You either know who this young, romantic idealist is or you don't. I used to be like him. Maybe you did, too?
It's been an inexcusably long time, I know. For every "go", there must eventually be a "stop". And if you gogogogogogogogogogogogogogo, you can imagine what kind of stopstopstopstopstopstopstopstop lies ahead. Well, I've hit mine of late, but I don't want you to think I've forgotten you. Or music. Or hope or any of that fun stuff.
I just miss youthful energy. Don't get me wrong, I'm only 31 and not exactly dead yet. But I'm talking about that youthful exuberance that fueled that heart and that engine because I was going to do great things, see great places, meet great people as soon as I "get out of this town!" Back in those days, music wasn't just another trade-able commodity in the attention-span challenged universe of social networking and on-demand downloading. It was something more--even if I don't know exactly what that is, don't worry about that right now. Just know that I felt the tone being set for how I looked at the world being largely molded by what I listened to and that massive stack of CDs I had no room for. I feel about the era of music from 1991-1998 the same way many of your parents do about the 1960's. I typically roll my eyes at such overly romanticized Baby-Boom proclamations because we know that they're just being silly and that the music from the 60's wasn't THAT great. But me? There's NO WAY I'm overly romanticizing the musical era of my youth! As if!
So what got me thinking about all this lately? This hilarious video clip from the IFC series Portlandia that my friend Don recently introduced me to. As much as this is a parody, there's a definite, slightly uncomfortably accurate undercurrent of truthiness to "it"--the "dream of the 90's":
So why the sudden bout of good ol' days syndrome? I suppose I've just been confronted lately with the whole "youth is wasted on the young" reality of life lately. There's no question that on most levels (other than my whole hair situation, for sure), "life" is much better for me. I have a great job, more money in my pocket, great friends and family and a solid set of Guatemalan restaurant options in my current city that may be unmatchable anywhere outside of Guatemala. I just wish I wasn't so distracted by how much "everything" there seems to be. How can one focus in a world like this with so much stimuli and technological drone? It's exhausting and I want my "angst" back. Not the douchey "I'm gonna write a notebook of bad poetry while lounging at a coffee shop with my friends while trying to sneak cigarettes whenever I can and proclaiming that 'the world is a vampire' sorta angst. I mean the angst that got me to really strive for something more and invest in the pursuit. Life is pretty good, but I just need more of an edge. Sure, there are trade-offs regarding responsibility, compensation, time, etc. But I want that revolutionary teenage feeling back again.
And I want my music and the pursuit of it to feel that way again. Music is either good or moving or powerful or it's not. It should not be a numerical score and feeble currency in a hipster economy. So here's a shot of "alternative" from my musical nostalgia time machine. I'm not claiming it to be any sort of critical, meaning-filled collection (some of these are downright guilty pleasures)--just an honest, accurate mini-sample of the hope and despair, the devotion and the doubt of a teenage kid with big dreams of love and success who once sported a gorgeous mane of black hair. Enjoy. And get moving.