Like I imagine most teenagers did, I went through a rough road in many ways. But none more storied than my taste in music. When I was 12 and 13, my all-time favorite groups were teen pop. And why shouldn't they be? Teen pop that was - get this! - made by teenagers was having an intense resurgence in the mid-to-late 90's. As we saw just ten years before, where hair metal crested and eventually fell through the mid-80's to early 90's, teen pop went through the exact same thing between the years of 1997 and oh, let's say, 2002. (But more on this later!)
At the end of 2000, I was 14 and in the 9th grade. Some analysis on the below list is fairly necessary so here goes. On November 1st, 2000, I became a Bon Jovi fan and never looked back. Bon Jovi was my gateway drug to the Aqua Net drenched world of quaalude inspired music by bands with names like Tiger Tailz, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Bang Tango. Or, ok, more accurately - Skid Row, Poison, Motley Crue, Aerosmith, and Guns N Roses (what I'd consider my Holy Trinity Times Two of favorite bands).
So in 2000, I was just discovering Bon Jovi. Their impact wouldn't really hit me until 2001. With the help of VH1 and those oh-so-amazing specials with names like "Top 40 Hair Bands Of All Time" (hosted by Dee Snider) and shows like "What's My 20? Power Ballads" and of course "Behind The Music", I discovered this lost world of hair metal.
I'd buy my first can of Aqua Net and my first leather jacket in 2002.
Favorite Songs of 2000
10. Aaron Carter – “Aaron’s Party (Come Get It)”
9. SoulDecision – “Faded”
8. BBMak – “Still On Your Side”
7. Mel C f. Left Eye –“Never Be The Same Again”
6. Take 5 – “Shake It Off”
5. Jessica Simpson & Nick Lachey – “Where You Are”
4. Bon Jovi – “It’s My Life”
3. Hanson – “If Only”
2. Backstreet Boys – “The Call”
* Note the below video is the Neptunes Remix, which is far inferior to the album version.
1. Britney Spears – “Lucky”
Favorite Songs of 2000 (Released Any Year)
10. John Waite – “Missing You”
9. Don McLean – “American Pie”
8. Live – “The Dolphins’ Cry”
7. Heather Nova – “Blood Of Me”
6. U2 – “With Or Without You”
5. Melissa Etheridge – “Like The Way I Do”
4. Heart – “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You”
3. Meat Loaf – “I’d Lie For You (And That’s The Truth)”
2. Bon Jovi – “Always”
1. Sophie B. Hawkins – “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover”
Favorite music: Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Celine Dion, Bon Jovi, Mariah Carey, Meat Loaf, Heather Nova, Live, Melissa Etheridge, Orgy, Destiny’s Child, John Denver, 2gether, BBMak, Jessica Simpson, Mandy Moore.
So my analysis.....
My Top 10 List of 2000 reads like a Who's Who of a Z100 sponsored concert. I am thoroughly embarassed of the inclusion of "Shake It Off" by Take 5 which is an abysmal song. I was clearly brainwashed by being 3rd row when they opened for Britney Spears (also in the year 2000) and having them point at us and wave to us. Otherwise, I stand by my list. These songs still hold up today, 10 years later, as perfect pure pop songs that are reminiscent of an era I'd love to revisit.
And even at 14, I had wonderful taste in music released any year. Every song on that list is one I would still include on something like a Top 100 songs of my life list. Now that I just came up with that idea, I am probably going to end up compiling one someday.
So onto the next one....
Favorite Songs of 2001
10. Dream f. P. Diddy & Kane – “This Is Me (Remix)”
9. Craig David – “7 Days”
8. Aerosmith – “Fly Away From Here”
7. U2 – “Walk On”
6. Britney Spears – “I’m A Slave 4 U”
5. Jennifer Lopez & Ja Rule – “I’m Real (Remix)”
4. Nickelback – “How You Remind Me”
3. Enrique Iglesias – “Hero”
2. Matchbox 20 – “Mad Season”
1. Bon Jovi – “Thank You For Loving Me”
Favorite songs of 2001 (released any year)
10. Bryan Adams – “Summer of 69”
9. Don McLean – “American Pie”
8. Def Leppard – “Pour Some Sugar On Me”
7. Melissa Etheridge – “Like The Way I Do”
6. Poison – “Talk Dirty To Me”
5. Sebastian Bach – “(I’ll Never Turn My Back On) Rock ‘N Roll”
4. Guns ‘N Roses – “November Rain”
3. Meat Loaf – “Rock ‘N Roll Dreams Come Through”
2. Skid Row – “I Remember You”
1. Bon Jovi – “Always”
Favorite bands: Bon Jovi, Sebastian Bach, Poison, Meat Loaf, Jon Bon Jovi (Solo), U2, Bryan Adams, Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Skid Row, Guns ‘N Roses, Richie Sambora (Solo), Melissa Etheridge, Aerosmith, Matchbox 20, Warrant, Mariah Carey.
My analysis: I am fascinated that my Top 10 Songs released any year of 2001 (and 2000 also) are some of my favorite songs in this whole world. I actually think I could still print that as a list of my Top 10 favorite songs of all time. Just like they say most of your personality is formed by age 3, it is clear most of my music taste (FOR LIFE) was formed by age 15.
After all, 2001 was the year I saw my first Bon Jovi concert. I've been to 13 more since that first one, but nothing will ever match that moment in my life when the lights went down and the music went up and my heart soared higher than I ever thought a heart could go. It was the single most perfect moment of my life and like a drug addict that never recaptures his first high, I will spend the rest of my life trying to match that moment.
So it was the best of times, it was the worst of times, but there is one thing that is certain. The transition years, 2000 - 2001, were what made me who I am today. I can't remember the exact quote and don't judge it by the source, but Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas said in a Rolling Stone Interview something like, 'I became the person I am based on the music I listened to at 14'. Truer words were never spoken.