What Was The First CD You Ever Owned? 28 Bustle Editors Answer The Nostalgic Question

It was less than 14 years ago that the first iPod was released — a magical, pocket-sized device that held all your music in one place. The hand-held white tool was so tiny and efficient it put your CD collection to shame. Not only could listeners skip between songs, playlists, and genres, but the worry of scratching up a physical disc, and the pain of carrying around your favorite albums with you everywhere was obsolete. But it's a bit bittersweet. Because before CDs were embraced by wide audiences, cassette tapes were used. And before cassettes, it was records. And before records, it was the phonograph. Basically, the evolution of listening to music is vast and eternally evolving. What comes after ipods and curated streaming services like Spotify and Pandora is yet to be seen.

But because there's no telling what the future may hold in the maturation of music listening, I asked Bustle editors what the first cassette tape or CD they ever owned was. As a group of 20 and 30somethings reveal their musical stories, a few things are evident: The pocket rocker was a popular listening device, Spice Girls were truly a culturally palpable phenomenon, and Alanis Morissette spoke to our souls.

Here, 28 Bustle employees share their stories about the first cassette or CD they ever owned, from Spice Girls Spice to the soundtrack to Disney's Tarzan.

Kadeen Griffiths

First Cassette: Barbie, Beyond Pink

"My mom bought it for me, and there was not a time we were in the car (it was our first car) that I was not listening to this CD. I don’t think I still have it, but according to Google, it was released in 1998 and came with my Beyond Pink Barbie Doll."

Anna Klassen

First CD: Ace of Base, The Sign

"My three older brothers would play a game they made up called 'The Funnest Game in the World,' which entailed turning off all the lights in our basement, putting on this CD on full volume, and hitting one another with whatever inanimate objects were readily available. When my mother finally wised up and banned 'The Funnest Game in the World,' they surrendered the CD to me. For them, it was a full defeat, but for seven-year-old me, it was the most glorious day I'd ever known."

Emma Lord

First CD: Michelle Branch, The Spirit Room

"I listened to it like seven times a day out of my Hello Kitty boombox like it was MY JOB.

I dunno where it is now but I kept it through many moves and beat the bejeezus out of it."

Gabrielle Moss

First Cassette: Paula Abdul, Forever Your Girl

"I saved up my allowance to buy it, and then cried when my parents would not shell out for the matching Paula Abdul windbreaker that they were selling at the record store."

Rachel Krantz

First CD: "It was either Spiceworld or Chumbawumba."

Kara McGrath

First CD: B*witched, B*witched

"It was definitely the first one I actually bought — and then made up choreographed dances to every song."

Christine DiStasio

First Cassette: Spice Girls, Spice


Jenny Hollander

First CD: Celine Dion, All By Myself

Jessica Blankenship

First CD: The Cranberries, Everybody Else Is Doing It So Why Can't We?

"I later left in the quad but Mr. Hall wouldn't let me go get it. I also had The Fox and the Hound soundtrack on vinyl, and I would listen to it in the garage with my sisters when I was like 4."

Hayley Saltzman

First CD: Bootleg copies of 'N Sync and Britney Spears

"The Britney [Spears] and 'N Sync ones are bootleg albums off the street in New York! I probably got the rest as birthday gifts. Also, I distinctly remember getting a gift card to fye for my 11th or 12th birthday. I bought a cassette tape of S Club 7 Never Had A Dream Come True and I loved it. I also sat in my basement learning all the lyrics to Spice Girls' songs by reading them on the CD jacket."

Samantha Rullo

First CD: "Pretty sure mine was whatever album contained "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" or whatever that song was called. Very embarrassing."

Michelle Toglia

First CD: Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill

"I heard 'Head Over Feet' when I was rollerblading (!) in my elementary school gym one Saturday morning in 1995 and dragged my Dad to The Wiz right away. Even though I listened to it on repeat for years, it's still in perfect condition (maybe a little dusty). I know exactly where it is. It's in the drawer by my bed at my parents' house right next to Tragic Kingdom."

Lucia Peters

First Cassette: Sting, Fields of Gold: The Best of Sting 1984 - 1994

"It was a casette, and I bought it at a Strawberries somehwere near my suburban Massachusetts hometown with a gift card I was given for Christmas when I was about nine years old. I was SUPER into Sting and The Police at the time, mostly because I thought 'Englishman in New York' was about actual aliens (as in, aliens of the X-Files variety). I listened to it all the dang time in my goofy little Walkman, although alas, I no longer have it. I was a weird kid."

Lindsay Mannering

First CD: TLC, Crazy Sexy Cool

"I still listen to it, but on Spotify now. I don't carry a disc-man because I'm not dumb. Oh and I bought it at Circuit City! Memories."

