I’ve had this theory forever, but recently started sharing it with friends, and they agree:
Our core taste in music- the foundation upon which it is all built- happens somewhere during tenth grade.
My tenth grade year was a sink hole. It began as panic attacks at school, led to full-blown social phobia, and I ended up more or less locked in my room for the entire year. From time to time I’d wander out and post my indecipherable poems on Prodigy (the internet of 1994, young-uns). Otherwise it was me in my room, listening to music. I listened to a lot of music. And most of it stuck.
Of my top-ten albums of all time, a full five came from 1994. At the risk of revealing my taste in music, those five (in order of love) are:
2. Automatic For the People – REM
3. Under the Pink – Tori Amos
5. Elemental – Tears For Fears
6. Cosmic Thing – B52s
10. Possum Dixon – Possum Dixon
Before the flaming begins, keep in mind I mean I LISTENED to these five albums for the first time sophomore year of high school. And I’ve probably listened to those five albums at some point in the past month or two. They’re still on heavy rotation, nearly fifteen years later.
When I first formulated this theory, I thought it was a fluke- not everyone gets hit with the depression stick in tenth grade. But I found that despite the circumstances, something about our psychosocial development seems to anchor the center of our cultural gravity when we’re fifteen or sixteen. Ask nearly anyone the last time “music was really good” and except for the classic rockers and Floyd-heads, they’ll probably figure sometime around their tenth grade year. At least I’ve found it to be so.
But I’d love all of your opinions/anecdotes/biographies/top ten…