What Was THE Album Of Your Adolescence?

I don’t mean to alarm you, but as soon as we break free from the shackles of our cubicles today it’s going to be Labor Day Weekend (We all work in cubicles, right? It’s not just me?). The pools are closing and the kids are back in school, learning how to do just well enough on standardized tests that nobody gets fired while they doodle all over their Trapper Keepers. I don’t know about you, but at this time of year I always get nostalgic for the back-to-school season (for about five seconds before I remember how completely terrible it was to be a teenager). In honor of this, I thought it would be fun to share some memories, specifically: what was the one album that got you through the hormonal angst nightmare of adolescence?

This was mine:

It came out the year I turned 13 and I had SO MANY EMOTIONS. But do you know who had even more emotions than I did?

I was pretty sure at the time that the only person who understood me was a deeply depressed Australian teenager recovering from anorexia who wrote songs with titles like “Emotion Sickness,” and I am half-convinced that the “Ana’s Song” video made it onto TRL a handful of times just through the sheer force of my will.

So what was yours? Was it Hanson? It’s ok if it was Hanson.

About catweazle

Catweazle is an 11th century wizard trying to make his way through the modern world while living in a disused water tower with his pet toad.
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59 Responses to What Was THE Album Of Your Adolescence?

  1. It’s probably a three-way (heyooo) tie between Jewel’s Pieces Of You, Sarah MacLachlan’s Surfacing, and The Smashing Pumpkins’ Melon Collie And The Infinite Sadness. I had about 200% more feelings back then than I do now.

    • catweazle says:

      How is it possible for a human to survive while experiencing that many feelings? I can only manage one or two at this point in my life.

      • I know, I don’t know how we did it! Sometimes I think that’s why I’m tired all the time now–I burned out completely at some point around age 23 and it’s been apathy tempered with mild irritation ever since.

      • Seriously…something about being over 30, I get more than one feeling and I’m like, “Ugh, enough, let’s kill some of these with alcohol.”
        I guess cause when you’re a teen you don’t use wine yet.

        • In a way, I wish I could get some of it back, because I could definitely do with a little more passion and intensity, especially when it comes to things I hope to achieve. But in another way, dear god no stay away from me, feelings, you were the worst.

  2. nastyemu says:


  3. 100% Travis’s “The Invisible Band.” Previously I had been listening to boy bands and pop singers. Travis was the first time I realized people could write their own music and do it well. It kind of blew my mind. I still know all of the words to the songs.

  4. Casey says:

    Hmm…I’m going to call my adolescence roughly 5th through 8th grades, which would make the album Guns N’ Roses’ “Use Your Illusion I.” Then the Blue Album came out and my life changed forever.

    • Casey says:

      This reminds me (painfully) that I once wrote a fan letter to Guns N’ Roses (as a collective) and imagined them all sitting around together reading it and feeling very validated by it.

      • catweazle says:

        If it’s any consolation, my friends and I wrote a fan letter to the Backstreet Boys together and rolled it up and put it inside an empty Mini M&Ms tube and threw it on stage during one of their concerts.

  5. Also this for high school:

    • catweazle says:

      In high school I had one for each year.

      • ELLIOTT. Yeah, he was around for all my sad days. Which I had no reason to be sad in high school but hormones.

        • catweazle says:

          I got really into him the year before he died and then when he died it was like TIDAL WAVE OF EMOTIONS and then he was pretty much all I listened to for the first year of college.

      • No joke, Lucky Boys Confusion is my favorite band!!!!!! I can’t believe you like them!!!! Most people have never heard of them!!!!!! They defined my college years music-wise.
        Also! fun story about LBC….they came to town OFTEN in college because Iowa City is a fun college town to play semi-nearby (they’re based in Chicago) and the best ever was when they were opening for some pop-punk band that was super duper popular with teenagers (Allister maybe?) and so we went to the show and we were the ONLY people over 19 in the whole place (not counting the band) and of course we were hammered while everyone else was sober. So one of the bands yells “ARE YOU GETTIN DRUNK TONIGHT???” and we all scream our asses off and we’re the only ones yelling and all the teenagers are looking at us like “what a bunch of weirdos”. Then it stormed really bad and we had to run home before the tornado hit.

        • catweazle says:

          They were from Downers Grove which is very close to my hometown so I used to go see them playing at like, VFWs and community centers all the time (Plain White Ts too; they were in the same “scene”). My older sister and I were superfans and we would go to all their shows and stand in the front row and sing/rap along. It made basically no sense because I was a pretty straight-laced kid and very against drugs and drinking and like 60% of their lyrics were about getting high, but I guess the heart wants what it wants.

    • High school is way easier:

      (my senior year!)

    • taoreader says:


  6. Kate says:

    Led Zeppelin guy with sticks on his back. (I’m less young than you guys)

    • Kate says:

      Oh and Kurt Cobain got me through my children’s adolescence. Funny, I didn’t really listen to him until after his death. Kelly introduced me.

  7. flanny says:

    (What’s the Story) Morning Glory as well as Synchronicity by The Police.

    • I experience literal, bodily shivers of nostalgia when I hear Oasis.

      • flanny says:

        Brb gonna go listen to that album now

      • Casey says:

        Oasis was one of those bands that for some stupid reason I couldn’t admit to myself that I liked at the time. I read something so perfect about them somewhere, that Noel wrote lyrics that sounded like they meant nothing and Liam sang them like they meant everything.

