All of our music is collected from a variety of influences. Be that the radio, your dad's obsession with rock that you remember fondly as lullaby music, your sister's music that was wayyyyy too old for you, or your own deep dives of the internet. I'm from Kentucky but goodness do we have more than country music. As a budding young nerd, I had sooo many influences that I can't even recall, let alone the ones I do... Remembering that I was a really angry and upset kid as I look at this though... Also that I apparently never watched music videos.
I bought my first 2nd generation iPod Touch from my uncle for $100 (a massive privilege and investment - birthday and Christmas and any other penny I could scrounge up) that he had received for free with the purchase of some MacBook.
I couldn't find my playlists on iTunes, but I found another goldmine... my long forgotten Pandora account. I've been using Spotify pretty singularly for the last five years, but my credentials still worked, so I dove in. There were some heady flashbacks to some extreme angst (heck, I still have that), and a downpour of memories of CD's I owned way back when. So here we go!!!
(forewarning: I got more talkative as I went!)
Tik Tok by Ke$ha
Not much of this list is sheer pop, but Ke$ha had so many top notch songs so quickly I don't know how to handle them. Yes, I bought the Animal album and I really enjoyed what I remember of Cannibal.
Gives You Hell byThe All American Rejects
If this wasn't your anthem, I don't know how to explain to you what this song meant.
It had so little to do with the point of the song and everything to do with being angry and wanting other people who have been mean to you to be disenfranchised by your rising past them. Except less eloquently.
You're Gonna Go Far Kid by The Offspring
Have I ever watched the music video for this before? No. Is that the point here? No.
What is the point? Being an angsty kid wanting to grow up and for things to get better.
Does this song do that? Hell if I know.
Bleed It Out by Linkin Park
I'm still hurting at the loss of Chester Bennington. The first real hero of my sister's where I saw her cry. A good man who made a lot of lost kids feel a lot better about their lives. This song was angry and feral and awesome. Still is.
Animal I Have Become by Three Days Grace
I had their whole catalog memorized, but this one stands out really strongly to me.
Small, anxious, and angry... clearly I needed some music to vent stress and upset.
Fall for You by Secondhand Serenade
Did you need a sad love ballad? Yes. Yes you did.
It's probably a bit much, but that's not the point here.
Fireflies by Owl City
No kidding. This song still feels magical to me :)
This was the height of all good things in 6th grade.
Airplanes by B.o.B. feat. Hayley Williams
I definitely knew Hayley Williams before I knew B.o.B.
Still have listened to more of her stuff. A shocker, I know.
That's What You Get by Paramore
We all know that Misery Business is toxic as mature 2020 adults. But heck if that song isn't a whole flashback. So here we are at another beautifulangryhurt song from Paramore circa middle school. It was a tie between this one, crushcrushcrush, and Born For This. I won't lie.
Second Chance by Shinedown
Another Entire Album that has me feeling Some Type of Way. Call Me, Sound of Madness, The Crow & The Butterfly. All songs I still listen to when the mood strikes just right.
Nothing by The Script
Wow. The sheer heartbreak in this. Heck.
I want him to get boundaries (after listening to a few of the songs from this era), but it's also really sad and boy did I not know romantic love at the time. Generally like the songs of theirs that I know, though.
Halfway Gone by Lifehouse
These flashbacks are getting hardcore, folks. I didn't realize I knew every word to this song but I DO.
I had so many emotions as a small child. Still do. But dang.
Over My Head (Cable Car) by The Fray
Do you all remember The Fray??? I still have this CD in my car. It literally followed me to my college apartment. I know everyone's go to is How To Save A Life, but honestly this one has my whole heart. The whole album does. Have you listened to All At Once ??? I once accidentally embarrassed myself in front of a vague crush by playing that song in front of him on accident. Or She Is? Or Little House??? Little House will shock you in comparison to the rest of the album.
Secrets by OneRepublic
I guess I didn't realize this actually came out while I was in middle school? Like I probably did at the time, but right now it just feels infinite. This song has always been in the background calling out emotional folk (and middle schoolers) everywhere. I have no clue if current middle schoolers know about this song... but boy did it resonate with a stressed out little me.
Let Her Go by Passenger
I bought the album. Shocking no one. THIS ONE IS ALSO IN MY CAR. It's so soft and pretty (...and sometimes crude). Honestly, Let Her Go isn't even my favorite song on the album, but it feels endemic to the time. (But also go check out All The Little Lights or Things That Stop You Dreaming)
Anyways this song is gorgeous and the images the album evokes is probably a big part of how my string light obsession began.
If I Had You by Adam Lambert
Adam Lambert is a sparkly magical fever dream and I don't know how to better to describe him. You can tell he used to do Broadway from his vocalizations! Heck he's toured with Queen in the role of Freddy Mercury (may he rest in peace). He has a lot of gorgeous emotional music, but If I Had You was a middle school treasure.
Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye
A one-hit-wonder that still goes hard.
Sometimes you just need to wail into the void about being hurt, and this is waiting for you.
Pompeii by Bastille
Do I have time to go into my emotions about Bastille? Probably not.
I wasn't even in middle school and it just paints back over a lot of my memories of it now.
I have loved them since Bad Blood. Fell in love with Pompeii on the radio and then listened to the whole damn album. Flaws struck me particularly hard. Both Weight of Living, Pt. I and II. I bought a copy of All This Bad Blood and fell for it, for Poet and Durban Skies. I never stopped listening to it.
