Playlist of the Month: Songs by High Schoolers

It’s back to school time for all you kids out there! However, the last September that we headed back to high school, Mean Girls was in production and I was the first person I knew to go back to school with side bangs.

So, it was a while ago. And while our memory of high school isn’t as crisp as it used to be, we can be sure that we were not internationally-known recording artists. As if we didn’t feel old enough during this, the Tenth Anniversary Of Our Last First Day Of High School, here is a playlist comprised entirely of tracks by young artists who were still in high school at the time of recording.

Check out the entire playlist on Spotify!

Traci’s Picks

Name: Lorde
Song: Royals
Age of release: 16

If it seems like Lorde came out of nowhere, she did. New Zealand to be more exact. She released this song in her home country back in March, and months later, US stations began picking it up and now here we are. I can’t believe how great of an artist she is and how her voice is so unique and distinct. If you like this song, check out her new one, Team.

Name: Birdy
Song: Skinny Love
Age of release: 14

I feel like Birdy was hoping to be what Lorde is becoming now. A teenager from England, she covered this Bon Iver song and blew up shortly thereafter. She also earned her first Grammy nomination thanks to her awesome song with Grammy darlings Mumford and Sons, Learn Me Right, from the Brave soundtrack.

Name: Aaliyah
Song: Back and Forth
Age of release: 14

Despite the fact that R. Kelly was the first one to mentor her in the music industry and they were rumored to be dating, Aaliyah and R. Kelly made a classic 90s R&B song that kicked off her too short of a career. I don’t think anyone’s really been able to create the same magic since her, and this was the song that started it all.

Name: Destiny’s Child
Song: Say My Name
Age of release: 18 (all 4 members were 18!)

Listen, guys. Say My Name is probably my all time favorite DC3 song. And to think that if we went to the same high school, I’d be looking up to them as they were Seniors, being all cool and making hit songs and shit. Seniors in high school don’t make classic records like Writing’s on the Wall – they are too focused on getting into college and acting like the own the school and stuff. I guess Beyonce & co. owned pop music at the time, really.

Name: Michael Jackson
Song: Ben
Age of release: 14

Oh Michael. Little black Michael. Ben was the first song he recorded as a solo artist, but was still in Jackson 5 at the time of the release. It was the title song for the 1972 movie of the same name, and even though it’s essentially about a rat, it’s still a good song. Just forget about the rat part.

Molly’s Picks

Name: Jake Bugg
Age of release: 18
Song: Lightning Bolt

Back in June, I almost put Lorde on our summer playlist. Then I thought “I don’t know, this song has been out for a while. It’s  great… but it’s probably on the way down.” That song? Royals. Clearly I don’t know anything. So take this with a grain of salt: I think this kid is really good and might be going places.

Name: Brandy and Monica
Song: The Boy Is Mine
Age of release: 19 (Brandy), 17 (Monica)

Everything about this is awesome. In an awful way. Who could forget the probably fake drama that was concocted between the teen singers?  While not a technically good song, The Boy Is Mine is fun because it seldom comes up alongside the other cheesy 90s R&B tunes, so it’s always a fun surprise when you hear it. It’ll make you want to wear tims and head-to-toe Tommy Hilfiger like you wanted to in the late 90s.

Name: Hilary Duff
Song: Come Clean
Age of release: 16

I’m really embarrassed by how long it took me to choose between Come Clean and So Yesterday. Feel free to include both on your next Playlist Of (no) Shame.

Name: LL Cool J
Song: Rock The Bells
Age of release: 17

Before LL Cool J was a man with a hardworking publicist… before he guest-rapped on a track about a skinhead having a conversation about race in America with his barista… before he was the tough yet dad-ish agent on NCIS, LL Cool J was a teen rap phenom.

Name: Laura Marling
Song: New Romantic
Age of release: 17

Even when she was 16-17, Laura Marling was writing wonderfully clever lyrics. The difference is that in those first years some of her music had more of a Lily Allen, Kate Nash vibe than it does now. This and Ghosts were released around the same time and it was almost as hard as choosing between So Yesterday and Come Clean.

Playlist of the Month: On the Road Again

This is a special time of year for us here at Cookies + Sangria. Both of us consider the time we left our study abroad countries as an “anniversary” of sorts, and we’re both at 7 years now. It’s hard to believe, frankly. Although the whole “college girl who goes abroad and learns about the world and herself” thing is a bit of a cliche, that’s exactly what happened for us.

