Return to Base: A Playlist

It was a weird summer, and often not a great one. We all had Covid-19 and other illnesses along the way... And there was the Dobbs decision, the terrible Ukraine war...   

I've found myself drawing back to the music I was listening to most intensely at the tail end of high school and through much of my time in college -- the hardcore, emo, and riot grrrl music of the 1990s. I was deep into the music and the scene in those years, but then pulled back pretty drastically -- and stayed away for a long time. 

I'm ready to come back to it now -- back to 'base' -- but the version of it I want now is more diverse and inclusive than the version I experienced at the time. There's a lot of Fugazi here, yes, but more Black voices (Bad Brains, but also Orange 9mm, the first line-up of Dag Nasty), and woman-fronted bands like Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney, Slant 6 and PJ Harvey. 

I was definitely an angry young person and this music served as an outlet for feelings of alienation and general unhappiness. But when I listen to it now it's not the anger that resonates. Lines like "You can't be what you were/ so you better start living the life / that you're talking about" and "You are not what you own" continue to feel instructive -- poetry for living with your eyes open. 

These are familiar little prayers that help me remember who it was I was trying to become as a young person. Am I that person now? Still becoming? 

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