The Teenage Rebel Podcast Show
By Selling Rebellion
Written and hosted by pre-university students at the course Popular Music: Selling Rebellion, a collaboration between the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts (ACPA) and the Honours Academy at Leiden University. Original concept, production and faculty supervision: Carlos Roos, PhD.
The Teenage Rebel Podcast ShowSep 02, 2022
Tompkins Square Park, by Mumford and Sons
In this episode, Noah tells us about his affinity with Mumford and Sons, a band that came into his musical radar very early in his life. Tompkins Square Park, one of his favourite hits, is one of those songs made out of contrasts and pace shifts. This manifold character, Noah tells us, resonates strongly with his own personality and style.
Man in the Mirror, by Michael Jackson
What is the sound of change? Is it the sounds of rebellion that we hear during protests? Is it the words “I agree” when agreeing about opposing the mainstream? Or is it the cries of joy of a person who, thanks to change, is no longer discriminated against? Well, they might all be, but to me, change also originates from the powerful medium that is music. Listen to this.
What you’re listening to, is one of Michael Jackson’s most famous songs and arguably the one with the greatest message. That is the message of equality, inclusion, and a needed change in our way of acting. A powerful message, at that. This power shows, not only in the lyrics, but also in the musical shift from pre-chorus to chorus. The vocal dynamics get a lot louder and, because of that, stronger in message. Just like the voice of change, that needs to be heard.
For some, pop music is the anthem of rebellion. Let this be no exception from that definition. But then, what does this have to do with me? How does this song represent any aspect of my personal identity? Well, we live in a time of change. We’re the generation of change, if you will. Everything around us is changing. Not only how things look, but how everything works. Humanity is facing that change that Michael Jackson seemed to long for in this song, after having been a victim of a selfish kind of love. Everyone around me is trying to be more inclusive and give one and all the treatment they deserve. Take a look around you, and look. Maybe it is present around you as well. Is discrimination finally washing away?
Seeing as I am a part of the generation of change, a part of my personality is based on it. Of course, I make mistakes, but so does everyone, and it is exactly that feeling of having to correct these faulters Man In The Mirror is about. Saying that change happened because of this song, is an overstatement, but it is reasonable to assume that it had an impact. And hey, if you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make that change happen.
Rät, by Penelope Scott
I’ve always been pushed towards going into science. I could handle it, and I’d make the world a better place. And still, I can't decide if I should. We have so much technology, and still, we can't, or don’t, use it to fix the problems of the world. So, what is it worth? The world of science, technology, is not for everyone; it’s an elite group of people. And that group has a lot of power. But power corrupts, and they’re not using their power for the good. I’m torn between going into science, and not doing it, because I feel manipulated. My whole life I’ve heard: “You’ll make the world a better place.”, and I believed the people that told me that. Because how could I not? The adults, people with experience, who were rarely wrong, told me I could make the world a better place. But I realize now, I won’t, I'll make the rich part of the world richer. We can't fix poverty, conflicts, racism, homophobia etcetera with just technology. Well, maybe we could, but not like this. We’ll have to change first. When is the world going to change? When is it going to be a place where people could live in peace? And how can I help achieve that? Surely not by following the white, straight, rich men that have all the power? But, as much as I hate it, exactly those people are my role models, and, as selfish as it sounds, I don’t want to see them fall. But I don’t want to have to rely on anyone, I want to be my own person. Then again, I'm so used to this sense of safety, given to me by rich science people... So, the dilemma is: go into a science-based field, do something I like, and contribute to the gap between rich and poor, or do something else. All in all: (“I feel abused”).
Time, by Pink Floyd
Hey, I’m Elias, I’m fifteen years old and I’m going to talk about a classic Pink Floyd song: Time. The genre is classic psychedelic rock, and it’s part of one of Pink Floyd’s famous concept albums: The dark side of the moon. A lot of Pink Floyd songs interest me because of the meaning behind them, but this song really has an effect on me, and how I see things. The song talks philosophically about time, and the passing of time, which the ticking clocks and ringing bells obviously suggest in the intro of the song. After two mysterious minutes of instrumental music, Pink Floyd’s lead singer David Gilmour starts singing some meaningful lyrics: (fades in at 2.25 , fades out at 3.30 ) Especially the last verses are relatable to me: ‘and then one day you find, ten years have got behind you, no one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun’. When I think about the passing of time, it stresses me out because of this. Time goes by without you noticing it, and when it has passed it’s too late to live what you didn’t, so you can only look back on the time that has passed. So what does that mean? Shall I live every moment to the fullest? Or spend my time preparing for the future? Why would I do either of these things when everything I do just has the purpose of being looked back on, of being history? If those thoughts don’t stress you out, I don’t know what will. They make me feel concerned, even engaged by the pressure of time passing. But then, why do I like this song so much? For an inexplicable reason, this song calms me. It has a comforting melody, dissonances dissolve into harmony, with sweet backing vocals. I should enjoy the freedom of not having to make the best out of every minute, nor never being able to be present. That freedom is a big value of the teen-culture that is inspired by bands like Pink Floyd, and it’s a value I share with this subculture, to a certain extent. The song makes me think about this scary and dark subject, but in nice and calming way, not in a mid-life crisis way. The song starts dramatic and loud, and ends with Pink Floyd singing about a sweet comforting home. I go through the same cycle while listening to the song: I feel desperate at the beginning, but this feeling slowly dissolves into calmness: enjoy the moment.
