Remember the olden days when you were donning your cap and gown and getting ready to march across the stage and accept your high school diploma? You were probably counting down the minutes until you got to do the iconic cap throw at the end of the ceremony, and thinking about which song from your mixed tape/CD collection you were going to crank up as you drove through your town as an official high school graduate.
Given how much we love music over here at The Dose of Reality, this was a no- brainer. The hardest part was limiting ourselves to only five songs each since we didn’t graduate from high school the same year. We won’t even tell you who it is who graduated in 1986 and who graduated in 1994. We will let you see if our musical taste gives it away! As is our mannerly way, we’ll let the more elderly Dose Girl go first…
Top 5 Songs the 1986 Graduating Dose Girl Was Listening To
Rock Me Amadeus– Falco: It was a pop song that nobody understood celebrating a classical composer that had been dead 200 years. That has multi-platinum written all over it, right? It did for the suave Falco who took the magnum opus of German language pop songs to the top of the US charts in 1986. For this teenage pianist, seeing Mozart get his technicolor bewigged due was just an added bonus.
Take My Breath Away- Berlin: Please. 1986 *was* the movie Top Gun. I saw the movie three times in the theater, which was practically unheard of in those days. I was generally spending all my money on Swatches and Aqua Net. Nothing I’d seen to date was as hot as Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis in their steamy bedroom scene where this song played. Nothing. (Except maybe for the volleyball scene…oh, yeah…the volleyball scene…wait…what were we talking about?) Ahem. This song really makes all of those teenage dreams and hormones come rushing back.
Sledgehammer– Peter Gabriel: Perhaps it was the amazing stop motion music video that was a standout even in the golden age of 80’s music videos. Or it could have been the totally awesome lyrics filled with sexual innuendos that our parents didn’t seem to catch. Maybe it was the fact that we did a rocking varsity cheerleading routine to this song back in the day. Oh, yeah. Too bad *that* was before YouTube.
Papa Don’t Preach- Madonna: I’m sure my father loved hearing his 17 year old daughter walk around the house singing a song about teenage pregnancy! It was the first time Madonna pulled one of her trademark total image makeovers and it blew our minds! Her fabulous bustier here was a taste of the conical bra shenanigans that would follow, but for *this* 80’s girl, it doesn’t get better than a serious, crop topped Madonna pleading her heart out to Danny Aiello. (Oh, come on Danny, support her!)
True Colors- Cyndi Lauper: This is the anthem of every misunderstood teen longing for someone to see her inner beauty…or to get that sort of volume from her bangs. It’s a timeless classic that this Dose Girl of the 80’s still listens to on a weekly basis.
Top 5 Songs the 1994 Graduating Dose Girl Was Listening To
Hero- Mariah Carey: Does anything scream high school more than a song that contains the lyrics “So when you feel like hope is gone, Look inside you and be strong, And you’ll finally see the truth, That a hero lies in you”? Come on. Surviving four years of different locker combinations and switching classes seven times a day? Deciding which boy to ask to the Sadie Hawkins dance? Figuring out how to con your parents out of all their hard-earned money so you can buy an extra pack of Big Red gum? That takes strength.
The Sign- Ace of Base: This song might have gotten a lot of Discman play in an incident we will refer to as “Cheating Boyfriend Saga of 1994”. Let’s just say that tears were shed. Diaries were written in. Pictures were defaced. It was not pretty.
Whoomp (There It Is)- Tag Team: Friday night high school football games. Pep rallies. Eating out at Chili’s. Driving around with no real destination in mind. To this day, the moment this song comes on
the radio the iPod daily playlist I am instantly transported back in time.
MMM MMM MMM MMM- Crash Test Dummies: It isn’t always the title of the song that will guarantee whether it will be a hit, as is quite evident from this masterpiece. I totally remember trying to analyze the lyrics, because they really must mean something. Like if you play it backwards, does the lead singer still say “mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm”?
Because the Night- 10,000 Maniacs: My first introduction to MTV Unplugged was from this song. It always made me wish I had stuck with the piano. And tried the violin. It also perfectly encapsulates the feeling that the world was my oyster. It *belonged* to me, at least in 1994, it did.
There you have it folks. A little trip down memory lane, both 80’s and 90’s style. Those were the days, huh? We leave you with one final video of inspirational words that really apply to every single graduating class of every single year. If you haven’t seen it, you will love it. If you’ve seen it before, you’ve probably already pressed “play” to watch and listen again. We wish we could go back and say these words to our high school selves and have us believe them.