Sorry, kids. Summer is over and school is back in session. If you’re heading back to high school this September, here is a playlist to help you make it through. There are plenty of songs about high school in general – Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher,” Nada Surf’s “Popular,” Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome” – but we've used a different strategy for our list. Here you'll find songs for pretty much every subject in your timetable.
English class encompasses novels, poems, plays, persuasive essays, grammar and so on. I’m not going to suggest some sweaty old song about Breakfast at Tiffany’s or The Catcher in the Rye. Dan Baird of the Georgia Satellites released a song called “I Love You Period” that is basically “Hot for Teacher,” with a punctuation lesson.
High school French isn’t the same as actual French. It’s all about mixing in English words with the bare minimum of French, so Mitsou’s “Bye Bye Mon Cowboy” is parfait.
There have been plenty of popular songs about such historical events as the Edmund Fitzgerald, the day the music died and the time Snoopy fought the Red Baron on Christmas Eve. Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” is a good summary of the 20th century, but we’re trying to get people to actually listen to these songs, so let’s go with the broader “Back in the Day” by Erykah Badu.
The immediate image that comes to mind with phys ed is dodgeball, and in that case “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” is the obvious pick. But gym is so much more than bombardment; it’s also about name-calling, rope-climbing and group showers. One song that sums up the whole gym experience is “Gonna Make You Sweat” by C&C Music Factory.
Again, “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” would work for this. Really, there have been hundreds of popular songs about knockin’ boots, from “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin' On” to “Whole Lotta Love.” It may be an obvious pick, but this is a bit of an obvious list, so let’s go with “Let’s Get it On.”
It’s hard to sum up physics with just one song because this branch of science explores a variety of topics, such as gravity (“Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” by Drowning Pool), pressure (“Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie) and electricity (“Danger! High Voltage” by Electric Six). The biggest topic of physics is just motion in general, so let’s go with “Move This” by Technotronic. Nobody has ever written that sentence before.
If there are any hit songs about photosynthesis, DNA or dissecting a cow eye, I haven’t heard them. Wait, the Pixies’ “Debaser” might come close. Biology is the study of life, and there are lots of songs about that. Let’s go with REM’s “Imitation of Life.” Happy now?
Oh, duh. “The Chemicals Between Us” by Bush.
I don’t remember much math, and I don’t have to because I’m an adult. Now that debit machines can automatically calculate a six per cent tip, I may never have to use math again. While Hard 'n Phirm’s “Pi” is a solid pick for this subject, I wouldn’t have made it through high school without my pocket calculator, so let’s go with Kraftwerk.
I took drama all through high school, and that’s how I learned all these great mouth warmups. Red leather, yellow leather, rubber baby buggy bumpers, unique is New York, New York is unique. See? In general, the greatest level of drama a high school class can hope to achieve is that of a soap opera. That’s why Mary J. Blige’s “No More Drama,” with its Young and the Restless sample, works perfectly.
Tons of songs are about art, but most aren’t as literal or specific as Don McLean’s tribute to Van Gogh, “Vincent.”
If we were talking about metal shop, I’d suggest Pretty Ricky’s “Grind with Me,” but we’re talking about wood. Unfortunately there aren’t many songs about lathes (though the Beatles mention a dovetail joint in “Glass Onion”). “If I Were a Carpenter” is a fantastic love song for the trades. Here is the Bobby Darin version.
I never took “home ec” but I’m pretty sure that’s where people learned to sew, cook and balance their chequebook. I do remember an episode of The Wonder Years where Kevin and Madeline cooked something for school to “Hey Good Lookin’.” Actually, that might have been for French class, but whatever.
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on Sep 02, 2012