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The Awkward AF Early Teenage Years | Sounds of Me Part 2

It’s time for another instalment of my Sounds of Me series! Today, we’re entering into the painfully awkward years of early secondary school and believe me, it’s cringe AF. From hiding my love of Kylie Minogue and my trauma over Steps breaking up to discovering the world of emo music, it all happens.

Sounds of Me: The Awkward AF Teenage Years Pinterest graphic

Awkward AF Early Teenage Years

So, let me set the scene. It’s between 2003 and 2006. You are DESPERATE for people to not see you as a loser. Except, you look like me. 

Me aged 15 - wonky teeth, poorly fitting glasses and flat, greasy hair.

Looking like this did nothing but make me a target for bullies. So, it’s no surprise that I wasn’t particularly willing to trot into school telling everyone about how I still wasn’t quite over Steps breaking up and how I actually quite liked listening to my Mum’s Ultimate Kylie album. I was never beaten up, but you can bet your sweet bippy that I would have been had I disclosed this info at the time. “Don’t be so hard on yourself,” I hear you say. Oh sure, because we all know how kind and accepting secondary school kids can be.

So, in my bid to not let anyone discover my cheese-addled taste in music, I basically would latch on to whatever was considered cool at the time. Brace yourself. This was a time in which those sped-up, chipmunk-style songs were popular. While there was a whole load of them that were about, there are two in particular that stick. One of which was a song by DJ Cammy called Dancing in the Dark, and the other was Close to You, by DJ Boonie, I believe. Both of which were…interesting. I remember Dancing in the Dark being the main one that everyone was loving, Bluetoothing it to each other’s Motorola Razr phones and playing it out loud at lunchtimes. In case you’re not familiar with the song, let me remind you (I couldn’t find either of these songs on Spotify either, so they won’t be appearing on the playlist).

I also mentioned Close to You. It genuinely makes me cringe at how everyone thought this was such a beautiful song. Yes, admittedly, at the time, you read the lyrics and think it’s fairly nice and harmless – perhaps a bit too sickly sweet, but overall, the song you wanted your crush to play for you. However, reading back the lyrics as an adult, I physically want to throw up in my mouth. Don’t believe me? Here it is.

After what seemed like eternity, these songs started to lose their popularity, and I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief. However, what followed was a bunch of pop songs that were lyrically problematic as well as being incredibly inappropriate for 13 year olds to be singing. One of those songs that sticks out in my mind the most is My Humps by the Black Eyed Peas. What the actual fuck was that? Everyone talked about the cringe lyrics from the get-go, but it was like the catchiness of the song compensated for them and made it so popular. It was the video on everyone’s Bebo profile page (before we all moved on to MySpace).

The Emo Years

Entering about 2006/2007, the “emo” genre was a huge thing, with more and more kids at school listening to it. My friends were big fans of the “staple” bands – My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Panic! At the Disco and so on, so these became songs that I listened to on a regular basis. Thnks Fr the Mmrs was probably the one I remember most from this era, because a group of us attempted to make a music video for it, so I feel like the song has been etched in my brain and I can still recite it lyric for lyric even now. There was also the classic I Write Sins…Not Tragedies by Panic! At the Disco, which, let’s face it, still remains a goddamn banger. It’s one of those songs that, as soon as you put it on, you can’t help but sing along. I remember numerous points of trying to get into the more obscure artists within the genre, but no matter how hard you try, you can’t force yourself to like a song. That’s probably the main thing I learned from this period. So, instead I stuck with the artists that everyone else who took on the emo phase was listening to. Of course, one of the main ones is My Chemical Romance. There are so many MCR songs that I love (and still listen to), but I think for the sake of nostalgia, the one song I’d pick would be Welcome to the Black Parade – what a fucking song. Just hearing those opening bars takes me back to those evenings downloading songs from LimeWire and praying that it wasn’t porn (anyone who ever used LimeWire will know exactly what I mean). Spotify makes life so much easier.

The Kylie Phase

I mentioned earlier that I was a fan of my Mum’s Ultimate Kylie album when I was in secondary school, so much so that I knew most of the songs by heart. Around the same time I was discovering my inner emo, I was also importing the entire album into my iTunes library. Yes, it was really quite the contrast. There were so many Kylie songs that I loved, but I think my favourite had to be Step Back in Time, because it was just so catchy and the music video was insanely bright and colourful. It’s still one of my favourites, if I’m honest. I also loved the dreamy feel of I Believe in You, which, at the time, was her most recent song on the album. Then, in 2007, she released X, which I remember getting for Christmas and immediately sticking it into my computer to go on my iPod. I remember there being so many songs on that album I just got attached to, the main one being Wow. I just loved how upbeat it was, and I loved the style and pretty colours of the music video. Plus, I thought I was incredibly cool liking music that was now current. Except that no one else of my age was actually listening to her. 

Well, you thought the last edition was cringe. I listened back to a lot of these songs in preparation for writing this post and let me tell you, it was difficult. I’d like to say my music tastes gets better as we go on, but I can’t promise that. Until next time, byeeeee.

The Playlist

Close to You – DJ Bounce

Dancing in the Dark – DJ Cammy

My Humps – Black Eyed Peas

Thnks Fr The Mmrs – Fall Out Boy

I Write Sins…Not Tragedies – Panic! At the Disco

Welcome to the Black Parade – My Chemical Romance

Step Back in Time – Kylie Minogue

I Believe in You – Kylie Minogue

Wow – Kylie Minogue

Featured image by Jason Leung on Unsplash.

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