I pre-ordered Wild World my sophomore year of college. It came out right after my birthday and my love for them only deepened.
Now Doom Days (and Doom Days (This Got Out Of Hand Edition)).
I used to be able to go on in words. I really can't even verbalize how many of my feelings have been absorbed into Bastille's music over the last 8 years.
I had the extreme privilege to see them live in October 2019 and I honestly don't think I'll ever see a better show again. It was brilliant and fed right into how I've grown and learned to be an adult. Honestly tied top 2 favorite bands with Panic! at the Disco. And Bastille feels so much easier to connect to lately, with all honesty.
It's Time by Imagine Dragons
Night Visions is still and iconic album for me. Demons. Bleeding Out. Radioactive. Amsterdam. Hear Me. I could name every song on the album and each one would resonate just as hard for me. It's Time came out on their EP beforehand, but I listened to Night Visions during a trip my freshman year of high school and it still takes me back to the hours and hours of riding in the backseat in December, slowly going south and feeling the world warm up. It was a bright spot in the middle of a lot of stress, hurt, and depression that I remember very fondly. It's Time is still the song I play on the first day of classes or when I need to get myself up and out of bed and start my day.
Memories by Panic! at the Disco
Will I ever stop loving P!atD? No.
Do I want to? No.
I had a really hard time picking just one Panic song... I went with one of my favorites to belt to from Vices and Virtues, but I could literally have put down any song from A Fever You Can't Sweat Out to Pretty Odd to Vices.... Too Weird To Live, Too Rare to Die came out during high school for me, but you can bet I have every one of these albums and the ones after on my phone TO THIS DAY.
Forever and Always by Taylor Swift
Honesty hour time.
In the midst of my angst and pop punk and alt rock, I have always loved my pop. See Our Lady Kesha above. So here we are with Taylor Swift. This wouldn't be a true Middle School Experience without her.
So I actually listened to Taylor Swift's first album... the eponymous country album. Wayyy back in like 3rd or 4th grade and have followed her music ever since (Our Song? Cold As You? Stay Beautiful? Mary's Song (Oh My My My)? I could go on). Fearless came out when I was in 6th grade, Speak Now in 8th grade (I think? I think I'm keeping track).
Fight all you want about her politics or whatever, but don't tell me any single anxious or depressed college kid can listen to Haunted or Innocent and not have it hit different, even if they didn't listen to it way back when. Any bullied kid who heard Mean or Better Than Revenge (even if it doesn't quite age as well, slut shaming is a no no) and didn't feel some sort of way. Sparks Fly and The Story of Us and Mine were so romantic and so human I didn't know what to do with them. And I think you're lying if you claim to not once have belt out Love Story.
So there's the speech. Take it as you will. I picked Forever and Always because there will always be a place for her music in my heart even when I have no clue how I have felt about her stuff since after 1989.
Who Knew by P!nk
I actually had the major privilege of seeing P!nk during her Truth About Love tour my freshman year of high school. She was so cool. My mom was a big fan of hers and several of her songs are on my phone to this day as favorites of my mom's. I remember listening to the Funhouse album during a trip in 8th grade, and now the album always takes me back to that time. That's when I learned the power of how listening to specific albums can bring you back to a specific time and place, can transport all your senses to a suuuuper long flight and fighting with your cousin about window seats and a breathtaking view of the clouds.
Who Knew was my mom's favorite song when she passed away, so the lyrics hit in a different way, but they still strike home. It was a big feature in my middle school years.
Disloyal Order of Buffaloes by Fall Out Boy
Is part of my obsession with this song its silly name? Yes.
Is it still a kickass song? Yes.
Fall Out Boy has been a staple of my music memories for as long as I can recall. Not a super deep love at first, but one I've certainly grown into. She's My Winona, Sugar We're Going Down, I Don't Care.... just such quality FOB songs.
I love Fall Out Boy and hope I get to see them live one day.
I Miss You by blink-182
It took me so many years to understand the Nightmare Before Christmas reference that I am ashamed. But it was before my adulthood, so I still have a modicum of dignity on that front... I blame it on the fact that Nightmare Before Christmas scared me and so was never my thing... but still.
I still have poignant memories of being a kid and my older sister doing this thing where she tickled me whenever the lyric "spiders, catching things and eating their insides" came on, so I think I focused more on that.
Anyways, blink-182: All The Small Things, I Miss You, Adam's Song, etc. An important staple.
How Far We've Come by Matchbox Twenty
Several of these are older than my middle school times... but they were still my mainstays at the time!!
Honestly I was vibing to this from like December to end of January and I'll probably revisit it next week. It hits on my stress and the current stressin world pretty damn well.
If I Die Young by The Band Perry
Country strikes again. I actually heard this on the radio a few weeks ago?? It was a major throwback but I was here for it. Hella feels associated, of course. And another album I bought and memorized. Not sure where that CD got to, though...
Anyways, we were young (still am) and feeling the "penny for your thoughts - oh no, I'll sell 'em for a dollar, they're worth so much more after I'm a goner."
So in a turn of events that shocks absolutely no one, I have always been emotional. Thankfully I've grown out of most of my anger, but I won't pretend I don't still possess it. I understand a lot I didn't want to analyze back then (and I make myself keep trying to.... with mixed results, but oh well). Enjoy this hella throwback playlisticle and tell me about some of your middle school era songs!