The Future’s So Bright We Gotta Wear Shades

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.

When we saw the Monday Listicle topic for this week, we knew we had to link-up. Thank you Kathy Kramer for suggesting “10 Favorite Songs from your senior year of high school”.

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.




The Future’s So Bright We Gotta Wear Shades — 116 Comments

  1. I graduated from high school in 1999, but I remember all of the songs from the early 90s. I’m a little surprised there’s no Boyz II Men in here. And who can forget the volleyball scene in Top Gun? I mean, really. Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer at their finest, before Tom Cruise went all couch-jumping crazy!

    • You have no idea how close we came to a Boyz II Men song being on the 1994 list Nicole. If we could have had one more choice that would have made the list! No one can forget the volleyball scene…it was glorious! 😉

  2. Oh man, I am totally re-living my former days… of OLD. I’m old. So old. graduated from HS in 1985 – college 1989. Didn’t hit the 90’s til I was out on my own living in New Orleans doing my clinical internship…then on to Chicago. Oh yes, I saw Boys II Men in concert!! And many others… my twenties were CRAZY times in the city. Going down memory lane now, thanks to you two! 🙂
    There are SO many songs I can remember, and still know every word. Almost ALL of these are my faves. And so many more. They define us in so many ways, don’t they? So do the movies of those times…

    That video was so cool. Never saw it before!

    • I bet Chicago was an AWESOME place to live in your 20’s. Isn’t it amazing how much music just instantly has that ability to transport us back in time? Totally defines us. 🙂

  3. I graduated in 1995, so the 1994 songs were more my speed in high school, but still do very much also remember most of the 1986 ones, because I was 9 years old and loved listening to the radio and most of the songs you listed here. Loved this and definitely took me back and then some!! 🙂

    • Felt the same way about the 1986 ones Janine…I knew them all and was totally into them then, too. It was such a fun post to write, because we got to remember the music that shaped our lives! 🙂

  4. Squee! I LOVE these songs! The 1986 Dose Girl and I could totally share an iPod. Although the early 90’s had a lot of great music too. Can’t wait to see that list as well!

    • The 1986 Dose Girl happily offers to share an iPod with you! 🙂 And nachos, too, if you want! 😉 LOVE your new avatar picture! Fabulous!

  5. Excellent lists, girls! I can totally relate to the Friday night football games and driving aimlessly listening to the radio. But our song (because it was 1975) was “You’re sixteen, You’re Beautiful and You’re Mine”. Great memories!

  6. I graduated in 1998 and I found myself nodding and smiling to all of the 1994 ones. Oh boy – Crash Test Dummies. What a trainwreck song. (so to speak)
    I hated it at first, and then that passionate hatred turned to love. Same thing happened with Macy Gray and the movie Rocky Horror.

    • You hated Macy Gray??!! “I Try” was like my anthem for over a year…thank you Felicity! 😉 True confession time: I have never seen Rocky Horror. I know. It is really a travesty!

    • Interesting…you were probably one of those totally fantastic retro kids who I wished I would be like in high school! 🙂

  7. I have my 20 year high school reunion coming up in Nov so this is perfect timing!!! OMG what a great trip down “music memory lane!” I’m positive we would’ve been besties in high school!!
    I watched the video (again) with my 4 yo and he asked me what “guilt” meant!! Oh I hope he never knows…

    • Oh my Gosh, we hope he never knows either! Wouldn’t that be the best ever!?! So glad you enjoyed this list…I can definitely tell we would have been total besties for sure! 🙂

  8. Love this. Cracks me up because I fall kind of in between you guys. I’m a ’90 graduate. 😀 I think I need to write a list. I need some relaxing listicles kind of post today!! Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  9. ’95 here, so I was singing along to most of the 94 songs- and some of the 86 ones, too- I had some of those records. Ah, records.

    I remember everyone being obsessed with that sunscreen song(or whatever it was called!).

  10. Funny, I felt stronger about the 80’s songs than the 90’s and I graduated with the ’94 Dose Girl ;)! I am amazed by your memories on these flash back topics! Keep’em coming!

    • I kind of did, too, honestly when we were talking about the post and going through the top 100 song lists. I think it was because 1986 is about the time I genuinely remember really getting what music was all about! 🙂

  11. You took it all the way back I remember that hero song everyone tried to sing that and every choir tried to do something different lol good ole days when music was so good

  12. I was OBSESSED with Ace of Bass (and in particular The Sign)! Most of those songs from the 90s definitely bring back memories. The year I graduated high school Vitamin C’s Graduation Song–Friends Forever came out. It’s not necessarily a song I associate with then but it definitely brings me back when I hear it!

  13. If you watch Dazed and Confused, those were the songs I listened to in high school, of course on vinyl records and 8-track tapes.

  14. I didn’t get all crazy about the songs, even though I loved them at the time – but I totally loved the vintage montage at the end! I’ve never seen that and I’m stealing it and using it in May around commencement time. So fabulous!!! Totally hit home and loved the old footage. God, I’m OLD!!!!

  15. I graduated in between the two of you, and I knew and loved every song on your list. When we were in San Diego this summer, we saw the BBQ place from Top Gun – the scene where Kelly and Tom first met. I was swooning a little remembering how my teenager self was so in love with that movie!

  16. I remember ALL of those songs!! I graduated in 1993, but I was really getting into music in the mid 80s, and really enjoyed those songs more than anything. I have no idea why…but I probably have all of those in my iPod. LOL. But where is the Ice Ice Baby?? Funky Cold Medina? Come on ladies…. 🙂

    • You totally graduated with the Beverly Hills, 90210 kids! I was so jealous that I was not the Class of ’93, too! 😉

  17. Whoohooo!! “Fine guys, sexy chicks, we’re the class of 86′”! I know, I know…lame, BUT hey 86′ was definitely the best graduating class EVER, lol! ALL 80’s songs were definitely chart toppers and your list were some of my favs! I’m such an 80’s fan that I keep the stereo in my car tuned to the 80’s station…IKR! Thanks for taking me back down memory lane ladies, have a good one!

