Friday, November 04, 2005

Random 10- teen angst edition

The patron saint of the WB

In a fit of procrastination last night (I was putting off reading the Longmont Area Comprehensive Plan for a column I'm working on) I baked cookies, organized my CDs, did laundry, tried (unsuccessfully) to quell the ant problem in my bathroom and got through another dense-as-concrete piece in the October Harper's. But in organizing my CDs, I found a few of my old albums from the high teen angst years . . . from my brief Goth phase through my little-punk-in-pigtails phase and right up to my melancholic, thrift-shop-coat-and-Delias-shoes phase. Here are the standards. I'm not saying they are good, or even that I like them at all anymore, but when I think of my late 90s adolescence, I think about these:

1. Fiona Apple, "Never is a Promise." Hoo boy. Only a 15 year old can feel this kind of pain. Or at least, feel it so dramatically.

2. Smashing Pumpkins: "Fuck You: An Ode to No One." Here's the thing. My mom actually bought Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness for me, proving that all attempts at rebellion would basically be moot unless I joined up with the NRA and started talking about liberal plots to destroy Christmas. But nonetheless, a good, angsty song that got me through never having a date to Homecoming.

3. Nine Inch Nails, "Hurt." I now appreciate the Johnny Cash cover more, but this was like, sheer poetry to me when it came out. Trent Reznor was every goth girl's Leonardo DiCaprio.

4. Tori Amos, "Cornflake Girl." I had a friend who was a cornflake girl, who thought it was a good solution, hanging with the raisin girls. She wound up on probation on a pot charge.

5. Sarah McLachlan, "Possession." Got me through the aftermath of a bad, possessive relationship. Lilith Fair was my first "real" concert.

6. Paula Cole, "Bethlehem." Contains the line, "I'm only 15 and I think I have an ulcer." All us girls in vintage dresses and combat boots knew what she was singing about.

7. Oasis, "Champagne Supernova." This song will forever remind me being a freshman, of hanging out with the older kids in their junked out cars, eating french fries with Wendy's Frosties.

8. Pearl Jam, "Better Man." I always kind of imagined that this was about my friend's mom, who was married to psycho husband number two and always seemed a little on edge.

9. Paul Oakenfold, "Ready Steady Go." Kinda the first techno song that ever appealed to me. I never really did the Raver thing, but this song made me wanna grab some glowsticks and whatever drug it was that made the cool kids eyes look all weird.

10. Radiohead, "Paranoid Android." This was the song that effectively made me turn off FM radio, and never turn it on again. Once I heard this, I realized that all the good music existed beyond the looking glass, and not on Clear Channel.


  1. And Pearl Jam? Le ugh. You could have at least put in Pictures Of You by The Cure instead...

    Now that's a song that got me through a couple of breakups in high school...

  2. Hey, I didn't say I liked Pearl Jam, it was just . . . there. At the same time I was.

  3. Don't listen to the bullies. Although, I have to admit, this post makes me want to pat you on the head condescendingly, and go "well, aren't you adorable." Then again, I'm only 4 years your senior (I think), and parts of this list resonate with me -- I'm so not gonna pull a hipper-than-thou routine on you.

    "Fiona Apple, 'Never is a Promise.' Hoo boy. Only a 15 year old can feel this kind of pain. Or at least, feel it so dramatically."

    I have this friend who at the time was the hardest hardcore gutter punk ever (we're talking shooting up Jack Daniels when he could score). And he loved this song. And I thought it was pretty, but I couldn't help but wonder "Just what the fuck is this song about???" And now look at her: all grown up and cogent.

    "Tori Amos, 'Cornflake Girl.'...Sarah McLachlan, 'Possession.'"

    Hello -- gay high school sophomore/junior when these came out. What do you think I listened to obsessively?

    "Radiohead, 'Paranoid Android.'"

    The best suggestion to come out of my tweaker art-student friends in the late 90s.

  4. You could have, you know, included the song actually called Teen Angst.

  5. Oops. Inre: gutter punk: "couldn't," not "could."

  6. funny - i always imagined you as more of a river's-edge-only-showin-up-to-score-pot-and-go-to-shop-class-gave-myself-a-tattoo-with-a-bic-and-a-paper-clip-led-zep-def-lep-ac/dc-type.

    so much for first impressions, eh?

  7. hey, tehl - approps of nothing: i used to date tori amos girls. i have a hard time listening to her now, cos i have a suspicion i'm the guy in those songs...

  8. Dex, I actually have a tattoo from a Bic. When I was about 7, I was trying to take a blue pen apart, and it jammed into my knee, where I now have this permanent little blue dot.

    But I was a late bloomer when it came to teen and relationship angst, as I didn't start having them until I was in college, when, for the first time, love songs started to make sense. Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me." That was a tough time.