I want to talk about music. The music that in one way or another shaped my current taste. Those albums or songs that made an impact or marked a very important moment in my life. I know I will probably miss a lot of stuff but I’ll try to remember the best I can. There has been a lot of other good stuff I have discovered over the years that most likely will not be mentioned here.
The Early Years, when I was a kid. This is the music that I used to listen as a kid a lot in Puerto Rico, from either my parents or the radio. There’s no specific timeline just everything I can remember that was important to me at the time.
Air Supply, I am sure it was the album Lost in Love. I remember the vinyl album.
ABBA, I don’t remember the specific album but I remember it was their most popular songs but in Spanish. Not sure that is this specific compilation Oro Grandes Éxitos by ABBA
Chicago , Chicago by Chicago. Also, remember the vinyl album.
Héctor Lavoe, I have probably listened to his entire discography thanks to my dad.
Rubén Blades, probably the album I remember the most is Siembra
Ricardo Montaner, this was probably thanks to my mom. I remember she would listen to it as she was mopping the house.
La Tierra del Olvido by Carlos Vives. This one got played a lot in my household, again, on house cleaning days.
Kiss from a Rose by Seal, My favorite Batman movie will always be the 1989 Batman. However, this song from the Batman Forever soundtrack, I remember listening to it for the first time, on the radio on my way to school in my dad’s car. I haven’t stopped listening since something about that song just stuck.
Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz, another salsa group that I have probably heard their entire repertory because of my dad.
La Fania All Stars, more salsa music thanks to my dad. 🤪
Roy Brown, Probably the most important song in this album is Boricua en la Luna, was a poem turned into a song and to most people another anthem.
Andres Jimenez “El Jibaro”, every Christmas, you won’t hear of this guy all year long until Christmas.
Haciendo Punto en Otro Son, I remember this album been played on every family gathering and road trips.
(Side story: I remember a specific road trip, we went as a family, my grandparents, uncles, and cousins, to the Patilla’s River. It started drizzling 🌧, My grandpa says “It’s just a little drizzle, it’ll pass right away” next thing we knew it rained the entire day. 😂🌧😂)
Tony Croatto, A guy from Argentina, whom I thought to be Puertorrican most of my life. He embraced the culture and loved Puerto Rico so much that he was probably more patriotic than most Puertorricans at the time. Also, I hear his music and reminds me of Christmas time even though most of his songs were more about homeland and patriotism.
Menudo, Los Últimos Heroes, I even remember seeing these guys live, I even remember I puked my gust out by a palm-tree on my way back to the house (food poisoning or something).
At a very young age, I remember having two cassettes of my own, I’m sure I had more but these are the two I remember the most and that made some sort of impact.
- Bad by Michael Jackson, Loved this cassette even though that I probably didn’t understand shit at the time. I also remember I had a friend in school that told me that I should’ve to get rid of this cassette because it was the devil’s music, Alberto Núñez. 😂
- Wyclef Jean Presents the Carnival by Wyclef Jean, 🎶_Guantanamera, Guajira, guantanamera_🎶 I’m sure I didn’t understand a word either.
Then I remember somewhere around elementary and Intermediate school, I was introduced to Compact Discs, remember those? The first CD I’ve ever listened to was the soundtrack of the best movie ever made,
- Top Gun (playing Danger Zone as I type), I remember been blown away by the sound quality and I ran to my dad a told him that he had to get a compact CD player for the car. Damn, I even remember that to play it in the car you got to have this cable that was hooked up to a cassette.
Fast-forward a little bit. This is me experimenting outside of what my parents used to play at home, I even had my compact disc player. This was probably between 6th to 9th grade, somewhere in there. The list is relatively short. There’s a ton of stuff that I am sure I am missing but these are the highlights of that time. Most of these will be old school Puertorican rap (or reggaeton), they all remind me of those garage parties we used to have. I still listen to must of these nowadays.
Nico Canada Vol. 1, I listened to this one until it wouldn’t play anymore 😅
The Noise, Vol. 7 🎶*hay rumor de guerra y de funeral*🎶😁
Canción de Alerta by Cultura Profética, this was my first exposure to reggae, like legit roots reggae and what was best, it was a Puertorrican band and they recorded this album, in analog, in Jamaica at Bob Marley’s own house that was turned into a recording studio.
Then at some point between 9th grade and the first two years of high school, I started to listen to more Spanish (or Latin) Rock. Thanks to my girlfriend at the time and some friends, but especially my girlfriend and his brother (he was part of a band at the time so..)
Insomnio by Sol D’Menta (not their first album but this is a good one since their first isn’t anywhere to be found digitally) But they were one of the first bands that I fell in love with.
Bombón de Azúcar by La Secta All Star, I still love this band, Gustavo Laureano has a very unique voice, very recognizable and I probably have listened and owned every singles album since.
Seguridad Social, A Spanish band, my dad would play them on road trips too.
Niño Planeta by Niño Planeta, so many good memories over this album, girls related ones 😉.