Erin Mayer

First Cassette: Soundtrack to Casper: A Spirited Beginning

"I should clarify that Casper was my first cassette — first CDs were Madonna's Ray of Light and Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love, which was the album with 'My Heart Will Go On' from Titanic. I got those for the same Christmas that my parents bought my a boombox. Pretty sure I just fast-forwarded it to the second track, which is a song called 'Love Sensation' that I was obsessed with for some reason."

Kathryn Kattalia

First CD: Disney's Tarzan soundtrack

"I don't know why, guys. I guess I just really liked Phil Collins. I asked my mom to get it for me for my birthday and she DELIVERED. My first cassette was Britney's Baby One More Time and you better believe I had dance routines to every song on side one."

Margaret Wheeler Johnson

First CD: Belinda Carlisle's Heaven Is a Place on Earth, and The Bangles' Walk Like an Egyptian

"...Both mini cassettes for my POCKET ROCKER."

Sierra Horton

First Cassette: Sailor Moon soundtrack

"I listened to it on the daily, and thought I was a Sailor Scout, had a cat named Luna, was also Chibi Moon for Halloween in the 1st grade, very proud of it."

Alex Finkel

First CD: Alanis Morisette, Alanis

"...but then my grandma threw it out because she said it had curse words on it and bought me lame CDs to replace it."

Kelsea Stahler

First CD: Mariah Carey, Daydream

"It is still a g*ddamn CLASSIC. It came from 'Santa' (so, heaven, basically) on December 25, 1995. I always made sure it was at the very TOP of my CD rack (the power position) and I listened to it constantly, even once I became thoroughly obsessed with 'N SYNC years later. It still exists, but it's cracked and in a box in my dad's shed in Southern California. AND I MISS IT EVERY DAY. LOVE YOU, MARIAH."

Tanya Ghahremani

First Cassette: Spice Girls, Spice

"First CD was The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1998 because I was a child with really varying tastes, apparently. Also I liked the song 'Getting Better' because I'd heard it in a speaker commercial? Who knows."

Jordan Rubin

First CD: Backstreet Boys, Backstreet Boys

"My sister gave me it in the hopes that I would stop taking her Mariah Carey CDs. Sidenote: I used to lip-synch 'As Long As You Love Me' while standing on my bed and staring at myself in my mirror. I was 6 but I remember specifically thinking I was serenading Leonardo DiCaprio. He was not present for this."

Lia Beck

First CD: "This compilation CD of amazing hits from the year 2000."

"I'm pretty sure I was excited because why have an album of certain people when you can have different singers in one place! I had no idea what the future would hold. I don't think I have it anymore, but I do still have a box of CDs that I refuse to part with so, maybe."

Anna Parsons

SoundgardenVEVO on YouTube

First CD: Soundgarden, Superunknown

"I thought that the name Soundgarden sounded like a magical garden of instruments. I was eight."

Sara Tan

laurynhillvevo on YouTube

First CD: No Doubt, Tragic Kingdom

"I got it as a birthday gift and I wanted to be Gwen Stefani. But the first CD I ever bought with my own Wherehouse gift card was Lauryn Hill's Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. I had older sisters who liked her, so I thought I'd be cool if I listened to her, too. I had zero clue what she was talking about and could not relate because I was, like, 11, but I was determined to memorize ALL the lyrics. To this day, 'Doo Wop (That Thing)' is my go-to Karaoke jammmm."

Jaclyn Berstein

TiffanyVEVO on YouTube

First Cassette: "My older sister used to record all of her CDs onto tapes for me, because she had a CD player and I didn't, which is one of many reasons why she's a great sister."

"I ALSO had Pocket Rockers, and Tiffany's 'I Think We're Alone Now' got a ton of play. But my first non-hand-me-down was Robyn, 'Show Me Love,' the single, from Sam Goody (RIP) in the mall. I stand behind it fully! The song totally holds up, and I have seen Robyn twice as an adult. There are many uncertainties in life, but ROBYN WILL NEVER DISAPPOINT ME."

Julie Alvin

PaulaAbdulVEVO on YouTube

First Cassette: Paula Abdul, Forever Your Girl

"I still have very vivid memories of unwrapping it, my brother's birthday gift to me for my fifth birthday, on the stairs of my childhood home in 1988. I was so excited, and apparently totally unalarmed by the fact that the 'Opposites Attract' video appears to depict a bestial relationship between Paula and an animated cat."

Celia Darrough

First Cassette: Spice Girls' Spice

"It was co-owned by my sister and me, and we basically ruined that tape by playing it on repeat every day. And, of course, the lyrics book was ruined as well after hours poring over it.

But my first actual CD was either Smash Mouth's Astro Lounge or No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom. I'm pretty positive I at least have the No Doubt CD somewhere still packed in a box, though whether it works or not is up in the air."

Images: Hayley Saltzman; Giphy; Tumblr; Gifsoup; Tanya Ghahremani