In our March 20, 2014 spring issue last year, I explored five albums from my childhood/early adolescence in my POP column: Hanson, Eiffel 65, BBMak, The Rasmus, and Bonnie McKee. When Joe and I settled on the theme of “Throwback Soundtrack” for this week’s Thursday Top Ten, I couldn’t wait to dive back into the weird tunes of my past. I can't be too embarrassed about my selection—I was a rather sheltered kid who wasn't exactly exposed to great musicians. The five below had some flash-in-the-pan ‘90s fame in pop music and me and my fellow little Catholic school girl pals used to listen to these albums on our portable CD players on the bus ride home. Ah, memories.
S Club 7 | “S Club” 1999 Tina Barrett, Paul Cattermole, Jon Lee, Bradley McIntosh, Jo O’Meara, Hannah Spearritt, and Rachel Stevens
A UK pop group put together by Simon Fuller (former Spice Girls manager), the S Club was together for five years, during which they had a hit BBC show (“Miami 7”) in 1999. I vaguely remember watching the show and as I write this and re-visit all these artists, I’m surprised (and ever-so-slightly ashamed) to discover that I still remember the lyrics to “S Club Party.” The song people might most recognize, however, is from their sophomore album “7,” entitled “Never Had a Dream Come True.”—DT
Dream | “It Was All A Dream” 2000 Holly Blake-Arnstein, Diana Ortiz, Ashley Poole, and Melissa Schuman
The girl group no one really got into, Dream had one hit single: “He Loves U Not,” a hot pink bubblegum take on Brandy and Monica’s “The Boy is Mine.” I liked most of their other songs, especially their ballad about wanting to find love, “How Long.” When I bombed my first attempt at a music video project in 8th grade, I took the easy way out and lip-synched to it ... THAT was a huge hit with my classmates!—DT
Willa Ford | “Willa Was Here” 2001 Amanda Lee Williford aka Willa Ford
This wannabe bad girl (hey, she said it first) seemed to be trying way too hard to keep up with the already-established young divas. The music video for Willa Ford's debut single, “I Wanna Be Bad” even had to have an “edited” version. I liked her anyway, and Track 5 “Joke’s On You” was the song I used for my first and failed attempt at that 8th grade music video I mentioned earlier.—DT
Soluna | “For All Time” 2002 Jessica Castellanos, Christina “T” Lopez, America Olivo, and Aurora Rodriguez
I honestly don’t know how I found these people (this whole list, not just Soluna). The interesting thing about today’s music is that you’re not necessarily obligated to purchase an entire album if you only like one song. You didn’t have that option ten years ago. If you liked something enough to want to listen to it where you wouldn’t normally have access to a radio, you were stuck buying a whole CD. Since you spent the money on it, you may as well listen to it all, right? Which brings me to this foursome of Hispanic girls whose group name comes from the combination of the Spanish words for “sun” (sol) and “moon” (luna). Their well-known single (and my reason for buying the album) is entitled “For All Time,” yet another love ballad from the early 2000s with cheesy lyrics—and yet, it worked. They also spent time as the opening act for Marc Anthony and Enrique Iglesias.—DT
Keane | “Hopes and Fears” 2004 Tom Chaplin, Richard Hughes, and Tim Rice-Oxley
Shame on you if you’ve never heard of Keane! When I first started watching once-favorite One Tree Hill and still-favorite Grey’s Anatomy, I started relying on them to introduce me to new music. TV shows are wonderful like that. All those delicious dramas always have the perfect song for the most pivotal and emotional scenes and I would take full advantage of the exposure to new bands and artists. English alternative rock’s Keane cropped up first in OTH with “Everybody’s Changing,” then again the following year with “Somewhere Only We Know” in Grey’s. Other tracks popped up over the next few years in these two shows, as well as others. I love the whole CD, although you do have to be in a particular mood to listen to the entire thing in one sitting. “Somewhere Only We Know” was certainly the most popular and became one of my all-time favorites. I loved its revival in the “Born This Way” 2011 episode of Glee. Thanks to the Warblers, the song got even more well-deserved recognition.—DT
Music is a huge part of my life. It was definitely part of my identity as a teenager and helped me through some tough times during my formative years and provided the soundtrack to so many pivotal moments. Here are some of the standout albums from my youth.
Boyz II Men | "Cooleyhighharmony" 1991
My parents, namely my mom, love Motown music. I grew up listening to stuff like The Temptations (and much more embarrassing disco records). So when I first heard the Boyz II Men single "Motown Philly," surely riding in the car listening to a Motown station, I really dug it. At seven years old, I couldn’t have known that the group would later provide the cheesy soundtrack to so many awkward middle school gymnasium dances, with their hit singles from their far more popular mid-to-late '90s albums, but Cooleyhighharmony was my elementary school jam.
Lynyrd Skynyrd | "(Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd)" 1973
I got into classic rock in a huge way in middle school. The first album I ever bought on CD was a Beatles compilation that I listened to constantly. I also really loved the southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd. Despite many of the band’s members being killed in a plane crash seven years before I was even born, Skynyrd played Musikfest back when I was in sixth or seventh grade. It ended up being the first “real” concert that I attended.
Black Sabbath | "Paranoid" 1969
Speaking of classic rock, Black Sabbath remains one of my favorite bands to this day. I remember unearthing their ominous-looking album Paranoid from beneath a stack of my parents' records and being enthralled. With song titles like “War Pigs,” “Electric Funeral,” and “Hand of Doom,” it almost felt like I found something that I shouldn’t be allowed to have as an impressionable elementary school student. The music matched the imagery and I was hooked for life. Black Sabbath, who are often credited with inventing heavy metal, are another band that I was lucky enough to catch on their reunion tours a few times during my high school years.
Green Day | "Dookie" 1994
This was the cassette that I somehow managed to get my hands on, but had to hide from my parents when I was 10 or 11 because of those pesky "parental advisory" labels. I fell out of love with Green Day sometime during the late '90s, but I still think "Basket Case" is a fantastic song.
Rancid | "... and Out Come the Wolves" 1995
This is my favorite album of all time. I first discovered "...and Out Come the Wolves" when a friend’s older brother gave me the cassette single (remember those?) of the song "Ruby Soho." The album pretty much became the soundtrack of my life in high school. I don’t know if it ever left the CD player in my first car, we played it in the limo on the way to prom and, hell, I even played Rancid as the entrance music at my wedding reception. This record has informed my musical taste more than any other album.