Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Transition Years: Year End Wrap Up 2000 & 2001

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.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Old School Year End Wrap Up: 1998 & 1999

We all remember our misspent youth differently than it actually occurred. To really - truly - go back in time, I thought I'd go straight to the source: my journal. I started keeping a journal on June 22, 1998, or more than half my life. In Dec. 1999, I began calculating my "end of the year wrap up", something I still do this day, and now also on this blog.

I thought it would be interesting to revisit the thoughts of my 12 and 13 year old self. (In 1998, I didn't do a year end wrap up but I did make a list of my favorite singers.)

Oh 1999, what a sweet innocent time, before texting, the reign of Apple, and the recession. I mean, cell phones looked like this! 1999, the year of my first concert (Sept. 1999. The Backstreet Boys' Millennium tour at Continental Airlines Arena, New Jersey).

So snap in some butterfly clips, put on your jelly shoes, turn the TV to TRL, rewind your videotapes, and fasten the tag protectors back on those Beanie Babies.
We're goin' back, to a simpler time...


Favorite music: Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Brandy, NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Hanson, Spice Girls, Ace Of Base, LeAnn Rimes, Madonna.


Songs (released any year, but mostly in 1999)

10. Monica – “Angel of Mine”

9. Mandy Moore – “Candy”

8. Backstreet Boys – “Larger Than Life”

7. Jessica Simpson – “I Wanna Love You Forever”

6. House of Pain – “Jump Around” (from 1993, but whatever)

5. Sarah McLachlan – “Do What You Have To Do”

4. Celine Dion – “If That’s What It Takes” (1997)

3. Millennium songs (Will Smith – “Will 2K”, Prince – “1999”, and Kenny G – “Auld Lang Syne”)

2. Don McLean – “American Pie” (1971)

1. Britney Spears – “Baby One More Time”

Albums (mostly released in 1999)

10. Now 2 (1999)

9. Mandy Moore – “So Real” (1999)

8. Jessica Simpson – “Sweet Kisses” (1999)

7. Sabrina The Teenage Witch Soundtrack (1998)

6. Christina Aguilera – self titled (1999)

5. Sarah McLachlan – “Surfacing” (1997)

4. Dawson’s Creek Soundtrack (1999)

3. Celine Dion – “Falling Into You” (1996)

2. Backstreet Boys – “Millennium” (1999)

1. Britney Spears – “Baby One More Time” (1999)

Favorite music: Celine Dion, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Christina Aguilera, Mandy Moore, 98 Degrees, LFO, Sarah McLachlan, Mariah Carey, Will Smith, 80’s music.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Senior Spring Mix - March 2004

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

There is something wonderful about being so caught between childhood and adulthood, and something so hideous about it as well.

"No one gets out of here alive" may as well be the motto of High School. We survive but we carry the burden with us for years. A memory, always something idle, triggers it and brings us back instantly to those four years of disenfranchisement.

"Still no matter what happens, I find him always in my thoughts - haunting me. He is a ghost of my past and a girl I used to be. I just wish there was something between us, but there isn't. We walked by each other in the hallway the other day - just me, just him, and there were no words (just a look - undescribable)." ~ 4/8/04

1. J-Kwon - "Tipsy" (2004)
2. Chingy, Ludacris, & Snoop Dogg - "Holidae Inn" (2004)
3. Usher f. Lil Jon & Ludacris - "Yeah" (2004)
4. Nelly f. Justin Timberlake - "Work It" (2004)

Four popular songs from the spring which will always remind me of the start to any journey, headed south on the Merritt, in the dark.

5. Sneaker Pimps - "6 Underground" (1996)

From the Can't Hardly Wait soundtrack, a favorite movie of mine at the time (and still is). For some reason, this song evokes pink neon and sliding down the walls into oblivion.

