The Angsty Songs of My Youth that are Still Shaping My Life Today.
How the music of my early teen years shaped my life today and inspired me to start a band.
It was a long road from falling in love with 90's grunge and 2000's punk to writing and releasing a song. A road filled with heartache and petty drama that all inevitably led me to the music and bands that inspired me to start writing my own songs. From Nirvana and Paramore to My Bloody Valentine, here's the most important angsty anthems and groups from my teen years that influenced me so much I had to give it a go myself!
1. Only Shallow by My Bloody Valentine
I fell in love with the shoegaze scene of the 90's not long after I discovered grunge. From the moment I heard the shotgun snares and swelteringly fuzzy guitars off the opening track to My Bloody Valentine's 1991 album 'Loveless' I was hooked. The raw energy and swelling distortion was like a warm hug for my angst ridden soul and this song in particular served as the anthem to many a bus ride to and from school.
2. Idle Worship by Paramore
I found Paramore a year or two before the release of 'After Laughter', their fifth studio album that came out in 2017, but none of their work touched me like 'After Laughter' did. The funky grooves, 80's synth and heartfelt lyrics were the perfect antidote to my brief, if memorable, emo phase. It opened me up to countless bands I still love like Fleetwood Mac and Talking Heads. It also influenced a lot of my song writing, particularly how I approach lyrics.
3. Lazy Eye by Silversun Pickups
This song was one of those rare finds for me all those years ago, like finding a hundred dollar note in my jean pockets when I was low on rent. It came to me when I needed it most and reinvigorated my love for Alt rock at one of the lowest points in my teen years. It's simple melody and gut wrenching vocal performance let me sizzle out my anger without lashing out an saved me from a lot of bad decisions. It's angst-ridden, endlessly re-listenable and one of the best early 2000's songs out there today. It's chugging dry guitar influenced how I approach the instrument myself nowadays.
4. Jeremy by Pearl Jam
A tragic incident in an American high school inspired Eddie Vedder to write this powerful grunge classic that truly spoke to me as a young, troubled teen. Countless nights were spent with this song blasting through my headphones and Pearl Jam remains an old favourite.
5. Holland 1945 by Neutral Milk Hotel
Oh boy does this song bring back memories. This fuzzy (can you tell I love fuzz?) folk band remain one of a kind and their unrelenting uniqueness brought a lot of solace to me battling school blues. Their multi layered songs about crazy shit has been truly inspirational and despite not listening to them very much anymore, I can't thank this band enough.
6. Freaks by Surf Curse
I found this song in the later years of my school career and it's old-school punk simplicity was just so cool, I couldn't help but love it. It immediately found it's way on to my top listened and recently played playlists on Spotify.
7. Cherub Rock by The Smashing Pumpkins
Ahh, Smashing Pumpkins. The nostalgic bands of nostalgic bands. I can't hear a song of theirs play without thinking back to my angsty school days, and no song more than 'Cherub Rock' off their album 'Siamese Dream'. It's the sound of blessed bus rides home, looking out the window and being free at last.
8. Bulls on Parade by Rage Against The Machine
This song right here, or should I say anthem was rarely listened too without being accompanied by the sound of me festering in the corner of my room. It was the rebellious anthem of my teens and still gets my blood pumping today.
9. Allison by Slowdive
After the angst, came the sadness and nothing made me feel better after a rough day than Slowdive. This song, although no longer my favourite of theirs ('Sleep' holds that honour), still holds up as one of the best songs of the 90's and one of the best songs of my teenage years. It's sad but warm and let me feel things my angry heart didn't want me too. It'll always remain a classic in my books.
10. Drain You by Nirvana
Catchy, unbelievably endearing and featuring one of the best screams in rock history, 'Drain You' was one of, if not the, most important song for 14 year old, angst ridden me. I had it on repeat for about a year and it got me through a lot of rough times, along with a lot of other Nirvana songs. The simple chord structure inspired countless of my own songs. It had to be listened to in plaid though.
I left my angsty teen years many moons ago but they've served me well. My love for rock that bloomed during those years stayed and pushed me to forming a band I love making music with today. Each of the bands above shaped me into who I am and what I create today. The layered songs of Neutral Milk Hotel, the bittersweet tone of Paramore and the energy of Nirvana amongst countless others all played their part in 'Nothing Will Ever Change', my band polxroid's debut single.
It's easy to look back at our messy teenage years in shame (and by god, there's more than enough for me to cringe at) but it's always good to see how the decisions we made then changed us into the people we are now. The angsty playlist's that still haunt my Spotify are also a reminder of all the great music I found, loved and am still influenced by in life today.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a like or even a tip, it's greatly appreciated. See ya next time! - Ciaran