I mentioned last week that the Smashing Pumpkins were a major musical role model in my peak adolescence. I also described a 25 minute wankfest Billy Corgan played during the final portion of their otherwise solid gig and during this indulgence I found myself distracted and bothered to start creating in my head a definitive mixtape of that era just to see how heavily the Pumpkins would feature on it.
Then over the weekend I actually attempted to compile an 80 minute track listing of my early teenage years (90 would probably be more appropriate, but alas). These are - for the most part - songs that shaped my attitudes or that I totally loved the hell out of. So it's personal rather than symptomatic of the era itself (no Hanson or Chumbawamba). The first conclusion I can come up with, given the tracks, is that I had absolutely terrible taste in music a decade ago.
I think I've gone great lengths in improving my taste and knowledge of music as an art form since then. I have to think that because I often write about music and need to at least affect the allusion that I'm qualified to determine what good new music is.
When I read reviews or summaries of new music they are often littered with references to obvious influences or sounds of bygone times. As a reviewer, given my taste when I was growing up, I have extremely limited ability to comment on things like this. Indeed while I was referencing and confirming the suitability of my Adolescence Mixtape I realised just how many artists and albums I wish I'd been introduced to or heard on the radio that I might have been able to experience their quality then.
A quick survey of releases I could have listened to (released 97/98) included Ween, Elliot Smith, Belle & Sebastian, the Apples in Stereo, Death Cab for Cutie, Queens of the Stone Age, Beck, Jay-Z, Pavement, Bowie, Yo La Tengo, Radiohead, Missy Elliot, Cypress Hill, Dandy Warhols, Jurrasic 5, Spoon, Neutral Milk Hotel. A few of those albums I listen to the hell out of now (In the Aeroplane Over the Sea!)
Oh, and it seems like I was growing up in a boom time for electronic music with landmark releases from Chemical Brothers, Air, Boards of Canada, Daft Punk, Prodigy, Massive Attack, The Crystal Method among others. Albums that were shaping a whole genre that I would end up being fascinated with, and for the most part it was completely ignored (is this why I spent most of 2003 listening to Trance?)
Indeed all this good music and what was I listening to? This:
1. Smashing Pumpkins - Bullet With Butterfly Wings
2. The Offspring - All I Want
3. Green Day - Brain Stew
4. Smashing Pumpkins - Today
5. Everclear - Everything to Everyone
6. Blink 182 - Dammit
7. Bloodhound Gang - Why's Everybody Always Picking On Me?
8. Foo Fighters - Monkey Wrench
9. Live - Lakinis Juice
10. Fuel - Hemorrhage (In My Hands)
11. The Offspring - Gone Away
12. Smashing Pumpkins - Zero
13. Rage Against The Machine - No Shelter
14. Sugar Ray - RPM
15. Primus - Shake Hands With Beef
16. Presidents of the USA - Lump
17. Regurgitator - !
18. The Living End - Prisoner of Society
19. Grinspoon - Just Ace
20. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - The Impression That I Get
21. Placebo - Every You Every Me
22. Smashing Pumpkins - Tonight, Tonight
23. Smashing Pumpkins - Disarm
If it had been economically viable at the time to burn these songs on to a CD and give them to my pubescent self it would I would have been ecstatic! Or at least some mood between "angsty" and "goofy" which judging my the selection were my only two moods back then. This has all been highly embarrassing but I feel cleansed now. Thanks Billy.
Also I listened to this compilation and could sing every line of every song. Yeah!