It's easy to get overwhelmed by how much good music is out there and, though I'd like to think I'm OK at keeping up with trendy tunes, I'm actually one of those people who will play the same album over and over again for months at a time.
Recently, I've been feeling almost painfully nostalgic, and nostalgia makes me crave comforting tunes of days past. I've been seeking out albums and songs I haven't played in literal years, and I'm enjoying every minute of it. It's mostly classic rock with some '90s stuff thrown in, because I was not a Very Cool Teen.
Below you will find 10 albums that have made it back into my Spotify rotation.
Excitable Boy by Warren Zevon
I've pretty much always had the musical taste of a 50-year-old white dude, and I've been reverse-mansplaining classic rock to old guys since puberty. Once, while waiting in line at a 7-11 behind a group of guys who couldn't figure out for the life of them who sang the song that was playing (“Werewolves of London”), I was given a dime for informing them that it was Warren Zevon, from the album Excitable Boy. That dime helped pay for some sour straws, I think.
I'm not sure when exactly I stopped listening to this one so often, but it's been firmly reinstated, and I'm perfecting my rendition of “Lawyers, Guns, and Money” for my next karaoke session.
Third Eye Blind
Though every single drug reference was initially lost on me, the angsty, depressing feels from songs like “Jumper” and “How's It Going to Be” were not. I also vividly remember “The Background” being used in a very sexy and sad dream sequence of Buffy and Angel dancing at The Bronze. I feel like Third Eye Blind gets a lot of crap, but I still love this self-titled album fully and without irony, and think it's held up pretty well.
So Far by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
I went through a phase in the '90s where I wore a lot of tie-dye and burned a lot of incense and really tried to fashion myself after Julia Stiles' character in the 1990 miniseries The 60s. I also listened to a lot of “hippie music” — mostly greatest hits albums such as this — and fantasized about attending Woodstock, even though I was terrified of drugs and nudity.
I don't know when or why I became snobby about compilation albums, but this kind of dropped off as a result of that, which is too bad, because it kicks ass. Not only does it feature great tracks such as “Ohio” and “Helpless,” but the album art was designed by Joni Mitchell.
Skeletons from the Closet: The Best of the Grateful Dead
Ah, here's more of that “hippie music” I was so into. Some of you may disagree with me, but I think the Grateful Dead is best enjoyed in compilation form, but that's mostly because I just don't enjoy “jamming.” There isn't a single song on this album that I don't like listening to, but my favorite track is “Friend of the Devil,” and I have very fond memories of playing it on repeat while walking around my block with my Discman.
Wildflowers by Tom Petty
My dad bought me this album for my ninth birthday, and I'm pretty sure I choreographed some dances to a few tracks, which is very weird, because this is by no means a dance-y album. (It is, however, a very beautiful album, though the Dylan influence is almost embarrassingly apparent.)
Out of Our Heads by The Rolling Stones
I listen to a lot of Stones, but it's mostly Mick Taylor-era stuff. The early albums get ignored, so I've been making an effort to give them a little love.
This record was the band's fourth American release, and is half covers, half original material, including “Satisfaction,” and “Play With Fire.” (The latter of which is vastly superior, in my opinion.)
Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette
There was a six-month period where my friend Tiffany and I listened almost exclusively to this and Jewel's Pieces of You, and I think this has held up a little better than “Foolish Games” and its ilk. A lot of the tracks have been overplayed to death, but “Perfect,” “Right Through You,” and “Not the Doctor” are still amazingly playable.
Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits
Hey, look! More of that hippie music! Bob Dylan was the first singer-songwriter I got into, and I can't overstate how influential his most popular songs were on me and how they opened up a whole world of related acts. Without Dylan, I wouldn't have gotten into The Band, and without The Band I would enjoy life a lot less.
The Clueless Soundtrack
This movie is flawless and so is the soundtrack. That is all I really have to say about that.
Spice by the Spice Girls
The Spice Girls were one of the few '90s pop groups that I got into, and I got really, really into them. The first Spice Girls album was my Official Pool Party Soundtrack of 1997 and is strongly associated with memories of trying to impress a boy name Luke who took me to see Titanic. Anyway. “Wannabe” is still a great freaking pop song.
What albums did you listen to over and over until you knew every word, note, and pause? What songs give you the most nostalgic feels? Did you have a “hippie music” phase when you were a teen?