Monday, January 19, 2015

Back to the 90s

If there's one fictional invention that I wish was real, it would have to be the time machine. The closest I can get to having one is by listening to certain songs from when I was growing up, because there are certain songs where all it takes is hearing one line or one chord; I'll close my eyes and I'll remember very clearly a certain person or event that I associate with that song, and I'll remember what it was like to be the age that I was when that song was popular.

For example, the Proclaimers' song (released in 1988, but it didn't become famous in the U.S. until 1993, when it was featured on the soundtrack for the film Benny and Joon) makes me feel like I'm twelve years old again every time I hear the song. Here's the video for it:


It makes me feel like I'm twelve again because in the summer of 1993, I went to camp, where I met a boy and got to go on my first "date." We went to one of the dances together that were hosted by the camp and which all the preteen campers fussed over, precisely because we were all obsessed over whether or not we were going to get dates. (Looking back on it now, it almost makes me feel like I was in a storyline for a YA novel.) That song by the Proclaimers was the most popular song at camp, and they must have played it several times during the dance.

The thing about THAT date, however, is that the boy I went to the dance with literally hid in a corner of the room where the dance was held for the first HOUR. Why? He was embarrassed because he was one of the only kids who was wearing dress pants instead of jeans. I didn't care about the clothes, especially because I don't think I was wearing jeans either; I think I wore some kind of dress instead. I just wanted to dance, but it was kind of hard to dance with a twelve-year-old boy when he's throwing a tantrum in a corner and his friends are trying to coax him out. When he finally emerged from the corner, his "dancing" made me think, "Hmm. Maybe I should follow in my Catholic school teachers' footsteps and become a nun."

Girl band TLC's single, "Creep," was a popular song in 1994 (when I was thirteen), and the band was one of my favorites when I was in high school. Their clothes remind me of the baggy outfits that were popular in the nineties, long before "jeggings" (I CURSE whoever invented those, and if I ever find the person or people who invented them, I'm going to chase them down, make them eat a doughnut and then force them to try to fit into just one pair of jeggings, hahahahaha!!!) was even a word.


My mother once glanced at the TV when I was watching the music video for the song (remember when MTV still played music videos, instead of reality shows about teen moms who spend a LOT more money on boob jobs, boyfriends, and bail money than on their own children? But I digress.). She saw the women of TLC and asked me, "Why can't YOU be thin like them?"

This was when I was about five foot one and 120 pounds.  By the time I graduated from high school four years later, I had gained a significant amount of weight, and I still cringe when I look at my graduation pictures. I've spent the last twenty years struggling with my weight, which has gone up and down, and I WISH I was still 120 pounds. That's why, by the time I was in my twenties, I finally joined a gym, cut WAY down on my sugar and salt intake, drank more water (and less soda), and tried to learn how to cook. I say tried because my cooking is so bad that the judges on Top Chef would probably just ban me from the kitchen altogether or perhaps weep with fury at my ineptitude.

The Backstreet Boys was my favorite boy band during the late 90s boy band craze. My favorite BSB song was "As Long as You Love Me," which was released in 1997, when I was sixteen. I liked boy bands like them because they were cute and their music was fun to dance to. I also liked them because their music was a refuge that I could escape to, if only temporarily: I could escape from the boys in real life, who ignored me unless they were making fun of me or unless they needed help with their homework (Word of advice to high school bullies: if you want the class nerd/brain to help you with your homework, then don't be mean to them, or at least don't be surprised by the kind of "help" you get as a result. But I digress.)


When I listened to the boy bands, I could also escape from the girls who talked on and on about the high school formal dances, most of which I didn't get to go to, since I usually didn't have a date, not even for prom junior or senior year. It was difficult to look at my friends' prom pictures, listen to them go on and on about what their boyfriends gave them for Valentine's Day, and be excluded from the double dates that they went on (I was excluded because I didn't have a boyfriend).

Every once in a while, a part of me regrets that I missed out on that part of the high school experience. But looking back on it now, I realize that while I may have not had the typical high school experiences, there was something about who I was (and who I still am) that was different from most of the other girls who did get to experience those things. I wanted a different life than the one that they wanted, though there wasn't anything wrong with what they wanted; I just wanted something different, because I was different.

I could go on, but there's not enough room in this blog post for all the songs that take me back in time. What about you? Which songs bring up memories for you from your childhood or teen years?

