Music

All You Need Is…

…a singular, maniacal obsession with something/someone. Or love. Whichever.

Totally Crushed Out!
that dog.
1995, DGC

Part of having a crush is having a crush on having a crush. The act of crushing itself is fun—the reality of people and palms and eye contact is not. And so, I take my crushes very seriously. I have no intentions of talking to or making something out of any crush I might have, but since it’s not gonna go anywhere, I ensure that the actual act of crushing is enjoyable, and I do this by immersing myself in movies and music and teevee that I know I won’t get as much out of or feel as strongly about at another time. This is not about whomever you’re making eyez at, this is about being part of the club. The club of people who have hormones. The Hormones Club. First, there’s the Honeymoon Stage, where you watch The Virgin Suicides and you are so tempted by the prospect of Al Green songs playing as you make eye contact with a cute person in the hallway that you forget for a moment that adolescents are actually really sweaty and, instead, you start seeing unicorns everywhere. There’s the Torture Stage, where you watch all of the Jordan episodes of My So-Called Life and you’re like, “I so get you, Angela! Why won’t Catalano even look at you!” Finally, there’s the stage where you get over it and remember that your love is based on something you learned from Netflix Instant and realize that whomever you’re crushing on is actually kind of meh. This is also known as the Wait, the Guy Who Played Catalano Is in That Band 30 Seconds to Mars? WHYYYY? stage. Throughout all of these stages, this album will speak your thoughts in pretty harmonies and angry guitar parts. It may be about crushes, but my love for it is ETERNAL. And with that, I award myself my 12th pun-making merit badge, and go back to my daydreaming ways. —Tavi

Born to Die
Lana Del Rey
2012, Polydor/Interscope

Almost every Lana Del Rey song is infused with the belief that love is the ultimate. Lana has said that she likes the idea of honoring romance even when it’s over. I take that to mean that an obsession with love can sometimes be more important than the person you are/were in love with. I can get behind this. I like that she sings pop with an R&B swagger, with a sort of sneer on her face, like in the “Born To Die” video—you know, just sitting on her throne, observing the media frenzy she created. Almost every song has its own vivid atmosphere, be it old Hollywood glamour (“It was like James Dean, for sure”) or summer in New York City (“Eating ice cream, Coney Island queen”). Even without “National Anthem,” there is a definite Americana feel, and what is the American Dream if not romantic? So listen to Lana croon if you are mourning a love, in the throes of one, or just dreaming about the future. —Naomi

Love & War
Civet
2011, Hellcat

Growing up in the era of Riot Grrrl, I’ve always believed that women with guitars and incredible screaming abilities will save the world—or at least provide us with a much-needed release when we’re hurt, angry, or confused, or just need to expend some pent-up energy in the mosh pit. There was a dark period after both the Distillers and Hole broke up when I thought, That’s it! Rock is dead and we’re screwed. Then I discovered Civet. The core of the band is two guitar-playing sisters, Liza Graves and Suzi Homewrecker. Liza has a voice as badass as her name—she might even beat Brody and Courtney in a scream-singing contest!—and Suzi’s backing vocals combined with the ladies’ killer riffs make their hard-and-fast songs as catchy as those of their punk foremothers, the Runaways. Love & War is perfect for every situation: falling in love (“Come On [I Wanna Be Your Girl]”), falling out of love (“Can’t Go Back”), dealing with betrayal (“Cryin’ Wolf”), staying true to who you are (“I’m Not the One”), and spending an awesome Saturday night with your girls (“L.A. Nights”). As Liza sings on “Sunset Strip,” one of the best shout-along punk songs I’ve ever heard, “We’re all bad girls, bad girls livin’ in a bad world,” and this album provides the perfect soundtrack. —Stephanie

The Golden Hits of Lesley Gore
Lesley Gore
1965, Mercury

Lesley Gore has so many emotions. So. Many. Emotions. In fact, hearing this album of her “golden hits” might leave you thinking Gore is just downright bipolar. But I love her to death and, apparently, she loves to death as well. Gore wrote the most obsessive ballad ever, “I Will Follow Him,” which screams teenage heartsickness—and also suggests Gore might have some stalker tendencies. (She’s willing to follow him wherever he goes.) She isn’t just obsessed with this guy, though. She’s also obsessed with “Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows,” which are things she thinks about when she’s with him. At some point he must have become her ex-boyfriend, because on “Wonder Boy,” she’s trying to figure out if he’s really in love with his new girlfriend. So, uh, yeah, she’s pretty boy-crazy, but it’s her party and she can do whatever she wants to, OK? —Hazel

