Whether you were into grunge or were more of a Spice Girls fan, the '90s was the perfect decade to show off your personal aesthetic through your music of choice. Like a fine wine, '90s music could be paired perfectly with its matching clothes aesthetic to let everyone, far and wide, know which subculture you identified with. Whether you were rockin' JNCOs, Bongos, Esprit, or some other bomb brand that sadly no longer exists, your look somehow perfectly summed up your taste in music, and high school in the '90s was a visual phylogenetic tree of teens saying something about themselves in the melodies filtering through their Walkmans and the fit of the jeans adorning their bodies.
Like music in any era, the best '90s songs gave voice to feelings and experiences that were beyond language. But, in something a lot like alchemy, a classic '90s song could take you in and transform you into an entirely new being, one who just felt gotten.
Your Outfit While You Listen: The same flannel shirt you wore everyday of the past year over a band t-shirt, Levis with the ripped up bottoms, and a pair of scuffed-up Converse
Why It Speaks To You: Kurt Cobain is a true warrior poet like you long to be. His lyrics may sound like marble-mouthed nonsense to the rest of the world, but you understand that their oblique nature is essential to their enjoyment. You can't hear that opening riff without feeling like this band just gets you.
Your Outfit While You Listen: A midriff exposing white tank top, bleached blonde hair in a finger wave, plaid pants, and suspenders that may or may not serve a purpose
Why It Speaks To You: Gwen Stefani has been there; she understands what it's like to have her heart crushed by someone that she has to talk to every day, just like you and Eric. How can he think it's okay to break it off with you to start dating Tiffany and still have the audacity to ask if you can stay lab partners? The freedom of off-campus lunch may not be enough to dull your pain, but at least singing along with Stefani as she croons, "Don't tell me 'cause it hurts" makes you feel something.
"You Oughta Know" By Alanis Morissette
Your Outfit While You Listen: Your favorite thrift store beanie, an oversized sweater, and hiking boots with mismatched socks
Why It Speaks To You: You just broke up with Kendall, the hottest guy in theater, and you've never felt more free. When this song comes on the radio while you drive home from dress rehearsal, it feels like every molecule in your body is aching to sing along with Alanis. Finally, someone who knows how to express your true anger. Also, who knew Joey from Full House was a freak?
Your Outfit While You Listen: Dickies work pants, a cardigan from Goodwill over an old shirt, and a pair of black and white Vans Eras
Why It Speaks To You: You may spend your weekends skateboarding in the Taco Bell parking lot, but that doesn't mean you're not sensitive. The guys in Green Day totally get what it means to be a punk with the soul of a poet. It doesn't matter if you never learn how to kickflip, as long as you're singing along with your bros.