Today was one of the first days that it actually felt like autumn, and autumn is such a time of nostalgia and reflection, at least for me. I thought it’d be nice to do a reflective post about music I have loved over the past decade.
There was this note floating around on Facebook where you were supposed to name ten albums that you loved, one for each year of this decade (2000-2009). I really enjoyed reading my friends’ various choices. And then one night, Michael and I were sitting at Highlands, and we decided it would be fun to take this concept and make a mixy (“mixy” is my word for mix CD…incase you couldn’t figure that out) with one song from each album. But not just one song that you loved, but one song that defined the whole year for you, who you were, what you were doing, etc.
I had so much fun that I though I would write about my mixy. (Note: I did this not based on what albums came out that year, but what I was listening to. When I was a teenager, I wasn’t as up to date on what albums were coming out as I am now, and sometimes I wouldn’t find out about an album until a year or two after it came out.)1. 2000 - “Indie Queen” by Marvelous 3 from HEY! Album (1998)
– This song was my anthem. I was completely OBSESSED with Marvelous 3 from the ages of…I’d say 13 to 17. (And even now, at 24, I love to pop in HEY! Album
, turn it up all the way, and dance around like an idiot.) In 2000, I was 14 for half of the year, 15 for the other half. I think every 15-year-old needs an anthem, a song that makes he or she go “THIS IS MY SONG! IT WAS WRITTEN SPECIFICALLY FOR ME! AND NO ONE ELSE GETS IT!” This was completely that for me. And even though Butch Walker was probably singing about something WAY different than a slightly artistic/dorky/eccentric 15-year-old suburban white girl, I will forever think he’s singing to me when he says, “How do you feel about that? How do you like it when they touch your face and turn the page and make you feel like a waste of space?”2. 2001 - “Maybe Someday” by The Cure from Bloodflowers (2000)
– I remember when I was in 10th grade, I had this really cool English teacher who wore all black and often mentioned bands like The Cure and The Smiths that I had heard of but had never really listened to, aside from “Asleep” by The Smiths, which was mentioned in my favorite book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
. One day, I was I watching MTV (back when they played music), taping some music videos on my VCR, and a commercial came on for The Cure’s new album, Bloodflowers
. They played a snippet of “Maybe Someday” on the commercial. I kept rewinding the tape to watch it over and over, until I could get someone to take me to Media Play to grab a copy. I was completely in awe when I listened to it. The album sounded like who I was that year, 16, overly emotional, learning about love and loss for the first time (really), finding my place…I was in love. This is one of those albums that I always go back to, time and time again, and it always makes me feel like I’m 16, discovering it for the first time. And yet, each time I listen to it, it has something new to tell me.
3. 2002 - “In Repair” by Our Lady Peace from Spiritual Machines (2001)
– So, I was 16 and 17 in 2002 and starting to feel a little upset that certain people I had crushes on (or…crazy obsessions with, either way) thought I was way too intense and emotional. I took refuge in CCT, a theatre group that was beginning to become like a family to me, and my friendship with Amanda. The two of us would just drive around endlessly in my Malibu. One day, we were driving, and she showed me this album, Spiritual Machines
. I remember all of the countless times I drove down Sewell Mill Road to West Side Story
rehearsals, blasting this album, with my windows rolled down. Just as my friendship with Amanda and my various experiences with CCT made me feel like it was okay to be who I was, intense and emotional and all, this album made me feel exactly the same way. It’s the kind of album that takes you somewhere, that tells a story. And Raine Maida has such an unconventional, unique voice. It really grabbed me. This album was a mix of great songwriting, passion, and solid’ rock music with a unique twist. I can still go back to it, particularly this track, “In Repair,” and it always makes me feel better.4. 2003 – “Kevlar Soul” by Kent from Hagnesta Hill (2000)
– I discovered Kent at Music Midtown in 1999 when my friend Kyndal and I were walking around, and they played “If You Were Here.” Kyndal grabbed me and said, “Wait! I know this song!” and we stuck around to listen to them. It turned out, they were actually awesome. I bought Isola
, their first English album. Then, randomly, in 2003, I searched online to see what they were up to and I discovered they had made another English album. I ordered it immediately, and as soon as I played it, I was completely giddy. I listened to this album over and over and over, completely obsessed over it. This song in particular sticks out in my head, though, because I remember driving around with Kayesha in Atlanta, listening to it, happy I could share this obscure Swedish band with someone, and we’d sing together, “I have time on my side/Making diamonds of coal/She put a hole, through my kevlar soul.”5. 2004 – “The World is Full of Crashing Bores” by Morrissey from You Are the Quarry (2004)
My knowledge of Morrissey consisted of listening to “Asleep” by The Smiths because it was mentioned in The Perks of Being a Wallflower
, and the couple of times I had heard their self-titled album in Adam’s car, but I never paid much attention. When You Are the Quarry came out, though, Adam bought a copy, and he was listening to it when Kayesha and I were in the car. I remember when “I Have Forgiven Jesus” came on, I could hardly breathe. I rushed out and got a copy the next day. I listened to this album over and over and over, every single song. This is the album that started the Morrissey obsession, particularly this song, which became another one of my anthems. Because even when I was having super emotional, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, “no one understands me” days, Morrissey was always there for me, singing “This world, I am afraid is designed for crashing bores/I am not one, I am not one, you don’t understand, you don’t understand/And yet you can take me in your arms and love me, love me.”
This is one of the reasons I have a Morrissey tattoo with the lyrics, “Don’t forget the songs that made you cry/And the songs that saved your life.”