Dancing Queen, by ABBA
Before I start, a quick disclaimer: I am not responsible for the song being stuck in your head for the whole day. My song is Dancing Queen by ABBA.
Whenever someone asks me what my favorite song is, the song that I relate to the most, I will answer “Dancing Queen”. Dancing Queen is an energetic song, it tells the story of a 17-year-old who just wants to dance and find herself a 'king'. My relation to this song lies primarily in the fact that the first verses of the chorus sort of tell my story: 'you are the dancing queen / young and sweet / only seventeen'. I have always loved this song, and since a few months I relate even more to it because I am also 17!
Although this song came out 46 years ago, I can somehow now relate it to the covid pandemic. The song is about just wanting to dance and find a boy. This is exactly what for the last few years has been impossible to do. You could obviously dance in your room but never go out or to a party and dance with others where you would also meet a boy.
In the second verse the song tells us how the girl 'turns the boys on' and then 'leaves them cold'. Personally, this is not a thing I would do. However, in the 1970s there was still a lot of double standards regarding men and women. When a guy kisses many girls in one night he is considered 'cool', but when a girl does the same kind of thing, she will often be called 'a whore' – or something like that. I think it’s quite cool that ABBA came up with these lyrics at the time even though such behavior was not (and still isn’t) quite accepted. The band rebelled against the social standard. For me, that’s the importance of the song.
Another thing why I relate to Dancing Queen is that it is a happy song, not to meaningful, just a simple happy song. I like to see myself as a happy person who is not too hard to read. Besides, the song is energetic and most of the time I am too! Thanks for listening!
Hunger, by Florence + The Machine
Freedom, isn’t that all we want? The art of being free is what I found in thissong. Because freedom isn’t something you see or you do. Freedom is thepower to feel what you want to. This is “Hunger” by Florence and The Machine. We all have a hunger. What is that all about? Is it a cry for help, is it a cryout loud? Such a heavily loaded sentence. It evokes locked away senses. The pre-chorus we just heard makes me feel like I want to dance. I want toprance I want my chance to live my life they way I want to. I want to live withpassion and spiral in the art of being alive. If I can feel this much, then Imust be.. alive. I feel praised because I feel spoken to when Florence sings about “vibrant”youth. It empowers me to appreciate art a little more, to appreciate my ownknowledge and power a little more. It makes me feel like I can change theworld. I want to run and I want to jump and I want to fly I want to reap thefruitof the tree of life that I planted, that I am and I want totire myself out with being alive that I drop and die. But not yet. Not yet. We all have a hunger. We live our lives trying to fill up the void the hungerleaves. Sometimes you might feel lost and empty. You fall into an abyss andthen there is this. This song that reaches out to you. You feel heard and youescape from feeling blue. There is a light and it may even make you feel alive.
Gotta Be a Reason, by Alec Benjamin
This episode is about Alec Benjamin's Gotta Be a Reason, and the power of storytelling to express complex ideas through songs. The 'arbitrariness of fate' is at the centre of this podcast, which is itself a heartwarming narrative about musical taste and the sound of childhood.
African Sky Blue, by Johnny Clegg & Juluka
In this episode, Meta reflects on the feeling of nostalgia that invades her when she listens to African Sky Blue, by Johnny Clegg & Juluka. She tells us of 'something' that resonates in the acoustic vibes of the song, in the combination of traditional South African and contemporary pop, which makes her long for a landscape never seen before.
Lies, by Chvrches
In this episode, Sacha shares with us her unique experience of the surfer lifestyle, which brings together beautiful beach locations, quality time with family, and the good vibes of the NME Awards winners Chvrches.
Koi Mil Gaya, by Rajesh Roshan
Whenever I hear the intro of this song, Koi Mil Gaya, it brightens my day. My name is Madhu Teunissen and I will be talking about my experience with this song and its relation to my identity and (sub)cultures. Koi Mil Gaya is a very romantic song, especially the lyrics, as they talk about dreams and desires, and how those are all found in one specific person. After that, the singer sings: "I've found the reason to my existence". The catchphrase of the song means "I've found someone".
This song is from a 2003 Bollywood movie that shares the same name. The film became widely popular in India, starring famous actor Hritik Roshan. It shows a macrosocial aspect of the culture, as it relates to large groups. One of those large groups is the Indian community in the Netherlands, all the way across the world. I am bi-racial and from Indian descent from my mom's side, and I grew up with Bollywood music, but Koi Mil Gaya has always been my favourite. The interesting thing is that in India, almost everyone knows the song, but if you play it in Holland, very few people will recognize it. Here it can be seen as part of a subculture: the Indian/Hindu community, while there, it is part of the general, dominant culture. This shows that "country" is an important aspect in judging whether or not a song is part of a (sub)culture.
