The albums to help us get our groove and cringe on
Ah, we all remember those tender tweenage years that then gave way to those tenderly terrible teenage years (try saying that after your first sugar-laced alcopop) where friendships were forged in the fires of first crushes, bad hairstyles and calling each other on the landline the minute you got home despite the fact that you'd just spent all day together at school.
The friends I have from those school days are bound to me with memories, shared experiences, and a trust that neither time nor geography could ever break. These people know all the secrets that were scrawled in my James Dean homework diary, they let me copy their Chemistry homework and in exchange, I wrote their French fake conversational crap about how to find the goddamn shower in the campsite. À votre gauche, you imbécile.
These friendships are built on an unshakeable foundation of laughter, Body Shop products, teenage angst, popper trackie bottoms and sitting on cold walls for longer than your mother would think suitable for your kidneys.
But the soundtrack is altogether a more beautiful thing.
Here are 11 albums that bring me right back to that time.
- Nirvana: MTV Unplugged in New York (1994)
The older kids had this on tape. They thought it was cool. Ergo I thought it was cool. I didn't know why Jesus would or would not want me for a sunbeam, but I knew he would want me to have a Cobain-inspired furry green cardigan that looked like it was made from the pelt of a Morbeg.
- No Doubt: Tragic Kingdom (1995)
I have confessed my sartorial sins of the 90s/00s numerous times, and I lay full blame for the Bindi Incident of 1999 at the feet of Gwen Stefani. I can also trace my love of navy and white polka dot dresses back to the 'Don't Speak' video.
'Just a Girl' was a staple in the 'getting-ready-at-your-friend's-house' portion of a night out, amped up on Impulse and Fizzbombs.
- Oasis: What's the Story Morning Glory (1995)
I went to see Oasis in 1996 in Pairc Uí Chaoimh and in retrospect, I wonder were we supposed to have an adult with us? Probably. But it didn't matter. We were high on hormones, Bacardi Breezers and the fact that Keith Flint from The Prodigy spat on us.
Ah, these were much simpler times.
Before I move on to my fourth pick, I am going to throw some added material in here. You know, like the unexpected surprise of finding a hidden track at the end of a CD you'd left to play on after you'd fallen asleep and then you'd wake up to some terrifying noise, convinced a batch of banjo-playing aliens had come to abduct you. The Stone Roses' Second Coming, I'm looking at you.
Honestly, it may be clichéd but how can I move from Oasis to Blur without including this?
Now that the line is seared into your brain for the day, let's move on.
- Blur: The Great Escape (1995)
If we'd known what hashtags were back then, I'd clearly have been #TeamOasis. I felt the Blur people were too earnest, too try hard and would probably go on to run cheese factories in later life. And it turns out that some of them did.
- The Smashing Pumpkins: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995)
I told my parents I needed money to buy this for the girl in my glass who had meningitis.
I did not give this to the girl in my class who had meningitis.
It was worth it though because my brother once walked into my room as the opening line of 'Bullet With Butterfly Wings' blared through the speakers. Billy Corgan growling the line 'the world is a vampire' startled him and for a split second, he was honestly afeared that I had been possessed by a demon. And there is no greater joy than a sibling's terror.
- Alanis Morissette: Jagged Little Pill (1995)
PEAK ANGST ALERT. And the lack of irony was truly ironic.
- Spice Girls Spice (1996)
I know moving straight from Alanis to Wannabe is a zig a zag aaah move, but such is the mind of a teenager. You could move from hilarity to heinous hopelessness in a heartbeat.
- Britney Spears: ....Baby One More Time (1999)
I'd literally just gotten rid of my school uniform and suddenly every night out in UCD involved somebody dressed in a mini kilt and white shirt. And as for the dance off in the gym that showed off her red trackie bottoms and yellow crop top combo, I'm pretty sure I wore an exact replica of this outfit on occasions where it was entirely inappropriate.
Mind you, at least I'd gotten it all out of my system by the time the red latex catsuit phase came 'round.
- TLC: Fanmail (1999)
If you can't sing the chorus to 'No Scrubs', then we can't be friends.
I also have a clear and shameful memory of being in McDonalds and using the drink lids to fashion my own 'No Scrubs' outfit accessories like the fashionable delights as sported by Lisa Left, Eye, T-Boz and Chilli in the pic below.
Again I say to you; these were much simpler times.
- Destiny's Child: The Writing's on the Wall (1999)
Back in the days before we knew that Beyoncé actually ruled the world, we thought she was part of a four-piece called Destiny's Child. I thought 'Bills, Bills, Bills' was sassy AF, which just proves that I had no idea what sassy AF actually meant.
And special mention goes to the co-ordinated fashion disaster on the album cover.
- Green Day: International Superhits (2001)
Yes, I know I am going off-90s-piste with this one but given Dookie bestowed Basket Case upon us in 1994 and Nimrod brightened up every teenage's soul with Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) in 1997, I'm going to combine them in this 2001 release.
Show me a party you have been to where some long-nailed, long-haired young fella didn't pull out a guitar and start bleating 'I hope you had the tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime of your life' at 4 am in the morning, and I'll show you a party where you passed out on Aftershocks at 3.50 am.
How many of these were in your collection? Have I missed out on any gems? Share your 90s soundtracks in the comments below.