And I will never, ever forget the first moment I fell in love with You Are the Quarry.6. 2005 – “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire from Funeral (2004)
– 2005 was sort of a tough year for me, full of transitions. I was having a seriously hard time adjusting to the changes that life was bringing. Nothing else better summed this up than Funeral
, particularly “Wake Up.” Even now, I get a little choked up every time I hear vocalist Win Butler sing, “If the children don't grow up,/our bodies get bigger but our hearts get torn up./We're just a million little gods causin' rain storms turnin' every good thing to rust./I guess we'll just have to adjust.”
(And oh my God, now it’s in the Where the Wild Things Are
trailer and I seriously almost cry every time I see it. Nostalgia and childhood and one of my favorite childhood books AND this song? It’s too much!) (But in a good way!)7. 2006 – “Dragonfly” by My Brightest Diamond from Bring Me the Workhorse (2006)
– 2006 was probably one of the best years of my life. I turned 21, had amazing times hanging out with some completely amazing people. And when two of my old friends from high school died, I realized how important it was to let people know that you appreciate them. I reconnected with my old high school friends because of this, and out of tragedy, we all grew closer. Some amazing things happened to me that year though. I started taking my English major classes at KSU, including classes with my favorite professors, I was in a really great writing group, I started a new, amazing relationship, and I started writing Painted
towards the end of the year. This song, for me, really represents that whole year. My friend, Lauryn, showed me this album, and that was another I-can’t-breathe-this-is-so-good moment. Between Shara Worden’s completely breathtakingly flawless voice and the interesting almost orchestral music underneath her, I was almost in shock. I played Bring Me the Workhorse nonstop. And this song is very symbolic for me. It’s a song about recognizing the risks involved in loving and doing it anyway. It’s song about being “afraid of flying” but doing it anyway. 8. 2007 – “Bodysnatchers” by Radiohead from In Rainbows (2007)
– OHMYGODRADIOHEAD. Okay, first of all, I had been waiting for a new Radiohead album for what seemed like forever. And soon, they announced that they were essentially giving it away for free on their website. I think I paid 5 bucks (better than nothing!) and this was another album that I was completely in love with from the moment that I listened to it. At first, I would have told you that “Bodysnatchers” was fun but not my favorite track on the album, but after a few listens, I became completely obsessed. I remember one night just sitting in my room writing almost an essay in my journal on how In Rainbows
was an album that took you on a “personal journey” (which led to Darcie’s obsession with that phrase in my short play “The Economist”), and I think this track “Bodysnatchers,” is the track where I realized that it was, indeed, a personal journey. It’s the moment where the song completely changes and takes you somewhere you had no idea you were going, when Thom York sings “Has the light gone out for you?/Because the light's gone for me.”
And then somehow, it builds and builds and builds and spits you right back out where you were. OH THE BRILLIANCE! This is also relevant to 2007 because basically the entire year of 2007 was centered around Painted
. I started working on the play late 2006, and I continued working on it, revising and editing, having a small reading in February(ish), having my formal staged reading in June, and of course producing the play in late September/early October. (God, I can’t believe that was two years ago.) Painted
was very much a personal journey for me, and right when the play was over, In Rainbows
came out. It all felt very symbolic. One personal journey to another. Theatre to music and then somehow back to theatre and back to music and literature and it’s all just one huge cycle of art and life and love and “personal journeys” for me.
9. 2008 – “Open Book” by Ed Harcourt from Strangers (2005)
– 2008 was a difficult year for me for many reasons. I graduated from college in May, it was a time of huge transitions, a lot of my really close friends had moved across the country or were in the process of moving, lots of relationship drama. One of the things that really got me through this year was my discovery of Ed Harcourt, particularly this album, Strangers
. Another “personal journey” album, I remember driving around listening to the haunting piano and heartbreaking vocals/lyrics on this track, “Open Book,” over and over. And I sang along with him, “As children make their way to class/I sit and raise another glass/Cause you don’t dwell much on the past when it keeps haunting you…Well my life keeps on spinnin’/It’s this drunken procession/I can’t learn my lessons.”
In feeling heartbroken, nostalgic, and grief, the only thing that makes me feel better is a song that expresses all of those things and makes me realize that even though I’m immersed in all of those emotions, so is someone else. And Ed Harcourt gets it, which makes me feel connected to him, and then it turns out, we’re not isolated. We’re all connected through art and the human experience. It’s like “The Waste Land.” 10. 2009 – “40 Day Dream” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros from Up from Below (2009)
– On a much happier note, 2009 has been a much happier year, and that’s why I picked this song/album for 2009. First of all, I love the album because the whole thing is like a dream, a story. It’s completely crazy. Parts of it will make you think you’re in the 1960s, parts of it will make you feel the way a really good shoegaze album makes you feel, parts of it will make you think you’re in a Western, parts of it will make you think you might be listening to a less cult-y version of the Polyphonic Spree. And while there have been a lot of albums that I feel in love with in 2009, I remember popping in Up from Below, and “40 Day Dream” came on, and within seconds, I was grinning from cheek to cheek. I love that giddy feeling you get the first time you listen to a really great CD that you know is going to make you happy for a very long time, and that’s how I felt the very first time I listened to this song. “I been sleepin for 60 days and/Nobody better pinch me/Bitch I swear I’ll go crazy/She got jumper cable lips/She got sunset on her breath now/I inhaled just a little bit /Now I got no fear of death.”
So, there are my ten albums/songs that define me from 2000 to 2009. How about you? What are your's?