I’ve found the soundtrack to my angsty teenaged life
I grew up in the Breakfast Club era, which is to say a time when every teenager had a soundtrack to their lives, depending on where they fit in the social strata of their particular high school.
We would make mixed tapes, and listen to them on constant loop on our walkmans, until they were scratchy and worn, and we would take odd jobs to pay for the monumental AA battery use. A sure sign of long-lasting and meaningful friendship would be if one teenager made a mixed tape and gave it to another teenager. That would be a deep sign, both of kinship and, of course, of musical identity.
Personally, I was a misfit. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t belong in any clique, it means, ironically, that I fit in with “the misfits,” which were their own group, proud of not getting along with any other groups, except at times we’d forge alliances with the druggies. For example, when I first got to Lexington High School – my freshman year was 1986 – there was a smoking section outside the principal’s office where the misfits and the druggies could all smoke whatever we wanted, for some reason there were really no rules, and it was a happy time. By the time I left, though, the smokers were forced very slightly off campus, which is to say about a block away on Park Drive, and the temporary misfit/druggie alliance was forever broken. We misfits retreated to the J-House lounge.
Anyhoo, I’m getting away from myself, because I meant to talk about soundtracks, but I instead got carried away with nostalgic memories of hanging out – for a brief time – with the cool, fucked up kids.
My soundtrack was simple: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and Jethro Tull. I wore an army jacket and was deeply misunderstood, and sometimes in the summer I’d tie dye shirts and refuse to participate in things. This is me refusing to participate in the junior prom:
Here’s why this all came up today. If I could go back in time and live high school all over again, which I tend to do without permission anyway, I’d listen nonstop to Neutral Milk Hotel’s album, In the Aeroplane Over The Sea, even though it was release in 1998 and I graduated in 1990. Hey, it’s a fantasy, and they don’t always make sense.
I dare you to tell me you don’t agree when you hear the title track (or else you already know it, in which case you already agree):
Make sure you listen to the bridge, which is the best part of any song, ever.