The first album I owned was Still Cruisin' by the Beach Boys. It was 1989. Shoulder pads were big. Hair was bigger. The Beach Boys were on Full House the previous year. I was eight.
Eight and easily impressionable, as I'd love to say I selected this cassette because of some deep appreciation for campy music, but I can't. Not even close. In fact, I didn't have my dad snatch this cassette off the rack at our local Strawberries music store because I loved the beach bum lyrics of Wipeout; or because listening to Kokomo took me on a wondrous three-minute mental mini-vacation.
No, my superficial self just liked the cover. It reminded me of a red spaceship. This is stupid, of course, because the cover most certainly is not a rocket—it's a car.
Regardless, I still managed to wear that magnetic tape pretty thin, and looking back, the album—a compilation of Beach Boys hits inspired by Kokomo's inclusion in the movie Cocktail—was actually a great little collection of tunes, if you happened to be into the Beach Boys. Turns out I was, even at age eight, so I played the hell out of Kokomo, Wipeout and I Get Around, among others.
I played the cassette on some kind of portable Walkman knockoff. It definitely wasn't a Sony, as my parents refused to buy popular name brand electronics (we had a Sylvania television, and when the Reebok Pump came out, I got the L.A. Gear version).
Roy Orbison's soulful crooning topped everything off during those Saturday morning father-son trips to the bank because why the fuck not.
The other memorable cassette I had at the time was New Kids On the Block's Hangin' Tough, because I'm pathetic. I also have what amounts to an acid flashback whenever Dennis Quaid appears on my television.
For Gizmodo's week-long Listening Test (a tribute to all things audio), each writer will be sharing his/her first album. In other words, there will be many more to come.