How old is too old to be singing about high school?

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NibiruMul
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12 Jan 2024, 5:55 pm

I asked a similar question to this on DeviantArt.

Do you think there's an age limit for singing about high school topics? TBH, I think there is. It just feels weird to see a singer who's in their thirties singing about high school topics (or worse, dressing like they're still in high school). Take "Hollaback Girl", for example - the song has quite a few casual references to high school, but Gwen Stefani was 35 when she sang it. It kinda reminds me of those TV shows that cast 30-year-old actors to play teenagers.

I feel like a good rule of thumb would be that if you're old enough to teach high school, you're too old to sing about high school subjects.



CockneyRebel
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12 Jan 2024, 6:04 pm

Bruce Springsteen was 34 when he recorded the song, Glory Days which was about his high school years.


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naturalplastic
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12 Jan 2024, 7:46 pm

CockneyRebel wrote:
Bruce Springsteen was 34 when he recorded the song, Glory Days which was about his high school years.

Well...thats actually a midlife crises song ...about mature adults who...cant stop talking about their highschool days. :lol:



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12 Jan 2024, 8:09 pm

Nothing is too old.
It's nostalgia.
It's a time most people can relate to for "coming of age".

A lot of people met their sweetheart in high school, too.




https://youtu.be/R4GLAKEjU4w?si=8jzTXQlVL0Kx2m7R


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13 Jan 2024, 1:25 am

Once you're finally over high school, you should stop singing about it.


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13 Jan 2024, 10:13 am

Professional? When people stop buying your work or paying to hear you sing it.
Non-professional- Last night I was singing bits from “No Particular Place to Go” it is a highschool song (experiences from school for those age 14 to 18 for non-USA folks). It was a hit about 2 decades before I was in High School. It was a fun song “studying history and practical math, studying hard and hoping to pass” I think of it any time one of my kids is “studying hard”. I am past the half century mark. I like the songs of the late 1950s early 60s. Was in highschool in the 80s and didn’t like the top 10 songs of that era.


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13 Jan 2024, 11:49 am

I'm 65, and I'm willing to sing almost anything for my YouTube channel.


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21 Jan 2024, 3:25 pm

When I was in high school, many of my peers viewed me as a "creep", a "weirdo"
or as someone "always obsessed with Jesus."

However, since I graduated high school, some of them try to get me to interact with them.
I have moved on and don't need anyone from my high school years.


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22 Jan 2024, 6:16 pm

28. we should have 10 years to process the events of high school



cyberdad
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16 Feb 2024, 9:53 pm

Outkast's Caroline and Khalid's song about highschool are both funny cos the actors all look old, but the songs give me nostalgia



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18 Feb 2024, 12:37 pm

The type of (probably idealised) high school I see in American films is probably worth singing about. Alas, I was not having any wacky adventures in that time of my life.

It was less a coming of age and more of a... hmm. Grey blur with some not so great highlights.

My friend made a song about that time of his life but it wasn't nostalgic. It was more of an angsty 'I'm glad that's over' type of song that focused on yearning for independence and finally being free. Then he never sung about it again, which is fair enough.

I'm still stuck on University since my life hasn't been as interesting as it was back then. I'm so bored.


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ASPartOfMe
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18 Feb 2024, 12:48 pm

As with everything it is about context.

Nostalgia is human trait not wrong in most circumstances. Like anything else it can be overdone to the point of interfering with your current life. Not only in music but in most art depicting high school experiences are written by people who have long ago graduated high school. Certainly the vast majority of material written for children are not written by children.

Where this gets tricky is when the topic of the song is about teen sex and relationships. Songs about relationships and sex with teenage girls were common in pop and rock music when I grew up in the 60s and 70s.

The Beatles sang “She’s just seventeen you know what I mean”, Ringo sang “Your sixteen and your mine”, Kiss sang “ I don't usually say things
Like this to girls your age
(Christine, sixteen)
But when I saw you coming
Out of the school that day
That day I knew, I knew
I've got to have you, I've got to have you”

These were all very popular songs often played on the radio. I am very anti censorship but if I owned a radio station I would ban them. We know better today or do we? Those songs and songs like them are still regularly played on Classic Rock and Oldies stations. If it’s creepy for a 25 year old to sing them what does it say about the boomers still listening to them? Radio stations would not play them if there is no audience for them. With seemingly every word putting you at risk for cancelation it is very odd there is no blowback about this.

I have seen these lyrics defended. The singers were playing in character that was relatable to their teenage audience. I do get their point. Back then I thought nothing of it. It was fantasy. I was in no way a rock star with groupies waiting for me in every city and no chance in hell of ever becoming one.

By the 80s when I was an adult I knew sex with minors was wrong but my attitude towered songs like those were the same as today’s defenders. I disliked Hair Metal which was a sexist genre because musically I felt it was a bad derivative of the 70s Hard Rock I thought we were long ago done with not because of lyrical content. What changed? I understand how women feel and have always felt about it. I also understand that even for girls that “wanted it” it usually ended up very badly.

So am I a snowflake now? No. But belief that all songs about high school sung by older people is wrong is way too “woke”.


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18 Feb 2024, 1:12 pm

I seem to recall in the early 2000s there was a spate of American bands that sang about being teenagers, while dressed like teenagers while being apparently in their mid to late 20s. Bands like Wheatus, Good Charlotte, Bowling for Soup, Avril Lavigne.

There was clearly good money in it at the time.


