Rewind: Pomp & Circumstance For The Class Of 2005

As graduation season continues to thrive, I guess I'm feeling a little nostalgic as 10 years ago I graduated from high school. Yes, 10 years ago. Horrifying. *cue the the theme song for Halloween* Apparently a class reunion is rumored to occur, and just like old times, I'm left out of the conversation.

But, why worry? The best day of high school was when I graduated and most of the people I associated with during those blustery four years I never need to see or speak to again, so why am I filled with sodium?

I guess it's just old ghosts.

Most people look back at their high school years with disdain because deep down it wasn't the end all be all of the crazy maze that is life. No, I wasn't someone who got beat up constantly or was rejected from the popular kids table --- a John Hughes movie my high school years weren't --- but I was one of those ordinary, okey-doke girls who rotated left of center. I was a band nerd, a drama geek, and sometimes (depending on which teachers I didn't piss off) a honor roll student, always with my head in a book, braces on my teeth, and scented body glitter slathered on. I was the type of girl you contact on Facebook seven years later and try to reminisce about the fake times you had together. That's the kinda girl I was.

Okay, I lied...a tad. Part of me does feel a pang for my high school years. It's a lot more fun to be flippant and unaffected and not have to worry about unemployment, stacks of bills, and looking in the mirror and seeing things going in different directions on your face and body. Still they weren't the best years of my life as they so often claim (and neither was college) because my best years are still on the come up (or so I keep telling myself...). Still, I think I miss more about being in high school was how I consumed music.

When I cleaned out my room a few weeks ago, I was showered with nostalgia over a lot of my high school memorabilia I came across. Pendants, composition notebooks, my clarinet, my old Homecoming t-shirt in all of its puff paint glory --- all kinds of j-u-n-k. I also found a bushel of mixtapes I made, and one in particular that I had decorated in my HS's black and gold ("mostly yellow") color scheme, christening it the soundtrack of my senior year.

It's funny how things quickly change. CD's and mixtapes of its ilk are are now out of fashion, a part of the dying breed of how we consume music. We don't make mixtapes anymore, we make playlists. We don't really buy CD's, we're too busy streaming them first. True, music heads will buy what they want on any format, but even this music head hasn't brought a proper disc since 2007, and feels streaming services like Spotify and SoundCloud have come through in helping me expand my music sense without having to worry about crowding a room filled with jewel cases and putting down $20+ bucks for an album that may only have 3 good songs on it.

Still outside of cassettes (what are those thingamajigs, you ask?), CD's built the music collection I have, and back in 2005 I along with others were all committing felonies by downloading music from sharing sites like Napster and Kazaa. That's what made a lot of those mixtapes special, special because of the serious care and guerrilla style techniques I utilized in order to cull the perfect soundtrack towards whatever mood I was feeling. It was a practice that made my high school years bearable, as well as proved how much music was an integral part of my life, and how to this day, it continues to be.

In the spirit of graduation season and of school days gone by, I decided to wipe a little ten-year dust off on a past sound adventure that became the backing music to one of the huge turning points in my life.

You care to take the adventure with me?

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1) Breakaway - Kelly Clarkson (Breakaway, 2004)
Since I went to a suburban high school some of my fellow classmates thought a Foo Fighters song (can't remember which...) was our graduation song. *sucks teeth* For me, I was all about Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway", the title track of her amazing sophomore album, as it felt more aligned in the story of my upcoming journey into the wilderness that was to be college. In a few months, I was going to be putting several hundred miles between me and my family and friends to take part into something that, at the time, was a little bigger than myself. This song was a motivating ray of sunshine as it let me know that what was happening was just the beginning --- and a good one at that.

2) 1, 2 Step - Ciara (Goodies, 2004)
Ten years ago, Princess Ciara was a Missy Elliot disciple, who, with moves so slick n' sharp, would align herself in the same dancing light as Janet Jackson. On her debut album, Goodies, Ciara had some radio crackling bangers (honorable nod goes to "Oh"), but her best was always "1, 2 Step". Since I was living in the 'Dutty South' of Texas, this is what we we're getting low to whenever the beat dropped.

