I was seventeen years young.

I made a “Back to School” playlist today that includes some albums that I have been wanting to listen to (The Hold Steady, Jack Johnson, Elliot Smith, Emmylou Harris) and some back to school songs. There are not a whole lot of back to school songs that aren’t, you know, the Beach Boys singing about being true to your school. Mike suggested “We’re Going to Be Friends” by the White Stripes, and I thought of “This Year” by The Mountain Goats.

(Tangent: “This Year” by The Mountain Goats is an excellent song, and I am always happy to have an excuse to put it into a playlist. I didn’t have an alcoholic stepfather, but I was a teenager who was unhappy where she was, and this song describes those feelings perfectly. The last line, “There will be feasting and dancing in Jerusalem next year,” catapults it from a good song to a great song. Check out The Mountain Goats. The Sunset Tree is a great album. Especially if you work with teenagers. End of tangent.)

I also did some songs that are, in truth, New Year’s songs, but it is my playlist and a new school year counts as far as I am concerned. So, thank you, Death Cab, and welcome to my back to school playlist. But, even with the stretching of the definition of back to school, I am in the market for some more non-cheesy back to school songs. What songs remind you of bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils? If there is a story attached, please share it!

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