School is back in session, the leaves are turning and football is on TV. So our latest Mix Disc Monday is a list of songs about school, or that have some sort of school reference in the lyrics or maybe in the title. Those of us who don’t have to endure teachers, fellow students or bad cafeteria food anymore can only remember what it was like, or (gulp) live it out vicariously through our kids. Meanwhile, enjoy this list and see if any of these songs give you that same September feeling you used to have when returning to class:
"I Don’t Like Mondays," The Boomtown Rats (The Fine Art of Surfacing)
This song is so haunting, painting a very vivid yet disturbing picture of 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer, who went on a shooting spree back in 1979 that killed two adults and injured eight children and one police officer on a school playground. Let’s label this a depressing start to the mix and get happier from here, shall we?
"A Lifetime," Better Than Ezra (Closer)
Okay, I lied. Here is another extremely sad song about the death of a fellow student sung from the point of view of a classmate. The premise is about stealing the kid’s ashes and dumping them in the ocean, as he would have wanted. Man, some of these songs are bumming me out.
"Tony," Patty Griffin (Flaming Red)
Here’s an album you may have missed from the last decade and the last song here about somebody dying, I swear. Flaming Red still gives me goose bumps. And in particular, this rocking, albeit extremely disturbing song about a wussy fat kid who blows his brains out, written from the point of view of the girl who sat behind him in homeroom, is too powerful to ignore.
Not me, though. I closed that last book and never turned back. Still, I appreciate a good song about adult education.
"Stacy’s Mom," Fountains of Wayne (Welcome
School isn’t just books and learning and teachers. It’s lusting after cheerleaders, hot teachers and fellow students’ moms. This song boldly went where other songs didn’t go before, bringing MILFs to the forefront of our fantasies. How come when I went to school, other kid’s moms looked like grandmothers?
"No Such Thing," John Mayer (Room
John Mayer sings about how he wants to go to his 10-year high school reunion and show his fellow classmates that he’s made it big and is now banging Jessica Simpson. I don’t blame him one bit.
"James," Josh Rouse (1972)
This one is a stretch, because it’s only a reminder of my own school days in the Seventies: jangly soft rock with flutes and powerful melodies. Rouse brings back the likes of Firefall, Jackson Browne and Nicolette Larson, all while using just one spot on this list.
"Giant," Matthew Good (Beautiful Midnight)
Another great album of the last decade or so that you may not have heard, but really should. This is the first track, and starts with a bunch of cheerleaders chanting "S-U-C-C-E-S-S/That’s the way we spell success." Are you ready for some high school football?
"Summer’s Gone," Feeder (Comfort In
The last of the great rock albums from the last ten years that you probably haven’t heard but that I’m telling you to go and check out. And what sums up "back to school" like the title of this song?
Nathan Angelo (Through Playing Me)
Nathan is a singer/songwriter, piano-playing dude along the lines of Gavin DeGraw. His music is infectious and soulful, but he’s on here because he wrote a song with a title that lands smack dab in the middle of the first month of school.
"Kodachrome," Paul Simon (There Goes
"When I think back to all the crap I learned in high school/It’s a wonder I can think at all." I don’t have to tell you Paul Simon is a brilliant songwriter, but sometimes you have to just marvel at how he can make simple lyrics sound so deep.
"Hey School Boy," Stefy (The Orange
If you hear this song, you’re going to want to be the dude lead singer Stefy Rae is singing to. Trust me.
"Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room," Brownsville
If you didn’t get into some sort of trouble in school at some point, you’re either lying or you’re not cool enough to be reading this.
"Maggie May," Rod Stewart (Every Picture
Tells a Story)
"It’s late September and I really should be back at school." Well, what the hell are you doing, Rod? Trying to bang Maggie? Is she Stacy’s mom?
"S.C.H.O.O.L.," Rebel Rebel (Explode
A song about the last day of school and getting the summer started. It seems like a long ways away, but aside from drinking beer and banging that cute chick in chemistry class, what else is there to look forward to?