Do you remember your first MySpace song? I remember mine. I was sitting in my grade school’s “computer lab,” which for my seriously tiny, private Catholic school entailed a small room filled with the beige plastic boxes we once knew as computers. Of course, we were supposed to be working on some project that probably involved a lot of floppy disks and clip art instead of dipping our toes in social media for the first time. After I chose some painfully emo selfie with too much black eyeliner and a lime-green font, it was time for the moment of truth. I picked “Cute Without the ‘E’” by Taking Back Sunday. “And will you tell all your friends / you’ve got your gun to my head / this all was only wishful thinking.” Yeah, my 13-year-old, completely provided-for self with a functional family liked to pretend she had it rough.
Looking back, it’s easy for me to make fun of myself. I’d have parents drop me off with friends at the most ridiculous hardcore concerts at the sleaziest venue in Milwaukee, simultaneously trying to look tough while avoiding getting killed in a mosh pit. I gave my mom constant headaches with my ripped jeans, black nail polish and shirts that were cut too low. She expected I was always doing the worst, but in reality, the most rebellious I got was skipping music class to eat candy with my friends. OK, and maybe sneaking into an R-rated movie or two. Despite my antics, I still remember this time as when I first became truly interested in music. The Internet assisted in this through music accessibility, and one of my favorite pastimes really was finding the perfect MySpace song.
Bands that provided the soundtrack to my angst-ridden eyeliner days were Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, Something Corporate, Cartel, The Starting Line, Yellowcard and Jack’s Mannequin. Amber Pacific, The Audition and The Academy Is all deserve honorable mention. Although I wouldn’t listen to most of these artists anymore, the whole emo pop-punk genre really helped me find myself as I was buried under neon jelly bracelets and safety pins. For maybe the first time in my life, I was able to channel my still-prevalent rebellious streak into a real identity. I just wanted to become something. One Hot Topic graphic shirt at a time.
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