6. Bright Eyes - "Lover I Don't Have To Love" (2002)

A song epic in its embrace of nihilism and hedonism, a song about being simply too drunk to give a fuck but in the saddest way possible. This song will always remind me of driving around North Stamford and smoking Marlboro Lights. An ode to white lines and nothingness. "It's all something to do with broken dreams and soulessness. It's all too much and not enough." ~10/12/03

7. Taking Back Sunday - "You're So Last Summer" (2002)

Some of the best - and most quotable - lyrics I have ever heard in a song. Knowing you would sacrifice it all for someone and knowing they wouldn't care and doing it anyway. Over and over again. The kind of song that evokes summer days drinking through straws and glancing over at the one you really love while throwing the straw into the grass and pouring the rest of the glass down your throat.

8. Hole - "Malibu" (1998)

A desperate tinged ode to hope and the chronic inevitablity of it all, the hopeless longing of a high school girl with too much time on her hands and too much love in her heart. What it's like to want it all and get nothing in return.

9. The Fugees - "Killing Me Softly" (1996)

The song for any girl whose ever loved a boy from afar who stood on stage with nothing but his heart laid out in front of him and a guitar. "And no one knows that I loved you buried alive." There is an innate virtue in being a musician and there is an even more pure pain reserved for the ones who fall in love with them.

10. Great White - "Save Your Love" (1987)

A beautiful but uniquely haunting love song from an album better known for bar-band anthems. "When I'm alone at night, you're all I see." "this dark, shadowy image engrained on my mind of him anI, violent and desperate up against a wall, juxtaposed with Great White's 'Save Your Love'" ~ 4/1/04

11. Radiohead - "Karma Police" (1997)

The inclusion of this song is more due to the influence of others than my own. I knew too many people who listened obsessively to Radiohead to not adopt one of their songs as my own. Naturally I picked the sexiest song they recorded, with a musicality that slinks along as it twists your world in knots. The outro refrain of the song "For a minute there, I lost myself" could describe any minute of my senior year.

12. Joss Stone - "Fell In Love With A Boy" (2004)

The inclusion of this song is a bit inexplicable (but nowhere near as much as the next song), except the best thing I can think of is that I've always had a soft spot for covers that improve greatly on the original. Especially covers that take a throw-away song with seemingly nothing lyrics and sing them in a way that the lyrics take on a whole new, intense meaning.

13. Rick Springfield - "Jessie's Girl" (1981)

The one-and-only, tried-and-true ideal song for anyone who ever watched a friend of theirs love the one they love. And I could relate.

14. Phantom Planet - "Big Brat" (2004)

Phantom Planet's latest single in early 2004. I went to 4 Phantom Planet shows from November 2003 to July 2004 and met the band. I got their autographs on the CD that this song is on. Not one of their best but it certainly sticks in your head.

15. Britney Spears - "Toxic" (2003)

Even in the darkest depths of my senior year, I never stopped loving Britney. And one of her biggest hits included on this CD is a testament to that.

16. Grease Soundtrack - "Summer Nights" (1978)
17. Grease Soundtrack - "Those Magic Changes" (1978)

Two songs from the soundtrack of the play I worked as line producer for in the spring of my senior year.

18. AC/DC - "If You Want Blood (You've Got It)" (1979)

Played in one of my favorite movies at the time, Empire Records. A great song to drive to in the dark.

19. The Offspring - "Hit That" (2003)

I remember watching the extremely odd music video to this song on MuchMusic (now Fuse).

20. Sublime - "Santeria" (1996)

The inclusion of this song puzzles me now, at 24 years old, because I don't remember a time in my life when I ever really liked it. I certainly don't now.

"I guess it's typical to cling to memories you'll never get back again.
And to sort through old photographs
of a summer long ago or a friend that you used to know.
And there below his frozen face
you wrote the name and that ancient date, that ancient date.
And you can't believe that he's really gone,
when all that's left is a fucking song."
~ Bright Eyes, "Happy Birthday To Me (Feb. 15)"