Kinks, White Stripes and more

With everyone heading back to school, as Graham Parker so memorably put it in a rockabilly song that had virtually nothing to do with school, it seemed like the perfect time to bring you a sequel to the playlist we released last summer called “15 Classic Songs About School.” Our second class features highlights as dusty as the Coasters’ “Charlie Brown” and as recent as Lana Del Rey and the White Stripes.

And when you’re done here, you can check out last year’s list:

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Van Halen, “Hot for the Teacher”

It was the lowest-rated single from “1984,” but the video, which showed a teacher stripping, was all over MTV, prompting a protest from the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC). And VH1 named it the 36th best hard rock song of all time. The protest centered around the sexually suggestive lyrics and the striptease teacher. But everything seems harmless enough in the era of “Anaconda”. And David Lee Roth was born to play the lecherous young schoolboy who sings “I think about all the education I missed / But my homework was never quite like this.”

Alice Cooper, “Alma Mater”

Yeah, I know. “School is over.” We had that on last year’s playlist. Drummer Neal Smith wrote this bittersweet ballad, featured on the album “School’s Out”, which names both Smith’s alma mater, Camelback High School, and Cortez High School, where a young Vince Furnier met. two future group mates, Glenn Buxton and Dennis Dunaway, forming the earwigs. Cooper’s pained voice really sells the soulful lyrics, reminiscent of the Beatles as he soulfully pleads, “And you know, it breaks my heart to leave you / Camelback, my high school.” And best of all, it ends with some priceless lyric part as the song fades away, saying goodbye to the guys. “Hey, maybe I’ll see, maybe I’ll see you around the corner, huh?” He stammers. “Hey, don’t make a stranger out of you, do you?” You remember the Coop, eh? I mean, I hope… I hope you don’t forget me or nothing. Bye. Never mind the guillotines. This is Cooper in his most theatrical form.

The Kinks from their 1975 album "Schoolchildren in disgrace."

The Kinks, “School”

It’s the opening track for “Schoolboys in Disgrace”, a concept album dedicated to exactly what the title suggests. Our previous playlist included “The Hard Way,” a garage-rock classic sung from the perspective of a disillusioned teacher (“I’m losing my calling in teaching you to write properly / When you’re only able to sweep the streets “). This one is more nostalgic and nostalgic, a piano ballad that sounds like it was written for a 1950s sock-hop. There is however a bittersweet side to Ray Davies’ reflections, especially the passage where he tells us: “When I was a schoolboy I hated rules and rules / I hated my textbooks and my school uniform / ‘Because it made me conform / And the teachers always disobeyed / But I did would go back if only I could find a way. “

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The Beatles, “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”

The other Beatles hated the dark, comical tale of Maxwell Edison’s medical scholar Paul McCartney who murders poor Joan, who was bewildered and studying pataphysical science at home, carrying his trusty silver hammer on her head. But the other Beatles were wrong. It’s a true McCartney classic. In the second verse, Maxwell murders his teacher for making him stay after playing the fool again.

Steely Dan, “My Old School”

In which Donald Fagen explains why he will never return to his old school, Bard College, where in 1969 he and his girlfriend, Dorothy White, were arrested along with around 50 other students, not the least of whom was Fagen group, Walter Becker. , in a raid by sheriff’s deputies. As Fagen recalls in the opening verse about his girlfriend, “Your daddy was quite surprised to find you with the girls who work in the county jail / I was smoking with the boys upstairs when I was heard about the whole thing. “

Taylor Swift, “Fifteen”

In this melancholy ballad, the singer looks back as a teenager, but comes away with surprisingly grown-up thoughts on the battle scars of a young romance. But it starts with a richly detailed verse about that all-important first day of your freshman year in high school. “You breathe deeply and walk through the doors,” she sings. “It’s the morning of your very first day / You say hello to your friends that you haven’t seen in a while / Try to stay away from everyone / It’s your first year and you’re going be there for the next four years in this town / Hoping one of those older boys will wink at you and say ‘You know I’ve never seen you around before.’ “

Julie Brown, “The reunion queen has a gun”

A perfect parody of classic ’50s teen tragedy songs, this hit’ 80s novelty finds a girl from the valley sharing the details of her best friend Debi’s killing spree at the prom right after she been crowned. Not really. In the 80s, it was still called humor because it was actually too early. She was eventually taken away by the police and in her dying breath reveals that she did it for “Johnny”. Of course at this point the whole glee club has been killed, which Brown shrugged with “No big loss”. Best Line: “My god, my best friend is having a shootout / Stop it, Debi, you’re embarrassing me.”

