The soundtrack for your Transitional Twenties: why female artists of the early 2000’s are still relevant

By: Tenley 

There is something pretty remarkable about finding music that can speak to you throughout the years. And it’s pretty rare to find an artist who can not only sing to you, but can sing you through your current quarter life crisis. I mean here we are…. in our mid-twenties, with our overpriced efficiency apartments, shoeboxes of college memories, a bag or two of cereal with only two spoons to our name, and not even close to having accomplished what we dreamed we would have by this age. No, this isn’t a metaphor, nor is it a Sundance Film Festival existence. This is real life.

But we still need a soundtrack. We deserve an awesome soundtrack. And the one that has been speaking to me lately is that of these female artists we all know and have forgotten from the early 2000’s.  Maybe it’s sheer sentimentality or maybe it’s just because today’s Top 40 has been disappointing in quenching my particular Q.L.C. thirst, but these are my picks for surviving, no, for thriving in your Transitional Twenties.

1. Regina Spektor Soviet Kitsch (2004)


This is clearly my first pick as Regina Spektor is my all-time favorite artist. But this particular album, Soviet Kitsch, is from 2004. It reminds me of roaming the Chicago streets as a barely 18-year-old girl, learning my own voice, and making tough life decisions.  Her music is inventive and reminds us that it’s okay to feel lost as long as you are true to yourself in the midst of it. Also how great is the line “Some days aren’t yours at all, they come and go as if they are someone else’s days.”? As if we can own our days or as if time can disappoint us… she’s genius.

2. Missy Higgins Sound of White (2004)


Okay, let the gushing begin. Missy Higgins stole my heart years ago. She has single-handedly gotten me through some pretty tough break-ups and some significant life changes. Her lyrics are basically my brainwaves. Listen to everything. Sound of White is her earlier album and I adore it for all that it is from her small apartments in the music videos to simply the content.  Listening to her is like confiding in a best friend.


3. Fiona Apple Extraordinary Machine (2005)


Where to start? Fiona Apple is pretty much perfection. Her vocals are organic and original and her lyrics are not only clever but also meaningful. And I’m pretty certain she is one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen (but that’s beside the point).  Unlike the others listed before, Extraordinary Machine is a later album of hers, yet still so relevant. Listen, just do it. And bonus: Zach Galifinakis.

4. Vanessa Carlton Harmonium (2004)


Yeah, Vanessa Carlton has been deemed a bit of a cliché but she is also a bit phenomenal.  She has seen dreams deterred and still found a new glory (from ballerina to musician). She reminds me that life shifts and sways and we are constantly changing. How we react to the face punches that life smacks us with is actually what determines our strength and success. This album, Harmonium, takes me back but also guides me forward. Again, I’m a lyrics lover.

5. Tristan Prettyman Twentythree (2005)


I remember burning Twentythree to CDs for all of my girlfriends in college almost immediately after I discovered it. Tristan’s music is real, freeing, and uplifting.  I mean if this song can’t make you smile then you have a heart ten times smaller than the Grinch’s.  The song implies that a positive attitude toward one’s own self is the most beautiful attribute. Listen and dance just a little, then maybe dance a lot. Dance in your PJ’s while jumping on the bed, it doesn’t matter if you feel silly. You are loved for all that you are.

Enjoy your soundtrack.

Oh, and don’t forget to pay rent.

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We're Sarah and Kaitlyn, roommates from Milwaukee who started this blog to promote creativity and life.
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