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My Nostalgia – 1998

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Aug 19, 2020.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from chorus.fm for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    Over the past ten weeks, I’ve been looking at the old AbsolutePunk best-of lists and reevaluating my end of the year lists from some of the prime years in our music scene. But what happened before 2005? Over the next few weeks, I’d like to explore the very early years of AbsolutePunk and the music that helped shape my life.

    It’s 1998. I’m 15. Every school dance is playing “Gettin Jiggy Wit It,” and boy bands are just beginning their reign. My clothes are too big. My musical taste is mostly made up of whatever my friends have been listening to. There was a grunge phase in middle school. I listened to a lot of Nirvana. A friend’s brother showed us Dookie. There was a Snoop Dog, Boyz II Men, and Salt-N-Peppa thing that happened in elementary school. I don’t remember it that much, but I remember a friend sharing some cassettes with me. And I was a child of the ’80s. I liked Michael Jackson. I had the Batman soundtrack by Prince. I listened to the music my dad would play on the record player every Sunday morning: The Beatles, Elvis, Simon & Garfunkel, John Denver. But my musical identity? The music that I called my own? The obsession with needing to listen to something every single second of the day? At this point in time, it didn’t exist. My closest friends were listening to Metallica and Pantera. I liked it well enough, but it never quite connected with me. It felt like the Nautica shirts I was wearing at the time, a costume I wore because everyone else was. This period, between 1997 and 1998, is where everything changed.

    Trying to remember the exact order of events or precise timing is practically impossible after all these years. But this is what I do know: At some point, my best friend left his CD case over at my house by accident. That night I decided to go through his case and see if I liked anything. This was pre-CD burner, way before mp3s; if I liked something, I’d be turning it into a tape for my Walkman. My best guess is this happened between late 1997 and mid-1998 because I remember Deftone’s Around the Fur (released in October) and Everclear’s So Much for the Afterglow (also released in October) both being in there.

    And I remember seeing bull balls.

    Blink-182 - Dude Ranch

    And that’s the album that changed everything.

    I’d never heard of Blink-182 up until that moment. And within thirty seconds of the first song, I knew they were my new favorite band. It was unlike anything I had ever heard before. Back and forth vocals, fast drums, lyrics about being an immature disillusioned kid? I didn’t know music like this existed. And I wanted all of it. Looking through the liner notes, I see these three dudes who don’t look that much older than me—goofing around, looking cool—looking like they don’t care about anything besides skateboarding and having fun with their friends. I’m not saying it was overnight that I needed Billabong t-shirts, but it was overnight that I needed Billabong t-shirts.

    My friend’s copy of Dude Ranch became a tape. And it was virtually the only thing I listened to for months. For the first time that I can remember, I had found something that felt like it was mine. Something that felt like a musical extension of my stupid teenage brain.

    I think what’s the funniest to me about these early years is that without the internet to look anything up, everything I knew about music and these bands came from the couple of friends I had that had older brothers. My next memory is an argument in the locker room because a friend of a friend said there was actually a “rare” first album from Blink-182 that his brother had, and none of us believed him. This probably led to name-calling. It also led to him bringing me a tape of Cheshire Cat. This then became the second album that didn’t leave my Walkman for months. Somewhere in 1998, I got my first portable CD player, it was black, giant, and it kind of looked like the Millennium Falcon. It did not have skip protection. I also remember begging for Blink-182 CDs for Christmas. And then I remember being utterly shocked that my mom was able to find Cheshire Cat and that I now had my very own copy. In fact, this is captured on video. Hilariously grainy 1998 video. We really do take for granted that these little devices in our pockets can shoot 4K while everything from my childhood looks like it was filmed with the lenses soaked in soap.

