The Definitive High School Slow Dance Playlist

napolean dynamite slow dance

Last week the guy who runs another blog that I write for emailed his whole staff asking each of us to submit a 10-song playlist of our choosing that will go head-to-head in a vote on the website. Whoever’s playlist gets more votes is the winner (not sure if we’re playing for a tangible award or just pride). The voting hasn’t opened yet or else you can bet your ass I’d be linking to it so all my readers could vote for my songs.

But I thought I’d give you a sneak peek anyway. The only rule was that we should try to make the playlist have a theme of sorts. I’m sure the smart people chose themes like 80s hairband songs, 90s alternative, top 10 songs of 2013, best 10 songs to have sex to, etc, etc.

I chose “The 10 best slow songs from your middle school & high school dances (assuming you’re in your late 20s or early 30s right now)”.

How’s that for a very specific theme-oriented playlist?

While I think this is pretty much the definitive list, I suppose I’m open to reader feedback and suggestions on slow songs I might have missed. If there’s a song not listed that brings back a special memory of your awkward dancing from your teens, please go ahead and leave a comment.

As far as this list goes, I’ve tried to organize it in the order I’d play these songs if I was DJing a dance. You might think the order doesn’t matter, but that would be a huge mistake. You can’t open the slow dancing with something like “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston. That just wouldn’t make sense, and it would scare all the boys off before the girls get a chance to drag them out onto the dance floor.

Here’s the list (with links to each song on YouTube in case your memory has started slipping already):

1). “Kiss From a Rose” by Seal

If I’m DJing this dance, I’m starting the slow dancing off with a light, almost jokey song like this that the kids can sing to each other while doing their best Batman impressions.

2). “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams

And I’m following it up with some magic by Bryan Adams.

3). “I Swear” by All-4-One

After two warm up songs, I’d drop the mother fucking hammer on those unsuspecting 8th graders. Just hit ‘em hard with the most deadly material in my arsenal, courtesy of slow dance specialists All-4-One (nothing guaranteed at least a little make out session later that night more than belting out every lyric to this song while slow dancing with a girl).

4). “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion

Such a polarizing song in high school. The girls went absolutely nuts over it, and the guys hated it. Not indifferent to it like most slow songs, specifically hated it. Probably because as a gender we weren’t allowed to like Titanic, Leo, or anything associated with that movie. This was usually when the guys would go to the bathroom or take a break while the girls slow danced with each other.

5). “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith

But the guys were NOT allowed to miss the Armageddon song. For some reason the corny love story of Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler resonated with the high school girls much more than Leo and Kate Winslett’s.

6). “All My Life” by K-Ci & JoJo

After a couple songs for the ladies, this one’s for the guys. Because every guy at every dance in the history of dances has pretended they were either K-Ci or JoJo in their music video for this song. There’s not a lot of dancing involved, mostly just looking up at the ceiling and spinning slowly with your arms out.

7). “You’re Still The One” by Shania Twain

Girls were obsessed with Shania Twain back in my high school days. And I’m only kind of embarrassed to tell you that I was so P-whipped back then that I had a Shania tape in my car at all times and told my girlfriend I enjoyed listening to it nonstop when she was with me.

8). “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston

How did we even dance to this song? It’s too slow to slow dance to (possibly my favorite sentence I’ve ever written). You just kinda stood there in the middle of the dance floor and waited to scream out “AND IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII-EEE-IIIIIIII WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU”.

9). “I Will Remember You” by Sarah McLaughlan 

You’ll remember this one as the penultimate song played at senior prom. The DJ would announce “OK, Seniors, this is officially your last dance in high school, make it count.” And inevitably all the single people would convince the entire class to dance in a large circle, totally hijacking the last dance from the couples.

10). “End Of The Road” by Boyz II Men

And as the tears flowed from Ms. McLaughlan’s heartfelt ballad, Boyz II Men officially brought the night to a close.

Here are some honorable mentions that came to mind during the construction of this playlist:

So what did I miss?

