In one of the key scenes in the 2000 film “High Fidelity” (based on the beloved Nick Hornby novel of the same name), main character Rob Gordon (played with sad-sack aplomb by John Cusack) reveals that after his girlfriend moved out, he re-arranged his beloved vinyl collection according to his own personal autobiography. “If I want to find the song ‘Landslide’ by Fleetwood Mac,” explains Gordon, “I have to remember that I bought it for someone in the fall of 1983 pile, but didn’t give it to them for personal reasons.”
Comedian, writer and actor Patton Oswalt’s obsession with music isn’t nearly as maniacal and anti-social, but he still feels very strongly about the albums of his life. In his new book “Zombie Spaceship Wasteland” (a collection of autobiographical essays), he spends a great deal of time discussing how much R.E.M.’s Fables of the Reconstruction meant to him while he worked in a movie theater one summer in his hometown of Sterling, Virgina. But when MTV Splash Page editor Rick Marshall asked Oswalt what if that R.E.M. album was the one that started it all, he came back with an under-loved cult classic.
“The first album that really meant something to me personally was the ‘Repo Man’ soundtrack,” Oswalt explained. “That put into context a lot of the music I had been listening to.”
Indeed, the soundtrack to the 1984 film featured some excellent underground rock that bridged the gap between punk’s early days and the second-generation underground (including Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Suicidal Tendencies and Fear). For Oswalt, it was an awakening to the world outside of the radio. “I was listening to a lot of brainless pop that I thought was touching me on a deep level. But it actually wasn’t — it was manipulating me. The ‘Repo Man’ soundtrack opened that whole world very belatedly to me, because I just missed punk altogether. It lead me back down the road to bands I had missed.”
What was the first album that really meant something to you? Let us know in the comments!