Koi Mil Gaya is very special to me, because it was one of my cousin's favourite songs. When she was twelve, she passed away to cancer. At home we had a CD with her favourite music, and this was a part of it. To me, listening to the song also means keeping her memory alive. Family is very important to me, and I consider it a big part of my identity. Of course, my entire identity cannot be described by a five minute song, but this one goes a long way, due to its cultural and personal significance.
When I was eight or nine, I also danced to this song in a school play. I was chosen to play an Indian princess, which was no surprise, since I was the only not fully white girl in my class. With three of my friends, we made a dance and performed it. To this day, I still love to dance, so this is a memory that I cherish a lot. Now I will be playing the exact part of the song that we danced to, which is also a dance break in the original. We even learned part of the choreography!
*Dance part plays*
Though... I have to admit, I’m not as in touch with my heritage as I would like to be. I can sing along to this whole song, but since I don't speak Hindi, I even had to look up a translation of the song for this. Thankfully, It’s a song with rather simple lyrics and a lot of repetition. But maybe that's also why I love this song: it's mainstream music in India and it makes me feel more connected to my family. I used to watch the videoclip all the time on YouTube together with my little brother, so it even connects to my close family.
So, in conclusion, Koi Mil Gaya is a song close to my heart, and it represents multiple aspects of my identity: my cultural background, my friends, my family and a hobby that I love (dancing). Even though I have some rather sad associations with this song, it never fails to make me smile. It’s filled with nostalgia and I hope you are as mesmerized by the melody as I am! Thank you for listening.
Ik Wil Dansen, by Froukje
Hi! I’m Luka Roosjen, and today I’m gonna tell you about a song called ‘Ik Wil Dansen’ by Froukje, my personal relationship with the song and how it represents rebellion culture.
For me this song represents a piece of freedom in my life. Now, let me tell you why. It takes me back to midway the first Corona lockdown. The song had then just come out on May 20th, 2020 and I was instantly hooked. During that first period of restriction of freedom I longed for it more than ever. And seeing I couldn’t find it in the real world I was forced to search elsewhere. This song helped me find that sense of freedom while still sitting motionless behind my laptop, steadfast, following my classes. In the song, singer Froukje tells us about how she wants to dance in the gentle evening till the pain softens even though she knows the harsh truth is waiting for her in the morning.
This feeling of needing to let go for a while and to go out dancing without thinking about anything else is, I think, a very relatable feeling for many people. Almost everyone in this working and school-going society, with its constant focus on duty, knows those days when you just want to let go and let all the pressure slide over you. This society has created a culture with a constant pressure to achieve and perform. And I think with that we have also created, maybe unintentionally, a youth culture in which avoiding your responsibilities for a while is normal and very common - even though we know we can’t avoid them forever and we are going to have to face them some day.
This song feels as if raising a symbolic 'middle finger' to our responsibilities and telling society that this is our moment, a moment when we aren’t in its grip but free to do what we want regardless of what anyone else wants us to be doing. That makes this youth culture that I am part of a rebellious one, but not like most others. This rebellion is created out of necessity, it’s not just out of boredom or because we disagree with someone, it’s necessary rebellion.
I feel as if the raising of this symbolic 'middle finger' is something that should be done way more often than it is done right now! Letting go can be scary or feel weird. But in the end I can promise you it is worth it. Because to take control of your own freedom is a privilege, maybe the most valuable of them all. For me this song helps me achieve a part of this freedom, and that’s why it is so dear to my heart.
Tonight, by Jett Rebel
In this episode, Lisa shares her appreciation for Jett Rebel's artistry. She walks us through her favourite passages from 'Tonight' and tells us what its lyrics mean from the perspective of a young teenager like herself.
(Don't Fear) The Reaper, by Blue Öyster Cult
In this episode, Kathrin shares her memories back home in Northern Italy. There, Blue Öyster Cult's '(Don't Fear) The Reaper' guided her through a night bike ride that that revealed to her the excitement of being free.
People Help The People, by Birdy
It was the start of the Corona virus. Almost every singer was posting pieces of their songs, but this one caught my eye. I used to listen to this song quite often and it always calmed me down. 'This was a message we should really remember', I thought as I listened to the lyrics. Because... isn’t that what is most important in this time? We should be a little less mad and just help each other. I relate to this song in the way that I have always been the kind of person to help the people in need. For example: at the start of Corona, I went to the flats on my street where mostly elder people live and I send them a letter with my phone number so they could call or message me when they needed groceries and were too scared to go outside. I think little things like this matter the most, especially in these difficult times. When I hear the melody of this song, I get kind of sad, but not sad in a bad way. It makes me realise how happy I am with my life, my friends, and my family. If there are small things I can do to help other people feel even half as happy as I do, I think that is a small price to pay.
Hero, by Monsta X
In the first episode of The Teenage Rebel Podcast Show, Ashlyn tells us everything about her first contact with K-pop. Against her background as a Dutch teenager with strong ties to the Caribbean, the music of Monsta X stood out with refreshingly new sounds which immediately fed into her multi-layered identity.