“Teenage Dirtbag” by Wheatus was the first single from the band’s first album. It’s also by far their biggest song, with over 433 million streams on Spotify (and a prime placement on the Loser soundtrack, alongside Eiffel 65, Everclear, and Blink-182). The dirtbag anthem is still so omnipresent, 23 years after it came out (and forever ruined pop punk?), that model, author, and podcast host Emily Ratajkowski used it to caption an Instagram post of photos from when she was a teenager.
If only we all looked that good during our teenage dirtbag phase (we all had a dirtbag friend in a Black Sabbath shirt, though).
Ratajkowski discussed her high school years in a 2021 interview with philosopher Amia Srinivasan. “I experienced what the double-edged sword was like — wearing something tight to school and then realizing that the popular girls weren’t paying attention to me because the boys were paying attention to me, while also feeling my vice principal snapping my bra strap,” she said. “So much of what women experience is this feeling of, “I’m the one seducing, I’m the one who’s getting this attention, so I have the power.” But it wasn’t until I got older that I was able to look at these experiences that have stuck with me and think about control, and through thinking about control, think about power.”
Now, please enjoy the achingly 2000 music video for “Teenage Dirtbag.”