How Hole shaped what I know about rock & roll and sexuality

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A page from my high school-era scrapbook.
Everyone loves "Doll Parts." At least that's the song the comes up any time I speak about Hole to a non-Hole fan. I'm not complaining. "Doll Parts" is arguably a better point of reference for the band than the other common conversation piece regarding Hole, which is the comment that Courtney Love is insane. She might be insane; I don't know. I can't really wrap my head around who she is because I've never met her. But what I can speak to what is the unmitigated effect that Hole and Live Through This -- released twenty years ago this past week -- had on me as a human being.


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Giving thanks for Rain Dogs by Tom Waits

In what's become an annual tradition for us, we ask a few members of Team Backbeat to reflect on an album they're thankful for in honor of Thanksgiving.

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The first time I remember hearing Tom Waits was when his video for "Downtown Train" was played on Teletunes. It was sometime during the mid '80s while I was in high school. To my Clash-loving ears at the time, I'm pretty sure I thought to myself he sounded like Springsteen. If I could go back in time and punch my fifteen-year-old self in the throat for even thinking bullshit like that I would.

See also: Giving thanks for a few of our favorite albums

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Giving thanks for Kerplunk! by Green Day

In what's become an annual tradition for us, we ask a few members of Team Backbeat to reflect on an album they're thankful for in honor of Thanksgiving.

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In eighth grade, Green Day's song "Longview" exploded into my little world and got seemingly everyone I knew to start learning a couple power chords on their beginner Squier guitars. While the band's platinum-selling album Dookie took the world by storm, I quickly wore it out and hunted down their earlier work. In a pre-Internet world where most music was bought at the mall at Sam Goody, I finally managed to track down a copy of Kerplunk!.

See also: Giving thanks for a few of our favorite albums

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Giving thanks for Robbin the Hood by Sublime

In what's become an annual tradition for us, we ask a few members of Team Backbeat to reflect on an album they're thankful for in honor of Thanksgiving.

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The day to day drudge of the drowsy school year is almost unbearable, especially in high school, where the most important skills aren't taught in classes and are the hardest to learn. I wasn't exactly Mr. Popularity, which was fine, because I had a few close friends that I liked better than any of the most universally beloved anyway.

See also: Giving thanks for a few of our favorite albums

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Giving thanks for Blues for the Red Sun by Kyuss

In what's become an annual tradition for us, we ask a few members of Team Backbeat to reflect on an album they're thankful for in honor of Thanksgiving.

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Kyuss isn't a band to listen to through headphones. Ideally, you blast them on a warm, vintage stereo system, or through your car's speakers as you barrel down some lonely stretch of highway. If you were lucky enough to live in the Coachella Valley in the early '90s, you might have even heard them through the band's own amps at one of their now-legendary generator parties, open-air desert shows fueled by diesel generators and liberal amounts of mind-altering substances.

See also: Giving thanks for a few of our favorite albums

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Ten essential albums from the CBGB scene

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Adam Di Carlo

It's easy to look at what's become of rock music over the last three and a half decades and find countless traces of the CBGB micro-culture and the fast-and-loud aesthetic it cultivated. During their now-legendary years at CBGB, bands like the Ramones, Talking Heads, Blondie and Patti Smith were disrespected weirdos that found a home in a filthy, drug-infested club in New York's Bowery district. They found the freedom to develop a look and sound that could finally distance itself from the peace and love generation and become it's own small but infectious underground movement.

Any band today that plays fast-tempo music with discordant, feedback drenched guitars, or heavily saturated noise-pop with synthesizers and drum machines most likely owes a debt to something that happened in this dive bar several decades ago. So we're taking a look back at the CBGB albums that made things happen, the ones that may have only shipped a few units in their time, but have gone on to unarguably shape the sights and sounds of music today.

See also:
- Ten essential albums of the 1960s
- Ten essential jazz albums if you know squat about jazz
- Ten essential gangsta rap albums


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Giving thanks for a few of our favorite albums

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For most of us, Thanksgiving is typically a time of vast reflection, a time when we get all sorts of introspective and express our gratitude for the lovely people and fortuitous moments in our lives -- that is, of course, when we're not preoccupied with our overwhelming sense of materialism or indulging in our ever gluttonous ways. This year, in that same spirit of sentimentality, we've taken some time to offer up thanks for the albums we're most grateful for, the life changers.

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Ten essential albums of the 1960s

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If someone wanted to learn more about the sixties, but didn't know where to start, these are the albums we'd recommend. While they aren't necessarily the best selling, or the most critically acclaimed, they are certainly the ones that float to the surface all these years later, providing a rough blueprint of era. Narrowing it down to just ten of course leaves out quite a bit (apologies to Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, the Who, and pretty much the whole Motown catalogue), but this is a great starting point for anyone interested in what is perhaps the most important music decade of the 20th century.

See also:
- Ten essential jazz albums if you know squat about jazz
- Ten essential gangsta rap albums
- The Beatles' Sgt Pepper inches toward the half-century mark
- The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street turns 40
- The five best songs from the Summer of Love
- The Jimi Hendrix Experience's Are You Experienced turns 45

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Ten essential gangsta-rap albums

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Eric Gruneisen

Many hip-hop fans, those who love rap -- hell, even some rappers -- have an aversion to gangsta rap for its objectionable content. Common named the rise of gangsta rap as one of the many steps in hip-hop's downfall in "I Used to Love H.E.R." -- a sentiment that, of course, began a contentious relationship between him and Ice Cube. But whatever your take on the morality of the genre, it's hard to argue how insightful the music has been, or that each of these albums has impacted the landscape of hip-hop forever. Keep reading for a list of the ten essential gangsta-rap albums.

See also:
- Ten essential jazz albums if you know squat about jazz
- Ten essential albums of the 1960s
- KS Classic: Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube at Comfort Dental, with Bone Thugs and E-40, 8/24/12


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Ten essential jazz albums if you know squat about jazz but want to become more versed

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About two decades ago, I heard Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, and it floored me. It's the best selling jazz album of all time, and if there's one album that truly started an obsession with jazz, it was that one. As a kid, I'd gotten to see cats like Red Rodney, Zoot Sims and Slide Hampton at Dick Gibson's jazz shows in the early '80s, but it wasn't until hearing Kind of Blue that something just completely clicked. It's hard to completely pinpoint what exactly it was, but I felt it. It's the perfect place to start if you know squat about jazz but are looking to become more versed, as are the other albums that I picked out here. Admittedly, it was hard to pare it down to just ten, and I left out a ton of legendary albums, but these records, most of which were recorded in the '50s and '60s, are a great place to start.

See also:
- Ten essential albums of the 1960s
- Ten essential gangsta rap albums


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