Don’t know about anyone else, but the last year has been bringing out the angsty teenager in me. On the phone to a friend the other night, we discussed how the pandemic has left us in a constant state of feeling overwhelmed by our emotions – much like when we were teenagers.
The 00’s were rife with teenage angst; it was after all the era of the Emo, which has now disappeared into the abyss forever. We wore too much black eyeliner around the top and bottom of our eyelids. One time I dyed my hair black (once was enough)! In the UK we were heavily influenced by American pop-punk culture. Hilariously, we thought that we were all being so original and absolutely no one understood how tormented we were feeling, when, in actual fact we were all doing/feeling the same way.
Long before Spotify, and slightly before iTunes, MySpace was the place to discover new music. It was also the space to publicly showcase your identity. MySpace was the first online platform to out your angst. I dedicated so much time to HTML in order to create a custom profile page; changing my profile song daily to reflect how I was feeling and include hipster, vintage style pictures with different lyrics underneath in the bio section which depicted my inner torment.
CALIFORNIA, CALIFORNIA, HERE WE COOOOOOOOOMMMEEEEE!! Back in the days when all actors who were supposedly 16 but were actually in their late 20s, when we had to wait a WHOLE WEEK to find out what happens next, there was The O.C.
If there was ever a character that is the definition of teenage angst, Marissa Cooper would be it. Although, the most annoying, her actions came from feeling lost and misunderstood by everyone. Yes, there was teen angst by the bucket load, but what set the O.C apart from other teen dramas at the time – well it helped that it wasn’t always raining, like in One Tree Hill – was that it was often funny in a confused, dorky teen kinda way.
I wanted Seth Cohen to be my boyfriend (still do)! With his love for indie music and comic books, he had a cool sensitivity. Whilst Ryan and Marissa had the most tragic love story in high school history, Seth and Summer were couple goals.
00’s TV shows were also the last of long opening credits with a song by a ‘popular artist’ that would make them into one hit wonders. When you think of Phantom Planet, the only song anyone knows is California. I miss the intros with sunny birds eye views and layered shots of each main actor turning to the camera to smile. Those were the days, ey!
The O.C is streaming on All 4 (UK) from Friday (22nd Jan) and I can’t wait to spend the weekend reminising.
Jimmy Eat World
One of the biggest influences of American Teen Drama’s was the music. We were in the short lived era of burning albums and mix tapes onto CDs to share with friends. The O.C and One Tree Hill also created ‘mix tape’ albums with compilations of songs from series episodes (although great compilations, don’t expect much in the way of diversity). In this way we were introduced to the likes of Death Cab for Cutie, Paramore, Dashboard Confessional, Jack’s Mannequin and Jimmy Eat World.
Going through my teens, I spent a lot of time in my own company and music was the solace for the intense emotions I didn’t know how to deal with. Mental illness was still hugely stigmatised at the time, and if you were a teenager then you were definitely making it all up to get attention. The Middle from Bleed American is still Jimmy Eat Worlds biggest hit because it speaks to the outcasts and those feeling shamed by society – Hey|don’t write yourself off yet|it’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on.
Unlike with Florence + the machine, I often couldn’t personally really relate with the lyrics – the album Futures is mainly about addiction and the effects of drug abuse on loved ones. But it was the feeling of the music, and the odd moody lyric that you picked up on, that spoke to the lonely, depressed, outcast in me.
Is there anything that fills you with angsty teen nostalgia?