Coasters, “Charlie Brown”

This sax-centric R&B hit is a novelty about the quintessential classroom clown, the kind of kid who calls out the English teacher Daddy-O, setting the tone with “Fe-fe, fi-fi, fo-fo , fum / I smell the smoke in the auditorium ”and let Charlie Brown respond to his assorted accusations at the end of each chorus with the brilliantly posed question:“ Why is everyone always picking on me? ”

Aerosmith, “Walk this way”

“So I took a big chance at the high school ball with a young lady who was ready to play.” Decades later, it’s easy to see how this single inspired a hip-hop revamp by Run-DMC. the history of the funk guitar. Then Steven Tyler grabs the microphone to share his most salacious schoolboy fantasies. “There were three young girls in the school gym locker when I noticed they were looking at me,” Tyler sings. And that’s after the verse about the little temptress – a cheerleader, no less – who laughs at what you see on the playground swings.

The White Stripes, “We’re Gonna Be Friends”

It’s the White Stripes showing their sensitive side, an understated finger-picking pattern highlighting Jack White’s story of accompanying a new friend to school at the start of the school year. “There’s dirt on your uniforms / from chasing all the ants and worms,” he sings. “We’re cleaning up and now it’s time to learn.” And if playing with the ants and worms along the way suggests that these new friends are younger than the characters in “Walk This Way,” for example, the following verse confirms it: “Numbers, letters, learning to spell / Names and books and showing and saying / At recess we will cross the ball / Back to class through the hall / The teacher marks our height against the wall. “This was used brilliantly in” Napoleon Dynamite”.

DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, “Parents Just Don’t Get It”

This old-school hip-hop classic paints a richly detailed portrait of disconnected parents who send the Fresh Prince to school with the wrong pair of sneakers and ugly clothes to start the year as a fashion outcast. The cool prince does his best to educate his mother in proper 80s school attire. As he raps, “I said, ‘It’s not Sha Na Na / come on, mom, I’m not Bowzer / Mom, please put the ‘Brady Bunch’ pants back on the feet / But if you don’t want to I can live with this / But you have to put the reversible double knit pants back on. ‘”But its mother won’t budge, and the first day of school is a fashion fiasco – because, of course, parents just don’t get it. The song won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance in 1989.

Beastie Boys, “(You gotta) fight for your right (party)”

This teen rebellion anthem sets the scene with Beastie Boys rap: “You wake up late for school, man, you don’t wanna go / You ask mum, ‘Please? But she always says, ‘No!’ / You missed two lessons and no homework / But your teacher preaches the lesson like you’re some kind of jerk. “The other lines are about smoking, porn, teenage fashion, hair and rap. But this opening verse is about the age-old problem of having to go to school before you are old enough to want to learn anything.

Stray cats, “(She) Sexy & 17”

It starts with Brian Setzer singing, “Hey, man, I don’t wanna go to school noooo anymore” and continues with an opening line that proclaims, “I’m not going to school, it starts too early for me / well listen man i don’t go to school anymore / it starts a lot, way too early for me / i don’t care about reading, writing, math or story.” He is much more interested in cutting classes to go out with his little Marie, who is sexy, 17 years old, and above all, a little obscene.

Young MC, “Principal’s Office”

The follow-up to “Bust a Move,” it broke into the Top 10 of the rap singles charts and earned the star an MTV Video Music Award nomination. The story unfolds with the rapper sleeping because, as Brian Setzer had already noted, school starts much, much too early. “Now that I get to school, I hear the late bell ringing,” the rapper begins. “As I run down the halls I hear the Glee Club singing / Go to the office, I can barely speak / Because this is the third late pass I have this week.” It all goes downhill from there, with several trips to the principal’s office and a broken tooth from the school lunch applesauce. And he signs with one last punchline. “Yo, you think this is bad, wait till I get my newsletter.”

Lana Del Rey, “Boarding School”

If anyone had to write a song called “Boarding School”, it was Vampire Weekend. Or Lana Del Rey. And Del Rey got ahead of them, reveling in the vulgar underbelly of residential school culture. “Let’s do drugs, have sex with our teachers,” she purrs before continuing with “I had to take drugs to stop the cravings for food / If you wanna get high with me I’m on the back cracking, drinking pp-Pepsi. ” She should really switch to Coke. Before the song ends, Del Rey suggests, “If you want to get this scholarship / Love is no problem, let’s solve it / Educated in the language of doing / Get off like your tutor taught you / And do it. “

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Grace D. Erickson