        • catweazle says:

          I could never admit that I liked Bush because they beat my darling Alanis for some stupid MTV award or Grammy or something so I had to hate them forever. Kids are idiots.

        • Casey says:

          Haha Bush I had no trouble enjoying, for some reason. I even got the tablature book for “Sixteen Stone” so that I could play along to “Machinehead” in my room on my crappy guitar. Kids are idiots.

          Don’t let the dayyyys goooo byyyyyyy…

        • flanny says:

          One of my best friends told me that back in high school she would have cut off her right arm to sit next to Gavin on a bus. And she still would and she is 32. Friends.

  8. old man fatima says:

    I bought every single Gen X (Billy Idol’s band) and Clash album that I could get my hands on. I went to a French school though, so these guys were wildly popular. I hated them with every fiber of my tiny punk rock being, but I have a certain nostalgic fondness for them now and I think they evoke more memories than Gen X does. Also, French boy bands are way worse dancers than I would have thought, looking back. (and they’re called 2Be3, but it’s pronounced “to be free” because lol foreigners)

    • old man fatima says:

      Hahaha and these guys, G-Squad (great name), who I completely forgot existed until I posted that video. And then I youtubed them and now I’m not entirely sure if my sub-conscience didn’t just conjure them up?? Because they can’t fucking be real.

  9. artdorkgirl says:

    Pretty much all the Smiths/Morrissey albums up to 1994-5 and Siamese Dream by Smashing Pumpkins. That was pretty much my high school soundtrack.

    • I know Morrissey is a dick now, but I really love the Smiths still. This is a clear case of separating artist from work

      • artdorkgirl says:

        Oh you have to…otherwise…bleech. Although I do wish he’d just go away.

        I forgot to include the Trainspotting soundtrack. That movie came out and suddenly I was the cool one for listening to British music first!

        • Casey says:

          I can see that I’m going to have to stand on a hill and defend my poor defenseless Moz from you all. So be it!

  10. Marlasinger says:

    Chicago 17, then Def Leppard’s Hysteria. I don’t know how I made it through the emotional sex storm.

    • Casey says:

      This post gave me a weird uncontrollable urge to look up Def Leppard’s “groundbreaking” music video for “Let’s Get Rocked,” and I can honestly say that it’s been the best/most bewildering five minutes of my day so far.

  11. Commentatrix says:

    Oh man, confession time. As an adolescent, I wasn’t really a… “music person”? I think it’s ultimately because I wasn’t really an angsty kid with the dire need for an emotional outlet. I don’t for the life of me remember having ALL THE FEELINGS back then, which isn’t to say that I didn’t, necessarily, but maybe just that I was intensely self-unaware and ignored them. But honestly, most of my memories of that time are of me feeling very sensible and rational about my “struggles” and beginning to dabble in full-blown cynicism. I also had parents who didn’t have a lot of patience for too many feelings (I’m gonna call this a “cultural” thing), so maybe my (I guess, weird) adolescent temperament was a learned behavior? At any rate, I’m way more emotional and definitely more in touch with my emotions now, as an adult, than I ever remember being back then.

    But I continue to be “not much of a music person.” Don’t get me wrong, I like music—I’m not a sociopath! But I don’t think that I have much of an aesthetic for it, in that if I really like something, I have to check with my cool friends to see if the thing is actually good or not. Also, I call this musical ADD: I find it difficult to decide if I like anything upon first listen. It’s like my brain isn’t able to fully take in/appreciate a new piece of musical information until it’s been exposed to it 2-4 times. And forget about me saying stuff like, “wow, great lyrics!” upon first listen, either, because there’s no way I heard them. (Maybe it’s not so much musical ADD, as just regular ADD…)

    THAT BEING SAID. I do remember being in the 7th grade and this album coming out and blowing my heart wide open:

  12. superiorglue says:

    I pretty much just listened to The Bends and then OK Computer over and over and over until my brother came home from college with napster and I discovered Belle and Sebastian.

    • superiorglue says:

      Oh, also, that moment in middle school when literally every single person I knew was listening to Tragic Kingdom simultaneously.

  13. This was basically the soundtrack to my high school career

  14. mrsberesford says:


    • superiorglue says:

      My best friend in middle school and I would walk home together and straight up BELT OUT “Never Is A Promise” while walking down the street, which might be the perfect thing for a couple of hormonal-ass 12 year old girls to be screaming at the top of their lungs down a sidewalk in a subdivision at 3:30 in the afternoon.

      • mrsberesford says:

        I like you AND your best friend. Sullen girls forever:

        • superiorglue says:

          We weren’t always so sullen. Before puberty, we got yelled at by a couple of roofers for singing the My Buddy/Kid Sister jingle at the top of our lungs while we walked circles around the block. In retrospect, I could see how that would be a little annoying.

    • welcometocostcoiloveyou says:

      I loved Tidal so much when it came out. Then, When The Pawn… came out, and I loved that even more. I’ve only more recently listened to Extraordinary Machine and her newest one.

  15. taoreader says:

    (which I had on 8-track no joke-o)


    (which I had on cassette and played in my car when I could drive)

    • taoreader says:

      I still own–and still play– the piano sheet music to “I Won’t Hold You Back”

      • taoreader says:

        My original comment is “awaiting moderation” so the previous comment will make sense when it comes up. 🙂

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