This week everyone in The League is making a high school mixtape! We were asked, “what songs were forever being looped on your car’s stereo back in high school?” Thankfully Brian, our fearless leader, had the good sense to put a limit of 12 songs on it, otherwise this post could have easily turned into a black hole of every embarrassing music phase I ever went through in high school, in which you’d hear all about my short-lived ICP fandom (yes, in 10th grade ShezCrafti was down with the clown), my Ace of Base obsession, and every Jock Jams and MTV Party to Go album I ever owned. I will spare you that fate.
But first, come with me on a little journey back in time…
ShezCrafti: The High School Years
Can you spot me in this group of 99’ers?
1999 was the year I graduated from Fallston High School. By senior year, I just wanted to get the hell out of high school and was doing the absolute bare minimum to slide by. It’s not that I didn’t like school, I just felt I wasn’t learning anything of real importance and I was eager for my life to start. I was also supremely lazy and often went to school in pajamas and flip-flops. I think I cleaned up pretty well for my senior yearbook picture, though:
And this was my senior quote:
“A toll is a toll. And a roll is a roll. If we don’t get no tolls, then we don’t eat no rolls.”
As you can see, I took my future very seriously.
Speaking of the future…
Cassette tapes were already long-since obsolete and pretty unpopular in 1999, thanks to CDs and the relatively new (at the time) MP3 format. I, however, drove a red 1991 Plymouth Laser, a hand-me-down from my mom, which only had a cassette player.
If I wanted to play CDs in my car, I had to give shotgun to my Sony Discman and hook it up to my car stereo with one of these things:
So uncool. Not to mention the discs would skip unless I drove like a grandma and obeyed all posted speed limits (yeah right). So despite the advancements in technology toward the end of the last millennium, I was still rocking mixtapes on my car stereo in 1999. LIKE A BOSS.
The Class of ’99 Mixtape
As one of the youngest members of The League, the music on my mixtape will probably be the most current. My process for putting this together was a bit like graduation itself: bittersweet. From my worry-free days of napping in art class and underage drinking, to the more serious milestones like prom and Senior trip when it began to sink in that it was all coming to an end, there are songs that remind me of the good times, there are songs that remind me of the better times, to borrow a few lyrics from Chumbawumba.
When I look back at my high school days, particularly the year I graduated, these are the tunes that stand out the most:
“1999” – Prince
In 1999 you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing this song, especially if you were a Senior at my high school. Naturally it was the de facto theme song for pretty much every Class of ’99 related event. It’s as if Prince future-proofed his own music when he penned this song in 1983. “They’ll forget all about this album for a few years,” I imagine The Purple One saying to his posse, “but just you wait until the year 1999 rolls around and it will rule the airwaves again eheeheeheeheeheehee!”
“Intergalactic” – The Beastie Boys
I couldn’t very well make a personal mixtape about my high school days without paying homage to The Beastie Boys, to whom I owe this blog’s namesake. They’re one of my favorite groups, and when Hello Nasty dropped in 1998 it completely rocked my world. I remember hearing “Intergalactic” at every major school sporting event, at every dance, blasting out of everyone’s cars on the way home from school, but most of all, blaring from the ghetto blaster in my bedroom.
“…Baby One More Time” – Britney Spears
My life has had a lot of strange parallels with Britney’s. We were both born in 1981, we both have (natural) brown hair and brown eyes, we both got married in 2004, we both filed for divorce in 2006, and are both international superstars–oh wait. When this song–Britney’s first #1 single–came out in 1999 it was HUGE, and I’m not ashamed to admit I played the shit out of it.
“Too Close” – Next
If there was ever a song I would call “my jam,” this is it. This is the song that made all the teachers and chaperons uncomfortable at our school dances. I can’t really blame them with lyrics like, “I wonder if she can tell I’m hard right now?” It is the ultimate sexed-up, slow-grindin’ dirty dancing song. Whoever danced with me to this song was probably going to get some that night.
“What is Love?” – Haddaway
Though recorded in 1993, thanks to those damn SNL skits and The Night at the Roxbury, this was another song that was EVERYWHERE in my junior and senior days of high school. And just like Austin Powers, everyone thought it was hilarious to imitate these guys at every opportunity. (It wasn’t.) I do love the song, though.
“Semi-Charmed Life” – Third Eye Blind
I’m closing out Side A with an upbeat tune that was one of the most popular songs of the 90’s and also featured prominently at the end of American Pie, the definitive high school movie of my generation, which also happens to be about the Class of ’99. The song may be about drugs, but the chorus is vague and relatable enough to have turned this song into the “good times” anthem that it was. “I want something else, to get me through this semi-charmed kinda life, baby.” Don’t we all?
“It’s All Been Done” – Barenaked Ladies
A humbling song that reminds us no matter what we do and how amazing, genius or awesome we think we are for doing it, someone else has done it before. Perfect life advice for the Class of ’99.
“The Verve” – Bittersweet Symphony
Speaking of life advice…here’s some from The Verve, whose career, like my high school days, didn’t last very long:
Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life
Try to make ends meet
Try to find some money then you die
After this one major hit, the band broke up in 1999.
“With or Without You” – U2
This was our Senior prom theme, and every time I hear it I’m transported right back to that night. The song is a pretty heavy one about the pain of loving someone so much you can’t live with or without them…or something. Either way, it didn’t really apply to my boyfriend at the time, but we still had an amazing time at prom.
“Changes” – 2Pac
As a big 2Pac fan in the 90s, the rapper’s “death” was one of the first celebrity deaths that really affected me. (I put it in quotes because whether you’re a believer or not, it’s fun to perpetuate the 2Pac is still alive rumors, which is by far my favorite conspiracy theory.) Anyway, the remix of his song “Changes” was released at the start of my senior year and it’s like a perfect time capsule of all the world’s problems at the time. If only 2Pac were “alive” today, he’d have lived to see the first black president of the United States, an unrealistic possibility he raps about in the song.
“Graduation (Friends Forever)” – Vitamin C
Destined to become a graduation anthem for years to come, Vitamin C unleashed this cryfest of a song on the world in 1999. It was the soundtrack to countless photo memory slideshows and yearbook signings during my senior year.
Funfact: Vitamin C, whose real name is Coleen Fitzpatrick, plays the role of megabitch Amber, opposite Ricki Lake in John Waters’ cult classic, Hairspray.
“Good Riddance” – Greenday
This song came out toward the end of 1997 and seemed to mirror a lot of the things I was feeling at the time. It perfectly captures the uncertainty and anxiety we all feel when our lives are at a major turning point, not knowing what lay ahead and hoping we’ve made the right choices.
What did my fellow Leaguers listen to in high school?
Wondering what this is all about? This week’s assignment from The League of Extraordinary Bloggers was to create a 12-song mixtape from the music we listened to in high school.
Flashlights Are Something to Eat still had one of his old mixtapes laying around!
Goodwill Hunting 4 Geeks had well-rounded musical tastes in high school.
Cool and Collected makes me jealous that hair bands weren’t cool anymore by the time I got to high school.
Cavalcade of Awesome shares my love of rap and hip-hop.