Musings + Essays

What Was Your First CD (Or Cassette, Or Record)?

By: Jen Shoop

This is probably my favorite party ice breaker of all time. It’s such an easy conversation-starter, and a natural way to laugh about ourselves and cultivate a shared bond over nostalgia for our youth.

The first musical recording I recall owning was a bootleg version of Mariah Carey’s “Hero” that my best friend’s older sister recorded right off the radio (probably 97.1 for fellow Washingtonians) using a cassette recorder. You could hear her click the recorder buttons, the lyrics were interrupted by horrible static midway through, and the tail end was clipped by the DJ’s monologue, but I treasured it. I remember listening to it over and over and over again on my clock-radio-tape-deck combo. That was the summer before fourth grade, if I recall correctly, and shortly after, I saved up my money to purchase Ace of Base’s “The Sign” album from Sam Goody. Who else owned this flash-in-the-pan classic?!

My most treasured CDs from that era were Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” — oh my God, I loved that album so much, and still do –, Dixie Chicks’ “Fly” album (likewise, still play this album at top decibel — great driving music), and Mariah Carey’s “Music Box,” which actually my sister owned, and remains a crowd pleaser when my college girlfriends and I get together. My parents had the soundtrack to “The Bodyguard” at some point in this period and I loved that one, too. Sometimes Mr. Magpie will put on 90s pop while we are cleaning the house and — !!! It gets the people going!

What about you?


+Songs with surprise meanings.

+A John Prine song that makes me weak in the knees.

+More lyrics to love.

+And a song that will forever remind me of falling in love with my husband.

Shopping Break.

+If you’re not in the mood to go all out with a statement dress this holiday season, maybe just a sip with this fun headband on NYE?

+Alternately, pair your stalwart LBD with these fabulous $119 disco shoes. LE BEST. I think I need these, too.

+40% off Hanky Panky! Just ordered this exact set. More of my favorite undergarments here.

+If you are a member of Zulily (free to join — it’s a flash sale site), there are some really good statement toys on sale, including this doll house and this play work bench ($30!)

+Tilly’s new dog tag arrived and I shared it on Instagram and received a ton of questions about it! So inexpensive and I love the cursive they use. I engraved our address/phone on the back.

+Two cute options for gift tags from Santa to your children: these vintage Santa heads and these letterpress tags.

+I love this pastel-colored Scrabble board.

+Has everyone already heard about this $8 oil-absorbing stone face roller? I’m intrigued. Gets great reviews. “LIKE BLOTTING PAPERS, BUT BETTER: This face roller is made of real volcanic stone, which soaks up excess oil instantly. It’s our secret for fresh, shine-free skin any time. Use it on a clean or finished face—it won’t mess up your makeup.”

+Love this funky mushroom pendant necklace. I feel like mushrooms have been all over the place lately in decor! Check out all the tabletop pieces in this motif from Mrs. Alice!

+Related: how cute are these hand-knit mushroom-motif sweaters for tiny ones? Also love these!

+Adore these sheets for a boy’s room.

+Found some of those Barefoot Dreams throws everyone loves on sale at Nordstrom Rack!

+I noticed that a few of the chic moms at my daughter’s school in Manhattan retired their Canada Goose coats for Mackage last year. Such chic winter-wear!

+This waffle-knit cardigan with the jewel buttons is ultra-chic.

+These $5 mugs are still in stock in most letters!

+Just re-ordered my favorite tea of all time. We blow through boxes of these — both Mr. Magpie and I are obssessed.

+Speaking of peppermint — this peppermint gift wrap!

+I know I shared these peppermint plates yesterday, but I think I need them. Imagine serving up a slice of cheesecake or chocolate cake on top. So dramatic!

+Another sweet pair of holiday pajamas. (More picks here.)

+Just pledging my eternal commitment to Tubby Todd ointment. We still use this constantly on the children — abrasions, irritations, diaper rashes, etc!

+RedValentino does such fun, whimsical outerwear — like this scalloped Barbie pink cape and this felted wool coat. Pair either with ACNE’s striped beanie or &OtherStories lookalike.