16 comments:

  1. Oh, 90s music! It feels like my childhood! LOL. I was never too crazy about boy bands but my sister was obsessed--OBSESSED--with the Backstreet Boys (like every inch of her bedroom walls covered in magazine photos of them obsessed), so I was forced to listen to them and go to their concerts (but I didn't mind). I don't think I started to get obsessive over music until the early 2000s when I was a teenager.

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    1. Hi Sarah,
      I did go to one of Backstreet Boys' concerts; I remember it because several of the younger fans were there with their moms, and one of the moms kept covering her daughter's eyes every time one of the Backstreet Boys took off his shirt. As a result, the girl probably didn't get to see at least half the concert. :)

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  2. Sounds like you had a cool camp experience, even if your high school experience wasn't great. I think it would be wonderful to write a MG from your camp experience. I actually haven't noticed many camp books.
    We had different music tastes, but I'm with you on the jeggings! Ugh. It's funny how music stays with us. One song brings us back to one particular time and place no matter how many times we play it.

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    1. Hi Theresa,
      I liked that camp, especially because it was different from typical camps in that they didn't make us sleep in tents (I'm not an outdoorsy person). You're right that there aren't a lot of camp books; I never really thought about writing a story about camp, but that's a really good idea!
      I hate jeggings. I remember wearing leggings in the 90s, but even then I could wear a baggy shirt over them and still look cool.

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  3. Anything disco takes me back to my childhood....I loved reading your camp experience. So funny how songs make us travel back in time.

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    1. Hi Lisa,
      I think it would be cool to travel back in time and go to a real disco, if only to see how people really dressed and danced back then. I've only ever seen the movie version, but I think it looks cool.

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  4. I'm slightly older than you, so I grew up a lot during the 90s - I left school, got engaged, got my first proper job, left home, got married and had my first child. Wow, it was a busy decade!!

    I love 90s music - almost every song envokes powerful memories. And I know exactly how it feels to be wearing the 'wrong' thing when you're 12 - bad times!

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    1. Hi Annalisa,
      It sounds like you accomplished a lot during the 90s! And I love 90s music too; I was listening to songs on Youtube recently while I was working at my desk, and I realized that I kept searching for 90s music much more often than music from the 2000s. I do like some of the musicians that are popular right now, but I think I'll always have a preference for the music I grew up with.

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  5. I'd love to have a time machine! I've also made the correlation between songs and going back in time with several posts on the topic. Songs can stir up such memories!

    You are a year older than my oldest daughter. I remember when she was listening to TLC and she and some friends dressed like them for Halloween one year. She also went through a Hanson and a Spice Girl phase.

    I have pretty diverse musical interests but like you commented above I tend to have my greatest affinity for the music of my high school and college days. That music really takes me back.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Hi Arlee,
      I must admit that I used to be a Hanson and a Spice Girls fan; I even saw Hanson perform live once, and I thought they sounded pretty good.
      I think songs stir up memories more than other things because we often hear the same songs over and over again, especially during the 90s when people still listened to the radio on a regular basis.

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  6. I agree, certain songs can take you back in time. I hated high school. I have always been older than my years and I guess it showed because people hated me in high school. In America I think you would have called me a loner, but in South Africa you were just seen as a kid who thought you were too good to be friends with anyone else. I never dated in school, because my parents were strict and wanted me to finish school first. But would I ever wish to go back and do it all over again? Never! I liked Backstreet Boys too.

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    1. Hi Murees,
      I'm sorry about how you were treated in high school; I can understand why you'd rather move forward than go back. It's tough to be a loner in high school, because during that time it's practically a "requirement" to be like everyone else. But I think it's better to be who you really are instead.
      I used to think that maybe it'd be cool to relive high school, but then I remembered what it was really like to be a teenager. So I think I'll stick with being an adult instead, even though I don't always feel like one.

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  8. I love that Proclamer's song! They do a funny bit with it in How I Met Your Mother where it's stuck in the tape player & just plays over and over again. When I picked my daughter up at school for Christmas break I made a CD of JUST that song on repeat---as a joke but we ended up keeping it in for the whole 4.5 hours!

    I think it's no secret that it's mostly 80s songs that bring me back to gooood times.

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    1. Hi Nicki,
      I haven't seen that How I Met Your Mother episode, but that sounds like the kind of the thing the show would do. :) There are some 80s songs that I liked, like the Love Shack by the B-52s, and I like Michael Jackson's songs from that time period. Janet Jackson's songs from the 80s and 90s were really good too.

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