They only want you when you’re seven­teen

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(My ID photo from 2003, the follow­ing year)

I made this playl­ist a while back, and the post has been languish­ing in the drafts for a while, so I thought I’d finish it off for the end of the year. It’s all songs I liked when I was 17, which was in 2002. It’s a fairly roughly put togeth­er playl­ist, because it’s an attempt to make a jumble of songs fit togeth­er rather than to create a flow of songs (my usual way of creat­ing playl­ists). I can’t remem­ber why I made the playl­ist in the first place, but I think it was sparked by read­ing some article or the other. It was a while back, as I said.


The domin­ant music at the time was Nu Metal. The Strokes et al had just star­ted to come in. I wasn’t partic­u­larly enthused by either. I used to go to a really shit altern­at­ive night in Chath­am because it was some­thing to do and they didn’t care about legal drink­ing ages (and was the only place open after 11 where my friends wouldn’t get beaten up). One room played indie, the other metal. Whatever song you asked for was too heavy for the indie room, and not metal enough for the metal room. So I rarely heard anything I liked there. Some of my (male) friends were in post-rock or post-hard­core bands, and that was more fun. (Some of them later set up a piss-taking night they dubbed post-core and claimed it was a legit­im­ate genre).

There’s a big mix of stuff on here I guess, but noth­ing too embar­rass­ing. Most of it is prob­ably typic­al of people of roughly the same age. When I lived in Brighton however I seemed to be surroun­ded by crust-punk types, and in London more straight up HxC types. These weren’t the people I seek out, but they just seem to be there, surround­ing you. They are also people with incred­ibly narrow and restrict­ive tastes in well, everything. They are certainly people who would judge this choice of songs embar­rass­ing. I’ve leave the verdict up to you.

Brief comments about each song under the cut.

The Crys­tal Lake- Grandaddy

Glacial perfec­tion.

Lover I Don’t Have to Love- Bright Eyes

I loved this album at the time, even if it’s ridicu­lously over­wrought. So is being a teen­ager I guess.

Lazy Line Paint­er Jane- Belle & Sebasti­an

I haven’t bothered to listen to anything new B&S have done in years. Stuart Murdoch’s whole thing seems vaguely creepy as nearly 50 year old man, and the music has gone bland and lost the slightly sinis­ter under­tow that made it. I still rate their late 90s stuff A+ though. (ie before Stuart Murdoch star­ted letting any other members write any songs).

Pray­er to God- Shel­lac

I’d say the major­ity of my friends from Sixth Form at the time liked both Belle & Sebasti­an and Shel­lac. It’s allowed. Honestly. Also my friend Sanjay had a birth­day party that turned into a regu­lar club­night, and this was the floor-filler. Honest to god. (Tbh going out in Medway was not so usually specific­ally tailored to my interests)

Here’s a really good in-depth inter­view by Evelyn Morris with Steve Albini, talk­ing about miso­gyny in music
Pray­er to God’ (Shel­lac) – You summar­ized this perfectly when you said it was a naked expres­sion of male enti­tle­ment. It was inspired by a casu­al reflec­tion on the idiom of the murder ballad, and how fucked up it was that we have a tradi­tion of song that is basic­ally dedic­ated to men murder­ing women. Then what if there was a guy who was too much of a wimp to actu­ally murder anybody but just as frus­trated and entitled.”

A Perfect Teen­hood- Trail of Dead

Back to back with this. I wish Trail of Dead hadn’t bothered to do any albums past Source Codes. They clearly agree with me, because the last time I saw them play, at an ATP, they stuck to songs from the first two albums.

One Armed Scis­sor- At The Drive In

You can’t have Trail of Dead without At the Drive In. (I don’t have that much interest in the Mars Volta, and Sparta are just fairly dull straight-up HxC- you needed both halves togeth­er I think).

Bleed Amer­ic­an- Jimmy Eat World

I loved this song, and I was so, so, so disap­poin­ted with the album. It was limp.

Used for Glue- Rival Schools

The (sadly only) Rival Schools album however is great, and always worth a listen

Furniture- Fugazi

Appar­ently this song was from the 80s, but they didn’t get around to record­ing and releas­ing it until 2001. A nice treat for 2001 then.

Dropp- Aute­chre

My friend Sanjay mentioned above used to cut hair in our local venue, the Tap ‘n’ Tin. (It’s a huge build­ing and the owner exper­i­mented with adding extra sections like a laundrette and hairdresser’s). We were both kind of bored- I was finish­ing school and wanted out of Medway, and he was doing his found­a­tion year at art college in London and couldn’t afford to move up until the next year, and was itch­ing to be in London prop­erly. So yeah I mostly asso­ci­ate Aute­chre with hanging out with Sanjay on a Tues­day night watch­ing him cut hair in a pub.

Ny Batterí- Sigur Rós

One of the few Sigur Rós songs with actu­al lyrics- albeit in Iceland­ic.

