Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Soundtrack of my Teens

Soundtrack to my Teens 1998-2001
These are the years when I fully embraced classic rock as my life soundtrack. Backstreet Boys and Britney were topping the charts and I just wasn’t having it. I was getting bored with the top 40 and found solace in the nostalgia of the 70s. 'Dazed and Confused' was my favourite movie and I wouldn’t have missed an episode of 'That 70’s show'. Decked out in bellbottoms and platform shoes I had determined that I was born in the wrong generation. Weekends were spent at field parties around dangerously large bonfires at night, or swimming at the quarry during the day. I brought a portable cassette recorder with me if we didn’t have a car onsite and always had mixtapes galore to provide tunes. There was only 2 radio stations in range, a classic rock and a country station, so the mixtapes were sweet commercial free relief. 

A couple contemporary albums made this list, mostly because the songs were the musical score to many days and I remember those moments and the friendships forged through them. Y2K was a bust and so was a lot of the music on the charts. No wonder I immersed myself in the rock n roll of the past.  In no particular order and as my memory holds true:

1. Doors - GH (I first remember listening to The Doors in my friends' basement and we all laughed at Whisky Bar, it became one of our favourites) I knew all the words to the whole album, read any books I could find on the band and even did a school assignment on Jim Morrison. The feminist in me now cringes at my teenage adoration, having learnt what a big prick Jim apparently was.)

2. Steve Miller Band - Greatest Hits 74-78 (I loved Jet Airliner so much I mentioned it my yearbook photo blurb. When leaving High School I thought the lyrics were perfectly describing my small town departure. “Goodbye to all my friends at home. Goodbye to people I've trusted. I’ve got to go out and make my way, I might get rich you know I might get busted.”)

3. Led Zeppelin IV - (The art the poetry, the songs. I loved all Zep albums, but some of my fave tracks were on IV: Black Dog, Rock n Roll, and Misty Mountain Hop [Also mentioned in my yearbook blurb]. So good.)

4. Beatles - Abbey Road (How can I pick one Beatles album? [Note, it was between this and the White Album then, but Revolver is prob my fave now] This was one of many Beatles albums at my house that my parents owned and I played it a lot. Here Comes the Sun is still one of my favourite songs ever. I did eventually visit Abbey Road and get the obligatory fan photo crossing the street. Also, I once did a big class project on John Lennon and still have the Toronto newspaper that my parents saved from the day after he was shot. This album had a big impact on me.)

5. AC/DC - LIVE - (In 2000, a bunch of us rented a taxi van and headed to the Air Canada Centre in Toronto for AC/DCs Stiff Upper Lip tour. I was 16 and it was a big deal to be going with no parental supervision. There was also beer and it was wonderful. They had a HUGE bell for Brian Johnson to swing over the audience with during Hells Bells. Later Angus did a strip tease down to maple leaf boxer shorts, then mooned the audience!)

6. Marcy Playground - ST (OK, now for some contemporary items from the era. This one probably should have gone on my early teens list, but it didn’t make it. I listened to this for a whole summer of 1997, heading into Grade 9. We would put the CD in a portable stereo and listen to it outside on my neighbours lawn, eating popsicles, sneaking cigarettes and playing badminton, haha.)

7. KORN - Follow the Leader (I’m going to chalk this one up to my best friend dating a skater kid and me hanging out with them a bunch. Somehow in the process I started enjoying the music of KORN. The songs were dark, heavy and surprisingly catchy. The artwork was always super cool and my sketchbook was littered with the eerie children and dead doll faces from the album inserts.)

8. Eminem - Marshall Mathers (Another artist the feminist in me shakes my head for liking. He’s so misogynist and violent I cringe when reviewing these songs. But, at the time it was edgy and that’s what the kids were listening to. Shock and awe, right? I remember it was always blaring in my friend’s car when we drove into town, bass booming.)

9. Big Shiny Tunes 4 - (Chili Peppers, Matthew Good, Fatboy Slim, Chemical Bros and even Kid Rock. Those were the songs of the times at the turn of the millennium. I remember it being played on repeat at the campsite during the Havelock Country Jamboree.)


10. Pearl Jam - Last Kiss (My last pick is not a whole album, but a single song. In June 1999, we were in the early days of summer vacation and we got the terrible news that one of our classmates had died in a tragic car accident. At 15/16 we were deeply saddened and shocked, our own inevitable mortality suddenly seemed so real. No longer bound for the beach or to friends graduations, we were instead attending the funeral of a longtime friend who we lost way too soon. This song was on the charts that year and still makes me think of sweet Mary Ann each time I hear it.)

2001 saw me off to the big city of London for college and a whole new world of music at my fingertips. Only then was I finally introduced to bands I should have been listening to for the past 5 years: Stereolab, Sonic Youth, Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Elliott Smith. I had no idea what I was missing.

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