Behind the Music


Thanks to The Washington Post yesterday for featuring me in Play Favorites, a regular feature of their excellent music blog, Click Track. The list features tunes on my current rotation, among them songs I listened to in middle school that I recently rediscovered and re-fell-for (by Frente! and Nanci Griffith), shamelessly cheesy pop-country (Fast Cars & Freedom by Rascal Flatts!) and new(ish) obsession Gold Panda. It all got me thinking about how music defines stages of life, which got me reminiscing about middle school and high school even more, and some of the early 90s “riot grrrl” music I was introduced to. I didn’t really know much about that larger movement (if curious, you might read Le Tigre frontwoman Johanna Fateman’s review of Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution in last fall’s Bookforum), but a slightly older friend introduced me to Bikini Kill and a few other bands, and most importantly, to zines. She had one called Naivete, which later morphed into Panorama.

I still think of zines as early blogs – zine writers exchanged hand-made and pasted ad space and published reviews of favorites (what would be links and blogrolls) – and while I’m sure there there were (and certainly now there are) zines on a number of topics, the zines she passed along to me were full of poetry, doodles, confessions, sometimes dark, angry, and sad, and all part of this larger riot grrl movement. They were wise and naive all at once, which is the wonderful thing about young girls (excuse me, young womyn). I always kinda wanted to have one! But now I have a blog, so it’s fun to think of those songs, those zines, this blog, music then & now and through all of this, reconnect and introduce the younger me to the older me. I asked my friend to send me some old copies of her zine and others she read, and I’ve scanned in a few here. Would love to hear everyone else’s favorite songs from now and from wistful-angsty-emotional teen days….and what you wore then (velour/corduroy were staples for me, and my thrifting adventures began…).





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