18 Albums Just Old Enough To Vote : World Cafe This election's youngest voters were born in 1998. So were these records, which all turn 18 this year. (Feeling old yet?)
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18 Albums Just Old Enough To Vote

All of these albums came out in 1998, which means that this year they're 18 — and of voting age in the U.S. Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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Courtesy of the artists

All of these albums came out in 1998, which means that this year they're 18 — and of voting age in the U.S.

Courtesy of the artists

While you're driving to your nearest polling station or waiting in line to vote, World Cafe's Talia Schlanger and WXPN's Bruce Warren weigh in with some of the greatest albums that have turned 18 this year.

18 Albums Just Old Enough To Vote

  • 'Mechanical Animals' by Marilyn Manson

    When record stores revealed the cover of Marilyn Manson's Mechanical Animals, featuring the artist as a naked, demon-eyed, androgynous alien made of plaster, you could hear the horrified shriek of parents across America. But if you managed to sneak the CD past your mom and upstairs to your bedroom for a listen, you were treated to a glam-rock spectacular. You found the sharp wit of an artist satirizing the trappings of fame, waxing philosophical on emptiness and lamenting the numbness of moving through the modern world. You found a depth that defied Manson's appearance and defined the artist's career. And your parents would never get it.

    Talia Schlanger, World Cafe

    YouTube
  • 'In The Aeroplane Over The Sea' by Neutral Milk Hotel

    Aeroplane is one of indie rock's most influential records, and Neutral Milk Hotel singer, guitarist and songwriter Jeff Mangum has become a revered figure over time because of it. With a loose narrative line built around the story of Anne Frank and a lo-fi sound that has defied categorization, it's an album whose vision remains uncompromising in scope.

    Bruce Warren, WXPN

    YouTube
  • 'The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill' by Lauryn Hill

    Lauryn Hill started working on this record at 22. She was single and pregnant with her firstborn child, and she'd recently split from her breakout band, The Fugees. The result was one of the toughest, most grounded records of her generation. The lyrics to "Everything Is Everything" read like a manifesto for her survival, built on deep-seated spirituality and unshakable faith that only strengthen in the face of hardship. Color that with neo-soul, reggae, hip hop, doo-wop, rap and deep resolve, and you've got The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill. It was Ms. Hill's first and only solo record, and it was everything.

    Talia Schlanger

    YouTube
  • 'White Ladder' by David Gray

    It took the British singer-songwriter four albums in five years to find the songs that took him down the path to mainstream success. While some fans still look to his 1983 debut, A Century Ends, as his masterwork, music fans connected with songs from White Ladder, including "Sail Away," "Babylon" and the electronica-tinged "Please Forgive Me." Self-released on his own independent label after the major label he'd signed to disastrously handled his career, the album ultimately would be rereleased stateside by Dave Matthews' ATO Records.

    Bruce Warren

    YouTube
  • 'Mezzanine' by Massive Attack

    Between the whispered threats of "Inertia Creeps," the spider-like "Black Milk" and the witchy and damp "Teardrop," Mezzanine proved that Massive Attack was a collective out for blood. If you came of musical age around 1998, you might have done something illicit with a stranger in a dark corner of an after-hours club to one of those songs. (Or you had nightmares about it.)

    Talia Schlanger

    YouTube
  • 'Car Wheels On A Gravel Road' by Lucinda Williams

    Singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams allegedly took six years to create Car Wheels, and her perfectionism paid off. The album won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album and has since become a touchstone singer-songwriter record by which many are measured — a near-perfect synthesis of folk, country and blues.

    Bruce Warren

    YouTube
  • 'XO' by Elliott Smith

    For any beloved, off-the-beaten-path artist, a major-label debut can mean The Man creeps in and co-opts the process. Elliott Smith's major label debut, XO, proved he was capable of being co-opted only by melancholy. That tone underscores everything Smith did, and XO is no exception — but it is far from his most lugubrious release. It features joyful moments of explosive musicality and humor, and even a breakout hit that's sunny enough to satisfy the mainstream but sullen enough to remain thoroughly Smith.

    Talia Schlanger

    YouTube
  • 'Before These Crowded Streets' by Dave Matthews Band

    Matthews' third studio album captured the band in its full musical stride, blending the well-crafted, produced sounds and songs of its first two albums with the improvisation of the live shows its passionate fans love so much.

