I'm not totally sure what possessed me to create this list, but sometime in 1990, when I was 15 years old, I decided to use the dedicated word processor my parents had bought a few months before to create this list of my CD collection.
I found this when I was back in Merced last year visiting my family, and I'm struck by how many of these bands I still listen to -- I think my parents assumed I would outgrow this music as I got older -- and also by how much MTV's 120 Minutes influenced my taste (and by extension, purchases). Growing up in a small town in central California there weren't that many avenues for discovering new music to listen to. There was no alternative or college radio stations, no clubs where touring bands might play, no iTunes or Spotify, not even a decent record store, I had to go to Fresno or San Francisco to find a Tower Records where I could find what I wanted. 120 Minutes was on too late for me to stay up and watch it live -- I believe it aired from midnight to 2am every Sunday (technically Monday morning) -- and I learned how to program my our VCR just so I could tape it each week.
Every Monday afternoon my ritual was to rush home from school to watch last night's episode and (hopefully) find new music that I hadn't ever heard before. I had a couple of other friends that were interested in the same kind of music who would sometimes watch with me, but otherwise it was a lonely activity. Growing up in rural California the world where New Order and Morrissey and Ride and the Cure lived may as well have been a parallel universe. For me, a nerdy kid who had trouble making friends and who everyone thought was a little weird, it was like I'd stumbled upon some kind of secret knowledge, and possessing it made me feel special in a way that I really needed when I was fourteen and fifteen. It's funny now to look back and see how huge a lot of these bands were (or still are) and try and reconcile it with how personal they felt to me, like they existed just for me and for no one else.