6. TIE! Bat out of Hell II: Back into Hell and Welcome to the Neighborhood by Meat Loaf – There’s no way to choose between the two, both albums defined my early years of discovering my taste of music. Looking back, it was clear I had no idea what the songs meant on Bat out of Hell II: Back into Hell, since I was rocking out to this in second grade. I can remember jumping off my bed and doing sick air guitar solos to “Life Is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back” and being amazed that “Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are” was quite true, as I read the lyrics on the real rear view mirror on my mom’s Oldsmobile Delta ’88. I warped out the cassette tape of Welcome to the Neighborhood due to repetitive play. If I listed my favorite tracks off of this one, it would all of them. I saw the ‘Born to Rock’ tour at PNC Bank Art Center when I was in 4th grade, a few days after seeing Lynyrd Skynyrd for the umpteenth time. Meat blew my mind; it was definitely one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen.
6. Violator by Depeche Mode – The album that helped me get over “Just Can’t Get Enough” and allowed me to experience DM for their deep, gloomy selves and highly rhythmic selves. I don’t know how you do it Mr. Gore, but sometimes you so get me.
6. Pinkerton by Weezer – Now, Pinkerton wasn’t initially well received upon its release back in the day, but it has come to stand on its own as a definitive album as well as helping to broaden the genre of emo as a whole. I do love the album, but it’s because my college room-mate was and still is a die-hard Weezer fan and introduced me to more than just “The sweater song”. Consequently, I found a greater appreciation for the band and quickly sought this one out as my favorite album. They’re also fantastic live.
6. Bat Out Of Hell by Meat Loaf – One of my mother’s favorite albums and one of the very few that I can listen to over and over, on repeat. Any band named after a dinner plate kicks major ass.
6. The Real Thing by Faith No More (1989) – One of the most amazing and seemingly forgotten about bands of ALL TIME in my opinion, Faith No More was one of those bands that created and defined cool at a time when the world was moving away from the big hair, pastel spandex, cocaine days of the 1980s and (unbeknownst to anyone at the time) preparing for the grunge explosion from Seattle that was shortly to come. I fully admit to being fascinated by their videos for “Epic” and “Falling to Pieces” (back in the days when MTV still played music videos, hence the “M” in the networks moniker), but still being a timid boy, barely beginning to tread into the world of music and discovering my own tastes. It wasn’t until High School when a friend lent me his copy of “The Real Thing” that I understood what a brilliant gem Faith No More was. With the first paycheck I ever earned, I ran out and picked up my copy, and have never let go of my total obsession with all things Faith No More. The world of rock needs more bands like this, and sadly, they seem to be extinct these days. Luckily, Faith No More front-man Mike Patton’s original project Mr. Bungle continues to release new music.
Honorable Mentions: Achtung Baby by U2 (1991), Blood Sugar Sex Magik by Red Hot Chili Peppers (1991), La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol. 1 by White Zombie (1992), Dig by I Mother Earth (1993)