Douglas Coupland lists 12 must-have CDs -- The writer/performer loves albums by David Bowie, The Smiths and more

1 DAVID BOWIE Aladdin Sane 1973 (Virgin) ”Every cell in my body knows every beat of Aladdin Sane. I’m just in awe of it.”

2 DAVID BOWIE David Live 1973 (Virgin) ”I remember walking into a party in high school and the live version of ‘Suffragette City’ was on. It wasn’t like losing my virginity, but it was definitely like something was over and something much better was going to begin.”

3 DEPECHE MODE 101 1989 (Sire) ”I saw the documentary, like, 10 times at the theater. The album was the soundtrack to one of the greatest summers of my life. Depeche Mode is vastly underrated. They’re so pale, they’re so feeble… they’re so British! You’d never ask them to help you move a piece of furniture.”

4 ELTON JOHN Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 1973 (Island) ”You look at this choice and think, ‘Wiener!’ but it was different back then. It’s kind of weird to think that Elton John used to put out real albums.”

5 MORRISSEY Viva Hate 1988 (Sire) ”Morrissey’s first solo record. I couldn’t believe that I was hearing it. He came through so magnificently on his promise.”

6 NEW ORDER Substance 1987 (Qwest/Warner Bros.) ”It’s so icy. I’m not an icy person, but I just like the coldness of it. I don’t think they had one drop of joy creating it.”

7 NIRVANA MTV Unplugged in New York 1994 (Geffen) ”I was there, in row 4. When they played ‘The Man Who Sold the World,’ it was the single most explosive music moment of my life.”

8 OMD Dazzle Ships 1983 (Virgin) ”Dazzle Ships is amazing. It’s like a love letter to machines. Like caraway seeds or hot mustard, it’s an acquired taste.”

9 R.E.M. Document 1987 (Capitol) ”There weren’t many things that were beautiful, that made you feel safe in the 1980s, but R.E.M.’s music was one of the few refuges in that decade.”

10 R.E.M. Green 1988 (Warner Bros.) ”Green is a little more stripped-down than Document, but they’re like two halves of a whole.”

11 SAINT ETIENNE So Tough 1993 (Warner Bros.) ”Listening to a Saint Etienne song is like having a really good game of tennis or something. I wrote liner notes for their record Good Humor.”

12 THE SMITHS The Queen Is Dead 1986 (Sire) ”When I hear any of the songs from that record, it takes me back to a period in my life that was bittersweet. Anyone who appreciates bittersweet as a flavor is a de facto Smiths fan.”

The Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture (1991) and Microserfs (1995) author’s latest novel, jPod, is out May 16.