Thursday, October 2, 2014

Posted by Erin Posted on 12:31 AM | No comments

31 Days of The 31 Years Soundtrack: Slow Jams

There are many methods to storytelling. You can start in the logical place, the beginning and walk straight down the plot line...not really my style. You can start at the end and unravel it back to where it all began. Or, you can create an intricate web of a story with flashbacks and flash forwards, reminiscent of poor Jack's life on the Island(Lost). Keep the audience on their toes. Since we are taking a journey through the soundtrack, it may not be quite as suspenseful, but that is our flight other words, we are going to be jumping around. 

I've decided to start at the part of the story where music suddenly becomes the fodder for awkward social interaction. Go with me now to the school gym. White tile floor, white concrete walls, scowling viking overlooking the hormonal charades beneath him. Yes my friends, we are at a middle school dance. Girls on one side of the room, boys on the other. Boys, having yet to hit that growth spurt, at the perfect hight to make eye contact with your chest. Girls, trying to balance in their heels along the thin wire between impressing the crush or the popular girls.  Sweat drenching the poor silk shirts that seemed like a great wardrobe choice before the first song. Cologne drenching...well, everything else. 

It's easy to survive the Macarena and YMCA. Those songs come with instructions of what to do with your hands. But, inevitably, the tables turn to the slow jams. Suddenly, there is a sandstorm of shuffling feet. Some trying to find their way off the dance floor as quickly as possible. Others shuffling along the sidelines waiting, hoping to be asked to dance. And others, having gained courage, shuffling to-and-fro, to-and-fro beneath locked knees. 

There are a few specific moments I can recall of from school dances. 

In middle school: The mean girl making it a point to let me know the boys in her grade would not be dancing with me. Learning that the boy who had just asked me to be his girlfriend the day before, and whom I had refused, had started "dating" another girl. I asked him why he was dating her(she was kind of mean) and his response was "because you said no." This logic baffled me. I remember the dress I wore to my very first dance. It was black and white and I had braided my hair. An older girl, making fun of me, called me Dorothy. I did not see the insult in that... *shrug*. I remember a girl lying to me about crying in the bathroom..."allergies" apparently. 

And in high school: I remember taking Dan Savage to homecoming and feeling really special even though we were only friends and he was really more my brother's friend. I remember standing by myself at a dance my junior year and feeling awkward and alone until my middle school crush, then good friend, came and asked me to dance. He told me I looked like Cinderella. He even twirled me, y'all. I remember terrible dresses that I thought were gorgeous and glamorous at the time. I remember wishing guys would be braver and kinder and ask girls to dance without wondering if it would cause us to fall in love with them. I remember being determined to have fun with or without a date. 

And I remember one song in particular. I think it was actually played at every single school dance I ever attended. It was recorded by two artist so I'm sure that helped it stay in the DJ arsenal for awhile. It was the ultimate ballad. A declaration of love that every girl would dream of hearing from the boy that sat three desks away in Chemistry. Country music or r&b, this was the jam. So, let me not keep you waiting any longer. Grab that special someone and dance like you have no idea what to do with your hands. 

For the country fans:

For the R&B fans:

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