Monday, May 14, 2012

Play Me A Memory.

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.

But enough about me! Now it's your turn. Which songs take you back and force you to replay memories from your teen years?

Melissa Landers is the author of ALIENATED, a seriously foreign exchange coming in 2013 from Disney Hyperion. You can learn more about Melissa on her website, and she'd love for you to add ALIENATED to your Goodreads bookshelf!


Kimberly said...

Oh, Melissa! I cracked up at your playlist. How awesome! You're a little younger than I am, but I can still close my eyes and remember those days as well. Isn't it funny how music can do that?
I'll hear a song on the radio and remember the exact year it came out, who I was with, what we were doing and who my boyfriend was at the time. :-)
Music is a powerful thing!
Thanks so much for sharing! This was such a great way to start my week. Okay. I'm late getting my kids up for school, and I'm smiling like a dork.

Melissa Landers said...

Thanks, Kim! I hope you'll have "I Wanna Sex You Up" in your head all day. It's running through mine, and you know what they say about misery loving company. :-)

Kimberly said...

The sex song that comes immediately to mind for me is George Michael's "I Want Your Sex." I think I would still know every single word of that one. What a trip down memory lane.
We'll be peeing in our Depends to the same generation of music, anyway. LOL Just a difference of a few years. ;-)

Blaise said...

The Who - You Better You Bet, or anything 80s Journey bring up many, many memories of my HS boyfriend. My freshman college year was filled with Meatloaf - and not just the school cafeteria kind. Paradise by the Dashboard Lights, anyone? Fun times!

Jen J. Danna said...

Oh yeah, I've got a few of these too. Music really takes me back. When I hear a song from the 80s, I can tell you what grade I was in and which friends I was with. Music is a stronger memory aid than scent for me! True by Spandau Ballet, Tainted Love by Softcell and the big one Forever Young by Alphaville. Ah, memories...

Melissa Landers said...

@Blaise: ugh, Meatloaf! Steve LOVES Meatloaf, but the sound of that man's voice is like nails on a chalkboard to me. I didn't even like him in Rocky Horror Picture Show. Glad he brings back awesome memories for you, though. ;-)

@Jen: Oooooh! Forever Young! That's another one that takes me back. I'd totally forgotten about it. Sigh...

Diane Reed said...

For me, it's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2. You know how it is--you've received all of these ideas about life from your parents, school, or church, but somehow you know in your gut that you'll have to get out there and test life on your own terms to see what really matters to you. i remember loving this song for owning up to not having all the answers! At the cusp of adulthood, that's how I felt : )

Lorie Langdon said...

First of all, I LOVE your title - very clever! And I really enjoyed reading these little glimpses into your past.
I remember Color Me Bad and all their baggy color-block clothes! I have to admit that I was a fashion victim of the 90's. I might have to dredge up a few pictures of me in my "fly-girl" outfits. ;D

Melissa Landers said...

@Diane: I know exactly what you mean! U2 was such a HUGE part of my youth.

@Lorie: It's funny that you mention fly girls, because I was just thinking about that show, In Living Color. Did you know Jennifer Lopez was one of their Fly Girls?

CareyCorp said...

Mel - your musical memories are fantastic! I said this in my post, but Should I Stay or Should I Go always makes me think of the guy in jr. high who asked me that as a way to instigate a marathon makeout session. Funny, I can't remember his name...

Melissa Landers said...

Carey, that's hilarious!

Jessica Love said...

Oh I Wanna Sex You Up will be in my head until the end of time.

For me, it was The Bodyguard soundtrack. My bff was OBSESSED with it, and we listened to it over and over.

Oh, and Ice Ice Baby. Heh.

Bethany Crandell said...


I had my first kiss to Toad the Wet Sprocket *sigh* and rode with my husband for the first time listening to RATT, round & round!

Melissa Landers said...

@Jessica: Oh, how could I forget Ice, Ice, Baby!

@Bethany: That reminds me of Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Round," which also brings back memories! We used to dance and dance and dance to that song. It makes me smile. :-)

Tameka said...

To the ah tick tock you don't stop.

You're welcome.

Mine is Just a Girl by No Doubt. Teen Me was obsessed with Gwen Stefani and played it on repeat all through 10th grade!

Melissa Landers said...

LOL, Tameka, the "tick tock" intro is the BEST part!

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