Speak Now
Taylor Swift
2010, Big Machine

Taylor Swift’s third album has all of the heartsick fairy-tale princess fluff it’s supposed to—small towns, big dresses, disapproving parents, and kisses in the rain—but it also has some secret bite. She doesn’t get enough credit for equally owning both her naiveté and her anger. “Back to December” and “Enchanted” work for mushy movie trailers and lovey-dovey singsongs, but “Mean” and “Better Than Revenge” actually sting with wonderful, twisted, self-aware lines aimed at enemies: “I think her ever-present frown is a little troubling / And she thinks I’m psycho ’cause I like to rhyme her name with things.” And then there’s “Dear John,” a nearly seven-minute power ballad that targets some famous, big-headed dope with a guitar and repurposes helplessness into Carly Simon-style sass. “The girl in the dress wrote you a song,” she sighs at the end, probably with a smirk. “You should’ve known.” —Joe

Live Through This
Hole
1994, Geffen

From the moment the first chord of “Violet” rings through your speakers/headphones/whatever, Live Through This is a total force of nature. Courtney sings from the pit of her stomach and the core of her heart and the depths of her vag about sour milk and dicks and death. Even if you can’t always relate on a literal level—one time my mom found a sheet of her lyrics and was all “Laia, what is this? It’s inappropriate”—your entire being and your entire body will just GET IT. The imagery of profane girlhood could only come from someone so fixated on the world and womanity. Ignore everything you know or everything you think you know about Courtney and her life—this record is solid all the way through. It’s got that quiet-LOUD-quiet thing that was characteristic of ’90s music, with Love going from atonal screaming to faux-good-girl whispering (because that’s what THE PATRIARCHY wants you to sound like). The best way to experience it is to pick up a guitar, learn all the songs, and lock yourself in your room while you sing along with it at the top of your lungs. Nothing will ever be out of reach after that. —Laia

The Undertones
The Undertones
1979, Rykodisc

The Undertones, an Irish punk band from the late ’70s, are one of my all-time favorite bands. They wrote one of the greatest anthems of sexual desperation, “Teenage Kicks.” The lyrics just KILL ME and the way lead singer Feargal Sharkey’s voice quavers makes him sound soooo obsessed with some girl down the street. “Get Over You” is equally crazy: “And I don’t wanna get over you / It doesn’t matter what you do / I just can’t get over you.” Whoa! Can’t get away from this dude! And with a song as cute and peppy as “Here Comes the Summer,” you would think this band had a crush on the season itself. Classic punk bands are usually about REBELLION and ANGST, but the Undertones are about crushing and crushing hard! —Hazel

Little Hells
Marissa Nadler
2009, Kemado

A theremin screams and plunges over a stream of Wurlitzer organ in the opening seconds of Marissa Nadler’s Little Hells, creating a gothic, nightmarish sound that swells and deepens behind Nadler’s ethereal moaning. “You were gone / and I was gone,” she sings, and it’s a fitting start to this obsessive, all-pervasive chronicle of loss, absence, and loneliness in a world flooded with ghosts and old lovers and dead flowers and dreams. Organ whorls and an echoing tangle of lilting, romantic melodies elevate her confusion and grief into something beautiful, haunting, and sad. —Emily C.

Pleased to Meet Me
The Replacements
1987, Sire

In college, there were no good radio stations for what felt like a million miles, which meant that I was always listening to the same tapes I had in my car. Yes, tapes! One of those tapes was Pleased to Meet Me, which I played over and over and over again. The Replacements were a band from Minneapolis, led by Paul Westerberg, who’s associated with all the movies you’re obsessed with (Say Anything, Singles, Can’t Hardly Wait). This record is perfect for imagining your life as a montage of scenes. Bonus points: the song “Alex Chilton,” about the Big Star front man, introduced me to one of my other all-time favorite bands. —Emma S.

