Happy Monday, everyone. It’s Melissa, and I’m excited to share with you the soundtrack that rocked my teenage years. This isn’t a list of my favorite tunes or the albums I wore out. These are the songs with the power to transport me back to 1989, or 1991, to moments so pivotal that they still stop me in my tracks.
Let’s call this “Mel’s Really Short and Wistful Playlist.”
1. With or Without You, by U2
The scene: I’m sixteen, sitting in a dark cocktail bar in Munich with a group of friends. My first love, Derek, is right beside me, holding my hand. This song plays through the speaker system, and Derek leans in and whispers in my ear, “I can’t liiiiiiive,” skips the ‘with’ and continues, “without you.” My heart warms and swells within my chest. He wraps an arm around me, and I want to freeze time.
I will never forget this moment. I’ll be 90, piddling in my Depends, and if this song comes on the radio, I will still feel that boy’s breath in my ear, smell the smoke and the alcohol in the air. This song takes me back to that bittersweet first love. Truth be told, I’m glad I don’t hear it that often.
2. Make it Last Forever, by Keith Sweat (with Jacci McGhee)
The scene: I’m seventeen, dancing with my boyfriend, Pete, at senior prom. I’ve just been crowned prom queen, and yet I’m crying uncontrollably. Why? Because graduation is just around the corner, and I know we can’t “make it last forever.” The end is coming. Everyone I love is leaving for universities around the globe. We’re scattering to the wind like dandelion seeds, and it’s heartbreaking.
I’m kind of glad I don’t hear that one too often, either.
3. I Wanna Sex You Up, by Color Me Badd
(Shut up, I’m serious.)
The scene: I’m seventeen, hangin’ at the Little O-Fest with my friends, (the ‘O’ stands for October, you perverts). It’s spring, and we’ve just graduated from Munich American High. This is our last hurrah before going our separate ways for college, and we’re riding the Octopus, hands in the air, laughing and squealing. This is the last carefree memory I have from high school, and hearing this song always makes me smile, despite its cheesetastic Color-Me-Baddness.
4. World in My Eyes, by Depeche Mode
The scene: I’m eighteen, very tipsy, and in my college boyfriend’s apartment. (The man who went on to become my first husband.) This song is playing on the stereo, and we’ve got it set to ‘repeat.’
That’s the night I…uh…played my V-card.
Oh, god, I can’t believe I just told you that.
I’m not giving you any more details, but trust me when I say I can’t hear ANY Depeche Mode song without thinking of that night.