3) Feel Good, Inc. - Gorillaz (Demon Days, 2005)
I am cheating with this inclusion, because I had a basic Black Eyed Peas song in this tracklist slot, and I really didn't want to subject you guys to it. So since this my blog, and my mixtape I can alter history just a tad, and plus isn't this just a great song? The Gorillaz were sort of a groundbreaking deal in music at the time as the British outfit was just a digital display. It was all cartoons and fictional backstories and it was a little weird to behold at the time, still that fact didn't distract for too long as their music was always fun to take in. "Feel Good, Inc." will always be my favorite, as I appreciate De La Soul on back-up and the laid-back, sort of listless guitar sound it has.

4) Get Right - Jennifer Lopez (Rebirth, 2005)
Yes. The horns are annoying. Yes. It's not the greatest cocktail of R&B and Pop that there ever was. And yes, this is Jennifer Lopez who at the time worn out everybody's welcome with the P. Diddy shenanigans and her over-exposed affair with Ben Affleck (remember Gigli?), but good golly yes I admit, I love this song. Rebirth was supposed to be Lopez's "damage control" album after being so messy in the media (hence the title), but I could care less about that, as I was too busy singing this song like the little girl in the video, and trying to cop the same dance moves J. Lo was whipping out. Whatever you wanna say about J. Lo, she brings her A game with every dance step she takes.

5) Let Me Love You - Mario (Turning Point, 2004)
We don't talk about Mario like we used to. He was poised to be the next Usher, but then Ne-Yo and Chris Brown happened and well...R&B got ugly real fast. Actually, listening to this slow burning jam reminds me of what R&B dudes used to sound like, they used to sound honest. "Let Me Love You" pushes close to the edges of being a complete beg-a-thon, but Mario doesn't graduate from the 'Keith Sweat School of Old G Whining', as he really is feening for a woman he wants to make his lady, and he does it with some controlled lushness that it will make you swoon. Don't laugh --- you just forgot what a great modern R&B love ballad is supposed to sound like.

6) Lonely No More - Rob Thomas (Something To Be, 2005)
Remember when Matchbox 20's lead singer went solo and alternative rocks fans flipped their shit? I do. I remember a friend of mine called him a "pussy Justin Timberlake wannabe" and threw the CD across the room. That is about as emo as you can get in 2005. True, I felt my friend's pain, because how do you go from rock-alt classics like "Push" and "Bright Lights" to doing spicy pop numbers? But we forget, Carlos Santana screwed up Rob Thomas' thinking pattern hence why he went all 'smooth' and mainstream as a solo act. Actually the Something To Be album isn't that bad, and this joint was playing everywhere thus why I ripped it here.

7) Ordinary People - John Legend (Get Lifted, 2004)
When John Legend arrived on the scene people got over-excited. We were thirsty for a new Stevie Wonder and the Chi-Town native fit the bill. Plus he was the only brother out there using a real working instrument so he got the legit vote from old schoolers like my parents. Looking back, "Ordinary People" is a safe song for the future Academy Award winner, but its still shivers with astute musicianship and lyrical smarts. It's surprising that this quiet song became such a big hit, but Legend sounds so damn good on it that I have already answered my own question. While Legend's talent gets side-eyes as it becomes more cloying and basic by the years (yes, "All Of Me" makes Legend sound like a dog in the throws of a heatstroke), he still remains consistent and is a favored vocalist for me. And he earns even more cool points for being conscious to what's going around him politically and socially which is something we can't say about his G.O.O.D. Music brethren, Kanye "Race Is An Outdated Concept" West and hand-of-love-extending enthusiast Common.

