Sometimes you need to just slam your door closed and blast some really loud music to drown out your thoughts. And there are certain songs that really “get” you when you’re in that mood, when you’re feeling pissed and misunderstood and alone, and isn’t that what music’s for? So put on your headphones, close your door, and let the guitar riffs take over.
10. Papa Roach: “Last Resort“ – One of the earlier Papa Roach songs, “Last Resort” is that rough, loud, somewhat violent song that would have gotten you suspended if you sang it in middle school.
9. Staind: “For You” – “For You” manages to make you feel better but lets you wallow at the same time, and it’s actually kind of incredible. You’ll have this “hey, that’s exactly how I feel!” and then you’ll think “dammit, this is exactly how I feel.” It’s deliciously 2001 in the best way.
8. Relient K: “Apathetic Way To Be“ – Surprised to see Relient K? It’s unexpected, I know, since Relient K is known for most of their songs being on the lighter side. And I can’t say “Apathetic Way To Be” is dark or angry (Matt Thiessen even croons “yeah, I’m not angry and no, I’m not upset”), but it definitely has the I-couldn’t-care-less attitude about it.
7. My Chemical Romance: “Teenagers” – Kings of angst, My Chemical Romance released this song that terrified parents everywhere. “Teenagers” is filled with this oddly entertaining anguish and you really can’t help but sing along.
6. The Wonder Years: “You’re Not Salinger. Get Over It“ – The Wonder Years have so many appropriate songs for this list, but this is definitely a personal favorite. There’s a sense of hope and camaraderie in it, the dream of getting out of a dumpy town because, as Dan “Soupy” Campbell chants, “just ‘cause we’re down doesn’t mean we gotta stay there.”
5. A Day To Remember: “All Signs Point to Lauderdale” – I like to think of “All Signs Point to Lauderdale” as a brother song to “You’re Not Salinger”. The difference is that “All Signs Point to Lauderdale” has a heavy sense of hopelessness and failure at the beginning, but bounces back, insisting that “at least I can say I stand for something.”
4. Fall Out Boy: “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More “Touch Me” – Who can’t relate to this song? The build-up of the drums, Patrick Stump calling “kiss her, kiss her”, the sound of rejection: it’s what being a teenager sounds like.
3. Nirvana: “Smells Like Teen Spirit“ – You didn’t really think I’d forget this one, did you? “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is, without a doubt, an anthem for adolescence. It’s anarchy and confusion and conflict, in F major.
2. Wheatus: “Teenage Dirtbag“ – There’s something about the whine of “she doesn’t know who I am” that just tells you you’re going to fall in love with this song. Everyone’s been there, everyone’s felt that sense of impending rejection and an unrequited teenage crush. And we all just want someone to listen to Iron Maiden with.
1. My Chemical Romance: “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)“ – I consider “I’m Not Okay” to be the ultimate anthem of teen angst. It’s what you were actually feeling every time you forced a smile and said “I’m fine” when you weren’t. It makes you want to thrash around on your bed and sing into a hairbrush.
Carmel Buckingham is the frontwoman and keyboardist for Nashville’s fast-rising alternative pop-punk quartet The House United. The band’s debut album, titled Made of Matches, was released in May 2014 and you can grab a digital copy via iTunes or a physical CD on Amazon. You can stream the entire album on Spotify and check out the music video for seventh track “Emergency” below.