I’ve been thinking about my teenage years lately. I went through a lot of changes during that time. I’m going through some big changes now, so that could be why I’m nostalgic. My music taste then and now is different but the same. I thought it would be fun to share some music and stories from that period of my life. I won’t lie: most of my teen years were horrible. Music helped me through the shit times. That’s why I relate to musicians I’ve never met more than people I know in real life. They were my friends when I didn’t have any. I feel so lame saying that, but it’s totally true. Let’s take a visit to the past…
Rihanna – Umbrella
I decided to start with a song that represented a huge transition in my life. “Umbrella” came out during the last few months of my Senior year of high school. That was a really scary, exciting time. I wanted to leave that terrible school behind, but I was going out into the unknown. So, I was happy and a bit sad. I think “Umbrella” represents those mixed emotions. The lyrics are kind of melancholy, but the message is positive. I knew I would get through the transition when I listened to this song. I remember learning the dance moves from this video and obsessively trying to find an umbrella from Rihanna’s line. I really liked Rihanna before this song, but I fell in love with her after it came out. “Umbrella” was my personal graduation theme song.
Lil’ Kim – Lighters Up
I liked rap a lot more as a teen than I do now. It dominated the radio and I liked how unfiltered it was. I wanted to shed my innocence and be rebellious. I also had a Lil’ Kim obsession. “Lighters Up” just made me laugh. I know it’s not meant to be funny, but the lyrics were so shocking that I couldn’t help it. I was stupid and young. Good times were had with this gem. The TV show Lil’ Kim: Countdown to Lockdown also greatly inspired me.
Megan McCauley – Reverie
This song represents my darker teenage years. It’s as if Megan took all the pain I was feeling and put it into “Reverie”. I can’t even explain how much this song has got me through. I cry almost every time I listen to it. I think that having songs like this to listen to when I was suicidal saved me. It made me feel understood and justified for feeling the way I did. I wasn’t alone. Megan is really special and I don’t know what happened to her. She only released the one album, which is such a shame. There’s a rumor floating around that she died, which I really hope is untrue. Her music will always stay with me.
Operator Please – Leave It Alone
These kids were rad as hell. I discovered them on this world music TV channel (International Music Feed) which was the BOMB. Of course, they got rid of it, but almost all of the music I listened to at that time I found on that channel. What I loved most about Operator Please was how unique they were. All of them were quite young, but super talented. I loved the addition of violin to the band. That’s probably because I had just discovered Emilie Autumn at the time as well. I had a crush on band member Ashley, too. And tried to look like him. That happened a lot with all the bands I liked as a teen. I thought all the guys were hot and I copied their style. It makes me sound like a poser, which I kind of was. What can you do.
T.I. – What You Know
I didn’t necessarily love this song. But, I love the memories associated with it. I remember driving around all the time with my older brother blasting this song. It was so simple, but so damn fun. We’ve always related to each other through music because we don’t have anything else in common. He’s a super masculine, sports fanatic and I’m not. But, we both love music. And speeding around together in a Monte Carlo playing it loud is best. I remember the feeling of freedom and escape. Sometimes we would sneak out late at night to drive places without our parent’s permission and that thrill was amazing. Innocent fun. I miss it!
Panic! At The Disco – I Write Sins Not Tragedies
This could sound crazy, but I feel like this music video and this band profoundly effected my teenage years. I didn’t just like the video for “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”. It captivated me. I recall seeing it on TV for the first time and realizing that it was okay to start being myself. I saw theatrics, fantasy, and guys with long hair and makeup. The video opened up an entirely new lifestyle to me. I grew my hair long and started dressing the way I wanted. I finally started to show my femininity to the world instead of hiding it away. I embraced being an individual. They were just tiny steps towards the confident, honest person I am today, but they were huge at the time. I listened to Panic!’s first album to shreds. These guys were my heroes. I think they’ll always be my favorite band because of how much their music and visuals helped me. As an artist, I want to create stuff like they have. Such a huge inspiration for me.
These other songs don’t really have stories, but I wanted to include them, too:
Boys Like Girls – The Great Escape
The Veronicas – Untouched
Beyonce – Irreplaceable
Lady Gaga – Poker Face
Bonus: Random pics of me as a teen. Yeah…