Earlier today I was sitting at my desk, creating a playlist for when I go back to school. Yes, I’m that bored. I realized, while looking through my iTunes library, that they just don’t make music like they used to. Don’t get me wrong, I think that several of the albums produced within the past few years are great; Jay-Z’s “Magna Carta Holy Grail” and J. Cole’s “Born Sinner,” to name a few. It’s just that, well, with country music sounding more and more like Justin Bieber, rock & roll being in somewhat of an awkward phase, and nerdy European dudes that make weird sounds with their computers (I’m looking at you, house music) taking the music scene by storm, there are times I wonder what it would be like to spend my four years of college in a different time period.
I couldn’t narrow it down to just one era, so I picked three. Three four-year time spans in music history that trump today’s music era by comparison.
1) 1984 – 1988
Ah, the 80s. What a great era in American history. Reagan was in Office, The GOP was in full force, Wall Street was thriving, Hawaiian shirts and five-inch inseams were in, Rocky was beating up Commies, Eddie Murphy was still funny, hazing was at its peak, I could go on and on. The music, though, is what really gives this era its character.
Michael Jackson released “Thriller,” one of the best albums ever created. Madonna released “Like a Virgin.” This was when she got laid because people actually thought she was hot, and not solely because people thought banging her would make a good story. I can only assume sorostitutes went insane over Madonna back then. Guns ‘N Roses released “Appetite for Destruction,” which, along with Van Halen’s “1984,” gave rock a good kick in the ass and put it back on track. Then there was Kenny Loggins, who released the hit single, “Danger Zone.” Can you imagine being in college when “Danger Zone” was released? Un-fucking-real. Last but not least, The Boss released “Born in the U.S.A.”
Just imagine yourself jammin’ out to that stuff, all while rocking a pair of five-inch inseams, topped off with a Tom Selleck-like moustache.
2) 1995 – 1999
This time period begins towards the later end of the 90s grunge era, and ends right around the release of “Mambo No. 5.” It also starts a few months after the death of 2Pac, so it’s easy to assume I’d be hearing a lot of Eddie Vedder and 2Pac throughout fall rush. Eddie Vedder, actually, is the main reason I chose this particular time period.
Midway through my sophomore year, I discovered that one of my favorite drunk late-night activities (other than SLAMMING SLAMS WHICH I TOTALLY DID ALL THE TIME BRAHS!) was blaring bands like Pearl Jam and Hootie and the Blowfish, while belligerently slurring along to the songs at full blast. It sounds odd, I know, but think about the way everybody sang in the 90s. Remember how everyone would change every vowel to the letter ‘A’? Take the song “Jeremy” by Pearl Jam, for instance. The lyrics to the chorus are, “Jeremy spoke in class today.” I bet none of you knew that, because when you listen to the song, all you hear is Eddie Vedder screaming, “JEREMY-A SPOKE INNN-A EEEHEAAAHEAHHHEAHHHH-A!” Tell me singing/screaming that while you’re drunk doesn’t sound like fun.
Throw that music from A Night at the Roxbury into the mix, and 90s music is pure gold. Well, except Creed. Fuck Creed.
3) 2000 – 2004
Many of you are probably looking at this last time period and trying to think of what was so great about the music from those four years. Truth be told, not much. There are four things, and four things only, about this last four-year time span that make me wish I’d been in college back then.
A. 50 Cent’s “Get Rich or Die Tryin’.” 50 Cent’s music is great for any occasion. Laying pipe? Play 50. Cruising in your car? Play 50. Working out? Play 50. Throwing a party? Play 50. Having a nice dinner with your Grandmother? Play 50. You name the occasion, 50 Cent has the music for it. “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” is still, in my opinion, 50 Cent’s best album, and when it came out in 2003 it dramatically changed the landscape of hip-hop music.
B. “Big Pimpin’” was Jay-Z’s hit off “Vol. 3… Life and Times of S. Carter.” It has always been one of my favorite songs. Cruising top-down on I-95 with that song blaring through your speakers instantly makes you feel like a boss and, well, a huge tool. The hype surrounding that song when it first came out probably tramples anything Jigga’s come out with since then. Can you imagine celebrating your twenty-first in 2000, and hearing “Big Pimpin’” come on as soon as you turn twenty-one? I’d probably lose my shit.
C. I’m pretty sure “Get Low” was the first song I grinded with a girl to. I was twelve, and barely lasted the entire song before I had to quickly teach myself about the belt tuck What a lifesaver. It was great. If that song made a bunch of seventh-grade girls go crazy, I can only imagine what it did to new college freshman.
D. February 24th, 2004. What was that day? The release of Old Crow Medicine Show’s all-time fraternity classic, “Wagon Wheel.” Hell of a tune to go out on, since it would’ve been my last semester. No way I don’t do a fifth year victory lap after being introduced to that.
So there you have it. Three time periods I’d consider trading my four years of college in 2013 to experience.