Thursday, July 17, 2014

16 Songs That Defined Middle School Dances

Ah, middle school. I don't know if there's any experience so universally reviled. One of the most memorably awkward parts of the public middle school experience is the dances. It's such a common and, honestly, uncomfortable experience that it's even inspired the truly brilliant Twitter account Middle School Dance. Having worked with middle school girls this summer, it seems that the problems of junior high haven't changed in the decade ( since I've been there. Self-esteem, crushes, friend drama, academic and extracurricular pressures, and (the kicker) hormones. I'm so thankful that we can all laugh about it now, but mostly I'm thankful that it's over.

I was in middle school from 2001-2004, which was the era of logo tees, popped collars, and Juicy Couture. Some true gems, indeed. To this day, my most embarrassing moment comes from my 7th grade Halloween dance. I wore a truly ill-advised Austin Powers costume...velveteen suit, wig, glasses, teeth...the whole shebang. It was like Cady Heron's "ex-wife" costume scenario from Mean Girls, minus a charming Aaron Samuels. Still makes me cringe to this day.

In honor of all of the unfortunate dance experiences of middle school, here are the songs I associate with my own middle school dances.

1. Let's Get It Started — Black Eyed Peas
     Without fail, this or Pink's "Get This Party Started" would be the first song of every dance. And without fail, the DJ (who always led into the song by saying "Let's get this party started, everybodayyyyy") would forget to turn down the volume when the lyrics got inappropriate, resulting in some shocked parent chaperones and exasperated vice principals.

2. Stickwitu — Pussycat Dolls
     The middle school ideal of a romantic song. Cue hands on shoulders, swaying back and forth, not looking each other in the eye, and leaving room for Jesus.

3. Get Low — Lil' Jon ft. Ying Yang Twins
     The song that everyone learned to grind to. There would always be a line of girls grinding together saying things along the lines of "Oh my GAWD we're soooooooo crazy!! WooooOoooo!!" Inevitably, the DJ would play the clean version, but all the students would yell the inappropriate lyrics. Can still be found playing in college bars from time to time with the same scenario playing out. To the window, to the wall, my friends.

4. Smells Like Teen Spirit —Nirvana
     The one song the guys actually got excited about dancing to. Would usually result in excessive headbanging and water bottles being sprayed onto the crowd (though that may have just been at my school...for everyone else's sake I hope that was just my school).

5. Take My Breath Away — Jessica Simpson
     See #2, with the addition of Newlyweds mania. Shameful confession: I'm still not entirely recovered from the moment I found out those two split up... ~*R.I.P. Nick + Jessica*~

6. In Da Club — 50 Cent
     13 year-old me had no idea what any of the lyrics meant. I thought it was a song about having fun on your birthday. Oops.

7. Hey Ya! — Outkast
     Because who wasn't excited to shake it like a Polaroid pic-tcha?

8. Burn — Usher
     Another of the slow dance canon. I dare you to listen and try not to belt out "tell me the days/tell me the hours/Imma be burnin' 'til you return." Seriously, try it. Also, pretty much everything from Usher's Confessions album could be on this list, but that one line alone sets "Burn" apart for me. 

9. Sk8er Boi — Avril Lavigne
     Bless Avril in her necktied, pre-Chad Kroeger prime. Moment of silence, y'all.

10. How You Remind Me — Nickelback
     Speaking of Chad Kroeger...remember when we thought of Nickelback as a legitimate band and thought we were super hxcore for listening to them? And don't try and say you always hated them, this was the top song of 2002 according to Billboard. This was another song that popped up at our dances a lot...along with Photograph. But what can I say, we were young and naive.

11. 1, 2 Step — Ciara ft. Missy Elliot
     Such a great dance song, but it seems that people always managed to 1, 2 Step their way onto each other's toes. No pain, no gain?

12. Beautiful Soul — Jesse McCartney

13. On the Way Down — Ryan Cabrera
     Double swoon. Also...dat hair doe.

14. Cha Cha Slide — Mr. C the Slide Man

15. The Middle — Jimmy Eat World
     I distinctly remember this song playing in the bathroom as I overheard one girl saying "Jeremy's AXE smells so good tonight when we were slow dancing." Just...the most hilariously typical of middle school dance moments. [Note: Author does not condone the overuse of AXE in any situation ever, especially at a middle school dance.]

16. Closing Time — Semisonic
     The last song of Every. Single. Dance. Also another song that I didn't get the full meaning of until much later in life. 

What songs do you remember from your middle school dances? Comment below!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Quick Note

Oh lord, I'm blogging. This is daunting.

But really, what isn't a bit daunting nowadays? As my friend and former Renee so perfectly put it in her blog, "the great question mark part of my calendar" that is postgrad life has begun. So really, why not put myself out there and blog?

I've decided to do something a little bit different, though. I don't think I'm quite eloquent enough to make my daily thoughts worth reading, so I'm going to blog entirely in playlists. Twice a week (Mondays and Thursdays), I'll publish a new playlist along with commentary. Music has always been a huge part of my life, and it gives me the chance to use that music to express how I view moods, moments, and memories. Plus it's the perfect marriage of my Type A and Type B selves— lists and music. :)

So here goes nothing. Here goes Project Playlisted.