8) Obsession (No Es Amor) - Frankie J (The One, 2005)
My mind drew a blank when this song popped up, as I thought, "Who dis woman, Harpo?" Then it registered, and I was like...ohhhhh, yeahhhh, this song. Frankie J and Baby Bash are names you do not hear anymore, well, at least from my neck of the woods you don't. Frankie J was more of the R&B crooner than Marc Anthony and Enrique Iglesias were, hence why this song probably caught my ear.

9) Maybe - Emma Bunton (Free Me, 2005)
After all those years, I was still keeping ties on the Spice Girls even though they had permanently disbanded at this point and were all soldiering into solo careers. Each of them had something to offer, but I was really into the whole bossa nova phase Emma "Baby Spice" Bunton was doing and the mod '60s thrill ride that was "Maybe". To this day the "Maybe" music video is one of my favorite things put to film, as it's crammed with homages to the dances and films of Bob Fosse. It's just brilliant. Who would've thought this from the most innocent member of the Spice Force Five?

10) Sunday Morning - Maroon 5 (Songs For Jane, 2004)
Maroon 5 are a shell of what they once were, as back in 2005 they were, très hip? While Adam Levine looks like fleas take residence on his backside ya gotta admit he's got a great voice, and its why singles like  "This Love" and "She Will Be Loved" were unique embeds on the top 40 radio. Personally, I liked this song the most. It was White Boy Soul(c) that hummed in Steely Dan's direction and was perfect for those days where I wanted to feel more ~adult~ about my music choices. It also fit so perfectly in the spinning dinner table scene in Nancy Myer's Somethings Gotta Give, which I have a soft spot for because it has two of my favorite things in it: a lavish beachfront home and Keanu Reeves *swoon*

11) 1 Thing - Amerie (Touch, 2005)
"1 Thing" (or the song that everybody compares Amerie's other songs too) had a right to be a big hit as it kinetically kicked and pounded out like an classic funk stepper. It was smart, funky, and features the caterwauling of Amerie at a respectable tone. Before Amerie added a pointless "i" to her name, she was poised to be a big diva deal, but Beyonce came along and stole some of her steeze and it's why she hasn't been the same since. I still root for Amerie With One "i", and await for her to either get back to this or whatever goodness and promise she exuded on her debut, All I Have.

12) I Don't Want To Be - Gavin DeGraw (Chariot, 2004)
I have no clue why this is on my disc...maybe because of One Tree Hill? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  I heard this in the grocery store the other day and got a nostalgic stroke. I love how this song is so loud, so piano-y, so filled with angst. Piano pop with lyrics that resembled a pep talk from Mister Rogers got huge around this time and Gavin DeGraw was leading the pack back then. This was pre-James Morrison and Keane for me and yeah, it 'rawk'-ed.

13) We Belong Together - Mariah Carey (The Emancipation of Mimi, 2005)
Well, duh. Of course The Emancipation of Mimi didn't leave my CD player until 2007, what kind of fool would I be? 2005 was when Mimi made her big glittery comeback and now everybody and their mama was jumping on the bandwagon including my ratchet ass friends who clowned me for being a MC fan and were now all seeking out this disc because they were "such B-I-G fans now" *eyeroll* My high school friends were such posers... Still this was a glorious R&B slow jammy with an equally glorious video (Mariah rockin' her old wedding dress...#lmao) that is always fun to sing either drunk at weddings, piano bars, or alone in your room with some wine in while you cry over stupid ex-boyfriends...not that I have done all three...but let's be rhetorical, okay?

14) My Place - Nelly (feat. Jaheim) (Suit, 2004) this here...?  I guess because this was my "Nelly is a GOOD rapper" phase. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯Actually I'm hating. Nelly is probably the more enjoyable rappers from my teen years and this isn't a bad song persay, it's just...corny to my 2015 ears. "Won'tcha sit ya self down and take a seat and let me ease ya mind gurl, we gon do it our way" Wow. I'm so hot right now. While flicking channels, I caught Nelly's reality show the other day --- completely unaware that he had an actual reality show. They just give reality shows away these days, don't they?

