We all like to think of our lives as movies, right? So, if your life is a movie, what is your soundtrack?
I was thinking about this and, with thirty years down, I’d have a pretty good listing of jams spanning three decades. Thus, here are thirty songs that, more-or-less, made my entire life: this is my fucking gay ass, weirdo soundtrack, composed of songs I was either super into at the time or songs I was too young to remember existing but had a big affect on me later in life. Enjoy! You can dig a YouTube playlist of all this stuff here, too.
1987: Fleetwood Mac’s “Book Of Wonders”
Yes, American Horror Story: Coven reignited a love for this song. It just feels so Witchy Stevie in the best way possible.
1988: Gloria Estefan And Miami Sound Machine’s “1-2-3”
This is in homage to my mother’s guatemalenness.
1989: Techtronic’s “Pump Up The Jam”
This song was my gay ass booty bumper in late 1995, after I finally got my hands on a Jock Jams CD.
1990: Black Box’s “Everybody, Everybody”
Related to the above—but with a lot more sensual, drag queen-y vibes.
1991: Paula Abdul’s “Rush Rush”
This was a song my mother listened to a lot or was played repeatedly on MTV, which was perpetually on at this point in my life. It plays into a bizarre genre of Sad Pop that people like Abdul popularized in the early nineties.
1992: Jon Secada’s “Just Another Day”
Like the above, this is totally Sad Pop.
1993: Corona’s “Rhythm Of The Night”
This song is a fucking classic gay boy jam.
1994: Ace Of Base’s “The Sign”
This was actually the first cassette I purchased!!! You knew I was gay because I was fucking nine and listened to this shit non-stop.
1995: Adina Howard’s “Freak Like Me”
Coincidentally, this was probably the year I was taught about sex. I’m a freak like you, Adina!
1996: No Doubt’s “Just A Girl”
This song was on the first CD that I ever bought and I really, really identified with this song. Imagine how confusing that was for a young, girly, Catholic Puerto Rican boy living in Texas!
1997: Robyn’s “Show Me Love”
This is still the best incarnation of Robyn.
1998: Spice Girls’ “Spice Up Your Life”
Truth be told, I was way into #SpiceLife before this song but this song was a revelation for me because I was living in Korea and this music video was basically a movie that I wanted to live in.
1999: Eifel 65’s “Blue”
I still cannot get enough of this song.
2000: Vitamin C’s “Graduation (Friends Forever)”
Yes, Vitamin C is literally my aunt and this song was huge for me because I was trying to support her by way of calling as many radio stations as I could to request her song.
2001: Madonna’s “What It Feels Like For A Girl”
Like “Just A Girl,” this song was quite moving for me at the time. Also, y’all remember that this video was only played late nights because it was too “scandalous”? I miss this Madonna, guys.
2002: Aaliyah’s “Rock The Boat”
When Aaliyah died, I bought a pastel drawn poster of her from a street vendor in New York City. I was that devastated.
2003: M83’s “Run Into Flowers”
This is when I started reading Pitchfork every week.
2004: Ratatat’s “Seventeen Years”
Buying this CD was the first online purchase I made.
2005: Cassy’s “Night To Remember”
This is the point where you see my love of dance music got serious and I started to listen to legit DJs and the like. I didn’t discover this song until a year or two later but, damn, hard to believe this song came out over a decade ago. It’s still so good!
2006: Ellen Allien & Apparat’s “Do Not Break”
This was when I committed myself to electronic music.
2007: Still Going’s “Still Going Theme”
This song is maybe my favorite song of all time and saw me through so many struggles of my identity. Thanks, Eric Duncan and DFA! This is my most played song ever, according to Last.fm.
2008: Danity Kane’s “Damaged”
This was the year I came out of the closet, in case you forgot that I am gay.
2009: El Perro Del Mar’s “Change Of Heart”
I got real emo this year because I couldn’t land a steady boyfriend and El Perro really spoke to me. According to my Last.fm, this is my second most played song ever.
2010: Tiga’s “Gentle Giant”
I mean, Jake Shears on backup vocals plus my lust for Tiga: you should not be surprised.
2011: Invisible Conga People’s “In A Hole”
Like Still Going, I’m still soooo sad these dudes never made a full LP. Yet, I love everything they’ve done.
2012: Molly Nilsson’s “I Hope You Die”
This is when things get a little dark for me, when I turn directly to embrace the melancholia of words. Molly Nilsson is probably my favorite “singer/songwriter” of all time. She is perfect with her jaded charm.
2013: Oneohtrix Point Never’s “Problem Areas”
This man taught me so much about my tastes. I wish he would take a shower, though. (Also, this video features work by my favorite visual artist of all time, Takeshi Murata.)
2014: Planningtorock’s “U+U”
Speaking of tastes, this was around the time I started to embrace my being a gender weirdo and stopped trying to fit into being “a man.” Moreover, this song still makes me want to entertain being in a throuple.
2015: US Girls’ “Damn That Valley”
By this point, marrying a love of electronic music with reading, we land at this political pop from my favorite album of last year. Damn that fucking valley!
2016: ANOHNI’s “Drone Bomb Me”
This song, this album, this artist is perfect. It took me thirty years but I finally found a piece of music that I directly identify with. Thank you, ANOHNI.