Bands I Wish I Didn’t Like
I just learned that there’s a new Megadeth album coming out next week.
Maybe I’m behind the times, and the rest of the world has known about this for months. I did take the Dave Mustaine poster down from my ceiling about 15 years ago. Is that guy even still in the band? Is that guy even still alive?
Megadeth is one of those bands that I have a secret fondness for; a wistful sort of appreciation that’s totally rooted in nostalgia. I’m not really a fan, per se, and I certainly don’t admit it too often. Consider this my thrash metal coming out story.
When I was in middle school, I had a massive crush on a boy who sat two rows behind me in Social Studies. He wore a lot of black jeans and maroon Hot Topic T-shirts with cartoony skull graphics on them. He had a Mohawk, a wallet chain, and he played the guitar just like James Hetfield did – wide and low stance, confident strum. I was only 12 but I knew that that strum meant promising things, sexually speaking.
One day our teacher wanted to collect a list of our likes and dislikes for some kind of meaningless project that I can’t remember. He passed out a questionnaire to the first desk in each row, and we were to fill them out and pass them to the desk behind us, who would fill it out and pass it back, etc. I knew that my crush, being two rows behind me, would see my answers, so in the ‘Favorite Band’ field I wrote Megadeth, since I wanted to get his attention. (Sidebar: I was probably wearing a turtleneck and a pair of pink corduroys that day.)
I’d never listened to Megadeth, but you bet your ass I went out that night and bought Countdown to Extinction on tape. Until then the only music I’d bought on my own was Wham!, the Cats soundtrack, and a Dolly Parton’s Greatest Hits album. (I come from a tame family of nerds.) I made myself listen to, and then love, Megadeth. And crush boy sure did notice – the following year he asked me out and we dated/made out/got drunk and emotionally sloppy together on and off for about 12 years.
So when I heard about Countdown to Extinction: Live, which drops on Tuesday, I immediately thought about that first intense and insane romance, and realized that there are a ton of songs and bands that I love solely for the memories attached to them, and not at all for their musical value. This list includes:
The Crash Test Dummies, which remind me of the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of high school. I went to Sweden with a friend whose mother was from Stockholm, and spent three weeks in a tiny house on a tiny island. At night, we’d sit out on the porch, drink tea and smoke cloves, and listen to ‘Afternoons and Coffeespoons’ on repeat.
Rusted Root. For a few consecutive years in high school, my best friend and I listened to ‘When I Woke’ as we made the 2+ hour drive from our Boston suburb to North Adams, MA, where we’d camp on Mt. Greylock for the weekend, stealing cobs of corn from local fields to cook over our campfires and enjoy with illegally procured wine coolers.
311 In college, I dated a stoner who was in a fraternity of even stonier stoners. They all thought that amber was the color of their energy.
Shaggy – It Wasn’t Me We all loved this song in college. Why did we all love this song in college? WHY DID WE ALL LOVE THIS SONG IN COLLEGE? Many hours spent pre-gaming for keg parties, carefully applying glitter to my face while chugging Natty Ice and trying to share a mirror with five other sorority girls, while we listened to Shaggy do his ‘sumalumalumalalalalumalumalum’ing about sheepish cheating.
I wish I hated this music. But I can’t. I’ve tried. Really hard. I’m sure someday I’ll wish that I hated Fleet Foxes or something, but I’ll be stuck in an eternal state of shame-liking them, all because I walked down the aisle to ‘White Winter Hymnal,’ like a hipster BOSS.
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