The Wild Heart
Stevie Nicks
1983, Modern

“Something in my heart died last night / Just one more chip off an already broken heart.” SAME HERE. Stevie sings love songs, and she is the queen of the broken heart. I can’t believe I skipped over this album until NOW. I know the hits (“If Anyone Falls” and “Stand Back”—both killer), but are you familiar with the video of Stevie singing an early version of “Wild Heart”? She’s all in peach, applying her makeup with the help of her backup singers/ladies-in-waiting. The harmonies! Her huge voice! The LP art is excellent: three Stevies wearing a long hooded cape. What the world needs now is every Stevie it can get. —Sonja

Father, Son, Holy Ghost
Girls
2011, True Panther

This album talks about love and girls (get it?) a lot, but it doesn’t get dull because every song has its own hook. Some have a jauntier attitude than others—you can certainly hear the longing in Christopher Owens’s voice, but there’s a sense of humor to it as well, which reminds me of the Smiths. Though I think Owens really believes that the love of his life will come along eventually, whereas Morrissey knew that he was doomed from the start. —Naomi

58 Comments

  • missblack February 23rd, 2012 11:09 PM

    TEENAGE KICKS!!! YESSSSSS I love that song so much I learned to play it on my ukulele and I will literally sing it for hours on end.

    Also, Stevie Nicks is Literally the best thing ever. I feel a special connection to her because I live in Buffalo and she got her very first top hat from a thrift store in Buffalo. So, that’s cool.

    Little&Trivial

  • Hunter February 23rd, 2012 11:20 PM

    My personal February recommendation is The Pretty Reckless’s album (whatever its called) because they are the only non-rap group who *dared* to make allusions to the cinematic masterpiece, “The Hangover.”

    • Tavi February 23rd, 2012 11:22 PM

      oh my god

      • Laia February 23rd, 2012 11:25 PM

        i hate that i need to hear this NOW.

    • hazeleyedgirl February 24th, 2012 11:58 AM

      It’s called Light Me Up (the album) and it’s AMAZING.

  • katie February 23rd, 2012 11:28 PM

    I am completely obsessed (and in love) with Radiohead’s In Rainbows. Everything about it is so perfect. I’ve literally spent days reading up on it and my fellow Radiohead fans’ theories about it. It has all of my favorite songs on it. From the energy of ’15 Step’ to the tear inducing ‘Videotape’ and all of the perfection in between. I’ve actually written mini essays on my love for In Rainbows.
    That would be impressive if I hadn’t done this every Radiohead album…
    I also love A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory. Now that is a great dance-by-yourself-in-your-bedroom album. If you haven’t listened to it, I really recommend that you do!
    :)

    • Carneece February 24th, 2012 12:46 AM

      For real? A Tribe Called Quest? You are amazing.

      • giov February 24th, 2012 7:45 AM

        I freaking love A Tribe Called Quest. And the whole “The Whackness”‘s soundtrack!

    • caro nation February 29th, 2012 2:48 PM

      I used to have a crush on Busta Rhymes.

  • Selenium February 23rd, 2012 11:47 PM

    Okay, several things.
    I MUST find said The Pretty Reckless song with so-bad-it rocks movie allusions! Seriously!
    I’m also super glad someone else enjoys Lana Del Rey and can validate my obsession. Her songs aren’t masterpieces, but her voice and mysteriousness create an undeniable allure, as well as the fact each song could be a movie or at least contain 2002 screenshots.
    My personal fav love album is Lykke Li’s “Youth Novels.” Recently, my friend and I noticed the story within….falling in love and the eventual let down, whether it be desperation or a middle finger of sorts. Besides her voice being magically eerie and old school, the beats are totally electric pop drunk and lyrics rich with imagery…um brb, gotta go listen to my Swedish homegirl.

    • Hunter February 26th, 2012 6:48 PM

      The name of the song is “My Medicine” “there’s a tiger in the room/ and a baby in the closet/ pour another drink mom/ i don’t even want it”

  • decemberbaby February 23rd, 2012 11:59 PM

    Lesley Gore is just so much fun. So is teaching your little sister to dance and sing Lesley Gore’s hits in front of grumpy people in public. Also, I’m overly excited to listen to Hole for the first time.

