Children Have the Right to Music
In 1986 I was thirteen. The Doors and Strange Days were already nineteen years old, even LA Woman was fifteen, as was Led Zeppelin IV and Paranoid was a year older. Even more recent fair from The Cure seemed ancient at the time, Three Imaginary Boys came out when I was six, Faith when I was eight, and Pornography when I was nine, though unlike the other bands in the purloined album collection The Cure were still alive and touring, with arguably the best of their music still to come.
All of this was brought to mind when I learned that my thirteen-year old cousin would be coming over from the UK for Christmas. It shocked me to learn that he was thirteen, although I see my cousins probably once a year in my mind they are all still some indeterminate age between two and nine and easily amused by shiny bits of plastic or jangled keys, and not at all running around slamming doors with haircuts and skateboards and moody outrage expressed at the world in general with a sullen gloominess. I started to think about my own teenage years and remembered that thirteen was the year I really discovered music, which made me smile. I then realised that Dubnobasswithmyheadman was released four years before he was born, which made me feel old, and then sad.
Underworld's sophomore release Second Toughest in the Infants came out two years before he was born, Orbital's eponymous debut seven years before, Autechre's Incunabula five years, The Future Sound of London's Lifeforms four years, Daft Punk's Homework a year before, and the list goes on. The contents of my iPod are all ancient history as far as he is concerned, or would be if he had ever heard of any of them.
It was then that a dastardly plan started to form in the recesses of my mind. While he has been exposed to music since the day he was born (his parents both working in the music industry), almost all of what he has been exposed to would be Rock or Indie, with Bjork and Gorillaz being the closest he has probably come to electronica. With that in mind I thought that the one thing every teenage boy wants (well, the other thing every teenage boy wants) is a chance to rebel against their parents, and given that he will probably get enough exposure to hippity-hop from his classmates (as teenage boys seem drawn to swearing and misogyny like flies to honey) it seemed to me that a healthy dose of electronica might do him the world of good, and thus I have decided to put together a usb drive's worth of classic electronica/dance albums as a crimbo present, and here is where you, my loyal readers, come in.
I'm going to try and put together a couple of gigs worth of music and I thought I would crowd-source some suggestions. I'm looking for advice on electronica and maybe dance albums from the nineties and possibly early noughties that will a) be accessible to a thirteen-year old and b) will have the same effect on him that The Doors et all had on me in transforming my idea of what music was and was capable of being. While there are an awful lot of albums in either category, the crossover between the two is not as large as you might think. I also don't want to just give him everything by a particular artist, after all half the joy of music for a teenager (and a 38-year old) is discovering more music by a favorite artist yourself (much easier in the age of the internet, I realise), so my preference is to include only one album by any single artist. I also want to try and have a good mix of Loud-and-Angry-I-Hate-You-All and Lying-in-the-Dark-Because-Nobody-Understands-Me tunes.
So here is where I reach out to you all for suggestions, my thoughts so far are listed below but I know there are many, many others I should be thinking about, and some on this list (particularly the ambient stuff) that might be missing the mark. Please add your thoughts and suggestions to the comments thread!
Underworld - Dubnobasswithmyheadman or Second Toughest in the Infants
Daft Punk - Homework
Orbital - The Middle of Nowhere (Orbital 2 is stronger, but I think this is more accessible)
Chemical Brothers - Dig your own hole
Roni Size & Reprazent - New Forms
Fat Boy Slim - You've Come a Long Way, Baby (remember, this is for a thirteen-year old, which is just abut the right level of sophistication for this album)
Air - Moon Safari
Leftfield - Leftism
Unkle - Psyence Fiction
The Future Sound of London - Lifeforms
The Orb - Auntie Aubrey's Excursions Beyond the Call of Duty
Kruder & Dorfmeister - K&D Sessions
Portishead - Dummy
Aphex Twin - Richard D. James Album and Windowlicker
Autechre - Incunabula
B12 - Time Tourist - Not as well known as the rest, but a personal favourite of mine
Boards of Canada - Music has the Right to Children
Plaid - Double Figure
And the rest, as they say, is up to you.