i used to think alanis was such a badass

Sammi recently asked me to name my top five albums from high school. I gave her the top three below immediately, and added the other two after thinking about it a bit. Here goes:

  1. Counting Crows, August and Everything After
  2. The Cranberries, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?
  3. Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill
  4. Garbage, Garbage
  5. R.E.M., Automatic For The People

Some thoughts:
August and Everything After is the first CD I ever bought. (The second was STP’s Core, but I didn’t listen to it nearly as often as the other four on the list.) I listened to it a lot, and still do sometimes. I was all about Counting Crows for a really long time, even after I met Adam Duritz and discovered he was a total dick. Anyway, I know it’s not cool to like Counting Crows, but this and my (big fat whoop) autographed copy of Recovering The Satellites are among my most worn and loved CDs. I really like to sing along to both albums, and they’re road trip staples.

I think it’s probably fair to say that The Cranberries were my high school version of Jeff Buckley, who was my college version of, probably, Coldplay (especially Parachutes-era Coldplay). I listened to this album a lot when the weather was bad and/or I was feeling moody. And, evidently, I listened to “Linger” so many times in the presence of my sisters that even now when they talk about me in high school, they make jokes about that song. “Linger” was the very dramatic soundtrack to a very long, dramatic, and drawn-out crush that resulted in an official relationship that lasted for six days. In contrast, the crush consumed me for six months or more. Turned out the guy wasn’t terribly bright and was most interested in basketball, hunting, and gangster rap, and I couldn’t care less about any of the three. I spent every waking moment of those six days dropping “my boyfriend” into conversations and then abruptly dumped him, cried for five minutes probably just for dramatic effect, and moved on with my life. I don’t listen to EEIDISWCW very often anymore, but I pulled it out again recently and it holds up pretty well. I will say that I hated the song “Dreams,” and still hate it to this day. And I don’t own any Cranberries albums after this one and I am cool with that too. This is the only one that grabbed me.

And now we get to Jagged Little Pill. I owned JLP on cassette AND on CD, and I’m not kidding when I tell you that I probably listened to it for a year and a half straight. The weird thing is that I have almost nothing to say about it now. I listened to it all the time. All the freaking time. I remember listening to it in my friend Shelby’s car on the way to and from hockey games, and I remember loaning her the cassette copy and not getting it back for a very long time. I also remember listening to it in my first car when I was driving shortly after having foot surgery. After all the time I spent with that album, you’d think I’d have more to say about it. I don’t, really. And furthermore, I listened to it in the car today and found most of it pretty boring, and while I never skipped any tracks back in high school, I now completely detest at least four songs on the album. And I hate everything else Alanis has done since.

I sang “Only Happy When It Rains” one time on a stage in some other high school’s auditorium at a forensics tournament, and it made a nerdy boy named Brian fall in love with me for like an entire hour. It wasn’t an official performance or anything – we were just hanging around waiting for the judges to come back with scores, and the stage was dressed for a show, and it had a living room set and we were sitting around on the couches goofing off and I just kind of sang the song. I had no idea that it had a magical effect on Brian until he came up to me at a later tournament and confessed that the song always made him think of me and he wanted to know if he could call me. I am pretty sure that’s the first time I faked a boyfriend to get out of a conversation. I was such an asshole. Also, I should share that I bought the Garbage album primarily to have the case in plain sight in my backpack so that people would think I was cool. Oh, and because the video for “Stupid Girl” kicked ass. But I actually turned out to like it and listened to it a lot. It’s another one I don’t spend much time with anymore, though.

Of the five albums on this list, Automatic For The People is the only one that still feels current. In fact, I had to look up its release date to remember that I got it in high school. I feel like I’ve had it forever. I feel like it just came out. When asked to name my favorite albums of all time, it’s very difficult for me to narrow the list down, but this is always on the list. I’ve written about “Nightswimming” before, and it’s one of my favorite songs in the world, but the truth is that I feel a personal connection with most of the other songs on the album too. Automatic For The People has grown with me over the years and I’ve come to appreciate different parts about it in different places in my life. I’ve changed so, so much since high school, and I listen to a ton of music now that I’d never even heard of back then. I was definitely not cool, and I was not on the cutting edge of anything, and I didn’t know myself at all. So it’s interesting that I stumbled across one of the most important albums in my life back then.