    And I’m still waiting on that third stage of crushing where you realize he is actually kind of meh… -_-

  • prettyontheinside February 24th, 2012 12:06 AM

    I’m going to have to check some of these out, and I have to say you all always have the best varied taste, there’s literally something for everyone which I think is important.

    Anyways, Laia, your description of Live Through This is PERFECT.

  • littleDani February 24th, 2012 12:39 AM

    OH GOD I LOVE GIRLS. I can’t wait to see them at Coachella. I’m seriously obsessed with Father, Son, Holy Ghost right now.

    Are we all picking favorite love albums or something? Because I think mine would be Pinkerton by Weezer. I remember the first time I listened to it, I felt everything Rivers felt and it was just so amazing and angsty and ugh. I can’t put into words how much I love Pinkerton.

    http://littledisneydani.blogspot.com/

  • Mollie February 24th, 2012 1:14 AM

    Joe: marry me.

  • Susann February 24th, 2012 1:53 AM

    You have Taylor Swift on your list, yay! :)

    http://fashioninpepperland.blogspot.com

  • February 24th, 2012 2:50 AM

    I think I’m way too romantic. And you could probably read that as being too serious as well. But there you go. So these day I like really kind of strong love songs… Says he, as that haunting guitar solo finally fades away on Kate Bush’s “Wuthering (wuthering, wuthering) Heights.”

  • Brit February 24th, 2012 7:23 AM

    LLLAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNAAAAAAAA DEEEEELLLLLLLLL REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYYYYYY.
    There’s something totally haunting about her voice.

  • illonablyton February 24th, 2012 7:31 AM

    Taylor Swift forever!

  • MissKnowItAll February 24th, 2012 8:06 AM

    Dear Joe,
    Please marry me!
    PS- Yess Lana Del Ray is finally here. Her songs make me feel like I’m on something but what else could you expect from the self titled Gangsta Nancy Sinatra?

  • stephanie4786 February 24th, 2012 9:37 AM

    OMG
    Lana Del Rey AND Taylor Swift
    *swoons*
    I love their music unconditionally

  • flowerchild49 February 24th, 2012 10:14 AM

    90% of my time in class is spent drawing Lana del Rey in the margins of my notebook.
    The other 10% of the time is when we study babies in psychology. Then I draw babies.
    With flower crowns del Rey.

  • talia anais February 24th, 2012 12:20 PM

    GIRLS! I love that album so much!
    Anyways, my angsty/love-sick album of choice is definitely Best Coast’s “Crazy for You”. Listen to it, seriously. It has this lovely chill, summery vibe, great instrumentals, and simplistic but honest lyrics sung with all the adolescent longing you could wish.

    • taste test February 24th, 2012 7:05 PM

      yes! agreed! Crazy for You is great and every single song is about bethany consentino’s guy problems. and weed. but mostly her guy problems. and their earlier stuff is equally awesome and way more lo-fi and distorted if you’re into that kind of thing.

    • taste test February 24th, 2012 7:35 PM

      oh, and bonus- they did a lesley gore cover. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPYnQTHVNlo

  • hollz February 24th, 2012 12:43 PM

    I’m glad all you gals at Rookie like Hole. I’m a massive Nirvana fan but I also appreciate Hole. I get shunned for this by my friends who also like Nirvana. Like it’s a rule, that if you like Nirvana you can’t like Hole.

  • emilyowls February 24th, 2012 12:58 PM

    love T. Swift’s music but think “Better than Revenge” (and a lot of her other songs?) sends a HORRIBLE message to teenage girls…. a girl stole your man so you should be angry at HER… ok.
    then other times it’s like shes soo passive ugh…
    seeing her on the same list as Hole is sort of hilarious.

  • Libby February 24th, 2012 12:59 PM

    I like that Taylor Swift is on there. I know she’s supposed to be some evil woman who is trying to bring down feminism with her boy-obsessed lyrics, but I actually really like her! It’s just nice music–nothing earth shattering, but a good dose of love.
    Right now I’m obsessed with the Summer Camp CD my brother gave me for Christmas, Welcome To Condale. It’s mental–a kind of electron/folk thing going on that sounds like the 80s but with freaky lyrics and also a song called Brian Krakow!

