Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I [heart] the 90s

Most of my teen years were in the nineties. They were a mixed bag of times. I had the highs of a Sweet Sixteen, getting my license and graduating high school, along with the lows of my first broken heart, solo navigation of the college application process and trading everyone and everything I knew for life as a college student 300 miles from home.

This past weekend I got to take a trip down memory lane via the I Love the 90s Tour. It featured some of the hip hop artists I remember blasting from my car as a new driver and was one of the best concerts I have ever been to. What I loved most about it was that every song held a memory. I was taken back to so many moments from when I lived in Chicago. With some songs, I was driving along Fullerton Avenue in my 1992 teal Ford Taurus with the windows down and the music blasting way too loud. Other songs were coming out of passing cars as my neighbors, friends and I sat outside on our porch steps. The song would instantly stick in our heads and we would start singing along, hoping our parents wouldn't call us inside anytime soon. 

Salt N Pepa, Coolio, All 4 One, Color Me Bad, Tone Loc
The music videos of the songs played in the background while some of the artists performed and I was back on my beige couch, on the second floor of my childhood home, watching MTV and trying to read their lips so I could learn the words to the song. Seeing how much the artists had changed and aged was a little amusing, as was seeing men in their forties and fifties doing synchronized boy band dance moves. But, I appreciated that they put their heart and soul into their performances. They looked like they were having fun, so the crowd responded likewise. It felt as though everyone there wanted to be there. The performers were thankful for fans that continued to support their music, and the fans were excited to relive good times through the songs they knew and loved. 

Reflecting on the concert, I realized that I associate a lot of memories to music and songs. For some people, memories are triggered by smells, or tastes. For me it's audio. Music is my time machine. Play old school salsa and I am five years old again, my dad teaching me how to dance salsa to El Gran Combo and Celia Cruz songs. It was time to clean when my mom played oldies, but I didn't mind so much when the music put her in a good mood and she sang along. Hymns remind me of Christmas services and Sunday school at my childhood church. Too many songs to list remind me of the various stages I went through in high school, from wearing my Cross Color extra baggy jeans and memorizing every word to Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre's Nothin' but a G Thang, to rocking my favorite hunter green flannel shirt and listening to Green Day in the art room, and playing Selena songs over and over again, dreaming of finding a red lipstick as badass as hers. During the concert, I wanted to turn to my date and share a memory for every song, but I didn't want to stop singing along or interrupt the show for him, so I kept them to myself and enjoyed the nostalgia. 

I sang every single song and danced moves I hadn't done in ages. It was great to forget about adulting for a few hours and get lost in simpler times when hip-hop spoke to me in a way it rarely does anymore, and my worries were so much lighter than they have been in years.

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