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    Wed, 08 Sep 2010 16:17:43

    School House Rock - The Top Ten Back to School Songs

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    • Van Halen - LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 29: Musician Alex Van Halen and Stine Schyberg attend MOCA's 35th Anniversary Gala presented by Louis Vuitton at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA on March 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.
    • Van Halen - LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 29: Musician Alex Van Halen (L) and Stine Schyberg attend MOCA's 35th Anniversary Gala presented by Louis Vuitton at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA on March 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.
    • Van Halen - LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 29: Musician Alex Van Halen attends The Museum Of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Celebrates 35th Anniversary Gala Presented By Louis Vuitton at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA on March 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

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    Well, Labor Day has come and gone, and that means a few things. First, you’re not allowed to wear white anymore, and, more importantly, it’s time to hit the books for going back to school. Along with your new back to school threads, you need to make sure you have your playlist set. Here are the Top Ten Songs to get you revved up for the upcoming year of Academia.

    “School”- Nirvana

    “Won’t you believe it’s just my luck… No recess,” Kurt Cobain wails on this early grunge stomper from Nirvana’s first album, Bleach. Amen, Kurt! Imagine- Nirvana brings their bleak vibe to the classroom. We’re all a little sad to see the summer go, but cheer up, everybody- the fall season brings beautiful leaves, Halloween and new episodes of Gossip Girl (“OMGG”!). How bad can it be?

    “Hot For Teacher”- Van Halen

    Van Halen has a much more fun take on school than those Nirvana boys did. This is a good problem to have- you could have a hot teacher this year! “I think of all the education that I’ve missed/ But then my homework was never quite like this!” Be sure to bring an apple on the first day of school; your abnormally attractive educator will be putty in your hands!

    “Another Brick in the Wall”- Pink Floyd

    Whenever your studies are getting you down, just remember this classic track from Pink Floyd, when a chorus of school boys declare: “We don’t need no education/ we don’t need no thought control.” If a band like Pink Floyd says it, it has to be true! The ironic thing here is that they are using a double-negative in that lyric which is grammatically incorrect. So, they actually do need an education.

    “Be True to Your School”- Beach Boys

    This song is a classic, urging red-blooded teens across the nation and across generations to get a little school spirit going. You’d probably never get a song this earnest about school spirit nowadays, but then again we’ll never have another artist like the Beach Boys. Remember that at the next pep rally. Seniors rule!

    “Brain Damage”- Eminem

    Here’s a song about what school does to you. Just kidding! Stay in school, kids. This is a wildly vivid account of being bullied at school from Eminem’s first album, The Slim Shady LP. In the track, Mr. Mathers basically posits that as a kid in school he was beaten to the point of brain damage, which made him the sick, twisted and incredibly successful emcee that he is today. It could happen to you! My favorite part- Slim Shady gets beaten to a pulp by the local bully in the restroom, and the principle walks in to help stomp him.

    “Going Away to College”- Blink 182

    Blink 182, pop punk’s resident class clowns, give their take on higher learning. This was before emo took over and everyone had to sing about how their heart was ripped out by the girl who’s locker was next to them. For those of you going away to college, here’s a bit of advice: enjoy it! College is like summer camp for 18-22 year olds. You might have to go to class once in a while, but it’s really just a minor inconvenience.

    “Jeremy”- Pearl Jam

    This is an anthem for all those who got bullied in school, and a warning to all you bullies out there. “Jeremy” recounts the tale of a quiet kid in class who snaps after being picked on one too many times. The video for this classic cut stands as an eerie precursor to the Columbine era. Hopefully your first day in class won’t involve anything like this!

    “Freshman”- The Verve Pipe

    Ahh, thank goodness for lists like these that they keep a band like The Verve Pipe alive. This song talks about a tragic romance from freshman year. It’s cryptic and vague, to be sure (did this girl die? Or did they just break up?), especially when recounting a bad romance from freshman year. Hey, at least you had a romance freshman year to worry about, Verve Pipe! Uh, sorry, I’m getting a little off-point… On to the next song!

    “Popular”- Nada Surf

    This song is both catchy and instructional. “Popular” by Nada Surf (Nada Surf? Nada-round any more! Zing!) is about as tongue-in-cheek as you can get for an alt-rock song. During the verses, a savvy didactic-type gives detailed and rather ludicrous tips on how to be popular. Turns out, it’s a lot of work!

    “School’s Out for Summer”- Alice Cooper

    I know this is a back-to-school list, but why not give a little light at the end of the tunnel? As sad as you are about heading back to class, at least you know in nine month’s time you’ll be free again for another blissful, fleeting summer. This song probably has the best punning of any school-based rock song. Cooper wails, “We have no class/ and we have no principles/ and we have no innocence/ we can’t even think of a word that rhymes!” I still laugh out loud every time I hear that.

    Hopefully this playlist will calm your nerves when you’re walking back to class this fall. Summer may be over, but who knows…maybe this is the year that you become the new king of campus! Eh, you’re probably right- who are we kidding? At least there’s a lot of great fall music coming our way to look forward to. Make it a September to remember, and have a great Rock-tober, school boys and girls!

    —Mark Phillips

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    Tags: Van Halen, Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Eminem, Pearl Jam, The Verve Pipe, Nada Surf, Alice Cooper

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