The One Time Teenage Angst Did Any Good


This week, I jumped down the rabbit hole that was my middle school and high school music playlists. My sweet fourteen-year-old sister-in-law just received a used iPod and all she wanted was some music to listen to on her bus ride to and from school each day (post-quarantine that is). We were left with my amassed playlist from the “glory days”. My iTunes playlist has become this perfectly curated time capsule of teenage angst and forgotten memories.

And honestly, it was the best hour and a half getting to relisten to music I haven’t heard in over ten years. It is exactly what my little quarantined heart needed to hear to change my spirits and remind me of different times.

My taste in music has always been… eclectic. My mother has worked in radio for most of my life and loves Top 40. My father is a metal-head, rock junkie. My older sister has always had an affinity for rap, alternative, and indie. So naturally, my little sister and I are the by-products of hours of multi-genre music consumption that tends to make our friends feel like we have the weirdest taste in music.

I listened to “Dinner Bells” by Wolf Parade, a song that stings from my parent’s divorce, and Broken Bells’ “The High Road” which smacks of smooth car rides with friends. Too Much Joy’s “My Past Lives” flooded a picture-perfect memory of the time my sister had just barely gotten her driver’s license and we spun cookies in the parking lot by the skate park. All of the kids on their skateboards looked at us like we were crazy, and we were probably laughing so hard that we looked crazy.

Icona Pop’s “I Love It” made me think back on the dance parties held in my childhood living room, where my mom would turn off the TV, put on some music, and peel us off of the couch. We would spend hours dancing in our own little “club” until we were sweaty and needed to sit outside to cool down.

“Sail” by AWOLNATION was one of the first songs my little brother with autism said was his favorite, and relistening to it reminded me of how much he has grown up. In the beginning, he thought the song was saying Sam and would beg us to listen to “Sam I Am”. The B52’s came on and reminded me of summer trips with my family to the lake or camping spots, singing along but not having a clue who or what “Quiche Lorraine” was.

These songs and hundreds of others gave me the highlight reel of my life and changed my attitude completely. I’ve started re-listening to the music in bite-sized chunks, allowing the endorphins of past memories to sustain me throughout my cookie-cutter quarantine days.

Cringing at my past music taste, while being absolutely overwhelmed by forgotten memories was just what the doctor ordered. I would recommend looking into your repertoire of teenage music if you need a pick-me-up. It was so worth it for my mental health and I hope that it brings some joy to your day too.

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Alex, mother to three rambunctious boys, belongs to the niche made-for-TV-movie market where a city girl marries a country boy. As such, she has developed a new appreciation for dirt biking, camping, hiking, and all other outdoor adventures. She loves anything artistic, but suffers from “jack of all trades, master of none” syndrome. You can find her at home working on one of a billion unfinished projects. Having all boys has been a blessing in disguise because her true loves are Harry Potter and Legos. Her sisters jokingly say she is the best “brother” they ever had.