While some teeneagers grew up listening to the Doors and Led Zeppelin- reveling in pseudo-pretentious lyrics coupled with blazing guitar solos and emphatic technical prowess, I spent my formative years shaking along to tinny drums played at a jackhammer’s pace, punctuated occasionally by chugging guitars, doo-wop harmonies, or over-the-top horn parts- in some cases, all of the above. This weekly journey aims to explore exactly how to compartmentalize the music of my youth. Note: I’ll be focusing on records released before May of 2000, my 20th birthday. If there is a record that came out during that time period that you’d like me to cover, leave it in the comments.
Most people I talk to seem to count among their seminal musical moments as the moment they heard the Velvet Underground or the Pixies or Nirvana. But let’s get real: if you were born in 1980 and you didn’t have an older brother/cousin/neighbor you are probably posturing or didn’t take an active interest in music until way after high school.
While I was into Nirvana, by the time I was in eighth grade Kurt did his thing and the hero worship instantly bothered me. I was too self-aware to pretend that any of the angst Kurt was peddling applied to my life and I’m pretty sure having a member of Shellac record your commercially groundbreaking follow up album didn’t impress an overweight teenager whose other bedroom heroes included Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam. Even though I loved grunge (and may be covered in future editions of this column) I never really felt a connection to those bands: they seemed to speak to a generation that was already in college or on the cusp of freedom. In 1994 I knew I was still a long ways from any type of parental independence. And then I saw the video that changed my life.