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So how’s this for nostalgia: I am currently sneaking beers at 11:30pm in my mother’s house, and I am very nervous she is going to come downstairs and scold me. (Let’s hope she stays asleep and this PBS documentary about fat women who get weight loss surgery NEVER ENDS.)

But the point of me writing this is to tell you about my ACTUAL high school experience (the musical one), which now exists in a CD graveyard in my closet.

Megan Burns’ picks

The Postal Service – Give Up

Let me tell you a tale about how I spent three out of four high school summers attending something called “Work Camp”, and 1. whoever named this deserves to be shot, but also 2. essentially it was a bible-beating Habitat for Humanity in which my Catholic-but-trying-to-compete-with-the-Baptist-church-in-our-town-though parish would ship off its high school students to various parts of the country (read: mostly West Virginia, but one time almost-Canada New York) to rebuild poor people’s houses and preach the shit out of the gospel of the lord to them on our lunch breaks, thus proving that NOTHING IN LIFE IS FREE. (#RUNONSENTENCE)

Anyway, the summer after ninth grade I was assigned to repaint the bathroom of a trailer which belonged to a woman who was a firm believer in the rapture; I did a shoddy job of this (the painting, I mean) because was more focused on the rapture, which I had somehow never heard about before in a non-band-name sense…thinking about possibly being “left behind” should this apocalyptic event ever occur occupied my thoughts for the remainder of the trip. (At least there would be plenty of free clothes that were also “left behind”!)

In non-rapture and non-hard labor news, however, I DID manage to make huge personal strides in forgiving my former best friend (who also attended this Work Camp experience) for fucking my ex-boyfriend (of all of two months) back that March behind my back. Forgiveness bonus? She lent me Give Up for the whole summer, which her cool older brother Tyler had given her WELL BEFORE Garden State made The Postal Service a thing. (And I listened to that CD all the goddamned way home, slash forever, slash my mom still hates “Brand New Colony” with a passion as a result of me putting that shit on repeat in the car forever.)


The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

“Do you realize…that everyone…you know…someday…will die.” (Hello existentialism // enough said.)

Yann Tiersen – Amelie Soundtrack

I had an internship at Modular Records when I first moved to New York four years ago, and I can still remember my boss one day saying that people who liked Miranda July were the same kinds of people who liked summer dresses and the color yellow and the movie Amelie. She said these things as though they were not very good things to like, and while I agreed with her disdain for summer dresses and the color yellow, I (in a semi-embarrassed way) pretended that I, too, hated Miranda July and Amelie, although the opposite was true. See also: Yann Tiersen is the goddamned genius cherry on top of one of the most influential movies of my life, and I cannot even tell you how many times I listened to “Comptine d’un autre été : L’Après-midi” (which gave me, and continues to give me, the biggest emo ear boner of all time) when I first got my hands on that soundtrack in ninth grade.

Daft Punk – Discovery

Ahhhhhh remember the days when Daft Punk was not met with, “Oh, you mean the ‘Get Lucky’ guys?!” THEMS WERE THE DAYS, Y’ALL. But in all seriousness, this record was DOPE AS FUCK. I mean, there’s the obvious winner with “One More Time”, but I also still get goosebumps in a non-Kanye way listening to “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”, PLUS “Aerodynamic”…like, are you KIDDING ME?! But this was a thing I had to listen to by myself at the time, because no one wanted to listen to tracks with no lyrics but me.

Doves – The Last Broadcast

This album reminds me of driving in the dark on back roads and seeing the eyes of animals reflected in the headlights. I vividly remember multiple people telling me they wished I would turn off “M62” song at nighttime because it creeped them out a lot. (I really liked it when they would say that.)


The Sounds – Living In America

This one gets a bonus mention because it is just THE MOST FUN, and I also feel like it’s a solid embodiment of the person I was in high school (still am?) // I hung out with the kids who went to rock shows, but I was also super into the pop thing AND would take synthesizers wherever I could get them. (I also feel like forcing you to reread the interview I did with Maja this year, which was the greatest moment of my life…)


Brandon Wetherbee’s picks

Nine Inch Nails – And All That Could Have Been

I spent the last three months listening to Nine Inch Nails for our Nine Inch Nails Ranked feature. My friend Tony and I essentially had a high school soundtrack for the last three months. Of course, we forgot some songs. Of course. My friend Chris asked where this song, “And All That Could Have Been,” would have ranked. Somewhere in the 70s. I loved this kind of thing in high school. Loved it. NIN is high school.

Goldfinger – Goldfinger

Thanks to the not-so-good people at Dollar Rent A Car I was given a car I did not reserve. The one bonus was the Sirius XM radio. Much of a 13 hour drive was spent on channel 34, Lithium, enjoying much of my high school soundtrack. The band that made me wonder where they are the most? Goldfinger.

Brandon Weight’s picks

Linkin Park – “One Step Closer”

Hybrid Theory was the first album someone burned for me through illegal #deepweb P2P channels. Hybrid Theory also caused me to dye my hair a weird blonde, become obsessed with The Matrix, and download Kazaa. Thanks for the intro to piracy and loner-ness, weird IT dude my mom used to work with!

Lifehouse – “Hanging By A Moment”

I’m 90% sure whatever Now! That’s What I Call Music compilation this song was on kicked ass. 10% of every Now! That’s What I Call Music sucked anyway. At least Lifehouse stays relevant on adult alt-rock stations with ZERO COMMERCIALS and ALL THE HITS FROM YESTERDAY TODAY AND TOMORROW.

Thursday – War All The Time

War All The Time was 76th album someone burned for me through illegal #deepweb P2P channels. War All The Time also caused me to cut off my blonde hair, grow it out, spend lunch in the library testing a hacked version of Photoshop, and wear Vans Sk8-Hi’s. Thanks, Thursday!