    The other albums I opened up that morning were, of course, my very own copy of Dude Ranch, and Pennywise’s About Time. I don’t remember why I asked for Pennywise, but my best guess is I saw the name in the liner notes, or someone told me they sounded like Blink. And it’s right about here that my obsession begins. It’s now that I want everything that sounds even remotely like these bands. And soon after, I hear “I’m OK, You’re OK” by MxPx and immediately spend my lunch money on Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo. This then became the second band in my life I was obsessed with. It felt as though the music was plucking from me emotions and feelings I had inside but didn’t think anyone else was going through. It’s weird to think about now, but I guess it makes a little more sense pre-internet, pre-instant messaging, and only talking to friends at specific times each day via a phone with a goddamn cord on the end of it. The entry into this musical world was sort of the only communication I had to know others felt the way I did. And, from there it snowballed: Goldfinger, Millencolin, Unwritten Law, Lagwagon, NOFX, Less Than Jake, Bad Religion, Dance Hall Crashers, Home Grown, anything that was even slightly associated with this kind of music I wanted to hear.

    I’m not going to attempt to rank any of the albums from this era in my life.1 But I do want to catalog the albums that I was listening to as my musical taste began to form, and I want to put together a playlist that walks through these early years as well. So, here’s what I remember most from 1998:

    My Nostalgia (1998)

    • Alkaline Trio – Goddammit! (1998)
    • Bad Religion – Stranger Than Fiction (1994)
    • Bad Religion – Suffer (1988)
    • Blink-182 – Cheshire Cat (1995)
    • Blink-182 – Dude Ranch (1997)
    • Dance Hall Crashers – Honey, I’m Homely! (1997)
    • Descendents – Everything Sucks (1996)
    • Eve 6 – Eve 6 (1998)
    • Face to Face – Face to Face (1996)
    • Goldfinger – Hang-Ups (1998)
    • Green Day – Nimrod (1997)
    • Home Grown – Act Your Age (1998)
    • Lagwagon – Double Plaidinum (1997)
    • Lagwagon – Hoss (1995)
    • Lagwagon – Let’s Talk About Feelings (1998)
    • Less Than Jake – Hello Rockview (1998)
    • Less Than Jake – Losing Streak (1996)
    • Millencolin – For Monkeys (1997)
    • MxPx – Life in General (1996)
    • MxPx – Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo (1998)
    • No Use for a Name – Making Friends (1997)
    • NOFX – So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes (1997)
    • Pennywise – About Time (1995)
    • Pennywise – Full Circle (1997)
    • Rancid – Life Won’t Wait (1998)
    • Refused – The Shape of Punk to Come (1998)
    • Saves the Day – Can’t Slow Down (1998)
    • Slick Shoes – Burn Out (1998)
    • Slick Shoes – Rusty (1997)
    • Strung Out – Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues (1996)
    • Strung Out – Twisted by Design (1998)
    • The Ataris – Anywhere But Here (1997)
    • The Living End – The Living End (1998)
    • The Offspring – Americana (1998)
    • Unwritten Law – Unwritten Law (1998)

    The above list is alphabetical. I didn’t even want to try and put anything in any kind of order. It also includes stuff from the years prior by the artists I was starting to get into, specifically the ones I remember spending a lot of time with. I can’t pin down when, exactly, I found Bad Religion or Refused, and I am fairly certain I didn’t actually discover Saves the Day until next year, 1999. Still, all of this kind of bleeds together at this point, and the entire goal is to get a rough look at what my musical taste was doing around this time. All of these albums, and this three to four year period, blend in my head. There are specific, seminal, albums, and moments, but many are mixed together as just “high-school.” 2

    Looking at all these albums now is like throwing me back in time. I couldn’t drive. The internet was barely a thing. Blink-182 and MxPx absolutely dominated my Discman, but I was also hungry for everything that was even remotely in this genre of music. I was pouring through every band’s liner notes to see who they thanked and making a note that the next time I could scrape together any money at all, I’d try and find that CD at the local Borders. I had a giant CD binder that I kept all of my CDs in, and a CD tower thing in my room for all of the cases. I finally felt like I got music, and I finally felt like music got me. This was the sound of my youth of my dumbass-immature-suburbian-rebellion childhood. That stage where your problems aren’t really problems but they’re all you know so they mean everything at the time. The part where the breakups hurt a little more; the anger stung a little harder; the nights with friends felt like they’d go on forever. It’s here that my love for music is truly born, and it’s within the next few years that everything reaches a fever pitch. Because next year, in 1999, Enema of the State is released, and it’s sometime around then that I fire up my first Geocities, or Angelfire, or whatever it was account and start “writing” online.

