The Music of My Formative Years

It's been all baby business all the time here for the past few weeks, so I need a change of pace, and I'm sure you would like one too.

A few weeks ago, Pru did a fantastic meme that piqued my interest.

Here's how it works. You visit the Billboard charts and for each year you were in high school, you list the songs that correspond to the following categories: Favorite at the Time, Actual Best, Worst, Zeitgeist, and WTF.

I graduated from high school in 1994, 14 long years ago, so I decided to complete this meme for 1991, 92, 93, and 94. Like Pru, my musical tastes often deviated from Top 40, especially in my later high school years, but plenty of the popular songs resonated with me as well.


Favorite at the Time: Losing My Religion by R.E.M

Out of Time was one of my favorite albums in high school. My sister and I were obsessed with MTV music videos and going through a particularly cruel phase when we jokingly asked our mom to show us how to dance like Michael Stipe in this song's video. Here's a refresher, in case you need it. She took us seriously, and demonstrated it with reckless abandon.

Actual Best: Wicked Game by Chris Issak

I will confess to liking this song. His voice was hot. And the video was hawter.

But honestly, the best song for this year is "Smells Like Teen Spirit." No suprise, but it's not on the Billboard list.

Worst: Rico Suave by Gerardo

"That's the price you pay for being a gigilo."

Enough said.

Zeitgeist: Shiny Happy People by R.E.M

Gas was $1.14/gallon and Roseanne was still on tv. Good times.

WTF: I Touch Myself by Divinyls

A song about mas*turbation? Awesome. But also, seriously?


Favorite at the Time: Stay by Shakespeare's Sister

I was heavy into teen-angst music in 1992, and while this song pre-dates my goth stage, its morose vibe intrigued me: "I'll go anywhere with you. Just wrap me up in chains."

Actual Best: All I Want by Toad The Wet Sprocket

I didn't discover the Toad until college, but something about their music really appealed to me. Are they even together anymore? Anyone? Anyone?

Worst: Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus

I bought this album. I am not proud. Not.Proud.At.All.

Zeitgeist: Baby Got Back by Sir Mix A-lot

Men everywhere were made to reassess the quality of their woman's behind. The year's most important work, by far.

WTF: Warm it Up by Kriss Kross

They wore their clothes backwards. WTF, indeed.


Favorite at the Time: I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston

I really stopped listening to Top 40 this year, as my interests began to move left of center (NIN, Sisters of Mercy, The Smiths), so this pick was a closet favorite. Please do not tell anyone I loved this song. You will ruin my street cred and I will hunt you down.

Actual Best: Ordinary World by Duran Duran

Second only to "Rio" in my book of favorite Duran Duran tunes.

Worst: Nothin' My Love Can't Fix by Joey Lawrence

Can someone please tell me why "Whoa!" Joey Lawrence tried to launch a singing career?

Zeitgeist: Whoomp! (There It Is) by Tag Team

This song had staying power long beyond 1993. Tell me you haven't heard this played at just about every sporting event you've attended. Who knew?

WTF: Informer by Snow

Does anyone honestly know any of the words beyond "InforMER"? If so, email me!


Favorite at the Time: Stay (I Missed You) by Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories

This song pretty much personified my summer between high school and college. My boyfriend had just dumped me. I rocked this tune from my car's in-trunk 10-disc CD player in the wee hours of the night as I drove past his house sobbing my brokenhearted brains out. But we all did that in high school, right? What do you mean, not you?

Actual Best: Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm by Crash Test Dummies

Loved them because I had absolutely no idea what they were singing about half the time. They had the same appeal that Tori Amos has.

Worst: I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That) by Meat Loaf

Meatloaf = ick. I will admit to singing "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" at my wedding reception though. I was drunk. That's my story, anyway.

Zeitgeist: Loser by Beck

Although my relatives will attribute my anti-establishment ways to my having graduated from a "liberal" college, my roots actually formed during my later high school years. This song was one of my favorites from the 90s.

WTF: Said I Loved You...But I Lied by Michael Bolton

Is this a love song? I was never quite able to figure this out, even after many a lonely hour holed up in my blacklight-lit bedroom pouring over the lyrics.

If anyone decides to do this meme, please let me know so I can read your responses.

11 Responses to “The Music of My Formative Years”

  1. # Anonymous Lis Garrett

    Oh, the memories! I have to admit I was WAY into the Top 40, although one of my first CD's was Metallica. I think I asked for Metallica, Wilson Phillips, and Best of Buddy Holly for my birthday one year, which REALLY threw everyone for a loop. I guess I'm not too particular about the music I listen too.

    I graduated in 1996, so I was in my last years of middle school/early HS during those years, and the songs you named definitely brought back vivid memories. I can't believe Bohemian Rhapsody didn't make the list, although perhaps that was a year earlier.  

  2. # Blogger My Wombinations

    Oh this is so fantastic! Sadly, I think some of my faves were on your WTF list:) For instance, I still love "I touch myself." Believe me that was not the only song about masturbation ever to make the charts. Anyone remember "Dancing with Myself"? Does "She Bop" ring a bell? Even the lovely Tori Amos has a song about masturbation on Under the Pink (and what does that album name mean, anyway). As Woody Allen once said, "It is sex with someone I love." And apparently, some are so adept at it, they want to share that love with the world.  

  3. # Anonymous Amy

    Oh my, this brought back memories. Also, I am so very proud to write that "Loser" is one of the girls' favorite songs EVER.

    And I'm right there with you on that Meatloaf song. Hate it. HAAAATE. The writing is just horrible.  

  4. # Blogger Tracey

    I graduated in 94, too. I don't know that any of my faves would even BE on the top 40, but I might give it a look.  

  5. # Blogger MsPrufrock

    Thank frick someone has actually decided to do this as well. I love this meme and everyone should do it. Everyone.

    I am so pleased you mentioned Roseanne. Sigh. I still love that show to pieces. As for music, dude, Achy Breaky Heart? Heh.  

  6. # Blogger Damselfly

    Ah, you're making me nostalgic now. I loved some of the same songs -- Teen Spirit, Wicked Game (one of the best!songs!ever!), All I Want.... Ahhh. 'Cept I was in college and at my first job during these years ... a good reason not to do this meme, so everyone will know just how old I am! :)

    "I like big butts and I cannot lie...."  

  7. # Anonymous Kris

    Rico Suave! I suppose I'll have you to thank when I dream about that video tonight! =)

    Those songs bring back a ton of memories. You graduated a year before me, so they were all the "popular" ones when I was in high school too... except that I lived in cow country, so we listened to country and more country.  

  8. # Blogger l

    WOW - that was a trip down memory lane. What ever happened to Crash Test Dummies? I bet Rico Suave is hanging with Vanilla Ice. He probably sings in his choir.  

  9. # Blogger dianne

    Toad is ... well, not together per se ... but they still do shows together sometimes? They broke up officially in 1998, and Glen Phillips does some fantastic solo work. They get together now and again for a few shows. There's a list of a few shows this summer on their Myspace page.  

  10. # Blogger Shannon

    ohhh I'm gonna do this... and Lore dances like Michael from REM lol... I knew it looked familar just couldn't remember where I saw it lol... so thanks to the linkie to the video lol...  

  11. # Blogger Don Mills Diva

    What a fun meme! Stay by Lisa Loeb is one of my favorite songs EVER!  

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