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18 Feb 2024, 3:14 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Where this gets tricky is when the topic of the song is about teen sex and relationships. Songs about relationships and sex with teenage girls were common in pop and rock music when I grew up in the 60s and 70s.
The Beatles sang “She’s just seventeen you know what I mean”, Ringo sang “Your sixteen and your mine”, Kiss sang “ I don't usually say things
Like this to girls your age
(Christine, sixteen)
But when I saw you coming
Out of the school that day
That day I knew, I knew
I've got to have you, I've got to have you”

These were all very popular songs often played on the radio. I am very anti censorship but if I owned a radio station I would ban them. We know better today or do we? Those songs and songs like them are still regularly played on Classic Rock and Oldies stations. If it’s creepy for a 25 year old to sing them what does it say about the boomers still listening to them? Radio stations would not play them if there is no audience for them. With seemingly every word putting you at risk for cancelation it is very odd there is no blowback about this.

I have seen these lyrics defended. The singers were playing in character that was relatable to their teenage audience. I do get their point. Back then I thought nothing of it. It was fantasy. I was in no way a rock star with groupies waiting for me in every city and no chance in hell of ever becoming one.

By the 80s when I was an adult I knew sex with minors was wrong but my attitude towered songs like those were the same as today’s defenders. I disliked Hair Metal which was a sexist genre because musically I felt it was a bad derivative of the 70s Hard Rock I thought we were long ago done with not because of lyrical content. What changed? I understand how women feel and have always felt about it. I also understand that even for girls that “wanted it” it usually ended up very


I had an album by an Australian band called "Mondo Rock" from the early 80s. They had a song called "Come said the boy". The song was number 1 on the Australian charts. The standout lyric was "She was just 17, she knew some older men, for the first time".

Before the beatles, a lot of this started with Elvis and even crooners like Pat Boone who were attracting teenage groupies. Anyone watch the beatles documentary will remember screaming teenage girls fainting in hysterics. This was also the era 60s-80s post-sexual revolution were even highschool and college girls were sleeping with professors and sugar daddies. Today the culture absolutely forbids this stuff as it is enshrined in law.

But if I recall when I was in highschool it was considered "cool" for girls to hang out with "older men" (as in the Mondo rock song). Nobody seemed to care, the music may have captured the zeitgeist of the time.



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18 Feb 2024, 10:50 pm

cyberdad wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
Where this gets tricky is when the topic of the song is about teen sex and relationships. Songs about relationships and sex with teenage girls were common in pop and rock music when I grew up in the 60s and 70s.
The Beatles sang “She’s just seventeen you know what I mean”, Ringo sang “Your sixteen and your mine”, Kiss sang “ I don't usually say things
Like this to girls your age
(Christine, sixteen)
But when I saw you coming
Out of the school that day
That day I knew, I knew
I've got to have you, I've got to have you”

These were all very popular songs often played on the radio. I am very anti censorship but if I owned a radio station I would ban them. We know better today or do we? Those songs and songs like them are still regularly played on Classic Rock and Oldies stations. If it’s creepy for a 25 year old to sing them what does it say about the boomers still listening to them? Radio stations would not play them if there is no audience for them. With seemingly every word putting you at risk for cancelation it is very odd there is no blowback about this.

I have seen these lyrics defended. The singers were playing in character that was relatable to their teenage audience. I do get their point. Back then I thought nothing of it. It was fantasy. I was in no way a rock star with groupies waiting for me in every city and no chance in hell of ever becoming one.

By the 80s when I was an adult I knew sex with minors was wrong but my attitude towered songs like those were the same as today’s defenders. I disliked Hair Metal which was a sexist genre because musically I felt it was a bad derivative of the 70s Hard Rock I thought we were long ago done with not because of lyrical content. What changed? I understand how women feel and have always felt about it. I also understand that even for girls that “wanted it” it usually ended up very


I had an album by an Australian band called "Mondo Rock" from the early 80s. They had a song called "Come said the boy". The song was number 1 on the Australian charts. The standout lyric was "She was just 17, she knew some older men, for the first time".

Before the beatles, a lot of this started with Elvis and even crooners like Pat Boone who were attracting teenage groupies. Anyone watch the beatles documentary will remember screaming teenage girls fainting in hysterics. This was also the era 60s-80s post-sexual revolution were even highschool and college girls were sleeping with professors and sugar daddies. Today the culture absolutely forbids this stuff as it is enshrined in law.

But if I recall when I was in highschool it was considered "cool" for girls to hang out with "older men" (as in the Mondo rock song). Nobody seemed to care, the music may have captured the zeitgeist of the time.

Like today a person who was not a minor having sex with a minor was illegal rape but it seemed to be winked at even lionized when rock stars did it. There were always rumors some girl was sleeping with a teacher. Looking back on it my guess is they only became scandals if the adult was not liked or competitor of the accuser.

Speaking of the early 80’s the Stray Cat’s song ‘(She's) Sexy + 17’ was constantly played on MTV and there was no controversy that I recall.


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cyberdad
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18 Feb 2024, 10:59 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Like today a person who was not a minor having sex with a minor was illegal rape but it seemed to be winked at even lionized when rock stars did it. There were always rumors some girl was sleeping with a teacher. Looking back on it my guess is they only became scandals if the adult was not liked or competitor of the accuser.


I personally knew of 3 male teachers and one female teacher who acted inappropriately with teenage students back in the late 70s and 1980-81. The teacher's behaviour was tolerated for years and nothing happened to them. Any wonder rockstars at the time were openly sleeping with girls still in school.