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?
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