What in God’s name were our parents letting us listen to when we were kids? I got to thinking recently about middle school dances, trips to the mall, karaoke practice and birthday parties and the tunes that guided our paths. Let’s have a little recap of what we were blissfully singing and slow dancing around to, shall we?
“I’ll Make Love to You” by Boyz II Men.
This was an eighth grade dance classic. I would actually sit down on the cafeteria picnic tables and wait for some handsome (only the finest Jonathan Taylor Thomas coifs for moi) young gentleman to ask me to twirl around to this song. This song about making love, relaxing, going slow, throwing clothes on the floor, pouring wine and making fires. I liked to think I knew all about romance and love after this song came out. Oh to be thirteen again.
“Red Light Special” by TLC.
Now here’s a song you could really blast in the back of your mom’s car on the way to the mall with friends. Singing in unison “come to my door, take off my clothes, and turn on the red light.” I never had a clue what the point of the red light was. The only red lights I had seen were the ones that kept the meat warm at carving stations and those fancy heat lamps in hotel bathrooms. I think I had some concept that this song was sexual, but mostly I just thought TLC was the best thing since Malibu Barbie. My poor, poor parents. What a transition that must have been to watch unfold.
“Bump N’ Grind” by R Kelly
What kind of inappropriate sexual playlist would this be without a feature or three from R. Kelly? I hate to keep using the word classic, but I think we can all agree this song was just that. The all-too-familiar: My mind is tellin’ me no, but my body, my body’s tellin’ me yes opener. And then everyone would scramble for a partner and race to the floor to grind around counter clockwise at a geriatric pace. Did we honestly think we were cool? By God did we ever.
“Pony” by Ginuwine
This was more of a grind than a slow dance. I’m sure everyone’s parents could rest comfortably knowing that. Same with the teachers lining the walls of my church basement. Maybe it was just me, but even at a young age I knew Ginuwine was FINE. I have no idea where heck he is now, but I’m sure he’s still fine. This video in particular showcases that. If you’re horny, let’s do it, ride it, my pony. My saddle’s waiting. Come and jump on it. You had to give it to him, the man got to the point. And once that song topped the charts, I guess all of us 13-year-olds officially knew what the word “horny” meant. Gross.
“Freak me Baby” by Silk
I distinctly remember listening to this song with half my family on a road trip to Virginia. Awkwaaaaaard. Let me lick you up and down ‘til you say stop. Let me play with your body baby, make you real hot. I still can’t look a few of my cousins in the eye. That song has no place in a minivan.
“Your Body’s Callin’” by R. Kelly
Here’s a more eclectic representation of R. Kelly’s musical talents. It’s only fair we show how well -rounded he was as a song writer. Instead of chanting I don’t see nothin’ wrong… with a little bump n grind, he serenaded us with the phrase my body’s callin’ for you a grand total of 100 times. Leaving no room for the Holy Ghost, we twirled around in circles to this song for three minutes and I can only imagine what it must’ve been like for the boys. I was not returning any calls, if you know what I mean.
“Nobody” by Keith Sweat
Oh Keith Sweat. You made so many thirteen year old girls cry in the bathroom because they didn’t have a dance partner for this song. It was often the last song of the night, unless “I’ll Make Love to You” or “One Sweet Day” beat it out. Who can love you like me? Who can sex you like me? Who can treat you like me? And who can do you all night long? Nobody, Keith Sweat. Nobody can. I’m so glad the lyric I want your body ‘til the very last drop was playing during such a pensive and magical memory as the last song of the big dance. The dance I specifically purchased my new stirrup pants for.
“Feelin’ on Yo Booty” by R. Kelly
Okay okay just one more R. Kelly song. At least I was fifteen when this one came out. Well on my way to realizing that whatever a booty was, I wanted one. Pleather and pocketless pants ensued. I mean, it led to an entire brand called “Apple Bottom.” See what a visionary R. Kelly was? Players wanna play. Ballers wanna ball. Rollers wanna roll….. Put your arms around me, I’m feelin’ on your booty. Again we can appreciate the honesty. This song gave clearance for a million little pervie tweens to cop a feel while slow dancing. As if they weren’t anyway.
“Doin’ it” by LL Cool J
I saved the most wildly insane for last. What. Was. Anyone. Thinking? This song still horrifies me and I’m 32. I don’t even know if I can type out some of the lyrics but I’ll try: I wanna knock your block off, get my rocks off, blow your socks off, make sure your G spot’s soft. Ummm what? I’m pretty sure I memorized these lyrics. I was thirteen. Then of course we can’t forget the quaintness of the duet kicking in: I’m gonna call you ‘Big Daddy’ and scream your name. Matter fact I can’t wait for your candy rain. I don’t really wanna get into what transpires from there but it involves discussion of using rubbers and camcorders, spanking, making things bounce, chewin’ it, doin’ it, and puffin’ L’s. I was singing porn. Thirteen. Singing porn.
So there you have it, folks. And I’d say that’s but a wee sampling. In the age of mommy blogs, quarterly family photo shoots and Pinterest, I’m glad to be at the forefront of the worst parenting fears realized. Hide your kids. Hide your wife. Hide them in your house until they’re eighteen. Look at how I turned out.
*Note: The opinions expressed about R. Kelly are mostly untrue. I look back with nothing but fondness and adoration on his creepy yet catchy music. It will always make me want to drop whatever I’m doing and move my body like a snake, have everyone come to my hotel, start the freakin’ weekend, bump n’ grind, believe I can fly or be the world’s greatest.