    • Miarele February 25th, 2012 1:15 AM

      that’s EXACTLY how I feel about Taylor Swift too! I just can’t see her like that. I’d rather appreciate her simple and honest music instead :) I’d like to believe that just because something is mainstream doesn’t mean it has to be artificial and saturated.

  • b.stro February 24th, 2012 1:12 PM

    Some albums that I just can’t get enough of:
    Patti Smith- Horses
    Beth Gibbons- Out of Season
    Brand New- Deja Endendu (had this one repeat in high school, haha)
    From Ashes Rise- Life & Death
    The Postal Service- Give Up
    Dystopia- The Aftermath (one song has a “Breakfast Club” sound bite)
    Bjork- Post
    Leftover Crack- Mediocore Generica
    No Cash- Run Your Pockets (Title track has sound bite from “Donnie Darko” in the beginning)…

    I could go on and on, but I will just list these ones. LOVE them all in their own unique way. They are truly amazing.

    • katie February 24th, 2012 3:36 PM

      Horses is perfect in every way

  • February 24th, 2012 1:51 PM

    YAYYYYY!!!! Lana del Rey and Taylor swift , ahhhh I love them so much, especially Lana’s song “video games”

  • Narita February 24th, 2012 2:03 PM

    Hey, Tavi! No offence towards 30 Seconds To Mars, they’re seriously really good in my opinion. Shall I update you on all the hairdo’s Jared Leto has had in the last 10 years? Including nicknames like smurfberry and pomhawk. He has another autograph as singer than he uses as actor. More? More?!

  • mwong1025 February 24th, 2012 3:02 PM

    Lana Del Rey and Hole, my babies~ I had both albums that you mentioned on repeat since I found them~ ☺

    And I’m glad you mentioned Stevie Nicks. Life is definitely NOT complete without “The Wild Heart.”

    http://www.style-abuse.blogspot.com

  • isabellehungryghost February 24th, 2012 3:16 PM

    YES! Lana del Rey! I love!

    http://blogbyisabelle.blogspot.com/

  • stellar February 24th, 2012 3:47 PM

    it’s a great way to discover what u want while not being damaged by it before u are ready to handle it.

  • Bren February 24th, 2012 4:20 PM

    Dear John makes me just weep.

    And 30 Seconds to Mars is great, TAVI.

    Although, can we focus on the fact the Jared Leto still looks like he’s 28 and he’s the same age as my dad. The SAME age!

    I’m excited to check some of these out.

  • Calgary February 24th, 2012 4:22 PM

    Kate Nash’s “Made of Bricks” is also really awesome when it comes to love (or a lack of it). There is literally a song for every feeling I’ve ever had about a crush on that album.

  • annalise February 24th, 2012 5:20 PM

    Girls! Yesss. Excellent.

  • taste test February 24th, 2012 6:53 PM

    so these posts are usually awesome, but this time I seriously don’t think it could be more perfect. even with taylor swift on it.

    laia, your description of live through this is dead-on. and teenage kicks so perfect for this month’s theme that I’m amazed it didn’t come up before now.

    also, obligatory fan freakout: THAT DOG AJSDJSDCNJDSLHOFC YAY!!!!1!! THEY ARE THE BEST AND EVERYONE SHOULD LISTEN TO THEM. ok, done now.

  • CariStereo February 24th, 2012 8:16 PM

    THE REPLACEMENTS, people. Pay attention to Emma S.

    • caro nation February 29th, 2012 2:51 PM

      My mother saw them and said they came late, churned out three or four songs and then were so drunk that they just chatted with the audience.

      I’d like to know them personally.

  • KelseyK. February 24th, 2012 10:57 PM

    OMG u need Vocaloid on this list ASAP! I love all the Vocaloids!!! PUT THEM ON especially Len! Or i will give my fangirl rabies!!

