I’ve been on a nostalgic music binge, lately.
There’s this pretty awesome Twitter account called @YourAwayMessage that tweets examples of what you probably used as an away message back in high school when you lived on AOL Instant Messenger, aka, AIM.
I love it.
The girl who created the handle also made an excellent Spotify playlist with the songs we typically quoted and loved during those days. So that’s what I’ve been listening to.
So I’m on the train home yesterday when Usher’s “U Remind Me” comes across the playlist. I’m immediately transported to 2001, 12-years-old, 6th grade, middle school. I received his 8701 album for Christmas that year, and I played it pretty much all the time. That song, “U Got It Bad” and “U Don’t Have To Call” were my jams.
I’m listening to the lyrics, and the situation goes a little something like this:
You remind me of a girl, that I once knew
See her face whenever I, I look at you
Aww, Usher! I look like someone you knew once? You’re actually talking to me? ~*~swoon~*~
You wouldn’t believe all of the things she put me through
That bitch, how dare she hurt you!
This is why I just can’t get with you
Am I the only one that thinks Usher is making some lame excuse not to commit? You can’t “get” with me because I look like a girl that did you wrong? There’s no way I look exactly like her. And you don’t know me. YOU DON’T KNOW ME. Honestly, you’re better off using the typical, “I’m just not looking for a girlfriend right now,” excuse.
Guys, I used to sing every word of this song thinking Usher was hitting on me. Apparently I had some selective listening/interpretation skills.
This got me thinking, what other things have I missed in the songs that I loved? Let’s take a look…
“Crash” by Dave Matthews Band
Obviously, when this song came out I pretty much knew all the words. Or at least I thought I did. Apparently I made some of them up? For example, let’s look at one of the last parts of the song:
Hike up your skirt a little more, and show your world to me
Why was I going around singing, “Hack up your skirt, little boy”? And what did I think that meant? Why was this boy wearing a skirt? And why was he “hacking” it up? And why was I actually singing about a girl lifting up her skirt?
And what exactly does it mean to “crash” into someone? THINK ABOUT IT.
“The Sign” by Ace of Base
So this song was one of my favorites in maybe, kindergarten? This is what happens when you have two older sisters that you want to be JUST like. You listen to their music instead of the childrens’ music you’re supposed to enjoy.
When I first heard this song, I imagined the singer seeing an actual sign. Like, a billboard. That later evolved into seeing a peace sign in the sky because, you know, I was five and had a great imagination. To this day, I still think about the singer seeing a peace sign in the sky, and how it opened up her eyes. And then I actually listened to this song, and it’s empowering?
I, I gotta new life
You would hardly recognize me, I’m so glad
How could a person like me care for you?
Why, why do I bother, when you’re not the one for me?
Seriously, every hormonal teenage girl should heed the advice of this song. We’ve all seen the signs. He’s a jerk. He’s not returning your calls. He’s flirting with other girls. Let the damn thing open up your eyes and move on with your life. Thanks, Ace of Base, for making this mantra so catchy.
“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Deep Blue Something
I had not seen or heard of the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s before hearing this song, so naturally I thought this band was referring to that one time they had breakfast at a place called Tiffany’s diner. And then I learned that Tiffany’s is a jewelery store and I thought, “Well that’s stupid.”
I have since seen this movie and consider it my favorite of all time. But let’s look at the lyrics of this song:
You’ll say that we’ve gotten nothin’ in common, no common ground to start from
And we’re falling apart
You’ll say the world has come between us, our lives have come between us
Still I know you just don’t care
And then that chorus we all love to shout…
And I said what about Breakfast at Tiffany’s
She said I think I remember the film
And as I recall I think we both kind of liked it
And I said “well that’s one thing we’ve got”
Dude, you are so pulling at straws here. First of all, you’ve already acknowledged the fact that she doesn’t care, and she’s clearly making excuses to break up with you. Let. It. Go. I know a lot of people who love Breakfast at Tiffany’s just like me, but that actually means nothing to me, because I usually don’t like the girls who love Breakfast at Tiffany’s because they actually haven’t seen it and just think they like Audrey Hepburn and all things glamorous.
“Too Close” by Next
When I think of this song, I think of doing my homework in my old bedroom, windows open to let a warm breeze in as the school year is winding down. My little nine-year-old self had my radio on next to me and I bobbed my head as I sang…
Step back you’re dancing kinda close
Feel a little poke comin’ through, on you
Wow. WOW. Seriously, I had no idea what I was singing about, and then someone dropped some knowledge on me last year and I listened to the lyrics and thought, “Oh dear god, I was singing this before I hit double digits.” I suppose I should’ve known when the chorus starts with…
Baby when we’re grinding, I get so excited
Ooh, how I like it, I try but I can’t fight it
In my defense, we hadn’t learned about such things in health class yet.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m glad I still managed to grow into a somewhat normal adult after all these subliminal messages were pushed on me through my radio, but really, I wouldn’t have it any other way.