.