Welcome to my new Thursday segments, Thursday Throwback Track of the Day! Each Thursday, check back to The Indie Sound for my Thursday Throwback song pick from all eras and genres. Prepare for nostalgia to hit like a ton of bricks.
Valentine’s Day has passed, but might as well carry out the theme for the rest of the month, right? For Week 3 we have “Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus. Check out the video below:
Facts About the Song:
Featured on their self-titled debut, “Teenage Dirtbag” was an instant hit for the Northport, New York group, who released the album five years after the band’s inception. In the band’s current lineup is lead vocalist and guitarist Brendan B. Brown, bassist Matthew Milligan, backing vocalists Gabrielle Sterbenz and Joey Slater, keyboardist Mark Palmer and drummer Leo Freire, although the band has featured a wide range of past members throughout their 21 year career. According to an interview Brendan did with Tone Deaf, the track was Inspired by a “Satanic, drug-induced ritual teen homicide” that took place behind the then 10-years-old’s home. Yikes.
The second version begins with, “Her boyfriend’s a dick/He brings a gun to school.” However, the reference to guns in school was reportedly censored because the first anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre was approaching when the band showed the song to their label. With the scary-sounding inspiration and alterations aside, the song was able to become a massive hit, although unfortunately for the band, their only hit. In Australia, the song was certified Platinum 3 times, and reached Number 2 in the United Kingdom and Germany. Since 2014, 5 million copies of the track have been sold worldwide. And remember that obnoxious girl voice towards the end? Surprisingly or unsurprisingly enough, that’s Brendan doing his take on a female voice. We don’t all sound that whiny.
What Makes this Song Such a Great Throwback?
Whether you’re familiar with the track or not, it’s difficult not to get the sing-songy chorus stuck in your head. Plus, the lyrics about failing to catch the eyes of the one you want the most and feeling like, well, a teenage dirtbag are relatable to a good majority of the teenage population. It’s basically impossible not to feel the need to shout the chorus at the top of your lungs. Even better, while most of the song relates to the singer’s dirtbag status, he eventually ends up with the girl! She confesses that she, too, feels like a teenage dirtbag, and according to the video, they hop on over to an Iron Maiden concert and all is well again in the world. Gotta love those early 2000’s love stories.
Where are they now?
After their debut, Wheatus went on to release Hand Over Your Loved Ones (2003), Too Soon Monsoon (2005), Pop, Songs & Death (2012) and The Valentine LP (2013), the latter of which was released for only 24 hours on Valentine’s Day that year. In 2015, the band embarked on a 15th Anniversary tour, and work on a 6th album with “80s metal direction,” is set to be finished this year. Other than the continued work on albums, dozens of the band’s members have been traded out, with the lasting original member being Brendan. Will Wheatus be able to find themselves at the top of the charts again? Only time will tell.