+This throw blanket and pillow set is too cute.

+Target also has some cute pop-up playhouses at reasonable prices — love this farmer’s market one.

+I’ve seen these baby keepsake trunks advertised before and I always dismissed them because I felt I didn’t have space in our NYC apartment for something like this. Everything had to be jammed in and configured and stowed as compactly as possible. (Thank God for the enormous vac pac bags — you fold up clothes and then suck out all the extra air using your vacuum hose and it shrinks everything down super-compactly.) Anyhow, with more space, I came across them again recently and thought it would be such a special place to stow items of special significance, like Baptismal candle, baby shoes, first locket of hair, special letters, etc!

+This popular chandelier is on sale at the moment, as is this chic flush mount!

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18 thoughts on “What Was Your First CD (Or Cassette, Or Record)?

  1. Talk about bringing back memories – not only was my first CD Ace of Base’s “The Sign,” as well, but my first car was the one pictured above: my mom’s hand-me-down blue Volvo 240 wagon. Thanks for reminding me of the good old days barreling down the road blasting Britney Spears and NSYNC in that bad boy!

  2. This brought back some memories- the lost art of making “mix tapes” out of recordings off the radio! I sat in front of my boom box for hours listening to the radio with my fingers poised to hit record as soon as whatever song I was obsessing over came on… things kids today probably couldn’t even imagine.

    My first two real albums (cassettes!) came on my 7th birthday- Madonna’s Like a Prayer and Debbie Gibson’s Electric Youth. I also got a jean jacket from the Gap with several buttons included to pin on the front pocket. Those were the days!

    1. WOW — those first cassettes are a VIBE and I love it. I love the image of you with fingers poised to hit record! Haha!!


  3. I’m pretty sure my first CD was the Spice Girls, ha!

    Around the same time, I was also very devoted to The Beach Boys (funny that someone else also mentioned them!); it’s a bit random, but I think it’s because they were on some episodes of Full House. My parents also encouraged the Beach Boys, likely because they preferred listening to them than most of the other music I was into. 🙂

  4. Aqua’s CD Aquarium, bought for me by my much older, cool cousin. I think I was a bit young to appreciate it at the time, but it got a lot of use in later preteen years when belting out Barbie Girl with my friends.

    I think I actually only recently donated it along with a slew of other old CDs… yikes, like anyone is going to Goodwill in search of an old Aqua or Backstreet Boys CD!

  5. OF COURSE I had Ace of Base on CD! Around the same time, I also remember being v. into Get a Grip by Aerosmith. But the first music I bought might have been a cassette single of Motown Philly? I also had a significant collection of Beach Boys tapes around 5th grade. Not sure why…I think normal kids were listening to nkotb and Mariah Carey at that point 🙂

    1. I love it! I was also super into Aerosmith all through my childhood years. My brother gave me one of their CDs around the time I got my first CD and it was a staple for years and years. They definitely had a moment in the 90s with “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” but all of their stuff is just SO good. They are another go-to for deep cleaning our house.


  6. Ace of Base’s The Sign and Salt n Papa’s Very Necessary we’re my first 2 CDs, gifted either on Easter or my 10th birthday (the two occasions overlap during earlier Lenten seasons). “Shoop” will forever be one of my favorite songs and I loved that it was a part of Maid on Netflix.

    1. OO you know we love “Shoop” in this household…of course had it at our wedding and any time we’re at a party and it’s played, Landon sings every last word!


  7. My first CD was Jesse McCartney’s Beautiful Soul, which I remember begging my brother to buy me as a Christmas gift. I so vividly remember playing it on my pink, sparkly CD player and annoying everyone in my house with my singing 🙂

  8. Such a good question! My first CD was a gift from a friend for my birthday in fourth grade: Shania Twain’s Come on Over! You’re so right about 90s pop… e.g., how can you not get pumped up when you hear that iconic line, “Let’s go girls!” ??

  9. I have – and love – the larger Aerin Hampton chandelier in gold. We always get compliments on it! And I ordered the wine tumbler version of the Target initial mug as a festive gift for neighbor friends. The designs are fun!

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