Teenage Anthems: The Soundtrack to TLT’s Teen Years
We’ve got a music theme going on this week at TLT, so we decided to collaborate on a playlist to share with you. We each chose five songs that were important to us as teenagers. I won’t tell you how long I agonized over this. Only five?! Though I would have agonized even if I were sharing 50 songs that were important to me as a teenager. Enjoy our picks and share your teenage anthems with us, too! Tag us on Twitter (@TLT16), use the hashtag #teenageanthems, or leave a comment on this post!
The TLT Teenage Anthems Playlist
People are People by Depeche Mode
This album and Songs from the Big Chair by Tears for Fears were the first albums I ever bought. I saved up my babysitting money, went to the mall and pulled them both off the shelf without hesitation because I was waiting hardcore to buy them. By the way, they’re still great albums.
Add it Up by the Violent Femmes
The Violent Femmes were totally cool, all my friends loved them an adults hated them. What more can you ask for in life. Plus, it’s fun to sing along really loud to with all your friends. See also, Kiss Off and Blister in the Sun.
Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison
My best friend and I were united by our love of Duran Duran, but she was also very much into hair metal bands. She loved this song hardcore. She died our junior year in a car accident and I can’t even listen to this song without thinking of her.
I Don’t Want Your Love by Duran Duran
Duran Duran had way bigger hits, but it was while they were touring for the Notorious album during my Sophomore year that I finally got to see them in concern at Six Flags Over Texas. And on a school night. I may or may not have hyperventilated after it was over causing my best friend to slap me in the face. And we may or may not have gotten in trouble for not meeting our parents out front at the reasonable hour we were supposed to. But man, what an amazing moment in my life.
Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush
Kate Bush is an amazing artist that not enough people seem to know about. They played her song Running Up That Hill a lot on MtV when I was in Jr. High, when MtV still played a lot of videos and you could find tons of cool music. The day I graduated high school I took the money I got as gifts, it wasn’t much, and bought the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe and The Sensual World album by Kate Bush. Fantastic album.
Fall On Me by REM
The first album I bought was Out of Time and I very quickly tried to acquire all of the REM I could. This one is my favorite ever. I think it’s REM at their best: each part both stands out and blends perfectly with the others.
Suzanne by Leonard Cohen
I discovered Leonard Cohen in the library, after first hearing his name in Nirvana’s Pennyroyal Tea. I loved how quiet and beautiful and dark this album was, and the pacing in Suzanne was almost hypnotic. And what geeky, quiet girl wouldn’t get sucked up by a line like “she’s touched your perfect body with her mind”?
To Bring You My Love by PJ Harvey
My friend Dan never drank, but he got a fake ID in high school so he could get into shows. I was never that daring, so he just brought me CDs to listen to. PJ Harvey was scary and alluring and had a voice and power like no other woman I’d heard.
Sometimes by James
It’s such a vivid picture and I loved the refrain. I remember trying to write down all of the lyrics, because they weren’t in the liner notes and this was pre-home internet for me. Play- scribble – pause – scribble – play – scribble, etc. My friends and I were so excited about the release of this album (Laid), we’d tease each other “I got laid this weekend – did you get laid yet?” It was all so mature.
Say it Ain’t So by Weezer
This was our driving around aimlessly album. We’d play air guitar to this one and scream the lyrics out the window.
The First Part by Superchunk
Superchunk albums were in constant rotation throughout my teen years. I always loved the line “one good minute could last me a whole year.” It spoke to the melodramatic (and secretly hopeful, under all my cynicism) part of me.
Punk Rock Girl by The Dead Milkmen
When I was 17, my not-quite-yet boyfriend showed up at my house late one night, set up his band in my driveway, and proceeded to play “Punk Rock Girl.” I’d been in my room listening to Beautiful Music for Ugly Children and working on a zine (I actually specifically remember this moment in time, but it’s safe to say that at any given point on a late night in my teen years I was listening to music and making a zine). I sat out by my front door, both amazed and kind of mortified this was happening (late night appearance of a band playing in my quiet neighborhood drew attention). That relationship, like so many high school relationships, eventually imploded in a pretty spectacular way, but 20 years removed from that night, I still think it was pretty fantastic.
Chesterfield King by Jawbreaker
“We stood in your room and laughed out loud.
Suddenly the laughter died
and we were caught in an eye to eye.
We sat on the floor and did we sit close.
I could smell your thoughts and thought.
Do you want to touch a lot like me?”
Still some of my very favorite lyrics ever. Conjures up memories of rainy Minneapolis nights, hooded sweatshirts with patches, and the thrill of not really knowing what would happen next.
Going to Pasalacqua by Green Day
Green Day was the first band I saw at First Ave in Minneapolis (October 10, 1993. I still have the ticket stub). Their first two albums are seared into my brain, and this song, all about infatuation, made it onto nearly every mix tape I ever made.
Showdown by Propagandhi
It’s possible I’ve seen Propagandhi live more than any other band. Maybe they’re tied with Built to Spill, or Ani Difranco, or Low. At any rate, I saw them a lot. This band was my everything. I loved to scream along to their angry, political, swear word-laden songs. They were good to dance to, to jump around to, to be angry to, to blast out the car windows coming back from shows late at night. I still know every single word of their How To Clean Everything album. When I need to get the cobwebs out of my brain, I still put this album on. Teenage Me would be happy with that.
Music from my teen years is kind of a weird topic. I grew up in Lynchburg, VA (home of Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty University.) There were very few radio stations that didn’t play Christian, Country, or Christian Country music. We had 1 top 40 station. It played a lot of Madonna and Duran Duran. That said, at some point MTV came on the air, and I was exposed to a slightly more varied set of artists. So here are 5 songs that will always remind me of my teen years:
Take on Me by a-ha
Bust a Move by Young MC
Pulling Mussels (from the Shell) by Squeeze
Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds
Tainted Love by Soft Cell
Filed under: Music
About Amanda MacGregor
Amanda MacGregor works in an elementary library, loves dogs, and can be found on Twitter @CiteSomething.
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