Fiel a la Vega, This is an anniversary version of their first album I was introduced to, though, the other one that made a huge impact on me around the same era, was released years later, Tres by Fiel a la Vega. Actually, this album might have been introduced to me by my cousin, the younger brother of my other cousin that introduced me to the Top Gun soundtrack years prior. Whom also introduced me to another album that means a lot to me
Greatest Hits by Boston, I believe at the time they were actually on tour in PR and he spoke so highly of their music that my dad bought the CD and of course it got passed down to me (or did I steal it from him?).
Summer of 2000, between 11th grade and 12th, things got more diverse and random. A year or two prior was when we first got our first computer. It was some Compaq Presario with Windows 95 I remember, and with that Dial-up internet. Anyhoo, that summer it’s when things kind of took off. On that summer, there was a summer school program where they had us build computers, learn a little bit of computer language and on top of that they’d pay us. We were building and putting together the computer lab for the school. So I made new friends and with that, I was introduced to more music. Some of those were,
Three Dollar Bill, Y’all by Limp Bizkit, I remember that very first song, Pollution, it was sort of a shocker and new. To me, that was like a hardcore rock (little did I know). But that was the perfect thing to listen at the time because it was a fusion between rap and rock.
The Writing’s On the Wall by Destiny’s Child, yup, I remember, the guy sitting right next to me gave this album to listen to, I remember liking it.
Slipknot by Slipknot, yeah, From Limp Bizkit and Destiny’s Child straight to Slipknot. I remember we would listen to that album every time we would go out on the weekends for our entire senior year, more or less.
Follow the Leader by Korn, also shared by a friend, Joel Rivera I remember, my first Korn album.
Then during that period of 2000-2001, I can’t remember what it was called but there was this service that you’d pay a few bucks initially and you’d get like five CD’s and then it was like a subscription type thing, I might be wrong but it was something like that. That’s when I get my first 5 CDs of just non-Spanish music.
Everything You Want by Vertical Horizon, still love this album.
The Battle of Los Angeles by Rage Against the Machine, at the time I never heard anything like it, it was so good and different.
The Better Life by 3 Doors Down, Kryptonite? Come on!
Standing On the Shoulder of Giants by Oasis not my favorite Oasis album but it was in the one I ordered because I didn’t know any better. My favorite album most definitely is (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? of course.
Now You See Inside by SR-71, That song Right now, anyone?
Those were my first five properly owned albums.
Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers, this was my first love for the Peppers if you will. I had listened to this album more time than I can count, back then. I remember playing it while playing video games, for some reason makes me think of Dino Crisis.
Enema of the State by blink-182, so many good memories on this album.
Americana by The Offspring, This one reminds me of beach adventures and the first relationship I had on my first year of college. That was a mistake, great album still.
After that, I was pretty much listening to almost anything (Rock, Alternative, Pop, Reggae)
Legend by Bob Marley & The Wailers, a classic, who doesn’t love some Bob. After a few years, this is not my favorite Bob’s album but it was the first one I heard. This album got played a lot at my local Arcade or “Game-room”, as we used to call it, along with
Vasos Vacíos by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs 🎶 Mal bicho 🎶
Promises and Lies by UB40, This one was shared by one of my neighbors I remember and started this obsession with Reggae, also, little did I know at the time that UB40 are an English reggae band! 🎶*red red wine*🎶
Fundamental by Puya, Hard-rock Puertorrican band! 🤘🏼 I and my friends would listen to them on our way to the beach and outings
Big Bang by Los Enanitos Verdes, I still listen to them and think about road trips and beach.
Hybrid Theory by LINKIN PARK. This Album blew my mind when it came out, and I think I first listened to it during that summer of building computer thing. I remember because also Dragon Ball Z had come out in PR and there were a lot of fan-made videos in a new thing, at the time, called YouTube using Linkin Park’s music.
Punk-O-Rama, Vol. 5, I don’t quite remember liking the whole album but it was played a lot by pod-head friends 😅 and the song that stuck with me forever was No Cigar by Millencolin and have loved that band since.
Now, I’m in college, some of my most precious album memories are here, not all but most. All for different reasons. I remember listening to;
- Toxicity by System Of A Down, this album, I remember I was in Ponce Puerto Rico. I remember I had received some money from some student grants we used to get back then. I walked into an EB Games, bought a PlayStation 2 with Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Dynasty Warriors 3 (love both franchises). Then I walked into some music store and bought this album.
1000 Vivos by Los Pericos, this album pretty much lived in my car, rarely left the compact disc player. My buddy and I used to listen to it in our commute to our hometown every Friday. (Collage was an hour or so away from home so we would stay the week and come back for the weekends, you know, laundry and stuff). Also every time we would go out and hang out we will be listening to this album.
And same with Frisbee by Caramelos de Cianuro, still to this day I remember all the lyrics!
- Skalleluia Too! by The Insyderz, I was sort of dating this girl a the time that for whatever reason was really into this band so I remember it well.