    I’ve put together a playlist that I think is most representative of my musical taste in 1998. The songs from the albums I remember the most. You can check it out on Spotify and Apple Music, and hopefully, it’ll either bring you back to your past, or you’ll find something you never knew you needed.

    Please consider becoming a member so we can keep bringing you articles like this one.

    1. OK, Dude Ranch is number one. It changed everything.

    2. It’s why I do not include things I discovered way later, like Elliot Smith, that helped shape my musical taste when I discovered them, even though they were released this year.

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  2. irthesteve

    formerly irthesteve Prestigious

    Not a ton of overlap with you, but my 1998 list is:

    1. New Radicals - Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too
    2. The Offspring - Americana
    3. Barenaked Ladies - Stunt
    4. Fatboy Slim - You've Come A Long Way Baby
    5. Orgy - Candyass
    6. Eve 6 - Eve 6
    7. Marvelous 3 - Hey! Album
    8. Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
    9. Eagle-Eye Cherry - Desireless
    10. Air - Moon Safari
    11. Refused - The Shape of Punk To Come
    12. Unwritten Law - Unwritten Law
    13. The Wiseguys - The Antidote
    14. Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
    15. Propellorheads - Decksanddrumsandrockandroll
    16. Ozomatli - Ozomatli
    17. Hoobastank - They Sure Don't Make Basketball Shorts Like They Used To
    18. Far - Water & Solutions
    19. Less Than Jake - Hello Rockview
    20. Outkast - Aquemini

    it's about 50/50 between what I listened to then and what I discovered later on
     
  3. Elder Lightning

    Forever a Lake Effect Kid Supporter

    Looking back through just the albums released in 1998 and what I was listening to at the time, my music taste looked pretty much like this:

    Beastie Boys - Hello Nasty
    Dave Matthews Band - Before These Crowded Streets
    Dixie Chicks - Wide Open Spaces
    Eve 6 - Eve 6
    Fuel - Sunburn
    Godsmack - S/T
    Goo Goo Dolls - Dizzy Up the Girl
    Korn - Follow the Leader
    Less Than Jake - Hello Rockview
    Local H - Pack Up the Cats
    Marvelous 3 - They Hey! Album
    Metallica - Garage, Inc.
    MxPx - Let It Happen
    Offspring - Americana
    Pearl Jam - Yield
    Seven Mary Three - Orange Ave.
    Smashing Pumpkins - Adore
    System of a Down - S/T


    I was still mostly firmly rooted in the stuff from the local alt-rock station (additionally I was still playing Counting Crows, Everclear, and Foo Fighters a ton), but I had also started to branch out into heavier stuff outside of Metallica (Limp Bizkit and Deftones, which led me to Korn and Godsmack) and more punk-leaning stuff (Weezer and still a lot of Blink, which led me to Less Than Jake and MxPx). I also picked up some stuff from my mom who was into the more "adult contemporary" station, which is where I'm pretty sure I heard DMB and the Dixie Chicks.
     
  4. kpatrickwood

    Give what you can. Supporter

    I love breaking down music taste timelines. Some of my earliest memories are of the Monkees' Greatest Hits and The Big Chill Soundtrack.

    I found Dude Ranch at a used CD store that was also a video rental store and candy shop (so, complete fucking heaven). Apparently a bunch of people bought it and hated it, because I remember them having quite a few copies. Worked out well for me though, because like I said in the supporter thread, my old man found the first copy and destroyed it while I was trying to catch my breath from laughing after he exclaimed "Dick Lips?!?!" right before the execution. I still have my second copy.

