Wednesday, April 05, 2017

The Teenage Years in 10 Albums

I've seen a few of my Facebook pals playing a fun little game called "The Teenage Years in 10 Albums".  Since music was such a big part of my life (and still is), I thought it would be fun to share my list in a blog post.

Ahh, the teenage years.  My high school memories are so often linked to a song or a band or a school dance.  Sitting on the bus listening to my disc man, listening to CD's with friends, in my room doing homework, in the basement playing my sister's ghetto blaster (so loud my mom or dad would inevitably slam the door upstairs), at video dances at school or youth group dances in town... Yes, music played a big role in my growing-up years, and it's fun to take a look back on the albums that defined me.

When I started making my list of singers/bands that made me think of my teen years, I ended up with a list of 28.  TWENTY-EIGHT artists that I felt were a huuuuge deal to me from the ages of 13-19.  Trying to whittle that down to a list of 10 was preeeetty much impossible.  You would think setting the guidelines of the albums must have been released between 1995-2000 would help, but dudes, there's a TON of music from that time period!!

But I did it.  So here are the 10 albums that shaped my adolescent years, in no particular order:

1. I Mother Earth - Scenery and Fish (1996)
I'd have to say, I Mother Earth was one of my very first musical "obsessions".  I saw them perform on some little Canadian live-music concert show (can't even remember what it was called), and I literally fell in love with lead singer Edwin.  I was the loser who wrote "I LOVE Edwin" on chalkboards in classrooms in Grade 7.  I had pictures of him plastering my school agenda.  Edwin was my man.  I followed him right through his little solo venture several years later, but I have no idea what ever happened to him since.  Even so, he's a big memory from my teenage years.

Fave tracks: One More Astronaut, Another Sunday, Used to Be Alright

2. Our Lady Peace - Clumsy (1997)
As I was coming of age, so was another Canadian band, Our Lady Peace.  Clumsy holds some of the biggest songs from my early high school years, songs that everyone loved.  I saw them in concert once, and they were amazing.  Didn't hurt that lead singer Raine Maida was pretty hot too...(I've always been a sucker for the hot boys!)  I don't know if OLP is still together anymore, but man, they were big in their day.
Fave tracks: Clumsy, 4 AM, Superman's Dead

3. The Tragically Hip - Phantom Power (1998)
Grade 7 was really the time when I started spreading my wings and discovering music for myself, instead of just listening to what pop songs were on the Top 40, or whatever my older sister was listening to.  It was on the bus one morning that a boy told me I should check out The Hip, claiming New Orleans is Sinking was the best song ever recorded.  Thus began my love affair with The Hip, still on-going to this day.  Their album Phantom Power was probably my favourite during my high school days, and my first-ever concert was in Grade 10 when they were on tour promoting it.  Still breaks my heart to know that Gord Downie is battling terminal brain cancer now, and being at their concert in Ottawa last summer for their farewell tour is one of the most bittersweet moments of my life.

Fave tracks: Poets, Bobcaygeon, Fireworks

4. Bryan Adams - 18 Til I Die (1996)
I loved Bryan Adams so much during my high school years.  My sister had his So Far, So Good album which was played a lot in our shared bedroom, but once she flew the coop, it was 18 Til I Die that I played over and over.  Another good Canadian boy with a solid repertoire, he's on my bucket list to see play live someday.

Fave tracks: 18 Til I Die, We're Gonna Win, I Think About You

5. Shania Twain - The Woman In Me (1995)
I'll never forget my first high school Video Dance, when Shania's Any Man of Mine came on and every girl in the school literally stormed the dance floor to boot-stomp and sing along at the top of our lungs.  Her Come on Over album was probably bigger, and I definitely listened to it a ton too, but The Woman In Me is the one that started it all and had me line-dancing in my basement for hours on end.

Fave tracks: Any Man of Mine, Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under, No One Needs to Know

6. Alanis Morisette - Jagged Little Pill (1995)
I remember the Christmas my sister got this CD.  We listened to it steady.  Alanis was the coolest.  She gave a voice to all the angsty teenage girls in the world.  This album was epic, and launched her into stardom.  I swear, when I was making this list, I didn't intend to go all-Canadian, but I now realize my first 6 choices are all from my beloved home country.  Some pretty amazing Canadiana music during those years... and Alanis was definitely leading the charge.

Fave tracks: You Oughta Know, Hand in my Pocket, Ironic, Head Over Feet

7. Goo Goo Dolls - Dizzy Up The Girl (1998)
Oh, how I adored the Goos back in my later high school years!  I remember getting this album and playing it over and over and over, writing poems in my notebook, daydreaming of the boy I liked (because he loved the Goo Goo Dolls too).  I can't make a list of high school favourites without including this one.

Fave tracks: Slide, Black Balloon, Broadway, Iris

8. Third Eye Blind - Third Eye Blind (1997)
Third Eye Blind was a serious obsession for me.  I listened to that CD so much, I wore it out - it skipped like crazy eventually.  From the first moment I heard Semi-Charmed Life, I was hooked.  I used to tape it every time it came on the radio - to the point that I would have multiple mix tapes with multiple recordings of that song on it.  If I had to pick just ONE song to define my high school years, that's the one.  I hear it, I close my eyes, it takes me right back to those baggy jeans, plaid shirts, Club Monaco sweatshirts, and Doc Martins...and it's 1997 all over again

Fave tracks: Semi-Charmed Life, Jumper, How's It Going to Be

9. Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
You might take a look at me, and think, "Jill? Rap?  These two things do not go together..."  Ah, but yes, I did go through a pretty serious rap phase.  Mostly thanks to Eminem.  I remember listening to this one on my discman, trying to memorize the words, trying to be a rapper.  Makes me LOL now to think of it... This album was mainstream-huge, and I still think the video for Stan is one of the best music videos of all time.

Fave tracks: Stan, The Way I Am, The Real Slim Shady

10. Backstreet Boys - Backstreet Boys (1996)
And just as I had my rap phase, I could not be a teen of the mid-to-late '90's without going through a boy-band phase as well.  Most of the girls back then were N'Sync-ers, but I was always a BB girl.  This album in particular takes me back, to Kenny and Bucky's garage, when the neighbourhood boys actually made me pay to watch them lip sync to Backstreet Boys songs.  Ah, the good ol' days...

Fave tracks: We've Got it Going On, Get Down, Quit Playin' Games With My Heart

Well, there we have it... my teenage years in 10 albums!  There are so many honourable mentions, I can't even begin to tell you.  The Counting Crows, Better than Ezra, TLC, Sheryl Crow, Dr. Dre, Foo Fighters, Collective Soul, Oasis, No Doubt, Spice Girls, Barenaked Ladies, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Matchbox Twenty, Fastball, Blink 182... the list could go on and on. And we can't forget that compilation albums were also huge at the time, so I got lots of play out of my Big Shiny Tunes CD's (particularly the 2nd one) and the Frosh CD's.  

So when you sit down and reminisce, what albums shape your teenage years?  What songs take you back?  Who was your first concert?  What singer was your first love?  Please do comment and share! :)

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