Tuesday, December 10, 2013

thnks fr th mmrs...Music Nostalgia Part 1

Fun fact:  Until I was literally like 14, my sister tape recorded me songs from the radio or her own tapes and made countless mix tapes for me.  (My first cd was long overdue, and the one I chose?  S Club 7.  Sigh.)  They started when I was around six years old, and each one had a personalized "title" - Angie always had her tapes titled with a lyric from one of the songs, and, believing my sister was the coolest thing ever (hee!), I chose to do the same.  I remember one mix tape in particular, I chose to title "Higher Than the Heavens Above," because it contained the song Emotions by Mariah Carey, which I adored and one time made my cousin Kyle listen to when we were like seven, believing he would be as moved by it as I was.  (He wasn't...he was just like, "Oh.")

When listening to these mix tapes, I can sometimes pinpoint things I was doing while each song was playing.  When I hear certain songs on the radio, I will immediately feel something like extreme nostalgia or extreme embarrassment, depending on the song and the memory it evokes.  For example, when I hear "Don't Let Me Get Me" by Pink, I am dancing around my old childhood home with a purple inflatable chair in the corner and a face mask drying on my face.  "Whoomp! There It Is" by Tag Team comes on, and I am doing gymnastics on a blanket in my living room while my mom watches and gets angry because she thinks she heard the word "ass".  (Which she didn't, I had the edited version...but had she listened closer, I know now, she had a right to be mad.  That song was filthy!) "All or Nothing" by O-Town? = Every middle school dance ever.

There is at least one song in the "top one hundred" list of each year that corresponds with a memory.  Please indulge me during this trip down memory lane....I'll start in 1996 - The Year of the First Mix Tape.

1996:  Don't Speak - Gwen Stefani
It was either this song or "Spiderwebs" that was one of my favorite songs on my first sister-made mixtape.  I was obsessed with it, and I vividly remember smashing my foam microphone into my lips while crooning "Hush, hush, don't tell me 'cuz it hurts!"  I didn't actually sing, mind you.  I just lipsynched.  It was honest-to-God one of my favorite pasttimes.  I would grab my mike or the nearest hairbrush and just friggin' jam, exaggerated facial expressions and all.  I did this in the car, out in public, in front of my parents.  Wherever.  I was super proud of my lipsynching/dancing abilities.  Don't act like you didn't do this.  You know you did.

Incidentally, somewhere during this era, I had a fuzzy purple notebook on a keychain, and on one of these pages, I wrote something like, "Hey gurl!  You're awesome! <3 Chelsea".  Why?  Well, because, I clearly remember pretending to sign an autograph and then toss it out into the "crowd" of fans.  Fantasy lipsynching?  It was my thing.

1997:  I'll Be Missing You - Puff Daddy
I loved this song solely for the Faith Evans part.  I always misheard Puffy as saying things like "We miss you, babe," and thinking, Wow.  He must have really loved this ex-girlfriend of his.  And finally my sister informed me that no, he was in fact, saying "Big."  "Big?  We miss you...Big?" I asked...I was so confused.  She took out the cd (or tape, whatever, I don't remember), Notorious B.I.G.  Oh.  Okay.  The song was a tribute.  But even today, it sounds to me like he's saying "babe."  No disrespect to Biggie.

1998:  The Boy is Mine - Brandy and Monica
I actually had the cassette single (remember those?) of this song, and it had a picture of Brandy and Monica glaring at each other looking particularly sassy and fierce on the cover.  When I had my friend Jordan over, we would fight about who would get to be Brandy and who would HAVE to be Monica...for some reason we favored Brandy here, though Monica was clearly superior.  And then we would lipsynch it, circling around each other and mouthing the words angrily.  (Yes, I lipsynched with friends.  It was the cool thing to do.)

1999:  I Try - Macy Gray
I hated this song when I was younger.  Actually, you know what?  I still hate it.  Macy Gray's voice just creeped me the eff out, and I used to do imitations of it to try and make my brother-in-law laugh.  I'm not giving this song any more credit by writing about it.

2000:  Bye Bye Bye - NSYNC
I was in 4th grade when this came out, and my jam at the time was more "It's Gonna be Me."  This is mostly because I received a note from my then-boyfriend that said, "Chelsea, I think we should have a song.  I think the song should be It's Gonna Be Me."  To which I most likely responded...OKAY!!!  (Even though I didn't realize at the time that this song is about a guy liking a girl who is with another guy.  And also my friend Heather and her 'boyfriend's' song was This I Promise You, which is clearly ten times more romantic.)  But I do remember being obsessed with the stomp/fist-pump dance move from the video of Bye Bye Bye.

Also, in sixth grade, my friends and I decided to dance to this song at our school's annual lipsynch contest.  (Apparently I am not the only one who loves to lipsynch.  My school dedicated an entire contest to it.)  Two years later, was this song still relevant?  Who knows.  We danced to it anyway, mainly just freestyling with an occasional "bye bye bye" wave like Justin does in the video.  I wore athletic swishy pants, my brother's football jersey, multiple sweatbands, and about a gallon of body and face glitter.  Our group's name?  Cosmic Crush.  My idea.  (I am cringing with embarrassment.)

2001:  Follow Me - Uncle Kracker
Though it feels to me like this song came out earlier than this, all I think of now when I hear it is chlorine, sun, and stinging eyes, because it was the anthem of the radio station whenever my friend Heather and I would go to the pool.  It comes on the radio to this day and I am thrown back to the days of running across hot pavement to get a push pop and giving peace signs across the pool to boys we thought were cute.  (Yes, peace signs.  They were my favorite around this era.  Because, girl powah.)

Also, this year's list was chock full of songs I used to sing on my karaoke machine.  (I upgraded from lipsynching.)  Also "Lady Marmalade", which I was obsessed with and had no idea it was inappropriate.

2002:  Hot in Herre - Nelly/Cleaning Out My Closet - Eminem
This year was a good year for rap.  I, for some reason, made it my goal to memorize both of these songs word for word and in their entirety.  I think I thought it would impress guys, or something.  (To be fair, I still break these songs out when I'm driving in the car with my husband.  And he's always impressed.)  But seriously, I had "Hot in Herre" on my karaoke cd, and I once performed it to a group of sleepover friends.  Hot in Herre.  I sang it.  To several girls.  I don't even know.  (On a side note, why is there two Rs in the word "here"?  I've never understood that.  I think it's a rapper thing.  Like, my stupid eighth-grade boyfriend who thought he was "gangsta" would call me "hott" in notes.  Is that a thing?)  As for Cleaning Out My Closet, I once sang the entire song to the cutest guy in our class while riding in the back of a limousine.  Whoever sold the most magazines got to ride in a limo to Pizza Hut.  It was quite the prize.  And apparently I thought the best way to celebrate would be to rap some Eminem?

Eh, we're gonna break this bad boy up into sections.  I hadn't anticipated it being so long...I'm so old!  There are so many years to cover!!

To be continued.

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