More Conversation Starters: The Song I Almost Sung to My 3rd Grade Crush, Unofficial Corn Dog-eating Record and More

After last week’s successful rollout of “My Answers to First Date Conversation Starters,” I’m pleased to bring you round two. For those of you wondering why I’m continuing this series of posts, you have the 16 people who viewed last week’s post to thank. For those of you who didn’t read that first installment, I’m basically making a grab for more page views by droning on about topics that you might bring up on a first date. Let’s get right on with it:

1). Name five songs to which you know all the lyrics.

  1. “Ice Ice Baby” (Vanilla Ice) – Learned all the lyrics to this one in 3rd grade with Matt Maguy because he was gonna help me sing it to Amber Donnelly. That was my grand plan for getting a 10-year-old girl to like me back then…sing “Ice Ice Baby” in the school parking lot with my best friend. Luckily we never went through with it.
  2. “The Star-Spangled Banner” (Francis Scott Key?) – No excuses not to know this one if you’re an American.
  3. “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang” (Dr. Dre/Snoop Dogg) – This song is now 20 years old and I think I’ve known every lyric since the beginning.
  4. “Send Me An Angel” (Real Life) – The best song from the best ’80s movie, Rad. If you haven’t seen Cru Jones do his bicycle boogie with Lori Loughlin to this song at the town dance, please go find a way to rent or buy Rad and watch it right now. Your appreciation for implausible, gravity-defying dance routines will be at an all-time high.
  5. “I’ll Make Love To You” (Boyz II Men) – I’m not sure how this happened, but this song has morphed into “the song everyone assumes Ross and his friends wanna sing whenever there’s a karaoke machine around.” I’m not denying it. But I just don’t remember ever telling anyone that this was my go-to karaoke jam.

2). What movies have made you cry, if any?

“Faith Rewarded: The Historic Season of the 2004 Boston Red Sox”…I’m dead serious. I wish I could tell you there were more movies that made me cry, but unlike certain people who cry at every sappy movie or even sappy commercials (“cough” my girlfriend, “cough cough” my sister-in-law), movies and TV shows just don’t get me like that.

3). What did you think was “cool” when you were around 8 years old? 

Serenading my crush with rap songs in the school parking lot.

4). What’s your biggest food-related triumph?

That’s a tough one. I’ve thrown up multiple times from eating too much ice cream or pulled pork, so it could possibly be one of those instances. But actually there was this time in Montreal when me and three high school friends were at one of the friend’s parent’s house and we decided to cook a 40-count package of corn dogs. These weren’t mini-dogs; they were full size. We at the whole thing between four of us. And I’m one of those people who always eats more than his allotted share when it comes to splitting food among a group. I must have had 12 or 13 corn dogs that day. I’ll let you make your own conclusions as to what kind of substances we were under the influence of at the time (I’ll give you a hint: the corn dog eating came right after we passed around a fake glow-in-the-dark ball while listening and dancing to techno music in this guy’s backyard).

5). Would you ever want to know the future? Why or why not?

I shouldn’t have to explain why my answer is Yes to this, but I will. You see, I post at least two blogs per week that talk exclusively about sports gambling. In the sports betting world, anyone who hits 60% of their bets is looked at as a genius. Imagine the fame, power and most importantly, money I would have if I knew the future? I could stop pretending like I want to make a living as a writer and simply gamble more. By the way, anyone who answers no to this question is a liar and an idiot. There are both admirable and selfish reasons for wanting to know the future, and not a single person in the world would decline that power.

6). Do you want children?

I only posted this question so I could ask my readers a follow up question. If I was on a first date and a woman asked me this question, how do you think she’d react after I gave her the five-minute breakdown of my “adopting a 17-year-old” theory that I blogged about a while back? Would she think I was joking or just psychotic? Also, how psychotic is it of someone to ask this question on a first date anyway? If she’s asking me about kids on date one, I’m happy to scare her off with my adoption scam.

7). What was your biggest accomplishment before you turned 13?

Accepting the fact that girls are not impressed by your ability to sing rap songs in the school parking lot while your best friend acts as your back-up dancer.

Those are all the questions I could handle for today. Assuming I get another 16 or so page views, I’ll be back with installment three soon.