Sticking it to the Man – Six Decades of Teen Angst (The 90s)

by Sarah Gray

Since I, myself, was quite the angsty teen in the 90s, I will be giving you two (!) bonus songs for this decade.  These songs are near and dear to my heart.  I was such an angsty teen it has barely worn off.  I still throw my clothes on the floor, do not so much as own a couch, much less a house and car and children.  Take that society!

1 – Green Day – She – 1994

“Are you locked up in a world that’s been planned out for you?”  Yes!   “Are you feeling like a social tool without a use?”  Yes!  How does Green Day know everything your thirteen year old self is thinking?

2 – Offspring – Self Esteem – 1994

The bad news is that this song is like Offspring looked into a Magic 8 ball and wrote some pre-cog lyrical summary of all your relationships in your early twenties, which as it turns out, would not go very well.  Did you know Offspring could predict the future?  Offspring are like some sort of wizards.

The good news is…no matter how fat and ugly you were, you were not nearly as fat and ugly as you thought you were.

3 – Nirvana – Lithium – 1991

You keep looking for a better answer, but none seems to avail itself.  Remember reading all about Buddhism in some vain attempt to find purpose you had a growing inkling did not in fact exist?  I guess, on the bright side, it turns out you were right.

4 – Smashing Pumpkins – Butterfly With Bullet Wings – 1995

You’re angry for unspecified reasons.  In another time, you might have joined a protest movement, but it is the mid-90s and there is nothing to believe in.  Thanks a lot, Bill Clinton and economic prosperity.  We didn’t know then what we know now, which is not only were you thwarting any possibility of an adolescent cause, you were also fucking our adulthood earning potential by ruining the global economy.

5 – Hole – Violet – 1994

You have a vague sense that you are always going to be dissatisfied, but you don’t really know how or why.  Courtney Love knows and seems to be even more mad about it than you are.

6 – Radiohead – Exit Music (for a film) – 1997

Because sometimes your angst is more like sulk.

7 – Garbage – Only Happy When It Rains – 1995

And not even really then, if we are being honest.

Check Back Next Friday for 5 More From the 2000s, if you can stomach it… This is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends, not with a bang, but with Good Charlotte.

4 thoughts on “Sticking it to the Man – Six Decades of Teen Angst (The 90s)

  1. The 90s were the ultimate teenage angst decade. It seems like a lot of 90s grunge/alternative had all of the anger of punk, but without the humor self-awareness. I actually didn’t come of age in the 90s though, I was only 6 when the decade ended!

    1. I completely agree. Admittedly, I’m a bit partial to the 90s, as I mentioned I spent a solid chunk of the 90s in my teens, but having gone through the entire history of rock looking for teen angst songs, I find the 90s to be the most abject and full of directionless anger.

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