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Songs that Helped Me Be… Angsty

I was 16 in 2007 and I used to listen to my songs on my CD player.

I was 16 in 2007 and I used to listen to my songs on my CD player and qwerty phone.
The last few years of my teenage life were marked by anger and frustration, which surprisingly also coincided with the sudden boom of emo, punk rock music. I still can't tell if it was the music that shaped our collective puberty or if it was just some of us who gravitated to this kind of music.
At the time, music was mostly passed around via bluetooth, so the music your friends listened to and recommended made its way to your daily playlist. The music also reflected heavily in my personal  style — the classic black T-shirt, emo side parting for the hair, kajal on the eyes, black/blue nail polish, headphones and converse. This was also a time of great turmoil with the impending doom of board exams and the intense pressure of performing well so the angsty music helped us cope in some ways. It was only through these songs that we were able to get back and say f*ck you to the world.
Happy Ending - Avril Lavigne
Obviously this playlist needs to begin with Avril Lavigne, given how her music was one of my first purchases from Planet M (RIP). I remember not being able to decide whether to buy her first breakout album or her second one that had just come out. I went home with both.
Complicated - Avril Lavigne
With Avril I felt like I was growing and maturing with her songs. Her lyrics were simple, but meaningful. In a way, her songs taught me how to write texts for closure. I liked that she was never bitter, just melancholic. I still remember most of the lyrics and melodies from every song on the first two albums and I have a terrible memory, so that's saying something.
Bring Me To Life - Evanescence
Although I listened to a lot of female singer songwriters while growing up, when I first heard Evanescence, Amy Lee's voice captured the heavy goth phase I was in. It was nice to finally find a female lead singer with a heavy duty rock band backing her up (but never overpowering her vocals). It was one of those bands that was unanimously a fave with boys and girls of the class.
I remember back then, a few songs were class hits — in the sense that the whole class sang them, sometimes for days and weeks on end. Like these two songs:
Numb - Linkin Park
Zombie - The Cranberries
Diary of Jane - Breaking Benjamin
Some of the heavier emo, punk, rock songs are from the last two years of my school life — a time marked by frustration at the education system and boys who didn't like me back. I would listen to these songs while coming home from tuitions (generally in an auto that was over-speeding on the highway) and it went very well with the overall mood of wanting to destroy everything.
Tears Dry On Their Own - Amy Winehouse
When Amy Winehouse's Back to Black album dropped, it was so different from anything else I'd heard. Topics like infidelity were overhead transmission for my teenage brain. But the more I listened to it, the more I started to enjoy it and now she's one of the artists I find myself listening to from those times. “Rehab” was the crowd favourite, but mine was “Tears Dry On Their Own”.
Lastly, I've added some songs that were preppy and feel-good because it wasn't allll bad. :P Songs like “Move Along” had that angsty punk sound that was actually kind of uplifting. Sometimes, hardened angsty bands would put out softer, more melodic songs like “Behind Blue Eyes” and it would remind us of all the other parts of us that can coexist with the angst.
Move Along - All American Rejects
Behind Blue Eyes - Limp Bizkit
For more songs, check out the longer playlist on Spotify here!
Adrita Das is a multidisciplinary visual artist and design strategist based out of Mumbai. She runs a small, independent studio called Stawdio and writes anecdotal webcomics in her free time.
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