Monday, September 28, 2009

A playlist of '90s classics

There was a small window of time at approximately age 14-15, around the time that I started purchasing my first CDs and discovered indie college stations while living in Memphis, Tennessee, when I really expanded my tastes beyond the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, the B-52s, and They Might Be Giants. A little folk rock band named Dave Matthews Band was playing at the local book store, this girl at my school ranted and raved about some amazing new singer named Tori Amos, and I was enthralled with Weezer's "Sweater Song." It seemed like a magical time in music, or a magical place for discovering the brilliance beneath the pop surface of dancy R&B one-hit wonders, and schmaltzy adult contemporary behemoths. My mother had a job at a casino on a Mississippi riverboat, and we used to drive for hours exploring the dusty strips of highway peppered with tin-roofed shacks and Norman Rockwell-esque town squares with prominent white churches. Sitting in the car felt like a strange safari ride.

I had begun school feeling like an alien from the start, whatwith the backwater apathetic teachers and the black and white schism among students. Besides not having any friends, I obsessed over the woman I was growing into, wondered if I would one day be physically attractive, and, oftentimes, would gorge myself on Krispy Kremes from the Piggly Wiggly and stare at my Cindy Crawford exercise video gathering dust. River Phoenix had died around that time, and Cobain was right around the corner. The grunge era seemed like an awkward moment in culture, but fitting for an awkward teenager.

At any rate, here are the some of the songs I remember the most. Songs I sat and stewed over, obsessed over, and coveted most of all.

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