    Bruce Warren

    YouTube
  • 'Aquemini' by Outkast

    On Aquemini, Andre 3000, Big Boi and company managed to make heads bop at high-school dances to a history lesson about Rosa Parks. They introduced a world of hip-hop to the Pimp Trick Gangsta Clique. They brought Erykah Badu into the fold for an inspired infusion of bohemian soul into a world of quadruple-time flow. In short, Outkast crammed a world's worth of sonic perfection into a 74-minute masterpiece that's eclectic, electric and essential.

    Talia Schlanger

    YouTube
  • Teatro by Willie Nelson

    Teatro is an underrated classic by Nelson, featuring Emmylou Harris and produced by Daniel Lanois, who had previously worked with Harris on her magnificent Wrecking Ball. Recorded in an old theater, Teatro is a moody, sparse set that puts the singers and the songs up front, with Lanois' impeccable, atmospheric production style at the helm.

    Bruce Warren

    YouTube
  • 'Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk' by Jeff Buckley

    My Sweetheart The Drunk would have been Jeff Buckley's follow-up album to his unforgettable and ever-important debut, Grace. Instead, we have Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk, a creative autopsy of sorts. A posthumous collection of unfinished musical business that includes sessions and four-track demos, it is — like its author — challenging, eerie, beautiful and incomplete.

    —Talia Schlanger

    YouTube
  • 'Mermaid Avenue' by Billy Bragg & Wilco

    The collaboration between Bragg and Wilco began with Woody Guthrie's daughter, Nora, offering them some of her father's previously unheard lyrics, which they then set to music. The collection was named after the song "Mermaid Avenue," which was also the name of the street on which Guthrie lived in Coney Island.

    Bruce Warren

    YouTube
  • 'Mutations' by Beck

    1998's Mutations was in direct defiance of anyone who thought they could say "this is what Beck sounds like" after the smash-hit success of Odelay. Beck unplugged his two turntables and a microphone and took them on a river ride to Brazil, dipping his toes in sitar-soaked sentiment and writing love songs for death. It wasn't a follow-up — it was a promise that the '90s' new favorite experimentalist was just getting started.

    Talia Schlanger

    YouTube
  • 'You've Come A Long Way, Baby' by Fatboy Slim

    The British producer and DJ Fatboy Slim (Norman Cook) was a bassist for The Housemartins before they split up and he pursued a career in electronic music. This commercially successful and critically acclaimed album featured a handful of now-classic songs, including "The Rockafeller Skank" and "Gangster Tripping," and was a masterpiece of sampling. Cook sampled Bowie, Funkadelic, the Bobby Fuller Four, Duane Eddy, War, Ike Turner and others. "Praise You" featured a significant sample of "Take Yo' Praise" by Camille Yarbrough.

    Bruce Warren

    YouTube
  • 'Hello Nasty' by Beastie Boys

    Is there such a thing as having too much fun? Some music critics in 1998 would say yes, and that too much fun sounded like Hello Nasty by the Beastie Boys. Some saw the rap trio's 22-song release as a sloppy offering that could have used the strict hand of a sensible editor. But at the height of their fame and foolery in 1998, the Boys were likely having too good a time to care. Oh yeah, and Hello Nasty's "Intergalactic" earned the trio a Grammy and a spot in the hazmat-suit hall of fashion fame.

    Talia Schlanger

    YouTube
  • 'Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too' by New Radicals

    Gregg Alexander hit it big with the one and only album he released as New Radicals. It was propelled by a monster international hit song that's still a radio staple: the cynical "You Get What You Give," a put-down of the music industry and the trappings of stardom. One-hit wonder status aside, the album is rich in rock and R&B sounds that fans of Hall & Oates and Prince should have in their record collections.

    Bruce Warren

    YouTube
  • 'Rufus Wainwright' by Rufus Wainwright

    The opening track on Rufus Wainwright's debut record makes a promise that he has consistently delivered on for his entire career. "Foolish Love" is tinged with heartfelt theatricality, steeped in vaudeville and defined by that voice — a voice that makes no apologies for being exactly as it is. For the past 18 years, we've counted on Rufus Wainwright to do just that.

    —Talia Schlanger

    YouTube
  • 'Feeling Strangely Fine' by Semisonic

    Semisonic's principal songwriter and frontman, Minneapolis' Dan Wilson, hadn't yet become a hit songwriter for the likes of Adele, Dixie Chicks, Dierks Bentley, Phantogram, My Morning Jacket and Pink when he and his bandmates, John Munson and Jacob Slichter, released their sophomore record. It foreshadowed Wilson's hit-making capabilities with songs like "Secret Smile" and "Closing Time," a song not about last call at your favorite bar.

    Bruce Warren

    YouTube