We’ve both spent our fair share of time on the road and in the air since then, and we still love a good travelin’ song. Hopefully you do, too. Bon voyage, nos amis!

Check out the full playlist on Spotify!

Molly’s Picks:

Travel Light by Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling

When I was an astronaut I didn’t have my boots, When I was a coal miner I didn’t have the news, When I was a record store I didn’t have the blues, I travel light and that’s the life for me.

This is one of my personal travel anthems, and it doesn’t make a half-bad life anthem, either. Originally recorded by Diane Cluck and Jeffrey Lewis, I much prefer the Flynn/Marling cover.

Shambala by Three Dog Night

Everyone is lucky, everyone is so kind, On the road to Shambala

In Nicaragua, our driver had a CD with about 5 tracks on it. We listened to it about 900 times over the course of a month. This was one of those songs, and it always brings me back to that hot, dusty village. Maybe an odd pick, but for me it sums up those perfect travel experiences where everyone you meet on the road is helpful and kind.

California by Joni Mitchell

They said “How long can you hang around?”/ I said a week maybe two, Just until my skin turns brown

On more long-term trips out of the country, it’s a weird, ambivalent thing thinking about your homeland from abroad. You’re sort of enchanted with everything you see, and you’re sort of ready to pack up and head home, too. Not that home is perfect: Joni was writing during Vietnam, and I was traveling a lot during the worst of the Iraq mess. Travel can magnify your home country’s flaws and make you miss it terribly all at the same time.

Elias by Dispatch

Distance is short when your hand carries what your eye found

When I left Spain, I learned one of the secrets of traveling: if you do it right, it means that wherever you go, you will always miss someone. I missed my friends and family in the U.S. during my months abroad, but when I came home, I missed my friends and “family” in Madrid. It’s worth making personal connections with people you meet on your travels, even if you have to accept that you may go the rest of your life without seeing them again.

Clean Getaway by Maria Taylor

He felt just like love. Except no fear of losing, and it wasn’t tough.

It’s so amazing when you travel that wherever you are is just plain home to someone else. Rather than making you feel empty that you’re anonymous, it mostly just feels free. This one reminds me of moving to a city where I didn’t know a soul but my own, which is always good to do in your early 20s (before, like a used car, your shock absorbers start to go).

Honorary mentions: I love Safe Travels (Don’t Die), but it’s more relevant when somebody else is doing the traveling. Chicago is another travel song I love, but like most Sufjan Stevens tunes, it means about 3 different things to me and will probably find its way onto a different Playlist of the Month anyway.

Traci’s Picks:

3×5 by John Mayer

Today skies are painted in a cowboy cliche. Strange how clouds that look like mountains in the sky are next to mountains anyway.
This is a travelin’ song if I ever heard one. Driving down the road, taking in nature, the sights, but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have someone you care about sharing it with you. Not to mention the instrumentals are a perfect background for his picturesque lyrics. It just feels like you’re on the move.

Going Home by Marc Broussard

You know I was born to roam.

In the same vein as 3×5, this jam has a general driving/travel theme in the lyrics, and the music feel like you’re on an old-timey train – like Hogwarts Express – going through the US to your love.

Cathedrals by Jump Little Children

In the cathedrals of New York and Rome, there is a feeling that you should just go home – and spend a lifetime finding out just where that is.

When I studied abroad, I discovered this song and it really hit me. I had this weird emotion where I wanted to be back home in America, where everything was familiar, and where my friends and family were. But at the same time I wanted to explore every single city in Europe – a place where I was slowly calling home too.

Chocolate by Snow Patrol

This could be the very minute I’m aware I’m alive. All these places feel like home.

Gosh, if there was a scene in my autobiographical movie, where I was running through the streets of a foreign country with a handsome man and exploring everything, it would be set to this song.

Heads Carolina, Tails California by Jo Dee Messina

We can pack up tomorrow. Tonight, let’s flip a coin.

Ok, this song is admittedly corny, but we played this on our road trip from the east coast to LA constantly. The idea of just packing up and not knowing where to go next was an idea that I would never dare to do, but our semi-planned drive across the country was the closest thing I’ll ever get to flipping a coin and leaving.