    • Miarele February 25th, 2012 1:18 AM

      I enjoyed Megurine Luka’s “Just Be Friends” :D it kinda fits the whole crushed-out theme too. But some of the songs… just too much autotune, you know? haha (thank you Captain Obvious!)

      • KelseyK. February 25th, 2012 8:00 PM

        I love that song but yeah sometimes it can get to be a bit too much =)

  • Miarele February 25th, 2012 1:11 AM

    TAYLOR SWIFT. IN ROOKIE. You have fully restored my faith in you, Rookie. I am one of the few people that doesn’t really get why everyone antagonize her all the time, she’s not even half as horrible as people made her out to be. And threat to feminism? Please, there is at least hundreds more singers of ~our generation~ that fits that title better. If studied closely, you’ll find that there are some of more positive songs from her.

    Also, the fact that she’s channeling her heartbreaks and boy troubles and whatnot into an actual creative process instead of doing negative things? That’s quite commendable on itself. I honestly think she’s just trying to be honest. And secretly it’s something almost everyone could relate to. One of my guilty pleasure is repeating her songs over and over, thinking that she “gets” me. Hahaha :D

    Okay, big BIG rant over. In other news, I THNK I HAVE A CRUSH ON THIS ARTICLE ;)

  • Gretchyn February 25th, 2012 12:50 PM

    I don’t know if anyone else pointed this out but I’m taking it upon my duty to stress HOW AMAZING FATHER, SON, HOLY GHOST IS. I have the deepest admiration for Christopher Owens (+ Girls). I even talked about him for my Spanish 3 speaking test. Every song in that album ends in a rejuvenating/uplifting kind of way, which I think says a lot about the intentions of this album. If you want happiness, make it! That’s what they will do! At least to the best of their ability. Girls make truly beautiful music. And just ugh LOVE xxxxxxx

  • FlorenceEyre February 25th, 2012 4:19 PM

    I have new obsession: Girls, especially Honey Bunny. I also have a crush on Vivian Girls, one of the most amazing girl-gangs EVER. PS: all of these obsessions began today, but I think, I can never have a crush on something else

  • siberianbabes February 26th, 2012 9:29 PM

    I’m sososo glad you included Father, Son, Holy Ghost on that list. It’s just without flaw and Chris has a way with words that you wouldn’t hear in any songs in the past 40 years. Especially when he says “ma”, that is literally the sweetest thing ever.

  • caro nation February 29th, 2012 2:44 PM

    First off: Big Star? The best band to ever exist.

    And I’m surprised Be Your Own Pet has never been mentioned on Rookie; they were sort of Thurston Moore’s great discovery of the 2000′s, and have tons of abrasive songs about teenagers and zombies and YOUNG LOVE and The Return Of The Valley Of The Dolls.

    And: GIRLS. GAAMFKAAFFDETKFKSJSBFJDJFJF SOGOOD.

    And speaking of Stevie, I saw this album, and it had her and Lindsay on it, and the guy told me it was made sometime before the genesis of Fleetwood Mac and it was never released on CD etc, does anyone know what it was called? I can’t find it anywhere.

  • eggzonable February 29th, 2012 4:33 PM

    Great choice of music. Has anyone heard Standard Fare’s album called “The Noyelle Beat”. It’s pretty awesome. Very rookiemaglike music.

  • eggzonable February 29th, 2012 4:34 PM

    Well, that was a question :D Sorry! :D “?” :D

  • Ellie February 29th, 2012 5:17 PM

    My February Recommendation is Noah & The Whale’s The Last Night On Earth Album. SO GOOD.

  • Carri March 5th, 2012 3:41 PM

    Great article! I like to put on my ‘Do you think I’m Sexy’ shirt from Lyric Culture and get a new, pretty shade of lipstick when I’m crushing. I’m definitely going to have to add some of these albums to my crush playlist!

  • annodamydal April 18th, 2012 9:04 AM

    Lesley Gore’s songs might have obsessed over boys, but I don’t think SHE ever did. She was in the closet all that time!

  • inward_fangirl May 17th, 2012 10:45 AM

    Late response, but!

    “Surpise, Surprise” by Girlfrendo

    Shouty, giddy songs about supermarket super boys who shop for Swedish cheese, crushes vs love, and being 12.

    <3