Emma Witmer is the writer, producer, engineer and performer behind gobbinjr, whose latest EP/Minicomic Vom Night recently came out via JMC Aggregate to much acclaim. To help get our week started, Emma put together this charming, nostalgic playlist of songs from the time in her life before the pressures of adulthood kicked in. Enjoy!
–Dave Lucas, Talkhouse Marketing Manager
best yrs of my life
I fear that I have peaked. Probably not so much in accomplishments or success, but likely in happiness. I can’t help but be nostalgic for the days when societal pressures did not weigh me down, when I didn’t care that I was different and I was truly myself at every minute of the day. I guess I’m still trying to get back to that place. I miss my elementary school self, but luckily I can take pleasure in the artifacts of my youth. This is what spunky, goofball, energetic and sassy 24/7 Emma loved to listen to.
“Best Years of Our Lives” – Baha Men
This track was on the soundtrack of the first Shrek movie, which I believe was the first CD I ever bought. I loved this soundtrack to death, so much so that I was tempted to put half of the songs on this playlist. I chose this song because it fits the theme of the playlist mostly, but the party-like quality of this song is really hard to resist.
“Yellow Submarine” – The Beatles
This was my first favorite song. My mother had loved the Beatles and I resembled her in this way. I was a true Beatles baby. I was obsessed with the movie Yellow Submarine. I would beg my mom to take me to Blockbuster (r.i.p.) every week to rent the same movie over and over again. Still not sure why we didn’t just buy the dang thing.
“My Love” – Justin Timberlake, T.I., and Timbaland
Who doesn’t love Justin Timberlake? And with T.I. AND Timbaland?? Dream team. I have a distinct memory of sitting in a minivan on the way to swim practice in a carpool with my best friend at the time, Becca Wilson, and this song coming on the radio. I remember that we joked that there was a big rat making the squeaky noises in the choruses. Later, while reminiscing, Becca insisted that it was in fact a big duck squeaking, not a rat. I guess I’ll never know which animal my younger self truly visualized in this song.
“Hey Ya” – Outkast
Not sure that there exists a more perfect pop song in the world than “Hey Ya.” I remember when I was ten years old I got my first iPod nano (first generation). I had about eighty songs on there and the only one I would listen to was “Hey Ya.” Still to this day I feel like I could listen to this song on repeat for a week and still not hate it. I know everyone’s heard this song a thousand times by now, but it’s one of those songs that makes everyone smile when you put it on.
“Get’cha Head In The Game” – High School Musical Cast
At first I wanted to hate High School Musical. I was raised to be suspicious of fads. But in fourth grade, when my class had a High School Musical viewing, complete with pizza and a PJ party, it was pretty hard to be opposed. A close family friend gave me the soundtrack for my tenth birthday, which was coincidentally when I got my iPod as well. This song was definitely the most poppin’ in the first film. Who can resist the sneaker squeaks incorporated in the beat? And the dance routine with basketballs was so hot.
“Pon de Replay” – Rihanna
I used to boast that Rihanna was my favorite singer, although I’m fairly sure I never listened to more than five songs by her at that point. This song also made its way onto my iPod nano and it reminds me distinctly of Toasted Marshmallow Jelly Bellys, my treat of choice back in those days. I would sing along, although never had I ever been in a situation with a DJ or really any function with many people dancing. That’s probably why I liked so much dance music back then.
“The Alternative Polka” – Weird Al Yankovic
I still don’t know how this song came into my life or why I liked it. Not that it’s a bad little spoof or anything. I didn’t know any of the original versions of these songs though, so I don’t quite get what other appeal this song had to me. I was a big Weird Al fan, so perhaps I just liked hearing him sing all these different crazy lyrics about things I didn’t understand. The sound effects probably excited me as well.
“Lonely” – Akon
This crazy sample. This song sounds like climbing trees in my backyard in Wisconsin and singing the hook at the top of my lungs and top of my range, which I’m sure went very high back then. Akon was another one of my favorites in elementary school, although I didn’t care much for his original portions in this song. All I cared about was that chipmunk chorus and the bangin’ beat backing it.
“Where Is the Love” – Black Eyed Peas
This song really evoked something in little Emma. I used my water paints on printer paper and made “posters” with the lyrics to this song, along with paintings of hearts and smiley faces and dogs and whatever else I liked. I nailed these pieces of paper up on my wall while munching on Thanks-A-Lot Girl Scout cookies. My sister still likes to make fun of me for that one, but in hindsight it was a pretty sweet little fad of mine.
“Love Song” – Sara Bareilles
This song was all the rage in sixth grade, which was arguably the turning point in my life, the year I started wanting to conform. Every kid wanted to play piano after this song, and several of them learned how to play a dumbed-down version for the annual talent show at school. I remember huffing at those posers. I bet none of them ever took a single piano lesson. I will admit I looked up the sheet music and learned it myself, but I certainly wasn’t about to willingly play it for three hundred preteens. This song haunted me for the rest of middle school, reminding me of a time when I fit in as I looked back in later and darker years.
(Photo credit: Andrew Piccione)