“Seventeen years ago, I was seventeen.”
On the occasion of my recent 34th birthday, I started thinking about what I listened to when I was a teenager. Making this list started out as a bit of a laugh – I even added a couple of genuinely awful radio hits my friends and I used to sing along to for a laugh in my rusty
1984 Datsun (How Bizarre). I only get ten songs, though. The more I thought about it, the less room there was for that sort of thing. This playlist turned out to be a lot more sad and angry than I expected. Kind of like being a teenager.
Seriously though, I had amazing taste in music. This whole playlist stands up to the test of time, don’t you think?
1. Violet – Hole, Live Through This
Other people’s feeling about Courtney Love are kind of a litmus test for me – yes, she’s a horrible mother and I’d rather have a rabid badger as a friend. As an artist, though, and as a pop culture phenomenon, she’s amazing. If you can’t see that, I can’t help but think a bit less of you (see, also, Yoko Ono). I could listen to Hole’s first three albums on repeat for days. The new one is vile, though.
2. Start Choppin’ – Dinosaur Jr, Where You Been
J Mascis is the best rock guitarist of the last 30 years. Dinosaur Jrs’ lyrics blow my mind- I used to write them on my desk in chemistry. They’re still releasing amazing albums after more than 20 years. I saw them in Amsterdam year before last and it was AWESOME.
3. Grace – Jeff Buckley, Grace
I don’t really know what to say about this. The whole album puts me in kind of a strange place, so I don’t listen to it very often anymore.
4.Hyperballad – Bjork, Post
A beautiful, inspirational, joyful song about suicidal ideation.
5. C’mon Billy – PJ Harvey, To Bring You My Love
This whole album is amazing – so dramatic and sexy and scary. Terrifying, actually. I loved the idea of being a sexy femme fatale when I was a teenager – I got over it, which is good because I don’t think I’d be very good at it.
6. Baby Bitch – Ween, Chocolate and Cheese
Ween are sometimes dismissed as a comedy band – which is ridiculous. Yes, they’re hilarious. They’re also genius. This song is probably one of the most perfect representations of seething, bitter, poisonous jealousy and anger ever recorded. It’s lovely.
7. My Name is Jonas – Weezer, Weezer
I recorded this CD to tape about five times – the Datsun ate tapes, but this HAD to be listened to in the car. Somehow it psyched me up for school in the morning (please note – I grew up in America. We all got shitty cars when we turned 16).
8. Julianne – Ben Folds Five, Ben Folds Five.
A massive dork in a poloneck who jumped up and down on his piano and wrote amazing stories about being a teenager. We band nerds listened to this in the school band room pretty much every day.
9. Shady Lane – Pavement, Brighten the Corners
I started listening to Pavement in tenth grade to impress a boy. It didn’t work, but I still love Pavement.
10. All Apologies – Nirvana, in Utero
The last song from their last album. Kurt Cobain killed himself on my 16th birthday, I remember finding out in the queue for the Tilt-a-Whirl at the county fair. My friend Laurie and I spent the rest of the night smoking in his Jeep listening to this album.