My buddy also got me into more “exotic” music (mostly drum-and-bass) as I called it back then like,
Eurodancer by DJ Mangoo, I am sure it wasn’t the actual physical album that I (or we) had, this was the era of N LimeWire and Torrentz for us. We were in college so had to make do. I do remember listening to this album while my buddy was doing our haircuts and having beers at his apartment.
Around my second year of college, the ones that I remember the most were,
Meteora by LINKIN PARK, it was given to me as a birthday present by my girlfriend at the time. She never shared my taste in music too much but it was still nice of her I guess.
Dutty Rock by Sean Paul, I don’t remember if I owned this album or if it was a copy but I remember that I got into it and my girlfriend at the time telling me “You listen to weird music”. There’s a reason things didn’t work out 😅
Infest by Papa Roach, so many good memories about this album, not so much the music itself but the memories around it, reminds me of more beach days.
Adema by Adema, I think of this album and I remember that this was around the time that I both started to get into Anime and started questioning everything I was thought in life, much more than before. Not sure how to explain that one.
And somewhere between the summer of 2002 and the summer of 2005. I can’t remember exactly but I had a small gig at a local surf clothing shop in my town. I had a weird yet super cool manager. He introduced me to two bands that I still love to this day. The specific albums here,
Then some albums that marked very important moments in my life like,
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below by Outkast, Annie gifted this album to me on our first Valentine’s Day as a couple. 🧀
Make Yourself by Incubus, I had listened to this album before but never paid too much attention to the lyrics and the message behind each song. Annie was more familiar with this album and I remember her explaining everything to me, she knew better English than me at the time so. To me, I feel like we somewhat bonded over this album.
Wishmaster by Nightwish we (Annie and I) loved this band, say loved because they changed the lead singer and is not the same anymore. I think of this album and remember those long nights studying for some of our science classes, ugh! still good memories though.
The song Mad World by Michael Andrews, Gary Jules, though I love the movie Donnie Darko, this not what I think of when I listen or remember this song. This song was used on the taser trailer for Gears of War and this game, was released on my first day of work at GameStop. Naturally, I purchased this game using my employee discount 😅. I remember that we (me and my coworkers) played this game every night, for nine months straight. I am still a fan of this franchise, actually, I am currently playing Gears of War 5.
La Ciudad de Los Arboles by Mägo de Oz, We (Annie and I) obsessed over this band, also they were our first concert together.
Ten Thousand Fists by Disturbed, I obsessed over this band for many years, probably their first song I ever heard was Down With the Sickness, but I remember this particular album the most because it had many songs I loved like Stricken, I’m Alive and * especially* Decadence. Decadence was featured in the soundtrack for Need for Speed Most Wanted, my favorite NFS game of all times! Annie would sit with me and watch me play this game, good times.
Albums that Annie introduced to me once we started dating or we discovered together years later during our thing. 😅
Queen of the Damned, Music from the Motion Picture by Various Artists, I remember watching this movie and loving it. Later Annie came around and ruined it for me by having me read the book and make me realized the movie was crap 😅. But we liked the soundtrack it got played a lot during our college years.
Faceless by Godsmack, I remember she loved or she talked a lot about a specific song in that album, Releasing the Demons by Godsmack. To me, it was I Stand Alone by Godsmack, I remover this son in particular because it was used for the Prince of Persia: Warrior Within game
Believe by Disturbed, though I was already familiar with Disturbed at this point I knew very little about this album and Annie brought it to my attention.
Born In Babylon by SOJA, I cannot remember how we came across this band, I bet it was probably Annie but we have seen this band live at least 3 times.
Division by 10 Years, we have both listened to this album many times over and we have watched this band playing live at least 3 times as well. Personally, this is probably the only band of that time I can still listen to.
Dark As Night by Nahko and Medicine for the People, this particular album was discovered through SOJA. I remember seeing a post on Instagram from SOJA’s lead singer Jacob about this Nahko dude. Turns out he’s part Puertorrican, part Asian part Native American, weird. His music always carries a message, they are very inspirational. This album, in particular, helped Annie through some rough times when we lost our first baby Alex.
(Side story: Nahko and Medicine for the people came to town for a concert, at the Egyptian Theatre here in Boise — cool venue. At the time we were living at, what is known here as the North-End, where all the “hippies” (little did we know about the difference between hippies and hipsters) are. So we thought ourselves as hippies, until we went to that concert, then we just realize that we were not hippies at all and maybe just hipsters-ish. That was definitely an experience we will never forget. Fantastic show though, we did enjoy it quite a lot)
Now, of all the music I’ve mentioned. Is there anything I would still listen to from start to finish? Not sure, if I’m being honest. There’s a lot of stuff that did mean a lot or have some significance in my life but I am maybe no longer in that scene. One album I can say for sure I still listen to this day from start to finish would be Meteora by Linkin Park. Others like Disturbed, for example, I got to be in the mood and I am not in that mood often.
Here’s a playlist I’ve made with a least one song from each album mentioned above in case you’re curious. At least the ones that were available on Apple Music 😅.