It seems like the music you listen to is one of the most important things you use to declare who you are when you’re a teenager. It used to be that you could drag a discman to school and let your CDs spill out of your bag at lunch, declaring to the world, “I listen to _______! That means I’m a ______!”
My taste in music was and is fairly wide. Spotify doesn’t know what to do with me when it comes to Daily and Weekly Playlists, given that I’ll listen to just about anything and everything from Victoriandustrialist to Classical to Icelandic Rap to Dark Roots. While I couldn’t listen to as many genres in high school (long years ago, in the days before you could stream anything, and had to buy CDs..), my tastes were still fairly wide.
I don’t listen to many of the albums that I had on constant repeat when I was in high school, but if any of the music comes up, I still know all the lyrics.
So in no particular order, here are five of my top albums from my high school years:
- Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness by The Smashing Pumpkins – The music of this double album ranges from an orchestral suite to heavy metal anthems with lyrics thick with curses in one song and lyrical poetry in the next. Billy Corgan meant for it to be a landmark album, and while many sneered at him for his presumptuousness, it did become a memorable album of the 1990s.
- Machina: The Machines of God by The Smashing Pumpkins – This album, one of the Smashing Pumpkins’s last releases, ended up being one of my favorites from the group. It’s a concept album, and of the of the first albums I listened to that told a story throughout it. I was hooked on it from the opening chords, and Stand Inside Your Love is still one of my favorite songs ever.
- The Book of Secrets by Loreena McKennitt – The Mummer’s Dance, remixed, was all over the radio one summer, but I remember Dante’s Prayer more because Michelle Kwan skated to it. That said, I love the entire album, and I do still listen to it once in a while, though I prefer a couple of McKennitt’s other albums. That said, The Mummer’s Dance, Marco Polo, and Dante’s Prayer are on the list of my favorite songs.
- Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie by Alanis Morissette – Though Morissette’s first album received all the attention for its anger– a rare thing for women’s music in the 1990s– I preferred her second album. I suppose I connected more with its joy gratitude than Jagged Little Pill’s outrage.
- Ophelia by Natalie Merchant – Though I don’t like all of the songs on this album, the title song, Ophelia, stuck with my more than all the others, and was probably the first song I acknowledged as particularly ‘feminist’. In it, Merchant speaks of all the different aspects that a woman can have, from sufragette to daredevil to nun to Shakespearean madwomen. It helps that the minor key chords that open the song are just the right tones to stick in my brain and never leave.