Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nostalgic Tunes

The last couple of days, I've been listening to some of my old school favorites. You know those old CDs you practically wore out, the ones that somehow missed the migration into digital media? It's been almost surreal listening to the likes of Matchbox 20 and Third Eye Blind on an iPod while maneuvering through Barcelona. This setting—this life—is a harsh contrast to the one I lead when these tracks last graced my ears. I love being able to appreciate them in a whole new way.

A long time ago—i.e. over a decade ago—I joined Columbia House. This was in that particular phase of life when it becomes very important to establish a personal taste in music. I guess the "personal" part was a little unclear for us preteens, as we crowded the malls with a pocket-full of allowance to pick up whatever titles we could recognize from the local top 40 station. This lead to a pretty awkward selection when I chose which 12 CDs the company would send me just for joining the club. I spent a good twenty minutes this morning trying to recreate the list, and somehow I actually managed. So here they are!

  1. Oasis - (What's the Story) Morning Glory?
  2. Vertical Horizon - Everything You Want
  3. TLC - FanMail
  4. Cherry Poppin' Daddies - Zoot Suit Riot
  5. Barenaked Ladies - Stunt
  6. Incubus - Make Yourself
  7. Britney Spears - ...Baby One More Time
  8. Third Eye Blind - Self-titled
  9. Will Smith - Big Willie Style
  10. Matchbox 20 - Yourself or Someone Like You
  11. Eagle Eye Cherry - Desireless
  12. Savage Garden - Self-titled
Some of these albums I only listened to for a little while before tucking them away, never to be played again. Others, though, would go on to define me a little bit. The albums by Matchbox 20, Savage Garden, Incubus, Vertical Horizon, are some of the most influential and nostalgic soundtracks of my life! I vividly remember listening to these songs in my room, back when listening to music was an activity by its own right—not just an afterthought. I remember soaking in the melodies and the lyrics and feeling like certain songs were written just for me. I don't get that feeling very often anymore. Isn't that sad? But occasionally I do, sometimes with newly discovered music, but more frequently with these cherished relics of my past.

I chose these CDs at random. They were completely influenced by whatever music I was hearing on the radio and/or my friends were listening to at the time. But when I listen to some of these albums today, they feel like a part of me that's engraved way down deep. Do you have any music like this? If so, how did you discover it? And do you still listen to this day?


  1. I had no idea now important music really was at that time in our lives. You're right, you could actually just "listen to music" as an activity and it was completely engrossing. Now I usually stick it on in the background while, well, working. Definitely an afterthought! And somehow, even when I do discover new music....there is just something SO special and unforgettable about that music of the formative years. The songs bring back memories and most of all just FEELINGS of who I was in those exact moments. Awkward, in love, in pain, excited, curious, nervous, happy, angsty...everything...

  2. Oh yes! I listened to that Matchbox 20 album nonstop for most of the year I was 14. That was a bit of a dark year (I'm sure the music didn't help much!) and I didn't listen to it much after that time.

    My formative music was Adore by Smashing Pumpkins, Distance to Here by Live, Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Teaser & the Firecat by Cat Stevens. Ah nostalgia! It's interesting that my tastes haven't changed that much, those are still some of my favourite albums.

  3. Matchbox 20 REALLY reminds me of you, to this day! I remember one forensics meet in, oh, the 9th grade? We were pretty bad back then, and we never broke to semis, so we would hang out on the bus or local parks or whatever... I definitely remember sitting on the bus one time and singing every Matchbox 20 hit we could think of. It's so funny to think back - it's like totally different people.

  4. You know, Jess, I had completely forgotten about that forensics season! Weren't we pretty much the only ones going? Do you remember roaming the empty schools? Taking a walk behind that one school to some woodsy area with a bandshell? Thanks for reminding me of those walks and talks, it makes me smile!