    • HA HA HA HA!! The 1986 Dose Girl was just in heaven reading this comment! 😉 We both enjoy a good 80’s station, too! Just the best! 🙂

  18. Okay, I’m now stuck on Memory Lane. I always think of my cousin when I hear Ace of Bass’s “The Sign”. She would go nuts in the car and crank the volume up sky high and sing it (off key, of course) at the top of her lungs. Sure spoiled a good song… LOL!

  19. Thank you so much for this trip down memory lane!! I’ve known anyone besides my sister and I who liked Sledgehammer!! Well, like is a bit of an understatement, I FREAKING LOVE THAT SONG! It’s crazy how music can instantly transport you back to a particular place and time. I have nothing but happy, happy memories when I think back during those times!

    • Totally agree with you…music, really like nothing else, can take you back in time! It is the best! 🙂 And Sledgehammer rocks and does Peter Gabriel! 🙂

  20. I love that song ‘True Colors’ and ‘Time After Time’ by Cyndi Lauper…and of course, ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.’ I remember they played the music video for ‘Sledgehammer’ over and over again – it used to get on my last nerve. Oh wooooow…I remember that Rock Me Amadeus song…that was really catchy.

    Oh yeah…’Whoop..There it Is..’ was realllly popular, and the beat was contagious…how could you not move to it?

  21. Oh my. Thanks for reminding me how much older I am. That was definitely a trip down memory lane. I still love Hero and Whoop there it is? Whaaaat?

  22. Oh yes. Those songs really take me back. Of course, when I was walking across the stage, all I could think was, “Please don’t let me trip, please don’t let me trip, please don’t let me trip!”

  23. Quite a list girls! This is the first time I’m hearing most of these songs. I graduated a *few* years later so I’m not very familiar with these. But I love your taste girls…despite that one time you told us about the weird music choices you had 😉

    • Lisa totally feels like you mean me when you point out our weird musical tastes! 😉 She feels very sure you can’t possibly mean her! 😉

  24. I graduated in 1992, so I was kind of in the middle of you two. But so many of these are familiar. Papa Don’t Preach and True Colors. That was my middle school years, all summed up in a few songs!

  25. I have always felt cheated out because personally, I can’t stand the music of the 80’s. I graduated in 83 and my younger sister use to love to bug me with her version of Rock Me Amadeus, and well, who could forget Papa Don’t Preach! Great post!! ( I don’t mean to leave out the youngster in the group but by 94 I was married and was 29 so now I’m feeling really old!)

    • WHAT Kathy?? You can’t stand the music of the 80’s?? I think I just cried a little even having to type that sentence. 😉

  26. Ok…totally know all the 1986 songs. Not all of the 1994 songs. And as ridiculous as it is, I will listen to Falco any time it’s on the radio. I think I should just put it on my Ipod.

  27. Oh my gosh, all of these songs brought back so many memories! I just love that you started with “Rock Me Amadeus”. That song is so terrible, but I love it all the same…the husband insists on skipping it when it cycles through our music queue (yes, I do actually have it on mp3). The only change I would make is switching the Cyndi Lauper version of True Colors for the Phil Collins acapella version. Slightly less iconic, but so much better. (I was possibly born a few years too late…my senior year of high school was filled with music by Green Day and the Offspring!)

    • Nothing wrong with Green Day and the Offspring, but we agree that this music is definitely where it is at! 🙂

  28. Woah! That took me back – what a fun ride that was! My daughter is 4 and she loves the movie Pitch Perfect and 2 of the 5 songs referenced from the 90s were in that movie. She will never know how good it was back then. I graduated in 2000 and I sooo want to do this for a post, too!

    • Do you feel like Amadeus might have rolled over in his grave to know that Falco is what you think of when you hear his name?! HA HA HA!! This made me totally giggle! 🙂

  29. I graduated high school in 1984. Our theme song was Billy Joel’s Say Goodbye To Hollywood (as we were in Hollywood Hills, FL). And the songs that will always remind me of those years are Don Henley’s Boys Of Summer and John (preMellencamp) Cougar’s Hurt So Good and Jack & Diane. “Hold onto 16 as long as you can. Changes come around real soon, make you women and men.” True story!

  30. That last video made me wish for a simpler time. I graduated in 1988 and worked in a video store that played Top Gun all the time so I heard Take my Breath Away all the time. It’s a good think I liked the song. The guy in Papa Don’t Preach was HOT! Totally my type. True Colors is still one of my faves. Love this post. It brought me down memory lane!

  31. Oh my, I might not have graduated in ’86, but that list was so on the money for what I was listening to that year. Oh and LOVE Baz Luhrmann’s Everybody’s Free… so much so I posted about it on my blog a while back. Rockin’ good post ladies!

  32. Fantastic list ladies. I have very fond memories of the Mariah Carey “hero” song fully done with closed eyes and a animated right hand. I really thought I was was her!

  33. HELLO???? Which should I care more about? That you didn’t link that up to Twisted Mixtape or that you AREN’T GUEST POSTING ON RAISED ON THE RADIO???? HELLO! Yes I’m yelling! You guys are awesome, and having graduated in 1988, it was a no-brainer! Loved every song on this list! You guys rock!

    • Hahahahaha. Thanks so much, Jen! We were lucky to have so many good songs to choose from. The hardest part was picking only 5 each! We could have gone on…and on…and on!

    • I know…right?! Why does it seem like these were only yesterday?! How can it be possible that they were so long ago? Getting old is harsh.

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