    I found MxPx through some sort of deal Pizza Hut was doing that allowed you to pick a few songs to create a sampler CD that they'd mail to you a few weeks after you ordered a pizza. I had no idea who MxPX was, but they were an option and they were listed as "rock" and the song was called "Chick Magnet," so that was enough for me. It ruled. I found Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo shortly after, and then to my complete shock, I found out they had a show coming up near where I grew up (Peoria, IL). Since they were considered a Christian band, I got the green light to go. Slick Shoes and Good Charlotte opened, and I absolutely could not fucking believe how close I was able to get to the bands. I remember being especially in awe that the guitar player from GC and my friend were wearing the same Incubus shirt. Anyways, that show tipped to the scale for my music interest from enthusiastic to obsessive.

    I could go down this wormhole until I come out on the other side of the planet, but for now, here's a few other CDs that had a major impact.

    Goldfinger- Stomping Ground
    The Vandals- Hitler Bad, Vandals Good
    Everclear- So Much for the Afterglow
    Oasis- Definitely Maybe, Morning Glory, Be Here Now
    Third Eye Blind- ST
    Eve 6- ST
    Weezer- Blue
    Foo Fighters- The Colour and the Shape
    Ben Folds Five- Whatever and Ever Amen
    Green Day- Dookie, Insomniac, Nimrod
    Goo Goo Dolls- Superstar Car Wash
    Marvelous 3- Hey! Album
    Semisonic- Feeling Strangely Fine
    Marcy Playground- ST (Sex and Candy is one of my least favorite songs ever, but most of the rest of that album is cool and super weird. Thank you Columbia House for mailing it to me against my will.)
     
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  5. soggytime

    Regular

    I was just starting elementary school in 1998 - music wasn't even really a factor in my life yet. My two loves were video games and cartoons back then. (Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Banjo-Kazooie remain 2 of my personal favorite games I've ever played - seriously 1998 is one of the best gaming years ever)

    What I do remember is the Spice Girls being crazy popular. As a dumb little boys were would make fun of them. It was a lot of boy-band and 90s one hit wonder songs I'd hear on the radio in the car with my parents and at birthday parties. That certainly has given me a nostalgia for all that - plus stuff like Third Eye Blind and Matchbox Twenty.

    Here are my favorite albums released in 98:

    Catch 22 - Keasbey Nights
    Lagwagon - Let's Talk About Feelings
    Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
    Gang Starr - Moment of Truth
    The Smashing Pumpkins - Adore
    Less Than Jake - Hello Rockview
    Outkast - Aquemini
    Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
    Strung Out - Twisted by Design
    The Vandals - Hitler Bad, Vandals Good
    Reel Big Fish - Why Do They Rock So Hard?
    Big Pun - Capital Punishment
    Eve 6 - Eve 6
    The LOX - Money, Power & Respect
    Sunny Day Real Estate - How It Feels to be Something On
    Goldfinger - Hang-Ups
    Elliot Smith - XO
     
  6. phaynes12

    playing in the band Prestigious

    since i'm not a coward i will rank

    25. system of a down - system of a down
    24. godsmack - godsmack
    23. at the drive-in - in/casino/out
    22. fuel - sunburn
    21. death cab for cutie - something about airplanes
    20. far - water and solutions
    19. the drive-by truckers - gangstabilly
    18. pedro the lion - sketches for my sweetheart the drunk
    17. bright eyes - letting off the happiness
    16. fugazi - end hits
    15. jay z - volume 2…
    14. jerry cantrell - baggy depot
    13. lauryn hill - the miseducation of lauryn hill
    12. cave in - until your heart stops
    11. beastie boys - hello nasty
    10. queens of the stone age - queens of the stone age
    9. outkast - aquemini
    8. smashing pumpkins - adore
    7. braid - frame and canvas
    6. elliott smith - XO
    5. natalie merchant - ophelia
    4. silver jews - american water
    3. pearl jam - yield
    2. refused - the shape of punk to come
    1. neutral milk hotel - in the aeroplane over the sea
     
    kpatrickwood likes this.
  7. trevorshmevor

    and use a pretty font Supporter

    In 1998 I was 8 going on 9. Hadn’t really developed my own taste yet, I was still just basically listening to whatever was on the radio — my mom listened to the alt rock & pop stations and my dad listened to the r&b & hip hop stations. My grandpa was an old jazz head so I had a lot of exposure to some of the greats by way of him. It was a weird hodgepodge but tbh at the time I was much more concerned with video games than anything haha
     