I may have to do this with some college albums soon, although the list might be longer than five.

How about you guys – what are your top five or so albums from high school? Do any of them hold up today?

15 Replies to “i used to think alanis was such a badass”

  1. Wow. It is tough to list top five albums of high school. Hmm. I think they were: Nirvana’s Nevermind; the Smiths’ Louder Than Bombs (also a staple of my junior high days, whoa); REM’s Out of Time; the Beatles White Album; and Pavement’s Slanted and Enchanted.

    Most of this list holds up, but I rarely listen to any of it. In phases, I fall in love with Pavement and the Smiths again. And I still adore REM’s song “Country Feedback.”

    Will contemplate college now. … brain … hurting ….

  2. Ooh. I’m with you all of those – some heavy listening there. But i think mine would have to be:
    Pearl Jam, Ten
    Tori Amos, Boys For Pele
    The Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream (And also Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness)
    Fiona Apple, Tidal
    and maybe Led Zeppellin IV
    Of course the more I think about this the more albums start to pop into my head. Was also (still am) a big fan of Nevermind

  3. Top five in no particular order:
    Fiona Apple, When the Pawn…
    The Cure, Galore
    Save Ferris, It Means Everything
    Blink 182, Dude Ranch
    Sublime, Sublime

    I had a lot of other favorites, too. I still love When the Pawn and like to play Boys Don’t Cry on the jukebox, but I don’t listen to that other stuff anymore. Mostly, because those albums bring back memories I’d rather forget.

  4. How odd. I’ve heard Alanis Morrissette’s “You Learn” like 5 times, on different radio stations, in the past 3 days, and I thought, “God, I loved that album.” And I did. I asked for it for Christmas that year, hated it, felt guilty for hating a gift, dusted it off, and fell HARD in love with it. I taped it onto blank tapes for all my friends, so we’d all have one in our cars (before CD players in cars, even!), and oh my GOD did we drive our asses around town, singing along.
    Now, feh. Neither here nor there to me. I think it’s probably the kind of album you can only “get” when you’re a self-absorbed teenage girl.

  5. Holy smokes! How did I not remember Pearl Jam’s Ten? That definitely got some heavy rotation in my stereo. And now that I’m on the subject and the brain is warming, I recall listening plenty to the tape–the TAPE!!!–of Jane’s Addition’s…I don’t even recall the name of the album. It had “Coming Down the Mountain” and “I Would for You,” the latter being the song that came in second to Bob Seger’s “We Got Tonight” during my junior year’s prom song vote.

  6. Um. So I’m totally not as cool as everyone else, or I’m not gonna LIE about my top 5…

    So yeah. I was all about some N’Sync – No Strings Attached, Backstreet Boys – Millenium, Garth Brooks – Double Live, Dixie Chicks – Wide Open Spaces, and Barenaked Ladies – Rock Spectacle.

    I definitely remember more individual songs than being all about albums though. Like, The Thong Song (Huge senior year) and Kid Rock’s Cowboy …

    I also think I may have trauma-blocked freshman and sophomore years cause that was pretty much all from my junior and senior year, stuff we listened to on the band bus.

    The first CD I ever bought on my own was No Doubt – Tragic Kingdom because everyone I thought was cool in 8th grade had it, and I needed it to be cool too. I got it back when Blockbuster used to sell CD’s, and I actually ended up liking it. I think I listened to a lot of stuff that you did too, so that maybe I’d be cool by association but I don’t know that I ever really liked it all.

    I don’t really associate Linger with you though, for me it was that stupid song from Romeo Juilet by those people I can’t remember now… “Love Fool” … yeah.

    My musical revolution definitely came once I got to college I think… thanks to Napster… le sigh…. 300 downloads in 2 minutes ;) (the good ole days)

  7. These weren’t necessarily during the time period I was in high school, but they were the albums I listened to at the time, in no particular order.

