Updated: Jan 6, 2021
The Bromunity Community complied a list of quintessential albums from our childhood. Since most of us are in our 20's, you'll find albums that helped define the genre of pop punk as well as albums from former Mickey Mouse Club members. Albums were selected for a variety of reasons. One album created an unexpected link with a parent. Another made moving to The Jersey Shore a bit easier. And one was the soundtrack to Air Bud.
Without further ado, here's the list:
Blink-182 - Enema of the State
When it comes to iconic albums from my childhood, one immediately comes to mind. Blink-182’s Enema of the State. Blink-182 will always hold a special place in my heart, the amount of times their albums got spun in my house probably spans higher than I can even count. Not only did this album cover make me feel some time of way but it’s also packed with heat start to finish. "What’s My Age Again?", "Adam's Song", "All the Small Things", "Dumpweed", all certified head banging classics. As it happens to be, Blink-182 was the first live show I had the pleasure to experience. A preteen me awkwardly raging as these songs blared through over-sized loud speakers will always be a cherished memory of mine.
-- Dom Bavetta
Avril Lavigne - Let Go
Say what you want about Avril now. She wasn’t going to be the next Alanis Morrisette. One is enough, okay? Regardless, 2002 Avril Lavigne was bringing it in a major way. If this was your debut album, it’d be hard as hell to follow up so maybe hold whatever criticism you have about her subsequent work.
I first heard Avril at a sleepover at my cool friend Meredith’s house in second grade. We were playing American Idol, and someone lip synced to "Sk8er Boi". I was hooked from there on out. I loved and still love my 2000s pop idols, but Avril got me. Not blonde, not happy, and not playing your game. Avril was going through it and so was I. (My other childhood hero was Buttercup from Powerpuff Girls if that helps paint the picture.)
Whether you buy into the fascinating and delightfully weird Avril Lavinge conspiracy theories out there or not (is she a clone??), do yourself a favor and revisit Let Go. Moody, folksy, edgy, and Canadian. It’s all there.
-- Erin McKune
Weezer - Weezer (Blue Album)
Yes, I love Weezer. Yes, I assume I will promptly get made fun of by several friends on Bromunity. But, my Dad played Weezer’s debut album religiously during my childhood. I can perfectly recite the lyrics to “My Name is Jonas”, “Buddy Holly”, and even “Say It Ain’t So.” In hindsight, having these songs in my childhood might explain my angsty teen years.
Other hits on the album included “Undone - The Sweater Song”, “In the Garage”, and “Holiday.” Personally, there is no better way for me to step into a time machine than listening to a song on this album. Rivers Cuomo is my hero.
-- Caleb Tackes
Britney Spears - Stronger
Shut up, shut up, shut up. How dare other people mention the greatest albums of the early 2000’s without even murmuring the Pop Princess’ name. Whether you were obsessed with Britney (me) or just heard her through the walls as your mother/sister/brother/cousin/next door neighbor blared "Lucky" (probably everyone else reading this), Stronger is the musical gold standard.
Whether your bliss was Britney, Christina, or Spice Girls, was there anything better than unwinding after a tough day of being an 8 year old with a nice music video re-enactment? Solo or with friends, truly the best. Maybe I just loved this album because I liked reenacting the music video for "Oops!... I Did It Again" in my room by myself. Or maybe it’s because I had convinced myself I could be the brown-haired Brit one day. Either way, this album was iconic. And so is this deleted scene from the above mentioned music video.
Britney even taught us an important lesson in diversification in this album, with songs ranging from the power anthem of "What U See is What U Get", to the dainty soft stylings of "Dear Diary".
While the weird voicemail messages on the album don’t necessarily last the test of time, Britney herself has never been more relevant. I’ve never felt more seen as I did when Britney posted about accidentally burning down her home gym last month. Celebrities, they’re just like us: clumsy, funny, and really into candles.
-- Sarah Gulliganzigangantouffer
The Shins - Oh, Inverted World
The movie Garden State with Zach Braff and Natalie Portman came out a few years before I begrudgingly had to move from the New York suburbs of Manhattan down to the Jersey Shore (yes, that Jersey Shore). I was filled with the typical melancholy and teen angst of a 13 year old who was somewhere that they didn’t want to be and had no choice in the matter. So naturally, when I saw Garden State for the first time after moving to New Jersey, I felt an instant connection with Zach Braff’s character in the movie who had to return to New Jersey even though he didn’t really want to be there.
Then enters Natalie Portman’s character as the quintessential manic pixie dream girl. There’s a scene where Natalie Portman and Zach Braff’s character first meet and he asks her what she’s listening to. And she, as the super cool quirky dream girl character that she is, replies “you gotta hear this one song, it’ll change your life.” Cue “New Slang” by The Shins playing while Natalie Portman’s character awkwardly smiles and Zach Braff’s character pretends to play it super cool cause, ya know, Natalie Portman’s into him.
Anyway, that’s all just a long way to say, Natalie Portman’s character was right. The entire soundtrack to Garden State did change my life because it introduced me not only to The Shins, but to the wonderful world of music that defines my music taste to this day.
