Several bands, singers, and groups played the soundtrack to my two-year sentencing to junior high school, a tumultuous period for me: my parents were splitting up, we were planning on moving to what seemed a billion miles away from Jamaica, Queens, to the suburbs of Long Island, and I could tell that my grandmother was getting more weak by the day. Meanwhile, I was going through insane puberty and was in a constant struggle to win friends and influence people.
Nonetheless, No Doubt's Tragic Kingdom and Alanis Morisette's Jagged Little Pill got me through it. Fortunately Alanis, Gwen, and a couple more rocking broads are back to provide the soundtrack to my late 20s. Thank goodness that creep John Mayer won't be alone in filling that void.
Then: Tragic Kingdom
Now: Untitled Album, September 25, 2012
My cousin would come to visit us in our new house on the island, and we'd sing Tragic Kingdom
, word for word, from beginning to end. Apparently, the band has been working on this sixth album since 2008, but touring, and babies, and solo acts, and marriages, and clothing lines got in the way. Surely this new album will be as enjoyable as their last few, but just in case you can't hold out, the quartet will reunite for the Teen Choice Awards on July 22.
Then: A Few Small Repairs
Now: All Fall Down, June 5
Shawn Colvin's rustic guitar licks and affecting lyrics were everywhere during the mid-1990s. Every romantic comedy, sitcom, indie flick, and family movie had a sprinkle of Shawn Colvin. Now she's back not only with a new album, All Fall Down, but also a memoir titled Diamond In The Rough, named after her first studio album. Of course, the book promises to be as honest as her music has been, revealing her early life as a girl in South Dakota, her tumultuous music career so far, and dealing with depression.
Now: The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do, June 19
I remember the first time I saw the music video for "Criminal." My nana sat at the kitchen table as I swept the floor, with MTV blaring in the background. Fiona Apple, the tiny, deep-voiced seductress, came on my little television singing about how she was a bad, bad girl, because she's been careless with a delicate man. I was about 12, but needless to say, I was floored. Tidal and her subsequent albums literally got me though college. And now this new album, a title juuuust short enough to fit in a tweet, is coming and I cannot wait.
Now: Not Your Kind of People, out now
Shirley Manson is only happy when it rains. She inspired me and some of my peers to live life in a counter-culture, subversive, "Life Sucks Because I'm A Teenager" kind of way, thanks to "I'm Only Happy When It Rains," "Queer," and "SuperVixen." And those are only the first three songs on the album! I say some of us were inspired, only because we were all called freaks by the fluffy cheerleader girls and the douchebag boys who, for whatever reason, dictated what was normal and cool. Well, while they're stuck with lame memories of Backstreet Boys and Creed concerts, I'll always remember living in a perpetual Halloween and hanging out in the woods, listening to Garbage. This latest installment is a little fun, a little dark, and a little magical.
Then: Jagged Little Pill
Now: Havoc and Bright Lights, August
I think what was so remarkable about Jagged Little Pill was that it was all about angst, remorse, and love, but it was such a refreshing change from the dude-rock that was everywhere at the time. I still like Pearl Jam, and Nirvana, but watching Alanis was eye-opening. She was young, so I felt even more connected with her and the brilliant lyrics that comprised songs like "You Ought to Know," and "Head Over Feet." "Guardian," the first single from the upcoming, highly anticipated album, is out now.