    1) Fastball – All The Pain Money Can Buy
    2) Goo Goo Dolls – Dizzy Up The Girl
    3) Savage Garden – Affirmation
    4) Verticle Horizon – Everything You Want
    5) Achtung Baby – U2

  8. Trying to think…

    1)Alanis Morrisette – Jagged Little Pill – everyone had and loved this CD…I remember my friends and I getting into it because the older sisters & friends always listened to it…

    2)NSYNC – NSYNC – There was a point where we saw NSYNC 6 times in 3 months. We were insane. But we also have lots of fun memories from chasing them around.

    3)Usher – My Way – We were so in love with Usher.

    4)Goo Goo Dolls – Dizzy Up The Girl – Still one of my favorites.

    5)Train – Drops Of Jupiter – I really don’t like this CD too much anymore but I loved it at the time. Right after I graduated high school my parents planned a big trip to Disney World for my sisters and I (first time) and Drops Of Jupiter was on the radio all the way down to Florida (18 hours!) and all the way home too. It’ll always remind me of the trip.

    I currently still love August & Everything After…it just hit me way late. Maybe I haven’t really had time to get sick of it yet. Now I listen to just about everything.

  9. OOOOOO Drops of Jupiter!

    This song was on the radio the summer that Lorie graduated college and we were driving cross-country in her old neon packed to the gills.

    good effin’ times

  10. Indeed, narrowing it down to five can get difficult…Here goes, in no particular order:
    1) Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness
    2) Snoop Dogg & Dr. Dre – The Chronic
    3) Soundgarden – Down on the Upside
    4) The Above the Rim opm soundtrack
    5) Dave Matthews Band – Crash

  11. Oh wow, this is so embarassing to even think about. In no particular order:

    1) The Rent soundtrack
    2) Tori Amos – Little Earthquakes
    3) Barenaked Ladies – Stunt
    4) Goo Goo Dolls – Dizzy Up The Girl
    5) Dave Matthews Band – Under The Table and Dreaming

    Good grief, could I have been more white, middle-class suburban?

  12. Seeing as I’m IN high school, do I count?

    We’re not so much about the albums anymore, are we? But If I had to choose from what’s come out so far, it’d probably have to be:

    Kelly Clarkson’s Breakaway
    Green Day’s American Idiot
    Motion City Soundtrack’s Commit This to Memory
    Kanye West’s College Dropout
    and strangely as someone has said above,
    the Rent soundtrack.


  13. well that clinches it – we’re about the same age. I LOVE (present tense) august and everything after. Sullivan St? Raining in Baltimore – so beautiful.

    And Nightswimming, well let’s just say, I’m clicking on the link to see what you’ve written about it.

  14. Loved August and Everything After, as well, but I think that was my freshman year of college.

    Top five HS are difficult, but on impulse, and in no order:

    1)Lenny Kravitz — Let Love Rule
    2) Red Hot Chili Peppers — Blood Sugar Sex Magic
    3) Guns ‘n Roses — Use Your Illusion I or II, doesn’t much matter
    4) Pearl Jam — Ten
    5) They Might Be Giants — Flood

    I am old.

  15. god. i still really like that counting crows album (anna begins=SO. GOOD.), and automatic is my favorite REM album–so SO many memories with that one.

    i liked dreams but never got the cranberries, and i still hate alanis. never understood the fuss about garbage.

    hmm. top five of high school? this is when i got into punk rock and also…gosh. this is going to be tough.

    In particular order….

    1. Nirvana, In Utero (now, my favorite of theirs.)

    2&3. Mighty Mighty Bosstones–question the answers & Slapstick–Lookit!. I can’t begin to decide which was more important, but ska/punk was HUGE for me in high school. QTA got me into ska/punk, and Lookit! was by a Chicago (Elgin, really) band that showed me how great it could be to see a local band play multiple times. I sang on stage with both of these bands (not at the same time).

    4. Rancid–And Out Come the Wolves. My friends picked me up from Easter dinner to take me to see them play. It was the only time I saw Rancid play. Some of my best memories involve driving around in Greg’s suburban singing “Ruby Soho” as loud as we could.

    5. Probably Automatic? or is that more revisionist history? it belongs here if i can count the summer post high school/pre college.

    Special Quest: NOFX–Punk in Drublic. The album that got me into punk.

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