-- Somya Pathak
My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade
I remember buying this album at Target. I needed to own the whole album because the song “Welcome to the Black Parade” was too good to listen to without context. I bought the album and placed it in the CD player of my Mom’s Honda Pilot and about 30 seconds in I was worried that I had bought music that would be too mean, dark, and unpleasant for my own Mother to hear. The opening track features the steady beep of a heart monitor that ends with the sound of a patient flat lining. Plenty of tracks on the album utilize sounds that a 12 year old boy and his mother don’t need to listen to together in the same car as they drive to another county to watch a high school basketball game. I remember when the song “Mama” came on and I felt the need to skip the song and go ahead to the next one. And I remember my Mom saying “Keith, I’d like to know why the singer thinks we all go to hell.” And she pressed “back” on the center console and let the song play all the way through. This is an album that helped 6th grade Keith realize that his parents have heard bad words, seen bad things, and probably listened to rock’n’roll music before he even knew how to wipe himself. And that’s the that on that.
Brahm Wenger - Air Bud Soundtrack
“Come here boy, come here!!” beckoned Air Bud’s esteemed star 12 year-old Canadian actor Kevin Zegers. I was glued to the edge of my seat in anticipation; would the dog choose the boy over the clown (as it had the past 10 times), or would it choose the
clown over the boy? Who would get to pet the dog?
My anticipation was interrupted as my mother violently tore the cassette tape out of the player and threw it out the car window, screaming in protest, clearly unable to listen to the Air Bud soundtrack for an 11th time in a row. What could I blame other than her weak mental fortitude and pure lack of commitment. I snarled viciously from the backseat as she traded my favorite soundtrack of all time for a Kidz Bop album ranging anywhere between the 16th and 27th entry. I couldn’t quite remember the exact album, and quite frankly it didn’t fucking matter. How could she do this to me? Trade masterfully crafted audible experiences like TRACK 10 - "BUDDY MAKES A BASKET" with this brainless drivel. I spit out my half eaten granola bar on the floor in protest. Consider even the weakest track on the album; TRACK 12 - "INVISIBLE BALL / HALFTIME SHOW"; it still objectively blows away any garbage promoted by Concord Music between October 9, 2001 and February 21, 2006 with the untimely release of KIDZ BOP 9. Easily the strongest track on the album in my opinion; TRACK 17 - "THE FINAL SHOT" while only being one minute and 12 seconds long, carries so much emotional suspense and tension that I managed to instantly qualify for post traumatic stress disorder compensation from the VA after listening to it.
Second grade sure was tough with all those multiplication tables, pop quizzes, recess detentions, and the World Trade Center Towers being attacked. Christmas 2001 couldn’t come soon enough. Little did I know, Santa Claus would soon bestow upon me one of the greatest albums that would ever grace my cassette tape collection, Kidz Bop. Oh, and let me tell you, it bopped. It bopped hard. My parents would often find me blasting and bopping the likes of “All Star”, “All The Small Things” and “all” the late 90’s, early 00’s Kidz Bop hits. My tortured parents would curse and yell out, “What is this demon music my demon child is playing?” as Britney Spears’s lyrics and sex appeal would ooze out of the lips of various Kidz singing “Oops!... I did It Again”. Some of the raunchier lyrics of course were censored, allowing children of all ages to appropriately enjoy Brittany’s timeless message—how it’s cool to repeatedly cheat on your partner with no remorse.
This theme and others like in the Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out” taught our youth important life lessons. In this Baha blast, the Kidz taught me to never take responsibility for my own actions, but to simply divert the question. To this day, no one has claimed responsibility for letting the dogs out. Who indeed let the dogs out? And who indeed is responsible for the three dogs released that bit the neighbor’s kid and were unfortunately put down? Rest in peace Bitsy, Mitsy, and unnamed puppy. We may never know that truth, but we do know the truth that rings through NSYNC’s hit, “Bye, Bye, Bye”. This bop and a half may just top all the Pop bops on this album. It would launch the soon-to-be mega careers of JC Chasez, Chris Kirkpatrick, Joey Fatone, Lance Bass, and the guy from those Trolls movies. Me and the schoolboys scrambled to harmonize, learn the dance, and assemble into boy bands. It was my grade that saw the formation of the Jonas Brothers and No Direction—before they changed their names. These fond memories and life lessons still haunt me today.
Nearly 19 years later, there are now 40 Kidz Bop albums—which does not seem to add up. The popular brand now tours the world and leaves no stone unturned in compilation albums like Kidz Bop Hanukkah, A Kidz Bop Valentine, and who could forget the 2003 classic, Kidz Bop Kool For Kidz—which typing that now looks like a very questionable KKK reference. The Kidz Bop brand continues to bring joy to millions of tone-deaf children around the world. I’m just glad I was able to capture some of that cult classic magic before Kidz Bop is eventually shut down for violation of child labor laws. Join the cult here. Free jackets included.
-- Zach Rimkus