15) My Boo - Usher & Alicia Keys (The Diary Of Alicia Keys, 2003)
Yay! Another embarrassing song choice! As much as I like Alicia and Ursh, this one just didn't age well. These two couldn't sound or look more disinterested in the video as they gaze blandly at each other while attempting to smash their faces together. And I really really hate that ending, you know all the MY OH! MY OH! MY BOOOOO! Good gravy on a Popeye's biscuit, that not passionate at all. Still what's funny to me is how we barely use "boo" as a term of endearment anymore as it has morphed into "bae", and well, we have never looked back since.

16) Dance, Dance - Fall Out Boy (From Under The Cork Tree, 2005)
I wouldn't call myself a Fall Out Boy fan or anything, but this song was massive to points where everybody and their momma was playing it, and right along with everyone I had it on repeat. I mean, it's a damn good song so no wonder? I'm actually quite partial to Patrick Stump's vocals. I thought he had one of the more interesting voices in alt-rock at the time, and it's a shame his solo career went kinda bust...Still I agree with him that this track is the best thing he's ever done. Nod ya head to this...

17) Baby It's You - JoJo (JoJo, 2004)
Prior to all of her legal woes and foes, JoJo was dropping fire single after fire single in the mid-2000s, literally permeating the countdowns on TRL. As much as "Leave (Get Out)" was played, I always had a soft spot for the bouncy Underdogs-produced, "Baby It's You". It was so sweet and honest, and JoJo had one of the best voices out there. I'm soooo ready for her comeback!

18) Goin' Crazy - Natalie (Natalie, 2005)
Natalie was a one-hit wonder from Houston, Texas, and while not having the most diva-hollering voice emoted a lot of my fussy little teenage feelings about romance in this one song. I love the ease of this song, how cool and calm it is.

19) Touch - Omarion (O, 2005)
Somewhere down the line we were trying to make former B2K vocalist, Omarion happen. Fetch that! I will say he was off to a great start with his Pharrell-produced second single, "Touch" complete with a simple, but effective visual that featured him doing a cool pretzel-twisting dance battle with his love interest. I still play a healthy amount of this song to this day, because that beat still goes hard. Actually, "Touch" is one of the reasons why the whole Marvin Gaye/"Blurred Lines" debacle makes me mad, because Pharrell at one time could produce a song that sounded unlike what everyone else was doing. Now he's just lazy, overly happy, and has taken residency in New Black City. How the mighty have fallen...

20) Signs - Snoop Dogg (feat. Justin Timberlake + Charlie Wilson) (R&G: Rhythm & Gangsta: The Masterpiece, 2005)
Pharrell was all over the place wasn't he? This is another production of his back when Uncle Snoop Dogg was doing whatever he pleased after the success of "Drop It Like It's Hot". At the time, I was scooping up everything with Justin Timberlake's name on it whether it was good or bad, but I felt super smart among my friends because I knew who Uncle Charlie Wilson was (Gap Band, y'all!). I admit, this was a fun song that I need to bounce to more often.

21) Through With Love - Destiny's Child (Destiny Fulfilled, 2004)
There was a time where Beyonce and her much vaunted feminism (yes, I said vaunted) didn't rack on my nerves like now and it was back in those DC days where she was with Kelly, Michelle, and whoever was on a rotating two-week tenure for the group, hollering, raising all kinds of Houston-bred sista girl hell, singing about Bug-A-Boo's and the Lordt. Even with Michelle's struggle vocals towards the end, this was some impacting stuff. Fulfilled was kind of an impressive swan song for the trio with its conceptual storyline of a woman going from love, heartbreak, to finding redemption through religion, but nobody was really listening because everybody was waiting for the Beyonce Show to get going. *le sigh* I thought this was the perfect ending to a great run, as the three of them holler, "I'm through with love, I finally found it in GAWD!"

Get lifted y'all.

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