It seems like it was only yesterday that your long carefree summer days appeared endless.
Unfortunately, it’s that time of year when you need to start thinking of trading the sunblock and swimsuits for backpacks and notebooks.
But don’t get down, because a new school year offers more than just homework and exams. The start of a new semester brings with it prospects of new friendships, adventures and, hopefully, even a few fun dances and parties.
So while your lazy days come to an end, here are nine songs to get you back into the school groove.
...Baby One More Time – Britney Spears
Who can forget the first time they saw Britney Spears dressed in a Catholic school uniform in the video for her 1998 debut single? Shot at Venice High School in Los Angeles (which was also used in “Grease”), the pop princess’ dance moves and gymnastics routines all turned out to be a classroom daydream. 21 years later, I must confess I still believe (still believe).
Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
The 1991 hit made grunge mainstream and turned teen angst into a worldwide phenomenon. Although shot on a soundstage, the video was set in a high school gymnasium where a pep rally evolves into a mosh pit. When Kurt Cobain sang, “I feel stupid and contagious/ Here we are now, entertain us,” a Generation X anthem was born.
Schoolin' Life – Beyoncé
“Schoolin’ Life” appeared on the deluxe edition of Beyoncé’s 2011 album “4.” The track featured Queen Bey giving life lessons to people in their 20s to their 50s and proved we all have a lot to learn even after leaving the classroom. And to further our education, no truer words were spoken than when Queen Bey sings, “I’m not a teacher, babe, but I can teach you something.” Educate us, Beyonce!
Rock & Roll High School – The Ramones
Influential punk group The Ramones not only recorded the song for the soundtrack of the 1979 film “Rock & Roll High School,” but they also played themselves in the movie. With an infectious beat, simple lyrics and clocking in at just over two minutes, you’ll have “fun, fun, rock 'n' roll high school” stuck in your head until midterms.
School Spirit – Kanye West
Yeezy paid homage to Black fraternities and sororities on the track from his 2004 debut studio album “The College Dropout.” The song features a sample of Aretha Franklin’s ‘70s hit “Spirit in the Dark”, with Franklin’s voice sped up to Chipmunk quality. Interestingly, the Queen of Soul wouldn’t let Kanye use the sample unless he censored the profanity from the song. He agreed. R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
Fifteen – Taylor Swift
“Fifteen” was the fourth single off of Swift’s 2008 album “Fearless” and was inspired by her own experience during her freshman year of high school. The track details meeting her best friend and later falling in love for the first time. The country-pop ballad will not only make you reminisce about your own youth, but also of Swift’s simpler days before any of that Katy Perry/Kanye West/Kim Kardashian bad blood.
Hot for Teacher – Van Halen
“Hot for Teacher” was fourth single off of Van Halen’s blockbuster album “1984” and the last to be released with all original members. David Lee Roth left the band the following year. While pretty tame by today’s standards, back in the ‘80s the song faced backlash for its sexually suggestive lyrics and video. The song was later used in the 1999 film “Varsity Blues.”
Popular – Nada Surf
Released in the summer of ’96, “Popular” quickly became a teen anthem for sarcastically depicting the lives of a high school in crowd. The song features spoken-word verses with lines such as, “being attractive is the most important thing there is,” which were directly lifted from a ‘60s etiquette guide entitled “Penny's Guide to Teen-Age Charm and Popularity.” On a side note, for a video that’s nearly 25 years old, it looks remarkably like any show on The CW today.
I Can – Nas
“I Can” is one of the only song’s on Nas’ 2003 album “God’s Son” to not have a Parental Advisory label. The single’s positive message encourages young kids to stay in school, work hard and stay drug-free to achieve your dreams. It’s inspiring theme also paid off for Nas as the song is his highest-charting single as a lead artist having reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100.