Since, in a moment of insanity, I signed up for NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month, I have been trying to find things to write about every day for the next month. In the last few months, I have been following Stasha’s Monday Listicles link ups. I have seen some amazing lists and I will admit, I’m a bit nervous throwing my list into the mix. It looks like fun though, and I love reading all of the lists, so here goes.
10 songs that bring back memories of high school
I am a person that can be brought back to a time, a place, a memory, by the first few notes of a song. This is both a blessing and a curse, as songs that carry tough memories can come back the same as ones that carry great memories. I have some of both kinds from high school, and today, I’m going to share a few with you. Won’t you join me on a trip down my musical memory lane?
1. Black Velvet by Alannah Myles
Every time I hear this song, I think back to our band trip to Winnipeg, Manitoba for some Canadian music festival. It is 1990, and we are on a school bus driving for what feels like a week. I had heard this song on the radio, and have become obsessed, in typical 13 year old girl fashion, with it. My goal of that trip is to find it on cassette so I could listen to it on my Walkman. Plus, I have my first “boyfriend” and I think that it would make an amazing slow dance song. I never did manage to find it on tape, but I still love the slow, sultry beats of that song, and it brings back good memories of that trip.
2. Hold On by Wilson Phillips
The year is once again 1990. I am now in Grade 9, and love to hang out in my best friend Tammy’s basement bedroom, listening to Wilson Phillips, reading magazines like Sassy and secret copies of Cosmo. We have the Wilson Phillips tape playing, and we are singing along in harmony with each other, trying to decide who would be most like Chynna, Carnie and Wendy. We think that we are so cool, and that each of the songs on that tape speak to us louder than anyone could possibly realize. We are giggling, laughing so hard we are crying. This is the epitome of teenage friendship. I hear that song now, and all of a sudden, I am 14 again.
3. (Can’t Live without your) Love and Affection by Nelson
These boys were the heartthrobs who occupied my 14 year old heart. I am smitten by their clean cut, but still bad-boy looks and their long blond hair. I wonder who would be nicer, and a better boyfriend – Matthew or Gunnar. I even have a poster of the two of them, in their leather vests and jeans, hanging on the ceiling over my bed so that I could look at them as I drift off to sleep. This is one of the songs that plays in my head as I go about my day. It is embarrassing now, but I know that everyone had a musical crush, or two or three.
4. Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice
I am in Grade 9, and one of my best friends surprises me with a stocking that she made for me. It is filled with candies and a little Gund teddy bear, and other things that are mementos of our teenaged friendship, and at the very bottom of the stocking is the Vanilla Ice cassette tape. I am thrilled. The song is popular and it is one of the best songs to dance to at the school dances. I don’t think that there are many other good songs on that tape, but now when I hear it, I think of my friend Kristine and the fun we had that year.
5. Losing My Religion by R.E.M
This melancholy song, and all of the others on the Out of Time album, touched a part of my teenaged soul. This is my sad song, the song I listen to when life is not going my way, as it so often doesn’t when you are a 15 year old girl. I find comfort in the sad lyrics of Michael Stipe. The rhythms soothe my soul and make my heart feel a little bit lighter. And when I am not so sad, I listen to Shiny Happy People and realize that things aren’t so bad. To this day, Losing My Religion is one of those songs for me. I have never quite figured out why or how I connected to it in such a strong way, but this is one that’s never quite left me. I have memories of rocking my newborn son to sleep in the middle of the night, singing this song to soothe both him and I. Many people have done covers of this song, and most are fantastic, but none will ever compare to the original.
6. Are you gonna go my way – by Lenny Kravitz
The year is 1993, and I have been asked to go and see Lenny Kravitz in concert in Vancouver with my boyfriend. We had been going out all summer, and I had broken up with my long term boyfriend of Grade 10 and 11 to go out with this boy. I really thought that this boy was special and that we were a great couple. Unfortunately for all of us, my ex-boyfriend came back in the fall and it turned into an ugly love triangle that you could only find in high school. The concert was amazing, and the energy in that arena was like nothing I had ever experienced before. Lenny had the stadium rocking and everyone standing and singing along. Even the opening act, Blind Melon, and their lead singer Shannon Hoon urinating on the audience couldn’t spoil the night. It was magical, and to this day, one of the fondest concert memories I have.
7. Mony Mony by Billy Idol
This was the consummate high school dance rebellion song. I don’t know if this happened in anyone else’s school, but during the chorus of this song, everyone would yell “Everybody get laid get f’ed” at the top of their lungs, much to the chagrin of all of the teachers and parent supervisors in attendance. They always tried to get the DJ not to play it, but they did anyways, probably for the sheer amusement value.
8. More than Words by Extreme
This song stayed around all through high school and long past. I was in music, both band and choir, and this was the one song that all the boys knew how to play on the guitar and serenade the girls with. I was at a party with some of my high school buddies many years later, and sure enough, out came the guitar and they started to sing this song. I guess it never really got old and was one of the ultimate romantic ballads of the time.
9. November Rain by Guns ‘N Roses
This one is a sad memory for me. Between Grade 10 and 11, 3 of my friends committed suicide. This song was played at the funeral of my closest friend who had died, someone who was a part of the very tightly knit group that I hung out with. Her death was a surprise, and it wasn’t. At the time, we all loved Guns ‘n Roses, and this was her favourite song. I wonder, sometimes, if I am the only one who thinks of Candice when I hear it now.
10. Smells like Teen Spirit by Nirvana
This is one of those songs that impacted me greatly as a teenager. Grunge was becoming big in the early ’90’s and flannel and Doc Marten’s were all the thing. There was something about this music that grabbed a hold of me, and has never really let go since. The death of Kurt Cobain on April 5, 1994 rocked my world. I can remember where I was at the moment I found out about it. I was in my boyfriend’s bedroom, in the basement of his house, sitting and listening to music on the radio. The DJ broke in to the song to make the announcement, and I remember the stunned feeling that I had. It’s sad that Kurt will never know just how much he influenced the lives of so many kids but his music will live on, especially in this song.
I have so many other songs and memories, but this was an awesome trip back in time. I hope that it brings a smile to your face like it did mine, while I was writing it.