That’s right. I’ve decided to bare all (okay–some) and put my high school soundtrack online. It’s part of the Owl Mag’s High School Reunion feature, and I’m this week’s victim. My intro is below, but you’ll have to check the site for my tunes.
As I was coming up with this playlist, I realized: I’ll know the lyrics to these songs for the rest of my life. That may only help me with karaoke or Trivial Pursuit: 2000s Edition, but it just goes to show that you can never really escape high school. I spent my adolescence blissfully unaware of my lack of coolness, embracing my status as a music nerd (choir, vocal jazz) and generally enjoying those four years of braces and bad haircuts. I realize now that my small high school was unusual: it wasn’t plagued by cliques, and many of the alleged cool kids were also music nerds. It probably had something to do with our bizarre but quaint hometown; Carmel, smack dab in the middle of the California coast, is home to everything from the Carmel Bach Festival to Clint Eastwood. We grew up with the Monterey Jazz Festival in our backyard, and even as I was listening to OK Go I was also delving into Ella Fitzgerald.
High school awakened my passion for music discovery. Sure, many of those discoveries kind of suck–I’ll admit that I had an embarrassing love of The Killers, and even a brief but awkward Green Day phase. I spent my time making mix CDs for friends and for my coffee shop shifts, filling them with Spoon or Feist or whatever struck me that week. I started collecting concert t-shirts, and taking guitar lessons (those failed miserably). I sang everything from Italian art songs to jazz standards to Motown. They were baby steps, yes–but as I said, you can never really escape high school. I’m glad to have left much of my pre-adult self behind, but I’m even gladder that part of it stuck with me: because, after all, I’m still a music nerd. Just hopefully a little less awkward. (Read more.)