  8. Nathan

    Always do the right thing. Supporter

    I had nearly the exact same experience. I think it was 1999, not 1998, but I don't think Enema of the State was out yet. I was eight, and on a Cub Scout trip my best friend brought Dude Ranch and a few other albums (I think the only other ones I took to were Red Hot Chili Peppers and Green Day). But in our tent, all night, we listened to Dude Ranch on repeat (I think he was borrowing that album from his friend down the street who was super into skating and somehow knew about every punk or hip hop album before everyone else).

    At first we took turns with the headphones, so he could listen, then I could listen, but then we just put the headphones between us and played it as loud as it could go so that we could both kind of hear, and we talked about how amazing we thought it was. As much as I liked the Green Day and Red Hot Chili Pepper stuff, Dude Ranch specifically changed my whole world. Enema came out later that year but my parents were incredibly strict about Parental Advisory warnings (even though Dude Ranch wasn't parental advisory, the bull testicles and song called "Dammit" didn't fly with my dad). So I bought Cheshire Cat at Borders, I think, which wasn't parental advisory and had an innocuous cat on the cover, and I listened to it over and over again until my friend burned me discs of Enema and Dude Ranch. Cheshire Cat isn't up to par with the stretch from Dude Ranch through untitled, but I have many memories associated with it and some of the best songs are really, really good, so I appreciate that it got a moment in your writeup.

    I discovered blink-182 and skateboarding that year and they changed just about everything for me.
     
    Jason Tate likes this.
  9. sosplatano

    Regular Supporter

    I was weirdly into both OK Computer and System of a down S/T at that time. It's cool reading about this cause I wasn't into pop-punk yet during this period. A few of those bands I like their newer catalog but don't know much about their beginnings.
     
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  10. oneeightytwo

    Regular

    Really nice write up Jason!

    Back in ‘98, I was only 6/7 so it wasn’t until a couple of years later that I got into blink from the videos from Enema which then led to Sum 41, Good Charlotte etc. I was also into Linkin Park and Limb Bizkit at this age too. This probably was a combination of what the kids I grew up with were listening to.

    For me, a lot of my ‘musical education’ came from the soundtracks of the Tony Hawk games introducing me to the likes of Bad Religion, Goldfinger (and later Less Than Jake, Alkaline Trio and AFI among others). I was into video games quite a lot then, so hearing this kind of music on their soundtracks helped shaped the musical personality that I still have to this day.
     
    Jason Tate likes this.
  11. Craig Manning

    @FurtherFromSky Moderator

    Loved reading this. It felt like a mirror to my story, just 5-6 years earlier.

    I definitely had no musical autonomy/identity in 1998, ha. That was first grade/second grade for me, and I definitely cared way more about video games than music. I listened mostly to whatever was on the radio or whatever my brother liked. The two I remember really loving in the moment were Goo Goo Dolls Dizzy Up the Girl and Fastball's All the Pain Money Can Buy.
     
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  12. thebe_st

    Newbie

    Really great read but so strange to reflect. I remember coming across your website sometime in 2003 or so and thought, "wow, this guy is just like me and we like the same music, how unique" lol. I don't think you've ever listed or hyped a group I didn't enjoy. Our tastes are very similar, and so is our musical growth. I think a lot of people here could say that too.

    Glad you've added to the voices throughout the years. It's been a great place to always and consistently find "my type" or music, or something new I never knew I needed. What's most fun about this look back is knowing some of the places it goes throughout the next 20+ years. I'm anticipating reading the next "milestone" entry in this story!
     
