My Musical Education – Part III

Adolescence is a hugely influential time in any young girl’s life. Add to that the drastically changing world of music and you’re probably thinking about the 90’s… At least, I am! 

For me, the 90’s brings about a HUGE melting pot of genres – some that hadn’t been labelled before this decade.
Alternative, Grunge, Boy Bands, Rap, Loud, and who could forget GIRL POWER! 

I could write for days on the musical influences I found just in the 90’s alone – probably because I came of age in those years. Born in the early 80’s, I remember a lot of music from back then (a topic for a future post I am sure). What makes the 90’s more distinct (musically) are the memories that go along with specific songs. When I hear a certain intro, back beat or chorus, I am transported back in time to the very moment that song touched me.

Four songs, by four girl groups, each of which has special meaning to me:

1. Salt-N-Pepa: Shoop

Jr. High School video dance; a practicing feminist back then (I laugh when I say this), I remember saying to a friend “How could those girls parade around dressed like that? Don’t they know they’re women, and not objects!?”
Twenty years later and THIS song is what I request EVERY time I go to a club or a party. I know all the words, and I have a little dance to go with it! 

2. Spice Girls: 2 Become 1

Probably not their most popular single, these girls invented the “girl power” genre. I loved them, hated them, idolized them, secretly loved them, and was very sad when they split up. 

3. All Saints: Never Ever

This song reminds me of my junior high school days. Boys and girls pairing off, holding hands, calling each other ‘boyfriend’ and ‘girlfriend.’ Only to breakup and do it all over again with someone new the next week. More a spectator than a participant back then, I am recently reminded of this songs relevance and the importance of closure. The opening lyrics say it all:

A few questions that I need to know
How you could ever hurt me so
I need to know what I’ve done wrong
And how long it’s been going on
Was it that I never paid enough attention?
Or did I not give enough affection?
Not only will your answers keep me sane
But I’ll know never to make the same mistake again
You can tell me to my face or even on the phone
You can write it in a letter, either way, I have to know
Did I never treat you right?
Did I always start the fight?
Either way, I’m going out of my mind
All the answers to my questions, I have to find…

4. Robyn: Show Me Love

The year is 1999. It’s late spring, I’m laying on an air mattress in the spare bedroom of family friends in England. A warm June afternoon, the window is open, I can smell the BBQ on the patio below me. My discman is cranked up to 10 (or louder), and I am belting out this tune alongside Robyn: Show me love baby show me everything you got and show me life… As the song came to an end, I heard an enthusiastic round of applause from below. I had forgotten that the window was open, and that everyone in the house, but me, was outside.

Other “girl power” songs to check out:
Alanis Morrissette: Ironic
Natalie Imbruglia: Torn
No Doubt: Don’t Speak

What are your “Girl Power” songs?

Peace and Love,
Mandixoxox

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