My Early Teenage Years in One Compact Playlist

Courtesy of MTV
Courtesy of MTV

My early teenage years can be described as something of a spectacle. Probably not, but to me, I was a high roller. I bought a studded belt, realized my brother could be particularly helpful in terms of getting me into concerts, and there was no looking back (until 10th grade, that is). My early teenage self could be found most frequently at The Masquerade, one of Atlanta’s more questionable concert venues, or trying to make myself into a YouTube persona. Neither lasted for too long. I realized I wasn’t hardcore enough to sustain the Masquerade phase and I just do not translate well on camera.

This isn’t to be discredited though – in the “scene kid” phase of my life, I think I learned more about myself than I gave myself credit for. So in hopes that you’ll look back on your own early teenage years and remember that you too had braces for far too long and thought way too highly of yourself, here are some of my most notable musical treasures from about 2007-2009.

All Time Low: “Dear Maria, Count Me In”, “The Beach”, “Poppin’ Champagne.” All Time Low defined my early teenage years. They were the first concert I ever went to, the first band member crush I ever had (and when Jack Barakat gave me his guitar picks, I nearly melted), they were the first band I would turn to whether I was happy, sad, whatever emotion I was feeling at the moment. And I felt a lot of things as an adolescent. It really is hard for me to put into words what All Time Low meant to me, simply because they meant so much. You may credit or blame them for what I’ve turned into.

The Maine: All of Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop (special mention: “Everything I Ask For”, “I Must Be Dreaming”, “Count ‘Em One, Two, Three”, and “The Way We Talk”). I won’t lie, when I was going back through these songs, I had to stop and listen to Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop a few times over. Okay, okay, I listened to it multiple times while writing this article. I’ll wait for you, John O’Callaghan.

The Maine ranks incredibly high in my pop-punk books, and it’s a little hard to identify why. Perhaps they (along with All Time Low) are where I first came to appreciate a good harmony and a killer hook. May my friends never forget when I set “I Must Be Dreaming” as the background music of a Windows Movie Maker project one time. A word of advice to anyone following in my 14-year old footsteps – Facebook videos resurface. Post wisely.

Cute Is What We Aim For: “The Curse of Curves”, “There’s a Class For This.” Oh, CIWWAF. Where has the time gone? It was just yesterday when I was trying to figure out which one of your many witty lyrics I wanted as a tattoo! But in all seriousness, Cute Is What We Aim For is where my love for wordplay came from. With gems like “Are you perspiring from the irony / Or are you sweating to these lyrics” and “Jealousy’s the cousin of greed”, can you blame me? Follow up note: I never did get that tattoo. But don’t worry, my mind’s abrewin’.

Boys Like Girls: “The Great Escape”, “Hero/Heroine.” Boys Like Girls was the second group I ever saw live (on tour with Avril Lavigne, 2007 was a crazy year) and I was pretty possessive of them. Because my brother was very good friends with them, I felt like I had some sort of “in” with them, even though that couldn’t have been farther from the truth. I was still very upset when their music made it onto the radio (the same can be said for Metro Station’s “Shake It”) because “I KNEW THEM FIRST!!!!!!!!!” Basically, Boys Like Girls knows how to make extremely well-produced music that’s guaranteed to please.

We The Kings: “Check Yes, Juliet”, “Headlines Read Out…”, “Secret Valentine.” Travis Clark, my first ever redhead crush. I remember it well. I also remember “Secret Valentine” prompting me to have my own secret valentine ;) Just kidding, Mom, I would never!

Forever the Sickest Kids: “She’s A Lady”, “Whoa Oh! (Me vs Everyone).” I remember being so obsessed with the intro to “She’s A Lady” probably because it’s one of the sickest harmonies I’ve ever heard. The more I think about it, “She’s A Lady” was probably one of the most played songs of my 8th grade year. “She’s a lady and ladies shouldn’t be messed with” was actually one of the tattoos I considered getting but a month passed and I realized I was fine without it. However, the more I think about it, the better it sounds…

Paramore: “That’s What You Get.” Ah, Paramore, the glimmer of hope in a male-dominated industry. Had I realized my feminist goals earlier, I would’ve blasted RIOT! from the mountaintops. But, if nothing else, “That’s What You Get” is the reason why I took to winged eyeliner.

Mayday Parade: “Miserable At Best.” I’m overwhelmed by memories of trying to play “Miserable At Best” on the piano with my best friends (as I’m sure everyone was doing, apparent by YouTube videos). You can still find the videos of us performing it if you dig deep enough through my iPhoto. Just kidding, that laptop died. God bless us all.

Fall Out Boy: All of From Under the Cork Tree, Folie À Deux (special mention: “She’s My Winona”, “27”), “Grand Theft Autumn / Where Is Your Boy” Could I have called myself a scene kid without including Fall Out Boy? Absolutely not. But a love for FOB goes deeper than just the image they created. They defined the genre, producing “sophisticated pop-punk”, if you will. I was particularly impressed with Folie À Deux for its mature sound and quality production. It was clear they had moved on from burning prom invitations into people’s yards at this point.

To sum it up nicely, once a scene kid, always a scene kid. Looking back on these bands, it’s crazy to me how much I knew about them and how these were the concerts at which I parked myself. It took an extra three hours to write this reflection because I kept getting distracted by how good this music is and the various situations they represented for me. If nothing else, I hope this post causes you to reflect upon your own adolescent music choices and lose yourself in all the memories associated in the music that defined you during this time.

FDRMX Eyes: Check out Jape’s music video for “The Heart’s Desire.” “The Heart’s Desire” features colorful and trippy images.

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