Homecoming Songs: Age 13 – 16

Posted on January 11, 2013



Smells like Tween Spirit | foto@me

Turning th..thir…th…thirt…twenty-five sure makes one dreamily reminiscent about those darned teen years. I had my parents, the one or two friends I actually had who were real human beings and my penchant for reading soppy books about ballet to thank for my musical tastes pre-13; after that, peer pressure and mainstream radio took centerstage. (Perfect 10, anyone?)

My tween music palate, like the four trusty basic taste sensations, can be retrospectively classified into memories that were Sweet, Sour, Salty and Bitter. (Umami is an imposter.)

B is for…

Bitterly embarrassing. Yes, my tweens open with PJ & Duncan. I wish it wasn’t true, but shit happens. I l…lo…lo…lov… enjoyed this song very much when I was a tween, standing tantalisingly on the cusp of teenhood, excitedly wondering what was to come in the years ahead. (Mostly menstrual cramps, weight gain and too much Math homework). It was a bit hard for me to revisit this mv for “Eternal Love”, and recall my tween self giggling, blushing and getting hot flushes (they don’t only happen to menopausal women, ok) to two po-faced twerps emoting:

“I give you my love | An eternal love [Sure, sisters] From me to you [As opposed to?] If you return | A token of love | An eternal love [A TOKEN of eternal love?]

Also – “Inside is warm on Christmas Eve | The fire burning | Our bodies yearning…” Gross, PJ & Duncan. In case you were curious, Duncan (Declan Donnelly) is the one “rapping” in a Russian fur hat. PJ (Anthony McPartlin) is the other guy whose hair looks like a hat.

Anyway, PJ & D have now successfully reinvented themselves as Ant and Dec, and are award-winning TV presenters, bagging the Nickelodean Kids’ Choice Award, British Academy TV Award, British Comedy Award and the National TV Awards in particular from 2001 to 2012 running. Good on ya, lads. You’ve come quite a-ways.


No harm being a bit literal about things. At 13-14, I looooooved to get down. (By myself.) I have these years to blame/ thank for my lifelong-weakness for reggae.

By the way, Inner Circle was actually formed in 1968. R.E.S.P.E.C.T., brothers. Today they are engaged in the noble task of trying to save reggae from the evil clutches of American hiphop, which they allege is polluting true-blue Jamaican reggae. This is the anthem they’ve put out to arrest that trend.

And if you are even remotely interested in reggae, this documentary about the UK sound systems is fantastic.

Sour Pusses

Most regrettably, the powers-that-be in the secondary school where I studied got it into their heads one day to Be Cool. To that end, thousands of pinafore-clad young ladies were set out on the school field once a week to bop and slap, bounce and clap to this:

Oh, the polyester bomber jackets and cone-bra corset. Incidentally, that keyboard should sue.

My schoolmates and I were loud and flagrant in our disdain for the Mass Dance (yes, they called it Mass Dance) but I secretly loved it, and was frequently guilty of being unnecessarily zealous in my hip-dips and side-shuffles, a delicious nugget of a secret I hugged to myself for years.

An unhealthy interest in dance “music” (techno, baby) grew from sessions of repeated subjection to 2 Unlimited. Unfortunately, I also liked this song:

That’s techno. AND country. This is a baby that should not have been born. More than a decade on, my ears are still ringing.

Sweet Sugar Honey

This, I loved when I was 15-16 and still like. Mates and I would gather to cathartically belt out “We’re TRA-A-A-A-SH, you and MEEEE” with the depth of emotion that only middle-class girls in convent schools could possess.

My Britpop years were, incidentally, one of the best times of my life. I had friends, my dress sense went from social suicide to socially-acceptable, I… actually, that was about it. Standards, huh? Still, those were the years of Suede, Blur (“Country House” is still one of my fav mvs), Pulp (I love you Jarvis), Oasis (here in happier times), Echobelly, Supergrass (Clueless!), Elastica… And remember Ocean Colour Scene?

For the ones amongst us suffering from Britpop yearning, UK90Z has put together an All-You-Need survival kit of a playlist, along with a great write-up. And the 2001 documentary Live Forever, produced by the very impressive John Battsek (who also worked on Searching for Sugar Man) is highly recommended.

With such a promising start to the early teens, the late teen years could only get better. Or could they? Watch this space.