We got the internet at home around the time I started high school. I would spend most of my nights on AllMusic.com looking up bands I liked and then downloading (from Napster!) a record each by the bands listed under "Influenced By" "Influenced" and "Similar Artists." So, while I definitely had heard Yeti by Amon Düül II when I was like fifteen or sixteen, it didn't really blow my mind. Listening to New Found Glory was just way better.
Excluding Sesame Street Live, I'd only ever been to three live music performances by the time I graduated high school: jazz fusion guitarist John Scofield (high school jazz band trip), Tool/Tomahawk (loved Tool, helped Tomahawk get booed off stage), and Deicide/Cattle Decapitation (this was fucking awesome). I joined a band in college and started going to shows and, flashing forward to present day, now I'm one of those people who complain about Eureka by Jim O'Rourke not being on Spotify.
In short, this list excludes the really crucial years of my musical growth and is pretty much the same shit listened to by every non-athletic/non-weedian teenage boy in Wisconsin towns with under 2000 people in them, and while being comprehensive isn't the point, it makes more sense to me to list five albums from each year of high school.
consume music the same way people did twenty years ago?
This was right in the middle of the prime Ozzfest years, if such a thing exists. I tried to pick the worst of the worst from the pool of what I was listening to--that Kid Rock tape just barely edged out Three Dollar Bill Y'all here because Kid Rock is somehow even worse, a different letter in the Hepatitis alphabet soup--but rest assured knowing there were plenty of nu-metal CDs available for the entrance music for all the backyard wrestling that went down.
Nirvana - Nevermind
(My aunt cleaned hotel rooms and found a copy of Nevermind in there, which I stole. I stole Appetite for Destruction from my other aunt, but didn't get really into it until college.)
Denis Leary - No Cure For Cancer
(Had a dubbed VHS version I watched a hundred times. Finally got a burned CD of the audio and listened a hundred more times.)
Metallica - ReLoad
(I'm pretty sure I thought ReLoad was the first Metallica record.)
Kid Rock - Devil Without A Cause
(Can still rap this front to back. Still haven't heard a Public Enemy tape all the way through, so never trust me on anything.)
Rob Zombie - Hellbilly Deluxe
(I bought this at the mall with my mom. When we walked past Victoria's Secret I said something about Tyra Banks wanting to be my girlfriend. Mom pointed at my Sam Goody bag and said, "You think she wants to drive you around listening to that bullshit?")
The restaurant I worked at was awesome for finding new music. When I stayed overnight at one of the dishwasher's house, he had like a half dozen of the other teen dirtballs who worked there over to do shit like watch softcore porn, drink shitty beer, and break his folks giant glass coffee table. It was awesome, even if I only helped with the first and last things on that list. They stole a bunch of pointless shit from cars that were unlocked in the neighborhood after I went to sleep early. I woke up with a lifted copy of Alice In Chains Greatest Hits stuck to my head with shaving cream.
Pantera - Vulgar Display of Power
(It was cool to be tough in my room. Dimebag shreds, don't care what anyone says.)
George Carlin - You Are All Diseased
(I think I saw clips from "The Seven Words You Can't Say On Television" in some documentary or read something online, but this is the tape I ended up with somehow.)
Van Halen - VH1
(An old cook with a mustache at the restaurant told me to check this out. Before I could tell him how rad it is, he got fired for calling one of the waitresses a cunt.)
Weezer - Pinkerton
(That Pinkerton hangover has been going on for fifteen years and counting.)
The Hard + The Heavy: Volume One
(A bought it for the Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock, and Rob Zombie, I stayed for Queens of the Stone Age, Fu Manchu, Neurosis, Monster Magnet, and Motorhead. This was one of the biggest game changers ever for me.)
I switched schools and got a car and a girlfriend and even though I can't list it again, really, most of my time was spent listening to Pinkerton. I kept telling people I was really into Dream Theater but I didn't listen to them all that much. I'd started playing guitar by now and was starting to get obsessed with shit I couldn't even begin to approach: Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Satriani. The G3 DVDs were a pretty big deal to me and a couple buddies, but mostly for the parts where Steve Vai made his cum faces and when Satch jumped over a monitor at the end like a little kid and they freeze-framed it. My buddy Scotty made me a mix with "Blowjob Betty" on it, but it didn't take. Oh, what could have been.
Tool - Lateralus
(I wish I'd gotten into this sooner so I could have been disinterested enough in it by the time I turned 18 and wouldn't pay an old biker named Spanky to give me a tattoo of the multi-colored eye on cover.)
Bill Hicks - Arizona Bay
(I'm almost positive this is 100% related to the Tool obsession. Thankfully, getting a Bill Hicks album is the best possible takeaway from being a Tool fan.)
Tom Petty - Wildflowers
(Listening back, this record feels like it's a thousand hours long. I listened to this non-stop because there was absolutely no way for me to find out about Elliott Smith yet. Tom Petty had to sing about joints and honey bees before I could discover any other music with acoustic guitars.)
Our Lady Peace - Clumsy
(I think I bought this on a lark at Moondog Music because it was like three dollars cheaper than the rest of the used CDs. Unrelated except for also being Canadian, but a guy on a wrestling messageboard I went to was obsessed with Matthew Good Band and I also got into them sometime around this point.)
Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
(My high school girlfriend got into a big fight with me at school when I first bought the Wish You Were Here album cover shirt because, unbeknownst to me, her grandma had caught fire and been hospitalized years before, proving that it was possible to be triggered before Tumblr existed.)
My favorite music-related memory of all of high school happened Senior Year when my buddy Chris bought a school bus. It was an older one, but he got it for $500 with a full tank of gas. He was going to rip all the seats out, add some beds and tables, and use it to go to Canada on fishing trips. He wanted it to be green, so on the day before the last day of school, he asked me if I'd come over and help him tape up some windows, maybe assist with the painting. "Should take an hour, two hours, tops." Eleven hours later, we finally finished. I still remember listening to Radiohead and Pearl Jam and all the other high school stuff we'd been into, blasting from my car with all the windows down, nobody in any of the seats.
Radiohead - The Bends
(A desert island record for me for years and years that pretty much was all I listened to the last half of Senior Year. I printed off the lyrics to the whole record on my first day of college and kept them in my master class binder until I graduated, which, now that I type it out, is possibly the most embarrassing thing on this entire list.)
Steven Wright - I Have a Pony
(The three disc changer for my after-school, play-video-games-for-a-bit sessions were very often the first two Weezer records and I Have a Pony. With all this comedy I listened to, I really should be funnier.)
Blink 182 - Take Off Your Pants and Jacket
(I definitely didn't bring this up a lot around my metalhead buddies.)
Porcupine Tree - Stupid Dream
(No idea how I heard of Porcupine Tree, but, again, their CD was in the used bin at Moondog for like $3.95, so I picked it up. I played and sang an acoustic version of the song "Pure Narcotic" at the National Honor Society dinner at school after the principal asked me to perform, which was the only way I was getting anywhere near the event.)
Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American
(I'm glad nobody told me that these would be some of the more tolerable emo vocals I'd end up hearing in my life because then there's no way I would have ever listened to Mineral.)