I love all those random people that make all those random mixes on iTunes. I was always the mix tape maker of my friends in high school and college, so it's nice to see others with the same compulsion. Plus all those 90s mixes make it so easy to go from living in the present moment to being so completely wrapped up in nostalgia that you sit there clicking around, listening to different song clips, and when your phone rings you yell into it, "Oh my GOD do you remember PM Dawn?"
So anyway, here's my high school playlist. I only have a few freshman and sophomore year songs, and then move right into junior and senior year songs, because they were much more musically memorable (say that five times fast). Anyway, this will soon be followed by my college playlist...and hopefully in a couple years, a 20s playlist. No small feat.
Birdhouse in Your Soul - They Might Be Giants
Possibly the most important song of my high school years, because it introduced me to TMBG and also to life beyond Top 40 radio. I remember the exact moment that I heard it, sitting on the floor with my friends in Alison's living room, knowing my life had changed. I think I was 14.
Spending My Time - Roxette
Roxette's Joyride and TMBG's Apollo 18 were the first CDs I ever bought. This song was my anthem for my crush on Peter, whom I adored freshman year summer. And still do, but in a different way.
Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover - Sophie B. Hawkins
I remember my dad picked the cassette single off the floor and that title really got a reaction out of him, and I was all, "Dad, jeez, what's the problem?" I think he knew then that there was nothing left to do but hope for the best.
Silent All These Years - Tori Amos
Ahh, Tori. I knew every breath on her first several albums and adored her. This song kicked it off.
Freak Me - Silk
Ha ha. HA HA HA. Even when I was 14 I knew this was a horrendous sex song. It was in the same place on the charts for several weeks and so they played it at around the same time every night on the radio and it was when I'd be taking a shower, and I remember blasting it and singing along as I washed my hair. (My poor parents.) Plus I read an interview with Joey Lawrence in Sassy where he said that it was his favorite song and I thought that was really funny. (By the way, if you also read Sassy and remember Margie, you should read this.)
November Rain - Guns 'N Roses
Right?!? The video! Oooh, what HAPPENED? I always felt like Axl loved her SO MUCH that he just squeezed the life right out of her. Plus that girl knocked that other girl off the bar stool with one hand and that was cool.
Smells like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
Naturally. This was a milestone song for anyone who went to high school in the early 90s, regardless of whether you were really into them or not. Recently I was watching something on VH1 where all the 80s metal guys were talking about how thrown off they were when the world started transitioning to the grunge phase, and I was thinking about how big and important it felt at the time, certainly not like just the latest phase. I think it was the perfect time to go to high school; I missed the hair bands and made it out just before boy bands made their comeback.
Jeremy - Pearl Jam
Which song to pick? I went with this one mostly because it was my first introduction to Pearl Jam and also the one with the deeply memorable video, not because of the ending but because of all of Eddie's faces. Oh God, I loved Eddie Vedder so much and STILL DO. I can't even talk about it, I'm getting dizzy.
Round Here - Counting Crows
Good camp memories.
Cryin' - Aerosmith
Oh, man...like everyone else, I loved it for the video. I probably watched it 100 times. I loved, loved Alicia Silverstone and her clothes and her attitude and her hair and everything.
No Rain - Blind Melon
I never completely loved this song, but I have such a happy association with it, from around the beginning of my junior year. I can't even put my finger on it, but it was just good stuff.
Big Empty - Stone Temple Pilots
This was a driving around with friends song, back when driving anywhere was awesome just because you could.
Hunger Strike - Temple of the Dog
More Eddie goodness. OHMYGOD, I'm listening to it right now and I can't even deal, he is the sexiest man on the PLANET, I don't care how much saying that dates me.
Leaving Las Vegas - Sheryl Crow
I'm not sure why I liked this one so much, but I just remember loving it. I also remember that if I started playing it when I left my house, the line "take this loser hand and make it win" was on by the time I pulled into Justin's driveway.
Big Star - Letters to Cleo
Loved them, loved this song, total senior year stuff.
Gepetto - Belly
Add it Up - Violent Femmes
Justin made a mix tape for me around the time that we were going from being best friends to being in love but not yet telling each other how we felt, so the tape was so charged up it was ridiculous. Anyway, this was the first song on it. (In retrospect, could his feelings, however dysfunctional, have been any clearer?) It was also the song Ethan Hawke sang to Winona Ryder in Reality Bites when he was all mad and jealous that she was dating Ben Stiller. ("Have I stepped over some line in the sands of coolness with you?")
Good - Better than Ezra
Just that nostalgic-emotional-graduation feeling of thinking you're totally separating from most of the people that you've been so close with for so long. And you are. Thankfully when you're 17 you're scared but also convinced there are bigger and better things out there for you. And there are.
Violet - Hole
Ha ha ha. I was trying to figure out which song from Live Through This needed to be on this list; I loved that album. I was tempted to put on I Think That I Would Die, for the title alone.
Terrible Lie - Nine Inch Nails
Oh Trent, with a name like that you should've been playing lacrosse. And getting to third base with Kelsey.
Hand in my Pocket - Alanis Morissette
I realized during my senior year summer that Alanis made good eating disorder music. For whatever reason I remember especially liking the lines "I'm sick but I'm pretty" and "I'm tired but I'm working," like I was spending eleven hours a day crunching numbers and supporting a family of six or something, and not putting in 25 leisurely hours a week at a bookstore in a strip mall. (The tired part probably resonated with me because I was only eating that sugar-free Jell-O at the time.)
Master and Servant - Depeche Mode
I remember Peter made me a Depeche Mode mix and I was like, WHAT IS THIS?
Stay - Lisa Loeb
This one was also from Reality Bites, which was clearly a big movie for me around this time. "Vicky just figured something out, something wonderful...Evian is naive spelled backwards!" Yeah, I can still quote the thing to death. And it forever impacted how my peoples and I dance to My Sharona. Anyway, I just thought this song was so great and meaningful, and I loved the stream-of-consciousness of it because it was how I was trying to write at the time, "I have so much to say that I...and this other thing, and I don't know, you just...", like emotional ADD.
Punk Rock Girl - Dead Milkmen
I loved this song! "We went to a shopping mall and laughed at all the shoppers." I remember playing it over and over and over on Justin's and my radio show at the school station on Thursday nights, 7-9. It was the perfect time slot except for the fact that I missed My So-Called Life.
Live Forever - Oasis
Another sentimental favorite. I almost put "Maybe you're the same as me, we see things they'll never see, you and I are gonna live forever" in my senior quote, but instead I quoted St. Elmo's Fire: "Nothing mattered but the moment we were in." Cheeeeese, but at least it wasn't Silk.
There may be a jillion that I forgot. What are some of yours?