No, I’m not penning a song about Dr. Who, or a ballad to quantum physics. I’m still working on Reunion Flirts! featuring a group of friends at their ten-year reunion. I wanted to sprinkle in some songs from their high school years, so I’ve been researching what was popular at the turn of the century. That got me to thinking about music from my high school years, and how the right tune can take me back in time more effectively than anything.
My number one take-me-back song? Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi. I was a cheerleader and we did a great pom-pom routine to this song. I’m still friends with some of my cheer pals, and when we get together and a few bottles of wine have been shared, someone inevitably tries to re-enact the routine. It always ends in laughter and a timely reminder that we aren’t teenagers anymore. But when that song comes on, I’m back on the basketball court junior year, cheering along with Bon Jovi. (I’ll save you the google search and calculations needed to figure out when I graduated: it was 1988. I knew I was old when a young co-worker asked me what we wore to prom in the 80’s. That was going to be her Halloween costume—an 80’s prom date. That was a bad day for me.)
I’m not sure why certain songs have more impact than others. I remember what song was on when I broke up with a boy while sitting in his car in my driveway. (He was one of two Kevins I was dating at the time, and it was time to narrow it down to one. Mean, I know. I was fifteen, what can I say? I was on the receiving end of plenty of cringe-worthy breakups, so it all evens out.) Van Halen’s Why Can’t This Be Love was playing on the radio, and I couldn’t help note the irony of the background music for the moment (all while wondering if they had the most clichéd line in a song ever: “Only time will tell if we stand the test of time.” Yeah, that’s a good one, but that song has stood the test of time for me.
Play Madonna’s Crazy For You, and I’m back at one of our high school dances, waiting out the last song of the night while I stood there pretending I wasn’t bothered that I didn’t have anyone to slow dance with. Or Prince’s Purple Rain, another standard slow-dance closer. (That song took forever, especially when you weren’t dancing to it!)
So what’s the soundtrack of your youth? Is there that one special song that takes you right back to high school? You can find out which songs I picked for Reunion Flirts (class of 2002) when the book comes out in February.