I’m not sure how this tradition began but many years ago I began making playlist for my birthday. They don’t contain music I’m currently listening to at whatever given age I may be turning (which actually sounds like a better idea). Instead they take a glimpse back into past years almost like a nostalgic road trip.
I try to choose a relevant year and look at the music most popular during that time, but this year I issued myself a little challenge. The formative years of life where we begin shaping who we are range somewhere between ages 8 to 18. We develop quite a bit before then, but this is the time we really try to explore who we are, what we like, and the world around us begins to dictate more influence on ourselves. Finding music that essentially defined me during that time turned out to be really difficult. There are so many sources and it changed so much over time no one but me could possible ever listen to a playlist like that.
So the playlist I ended up coming up with is filled with 90s music that I listened from like 3 to 13. I did this entirely from memory trying to recall what CDs and cassette tapes I once owned, what my parents listened to frequently, and what takes up significant space in my brain. That said because music comes from many places there is tons missing from this. I didn’t want to self-disclose too much so there are a lot of personal songs missing because it became way too long (2 hours is already getting a bit long and it used to be about 4). No one is that nostalgic for the 90s.
Thanks to my parents for their influence, years of cheerleading routines, 90s teen movies, and the obscene amount of time I spent watching MTV for helping shape my musical taste during these years. While it seems wildly inappropriate for a child to listen to any of these songs, I’m pretty sure they made me the sparkling ray of cynical sunshine I am today.
Tracklist & Links below
It’s my birthday! I can’t believe it. One of my yearly traditions is to revisit a year and make a playlist. It’s the ultimate time traveling nostalgia trip. I contemplated visiting a few years in a few decades and even trying to compile a list of my favorite songs of all time (I have never completed this successfully), but eventually settled on 1996. To be fair, this was the most popular when I brought up this year’s list in discussion.
In 1996 I was 9 years old. I had a giant crush on Leonardo DiCaprio, and probably watched Romeo + Juliet a billion times (fairly inappropriate in retrospect). Tupac died and the biggest dance crazy to ever sweep the nation, The Macarena, began to take over. I got a new boom box which I used to play two albums over and over: Melon Collie & the Infinite Sadness and Jagged Little Pill. So the music on this playlist features many of the most popular songs of 1996. This does not include the Macarena for entirely obvious reasons, but does include a lot of other hits by Mariah Carey, Boyz II Men, and Spice Girls.
If I made this playlist strictly popular songs from 1996 I would be lying. I spent a lot of my time watching MTV which means my music taste altered slightly from that of my peers. Yes, MTV showed a lot of pop music (yes, they actually showed music videos at one time), but they also showed a lot of alternative music. This playlist features a bunch of my favorite songs from back in the day including One Headlight by the Wallflowers, Champagne Supernova by Oasis, and 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins.
After making this playlist and listening to it for hours, I realized either I was one incredibly angst-ridden kid OR I was just way before my time when it came to music. I also had a few existential meltdowns realizing this was TWENTY years ago. This playlist would mostly contain alternative rock if it weren’t for Rachael’s intervention and request to add “more pop songs.” So enjoy this 3 hour long expansive playlist featuring some of the biggest hits and even better songs from 1996.
Listen on Spotify