Meghan Boyles | January 2017
This week, everyone on Facebook has jumped on the bandwagon of posting a list of their ten favorite albums from high school. Looking back at what I listened to in high school (which was not just one but one and a half years ago, thank you very much), I realize how many changes my music taste went through until it became what it is today. Narrowing a list of favorite albums down to ten is never an easy task, but if you were anything like I was in high school, one of these albums from Chicago-area artists might make your list.
Rise Against – Endgame (2011)
I walked into my first day of high school wearing neon pants and wanting to take down the establishment. Rise Against’s album Endgame had come out earlier that year, and “Make It Stop (September’s Children)” was in heavy rotation on Q87.7 (back when that was still a thing). I clearly remember writing the lyrics “it’s always darkest just before the dawn” in my algebra notebook and thinking frontman Tim McIlrath was basically our generation’s Gandhi. The political themes of many of the band’s songs made me feel like a true nonconformist punk rocker. My classmates just thought I was scene.
Screeching Weasel – My Brain Hurts (1991)
I’ll have you know that my fourteen-year-old self didn’t just listen to mainstream punk like Rise Against. She also listened to 80s/90s punk outfit Screeching Weasel (because Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt had briefly been a member) because she really knew her stuff unlike some people who are posers. Ben Weasel’s brilliant lyrics such as “I was hanging out at the show/Feeling like a fat potato” really spoke to my soul. In all seriousness, though, every Chicago punk band has most likely been influenced by Screeching Weasel in one way or another, so I would recommend checking them out if you’re unfamiliar.
Fall Out Boy – Save Rock & Roll (2013)
I spent my sophomore and junior years of high school running a blog about what can only be described as mall emo. It had been three years since the Panic! at the Disco split and the Fall Out Boy hiatus, which caused many people to ask me: “aren’t you a little… late?” But the events of February 4th, 2013 will forever stick out in my mind: I remember exactly what I was doing, what I was wearing, and what the weather was like when Fall Out Boy announced that they were ending their hiatus. Save Rock & Roll, the long-awaited album that they released, flew to the top of the charts, and the fact that I had 3,000 photos of bassist Pete Wentz saved to my laptop became slightly more socially acceptable. I don’t talk about them nearly as much anymore, but rest assured, I still unapologetically jam out to Fall Out Boy at least once a week.
Into it. Over it. – Intersections (2013)
The summer after my junior year, my music taste went through a transformation from emo to differently emo. The so-called “emo revival” of the 2010's was in full swing, and Into it. Over it., the solo project of Chicago’s own Evan Weiss, was one of the biggest names associated with it. Intersections is a fantastic album. “The Shaking of Leaves” is one of the few songs that has had the ability to bring me to tears: in it, Weiss describes the aftermath of a close friend being tragically murdered in his own home. I spent my senior year of high school wearing plaid shirts from the men’s section and crying to Midwest emo, which is exactly how I have spent my college years so far. There’s a chance that this type of music could be “my thing” forever, but let’s face it: in another four years, I’ll probably be making a list of my favorite college albums and telling the Internet about how ridiculous I was.