    Jason Tate likes this.
  13. Thanks for the kind words everyone! I love reading about your experiences as well, especially how similar some of them are.
     
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  14. jhog3411

    Newbie

    I'm the same age and had a very similar experience except when you went toward punk and pop punk, I got into more heavy music initially. I remember playing The Colour and the Shape all the time, So Much for the Afterglow, Staind- Dysfunction. Then I got into Tool and my music listening just exploded. Aenima and Undertow were played all the time along with Incubus. I borrowed Deftones- Adrenaline from a friend and I was off and running. Glassjaw- EYEWTAS in 2000 really got me into punk rock and more bands away from the radio.

    Then when Napster hit it was that and music messageboards all the time. Dredg- Leitmotif was another big album for me at the time.
     
    Jason Tate likes this.
  15. The Grey Man

    Newbie Supporter

    I was 8/9 in 1998 and I don't have a ton of distinct musical memories. I do remember sitting in my bedroom listening to the radio trying to record songs onto a tape so I could listen to them when I wanted to. I think I was around this age when I would listen to the radio every night when they played the top 8 at 8 as I was fall asleep each night.

    This entire discussion does remind me of trying to "collect" all the albums from an artists. Before Amazon or streaming services I would go through the cds/cassettes of walmart and try to find albums that I didn't already have from a specific artist. I think it was easier to immerse myself in the artists discography than it is today where I often feel like because there is so much out there it's hard to dig deep into an artist's older work.

    I also remember listening to a lot of country artists because that's what my grandparents listened to at their house. I think I had gotten an Alan Jackson tape for Christmas at least one or two years in a row around this age.
     
  16. Phil507

    Trusted Supporter

    I really enjoyed this post, essentially since we're essentially the same age so it's cool reading about how people discovered things around the same time I did. I actually bought Dude Ranch in Sep/Oct of 97 after seeing "Damnit" on 120 Minutes and hearing the single on NYC's K-Rock. I remember liking, but not loving it and, at the time, thought MXPX's Life In General was better (I bought Slowly Going The Way Of The Buffalo the following summer). After listening to Dude Ranch a few times recently, I still agree with my initial opinion. It's a bit long for a skate-punk album and towards the end, the band seems to run out of steam ("Josie" is thankfully placed towards the back to break up the monotony).

    I had a good friend who was super into this scene while I was only half in. I liked these bands but also dug the post-grunge, nu metal and alt rock that was played on the radio at the time. This scene, while cool, always seemed to be super insular which was to its detriment at times and held back many bands that I think could have gone a bit further (Less Than Jake being a prime example). Still, I find the modern rock period of the mid-late 90's fascinating and often simplified as being "when things went corporate". If anyone is interested, visit AmericanRadioHistory.com and view past issues of Radio and Records to see just how batshit things were at the time. The alternative charts had everything from Creed to Cherry Poppin Daddies to Sarah McClachlan to Blink 182. Crazy times.
     
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  17. Phil507

    Trusted Supporter

    I can get behind all of those with the exception of the Godsmack debut. I was always super irritated at the local modern rock station giving them so much time instead of other bands. Hey! Album is an absolute gem and I wish Marvelous 3 would get an eventual critic revaluation.
     
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  18. Fill Your Lungs Up

    Newbie Supporter

    My experience was incredibly similar - I had been listening to mostly grunge bands and some classic rock prior to 1998. I was in 8th grade that year and a friend let me borrow Dude Ranch, which would change everything I listened to after. I bought the CD as soon as I could and played it nonstop. Shortly after I discovered MXPX, I think via the music video for Doing Time. Once I got Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo, both MXPX and Blink became my favorite bands. MXPX would also actually be my first concert the next year, at a tiny club in Lancaster called the Chameleon. Obviously Blink blew up in 1999, but both bands and their subsequent albums would be my soundtrack through high school and the gateway to different genres of music. And ultimately led me to this website as well.
     
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