Wednesday, January 20, 2010

When I Was Young Part 1: How The Spice Girls and Tegan & Sara Shaped My Life

Everybody has had one. Everybody has had an idol, a hero of some sort, someone they obsessed over and knew everything about. There's always some celebrity or artist or writer that inspired you when you were a kid, shaped your childhood. Before high school, it was The Spice Girls. Now, it's Tegan and Sara.


My aunt first introduced me to The Spice Girls in 1997 or so. My aunt tries to be hip and on top of those things kids like -- she was the one who bought be Harry Potter in 1999. She also claimed last year to discover this really great new band which she then revealed to be The Arcade Fire who've existed for a long time already. So there's that.

But The Spice Girls were probably the first thing I ever truly loved. I had all their CDs, the movie, the books, the t-shirts. I knew all the words even though I didn't know what "ziga-zig-ah" or "two become one" meant. 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys were super popular at that time too, but I could never get on board. I think I cried when Geri left the group. I even have The Spice Girls last album as a group of four (quatro? what?) called "Forever" except I think it's a shortened version or something.

When I listen to The Spice Girls now I get all nostalgic and want to cry. First of all, their songs are still awesome. Secondly, they have a really good message for girls: GIRL POWER. This is essential in helping Carly realize her lesbian tendencies. Thirdly, the movie was awesome when I was 8 or 9 and it's still awesome 10 years later.


I can't remember the year I first heard Tegan and Sara. It must've been 2005. I had read somewhere "I hope I never figure out who broke your heart, and if I do...." and liked it. So I googled it and discovered "Living Room" and then "You Wouldn't Like Me" and "I Know I Know I Know" and "My Number". Then I recall specifically the winter of 2006 when myspace was popular being on somebody's myspace page and hearing "Walking With a Ghost". That's when it really started. I listened to "Underwater" and "Where Does the Good Go" and a bunch of songs from If It Was You. Then The Con came out and I joined and went to their concert in October 2007 and had (have) a folder full of pictures of them. I learned to tell them apart, watched all the videos and had all their CDs, wished I could meet them, wished I could marry Sara against the stones of buildings built before we were born.

Tegan and Sara did a lot for me that I can't explain. I mean, they showed me a side of myself I didn't know existed. They wrote songs about feelings I couldn't explain myself.

How do you explain a song? "Back In Your Head" was one of those songs that said everything I felt about myself so honestly that I never wanted to say anything except recite the lyrics. My belief is that the album version is not the way "Back In Your Head" is meant to be heard, but the demo version captures the true essence.

"City Girl" makes me cry.

One of the most surreal experiences I've ever had was driving with Katrina in Nyack listening to Tegan and Sara. We could talk about little things, like the way Sara's backup vocals sound on the Spinner version of "Nineteen" and big things, like The Con as a whole album.

If all I ever had left to say were Tegan and Sara lyrics, I would be okay. It would be everything I've ever wanted to say to people.


I'm happy I subconsciously picked women heroes.


jtholden said...

"Nineteen" came out when I was 19 and I'm pretty sure I felt it all at once.

Your blog is beautiful. Keep writing

Lesh said...

If all you had left were Tegan and Sara lyrics you'd be okay. . . Okay so you should go a day where all you say are T and lyrics. So if someone says how are you then you reply 'im capsized erring on the edge oe saying' . Hmmm that would be a day and a half. Now I want to try it. . .

andie said...

i loved this post beyond words. like most of your blog.

saint modesto said...

jtholden: when i turned 19 i listened to 19 and told people to call me.

thank you!

lesh: one day i'll print out all their lyrics and only communicate using that.

andi: thank you. i wish i could thank you better, but i can't, so.