Five Albums That Define My Teenage Years

By Oscar Carranza 

Growing up, I was always that kid walking around with earphones in, getting my iPod confiscated by teachers or collecting music. These five albums give you a good picture of the kind of kid I was in my teenage years. I would highly recommend everyone to check out these albums. 

  1. “Number of the Beast” - Iron Maiden 

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This album takes me way back: I was a young lad in elementary school when my older brother left the CD out. A few days later, I stole my brother’s Iron Maiden shirts and dove into their discography. This album is filled to the brim with quality songs like “Number of the Beast,” “Run to the Hills,” and “22 Acacia Avenue.” There is no other album that I hold dear to my heart more than “Number of the Beast.” My entire journey into music can be traced back to this album—from my love of Power Metal to my dreams of performing as a musician. Even to this day, I still badly sing songs off this album.

2. “Rise Against” - The Sufferer and the Witness 

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Let me get this out of the way now: I highly dislike Rise Against post “Appeal to Reason.” It’s no surprise they transitioned into a radio friendly band; it’s not a bad thing. I just don’t want to listen to it. “The Suffer and the Witness” is that perfect balance between their punk roots and their mainstream sound: fast blast beats, screaming vocals, contagious backing vocals, and raw emotion. I can’t count the times I was in my garage, jamming along on drums, guitar, or vocals to this album.

3. “Is This It" – The Strokes

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How can you not love this album? This album is literally banger after banger: “Is This It,” “Modern Age,” “Someday” and “Last Night.” “Is This It” gave the rock genre a swift kick in the behind and spawned numerous guitar-focused bands. It’s a shame that people don’t dive into the band’s debut album; rather, songs like “Reptilia” get all the attention. This album is a true emotional roller coaster, from danceable tracks to songs that will break you. 

4. “Tell all your friends” - Taking Back Sunday”

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This is the first album that made me use the dreaded phrase, “It’s not a phase.” I can honestly say to this day, it wasn’t a phase. Yeah, My Chemical Romance had massive success, but they don’t come anywhere near how great Taking Back Sunday were, nor could they create something as special as “Tell All Your Friends.” This album is the pinnacle of early 2000s emo. Songs like “Cute Without the E,” “You’re So Last Summer,” and “Timberwolves at New Jersey” were simply everything I embodied in my high school freshman days. 


5. “Revolutionary Vol. 2” - Immortal Technique

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Growing up in South LA, everyone listened to metal and gangster rap. Dr. Dre’s “2001” or NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton” come second only to Immortal Technique’s “Revolutionary Vol. 2.” Most people know Technique because of “Dance with the Devil,” a perfect example of his story telling. “Vol. 2” takes everything to a whole new level. If you want to be taken on an emotional journey that will break you, look no further than “You Never Know.” Tech was so raw, he slid into my playlists with ease. Some of the flows on this record are disgusting—and yes, I’m using that as a compliment.