When I was in grammar school, the local park near our apartment had a day camp over the summer for kids, and my parents enrolled me in it. It was a way to get me out of the house and active and around other kids, as I didn’t really have a lot of friends, and while it didn’t help me to that end, it did sow the seeds of more than a few nice memories, most of them to do with music.
It was the summer of 1993, and R&B/hip-hop was basically all I listened to. B96 was the best station for it, and if you wanted to be cool, you had to know all the songs played, all the dances, all the fashions from the music videos on MTV…..all of that stuff. So, one afternoon we’re taking a field trip to Hollywood Beach (on Lake Michigan, not in California), and on the school bus that served as our conveyance there, someone had a boombox and turned it on. We listened to music all the way there, and one of the songs that was played a few times on several different stations was Freak Me by Silk. Now, I know what you’re thinking, that’s a fairly adult song for a bunch of 6th and 7th graders to be bopping along to down the Kennedy, but whether you knew what the song was talking about or not (“Let me lick you up and down, ’til you say stop? You can lick people?” — me at 11 years old), it was still catchy as hell.
Again, it wasn’t the cleanest, most wholesome tune to be singing along to on a school bus, but no matter where I am now, if I hear it, or if I choose to play it, I am immediately transported back to that school bus, in that year, watching the scenery fly by as we head to the beach. It’s one of the more powerful musical memories, in the sense that it doesn’t take more than a few notes for me to be transported back to the first time I heard it.