It’s a touchy subject and a daunting time as myself and most of my oldest friends head towards our thirties and we start waving goodbye to our twenties and more importantly our youth. Now, anybody that knows me personally will know that I have a big problem with nostalgia, I don’t know why, I just feel uneasy when I look at how much time has passed and how much has changed, instead of revelling in it and enjoying memories like most others do. One thing I do like to look at however is the musical progressions both personally and socially and I amaze myself when I look back at the music that formulated such a huge passion for it, especially when most of it was terrible. Now, one of the most important times would have been the early 2000’s, as a secondary school kid with a thirst for new music and a massive impressionable side that most teenagers have, witnessing the evolution from fan-girling over the latest cheesy pop act, to swapping rock CD’s and new discoveries between friends, pretending that you had actually heard that album your mate was telling you about to seem more cool and staying up all night just to catch your favourite music video on Kerrang because YouTube wasn’t a thing yet. It was an amazing and precious time and I can honestly say went towards creating the person I am today. So here’s a look at some of the bands, artists, songs and albums that made this time so special, and if you’re a similar age to me, you’re in for a potentially cringey trip down memory lane…. enjoy.
Blink 182 / All The Small Things (from Enema Of The State) 1998
An obvious start, but or me, it was the start. After spending the mid 90’s in love with bands like Steps The Venga Boys and S Club 7, my childhood was nearing an end and something had to give. I’ll never forget watching CD:UK on a Saturday morning like I did every week and seeing the phone in video options for that week, Steps and S Club were featured, winner, and then a band I’d never heard before called Blink 182. Randomly I decided I wanted to find out more about these three strangers and wouldn’t you know it, they won the phone in. I was then treated to the, almost, three minutes that would change my world forever.
Crazy Town / Butterfly (from The Gift Of Game) 1999
The embodiment of one hit wonder and also massive supporters of the over the top, spiky dyed hair and star tattoo style of the late nineties, Butterfly was a blinding tune at the time but even then, it was admitted through an awkward smirk. It’s as wet as you like but that dreamy guitar riff was the main selling point. I winder where they are now?
Slipknot / Wait & Bleed (from Slipknot) 1999
The first track I ever heard by one of my favourite bands still to this day and one of the first songs that drew me to death meta. Amazing to think that the Terry Date remix was so popular at the time because “it didn’t feature any screaming” where as now, the more the better. You can see our 2015 interview with frontman Corey Taylor right here as well as our other favourite Slipknot tracks right here.
Korn / Freak On A Leash (from Follow The Leader) 1998
Another of the top bands at the time and the apparent kings to the nu-metal throne, Korn led by Jonathan Davis had an obscure take on metal and clad in Adidas track suits and dreadlocks they released some of the best music of the late 90’s/early 2000’s, but always featuring an obscure twist like bagpipes or some odd unintelligible noises… you’ll see what I mean. The animated video was constantly on TV too and didn’t get boring… for a while.
Linkin Park / Crawling (from Hybrid Theory) 2000
I still remember Linkin Park first hitting the music scene and immediately thinking these guys were crap… and then they released this instant classic. Main memories come from kids changing the lyrics to “Crawling in the bin, this mouldy orange peel” but be that as it may, the song was huge and solidified enough of a fan base to make a success out of the album. The single releases to follow were just as good and it remains an amazing debut.
Papa Roach / Last Resort (from Infest) 1999
An unforgettable debut by a band that did great things but never really surpassed this one. An aggressive and furious anthem for an abandoned generation, or at least that’s how we all felt at the time. Compared to now, the turn of the millennium was a breeze. Either way, if like me you spent most of your twenties at Lincoln’s grimiest rock club, Sugarcubes (or just plain old Cubes) then you’ll be more than familiar with this one.
Limp Bizkit / My Generation (from Chocolate Starfish & The Hot Dog Flavoured Water) 2000
Not the first track I’d heard by Limp Bizkit but probably the first time they really had my attention as their blatant disregard for PG content was overwhelming at the time. Along with Korn, they ruled the supposed nu-metal world, blending hip-hop and metal to make this strange hybrid that ended up giving us ‘Rolling’, ‘Nookie, ‘Break Stuff’ and even that sick George Michael cover. Not bad at all.
System Of A Down / Chop Suey (from Toxicity) 2001
Released only days before 9/11, ‘Toxicity’ by SOAD was and still is an incredible album but I still cite it as another turning point in my musical growth. On first listen I scoffed at it’s odd delivery, strange structure and obscure vocals, but after time and a more open mind I saw the beauty in it and the depth both musically and lyrically, before becoming a big fan both of the band, the track and the album. Since then I have much more appreciation for a more artistic approach to music.
It was an introduction to one of my all time favourite bands and still stands out as one of their most popular songs to date, but this one stood for a lot more as it became an anthem for teenagers like us that loved music, skating and all things fucking stupid. As the Jackass generation was kicking into gear icons like Bam Margera and his friends were emerging, and not only were we exposed to new levels of stupidity but some damn fine music came along with it.
Eminem / The Real Slim Shady (from The Marshall Mathers LP) 1999
Whether it was this track that did it or not, it was another honest introduction by Marshall Mathers as he told the world he was here and he was going to rip the piss out of all of you. Whether celebrities, politicians, the media or his own family, nothing was off limits and that freedom of expression was pretty impressive at such a young age, even if a lot of the references went straight over my head. In all honesty, it may be more about this album influencing me than anything else as the intense violent rage behind ‘Kim’ and the story telling behind ‘Stan’ had me in awe the first time I heard it.
Man, we could go on and on here so lets just give a quick nod to any thing that ever featured on the sound track to a Tony Hawks pro skater game, and leave it there. Good luck in your 30’a guys, we’re in this together.