The year 2017 took a lot out of the best of us. Through the fury of all-consuming politics, it was easy to look back to simpler times, back to eras of lesser obligations. One of the best ways to accomplish that feeling of nostalgia is through music; that’s why I’m here. I was 10 going on 11 in 2008, and there’s a good chance many of you were around that age too; the beginning of our formative years and our last gasp of pure childhood before 'teenagerdom'. Here are three albums that stick out in my mind from that period: One rock, one pop and one rap.
Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
I hate to start off this list by cheating, but I didn’t actually listen to this album as a ten-year old. I wish I did, because I would’ve become the coolest kid in my fourth grade class overnight. However, I do remember hearing the euphonious A-Punk riff at some birthday party and thinking “this is nothing like the classic rock my dad makes me listen to or the pop I hear on the radio.” I may have tapped my foot to it at the time but I didn’t become a fan of the Ezra Koenig-fronted band until at least a few years later. As (more of) an adult now (barely), I can look back to this album as a profound and immensely replayable debut to one of New York City’s premier indie rock outfits of the late 2000s. Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa and Oxford Comma still make a heavy rotation in my Saved Songs on Spotify, the latter being my seventh most played song of 2017. VW’s next two albums are both great in their own light, but neither are immersed in my heart like their first.
One of the Boys - Katy Perry
The first song I ever bought on iTunes was I Kissed a Girl. I remember hearing it on the radio and felt hooked by the straightforward message that I hadn’t heard in a (female-sung) pop song before. She kissed a girl and she liked it (and her cherry chapstick). Ninety-nine cents later, that song was mine to keep. Shortly afterward I snatched up the second single Hot n Cold, and that stuck in my head for weeks too. Fun fact: I realized the “You, PMS/Like a bitch/I would know” was “PMS” and not “be a mess” when I was in high school. Thankfully I never chose that for karaoke. Misheard lyrics aside, although this album isn’t a landmark in its genre like my first pick, it’s still an undeniable portal to late 2000s pop.
Tha Carter III - Lil Wayne
I think most suburban-raised white boys have their own specific rap album that turned them onto the genre in their youth. For the microgeneration above me it might be Eminem's transformative and controversial debut The Slim Shady LP. For the microgeneration after me it might be Chance the Rapper’s optimism and drug infused mixtape Acid Rap. For me, it was Lil Wayne’s mainstream explosion Tha Carter III. This thing was stuffed to the brim with smash hits that I couldn’t mumble around my parents. A Milli brought a freestyle-esque train of thought to a minimalistic beat. Got Money was a T-Pain assisted braggadocious ode to, well, cash. Mrs. Officer was a love (and other feelings) song to a female cop with one of the catchiest choruses I’ve heard in any rap. And who can forget Lollipop, exposing me to concepts that I wouldn’t fully understand for years later. Thanks Wayne!
If 2018 begins to get you down, don’t hesitate to revert back to your childhood through your headphones. No one’s stopping you.
Daniel Cohn is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.