Roman Candle- Elli­ott Smith

I had the chance a couple of years before to see Elli­ott Smith play, but I didn’t go for it because the tick­ets were expens­ive (plus the train fare into London), I didn’t know anyone else at the time who liked him (I was 15) and it was at a time where he was really strug­gling with mental health and addic­tion and was extremely errat­ic live. So I gave it a pass. An etern­al regret.

Punk Rock- Mogwai

Iggy Pop doesn’t feel pleas­ure or pain.

Death Valley ’69- Sonic Youth & Lydia Lunch

Sonic Youth were my 100% favour­ite band at the time. I guess they are still one of my favour­ites, but my loss of respect for Thur­ston Moore and the way he conducts his life (cliche piggish mid-life crisis man) has tarnished them a bit. Perhaps less on the songs Kim sings.

Walk­ing With Thee- Clin­ic

Clin­ic seemed to play support for almost every gig I went to at one point, but never seemed to get anywhere, which is a real pity. Eerie good­ness.

Rippin’ Kittin- Miss Kittin

Anoth­er Sanjay hair-cutting song. Elec­tro­clash was so heav­ily hyped at the time in the music press, but I never felt like it was specific­ally my thing, mainly because I didn’t feel glam­or­ous or soph­ist­ic­ated enough. I like some of the songs though.

Play­girl- Ladytron

Were Ladytron coun­ted as elec­tro­clash? They were prob­ably more fun than a lot of the other artists in the genre either way.

Emerge- Fisc­her­spoon­er

I couldn’t name any other Fisc­her­spoon­er song for you (could anyone?), but what a song. Anoth­er giant hype thing of the time that went abso­lutely nowhere.

The The Empty- Le Tigre

I skipped school to watch Le Tigre play in London, and it was a good use of my time. Being a teen­age girl who was into music was not always easy. Even having opin­ions or interest about music was a risky busi­ness, that could lead to you getting patron­ised, dismissed or ignored, and the assump­tion was that you were someone’s girl­friend who had been dragged along to any gig. There were no women on stage locally, and you’d better behave your­self to be even allowed to stand at the edges of the boys’ club. So seeing Kath­leen Hanna in the flesh gave me some small faith in human­ity. (And a straight male friend who came felt really uncom­fort­able and unwel­come at the gig- guess that’s how the rest of us feel almost all the time at these things, huh?)

Basil’s Kite- Cap’n Jazz

Try not to feel ashamed that they wrote these songs as sixteen year olds, and look how old you are? (The Cap’n Jazz reunion show in London recently was a real treat).

Ice Hockey Hair- Super Furry Anim­als

SFA however will keep on going forever.

Cream of Gold- Pave­ment

Can anyone resist asking how his voice got so high whenev­er Geddy Lee’s name comes up? They’re a stronger person than I am, that’s for sure. This seems to be a Pave­ment song that’s over­looked, which I think is a real pity. They annoy­ingly spilt up just as I was getting into them. It took til 2010 before I could see them live (I saw Steph­en Malk­mus play solo a lot though)

Care­ful- Sebadoh

Weirdly my friends were not that enthused about Sebadoh, despite being exactly the sort of people you think would love Sebadoh. Their loss.

Sheela-Na-Gig- PJ Harvey

Being a 17 year old girl means you’re an object of terror to your male peers.

Broke- Beta Band

The Beta Band have kind of disap­peared, haven’t they? They were really popu­lar at the time.

Star­cast­ic- Enon

The same with Enon- Toko Yasuda is prob­ably more known for being in the Van Pelt now.

Meet Me At the Harbour- Idlewild

I lost interest in Idlewild when they stopped rolling around on the floor and tried to be sens­ible Big Song­writers. I loved 100 Broken Windows at the time though, and still have all the 7″s of the singles at home.

Be Quiet and Drive- Deftones

The only nu metal band I chose to listen to. Would they be insul­ted if you called them nu metal? (Ok actu­ally I have a soft spot for both System of a Down and Tool, but am unlikely to stick either on. I was surroun­ded by Korn and Machine Head in my youth wheth­er I liked it or not. I prob­ably made up for my lack of enthu­si­asm for nu-metal in embar­rass­ment factor by my intense teen­age love of NIN).

Bread­crumb Trail- Slint

I found out about Slint from the same source I found out about Sebadoh- from the soundtrack of the film Kids, a film I would watch again and again when I was 15-16 (along with Heav­enly Creatures and Train­spot­ting). I don’t know if my enthu­si­asm for Kids says some­thing worry­ing about me as a teen­ager, or just says some­thing about how incred­ibly unreal­ist­ic all the other media that was on offer about being a teen­ager.

Girls of Summer (live)- Arab Strap

I was given this live album as a gift, and I think it actu­ally prob­ably tops any of Arab Strap’s studio albums. Looser, more dynam­ic. I always wondered who were these women though who will­ingly went out with Aidan Moffat though? Did they not listen to his music?

(Also this a song that very much rewards your patience with its buildup)

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