Is there anything that transports us back to our younger days more than heading to YouTube and listening to the theme songs of the now-comically-dated TV shows we used to watch? (If there is, don’t tell us — we’re feeling ancient over here.) Here are some of our favorites.
The Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme song starts off shrouded in ominous darkness and then explodes into energizing power chords. Could there be a better metaphor for my life? I think not! In reality my teen years were probably a lot more Dawson’s Creek but I don’t spend my time writing things for the internet just so I can NOT engage in a little revisionist history. The first few chords of this song almost immediately send me back to my high school days, when my Watcher Mr. Giles told me the chosen one, the slayer, destined to stand against the vampire, the demons, and the forces of evil. Wait … no … that might be a little too revisionist.
In all honesty, Buffy is the first pop culture artifact that I can remember really bonding with other people my age over. I spent part of my childhood overseas and as a consequence I missed out on some of the major cultural touchstones of my generation. There were no Ninja Turtles or pro-wrestling for me. Buffy was the first time I remember being in sync with my peer group, at least in terms of television. Also it’s a totally rad theme song. Add it to your workout playlist, you’ll thank me later.
dadadadadadada DAAAAAA, ba-DA DAAAAA, BA BA DAAA DA DA DADA BA DA DAAAAAA
… sorry, what were we doing?
It’s difficult to chose a theme for my youth because I, like many folks, had many different phases with many different songs resonating through them. I had my pie-eyed adolescence where I felt MC Hammer was the only motherf**ker who was making any sense in this godforsaken world, then there was my awkward-white-teen-blaring-gangsta-rap phase (Ice Cube knew the business!), my Aerosmith phase when I discovered masturbation and popping pimples, my brief dalliance with folk music, courtesy of Gordon Lightfoot, and, of course, the time I went insane on acid while listening to DJ Jean’s “The Launch.”
But nobody likes a grubby asshole who can’t make up his mind, so without question, I have to choose Bob Seger’s cover of “Ain’t Got No Money” as the theme of my youth. As a kid, I had this chintzy red cassette player that fit in with my denim jacket and spiked hair. And on it, I was ONLY ever playing Seger’s “Ain’t Got No Money.” Incidentally, “Old Time Rock & Roll” and “Hollywood Nights” were on that same cassette, but I didn’t give a shit about them.
I was heartbroken when my cassette player finally ate the tape (after I’d listened, rewound, listened, rewound and listened to “Ain’t Got No Money” one too many times). I thought my dad would be upset, but he wasn’t — he understood Seger like I did, I think. He even went out and got me my own copy of Bob Seger’s “Stranger In Town.” When CDs became a thing, naturally I updated. Ol’ Bob Seger isn’t the biggest fan of digital music (he refused to be on iTunes, et cetera), but that’s just Bob being Bob. A good rendition of Seger’s “Ain’t Got No Money” doesn’t exist on YouTube, so here’s “Turn the Page” — nearly as good.
And since they decided AFTER* I wrote this that they wanted to do “theme songs to TV shows from your youth,” not just “songs from our youth,” it’s important that you know that “Ain’t Got No Money” was the theme song for “My Two Dads” or something.
*Okay, it was actually before I wrote the damn article, but apparently I wasn’t paying attention. I’m keeping it though because it’s from the heart and shit.
When I heard theme songs, my immediate and first thought was, of course, Danny Phantom. But even for me, making the argument that I have glowing green eyes, can disappear and fly seemed a bit of a stretch.
So, I went to the next choice in the land of shows-I-watched-way-too-much and ended up re-listening to the Kim Possible theme. And it… works? Like, it really works. It’s kinda weird. I mean, I’m not usually out saving the world (as far as you know) but the rest of it … yeah. I mean, I’m your basic average girl, and hey, I like to think I’m here to save the world. Besides, between my job and my personal interests, I spend enough time on my phone to make ‘Call me, beep me,’ a pretty solid descriptor of my life. Though maybe it should be ‘Call me, tweet me.’
Obviously it’s nearly impossible to pick a single show’s theme to stand as representative of the entirety of my youth. That’s a monumental task to ask of anyone, but especially someone who watched so, so much television growing up. But as much as I would like to go with Ghostwriter for inspiring me to carry around a notebook and a pen literally everywhere, or The Secret World of Alex Mack for accidentally becoming my seemingly lifelong style icon, the older I get, the more I realize the show that probably most influenced my life and my values without me even realizing it was Boy Meets World.
I think anyone who watched Boy Meets World remembers the version of the theme that actually had lyrics best (“When this boy meets woooorrrrldddd, boy meeeeeets wooooorld. Wanderin’ down this road that we call liiiiyyyfe is what we’re doin’”), which is interesting because when I went back and looked at the theme, I realized that version only existed for the last couple seasons. But it’s the one that stuck with me, and, I think, with all of us, much like every adventure and lesson Cory and Shawn and Topanga shared. *sniff* *tear* And don’t even talk to me about Girl Meets World because I will deny its existence and its unforgivable destruction of one of the most important BFF ships in history until I am in the grave.
You want to talk about TV theme songs? Nothing compares to the awesome that is the DuckTales opening theme. It’s the only theme song that I know of that you can scream part of an illicit response of “ah-woo!” from a crowd of strangers drunk at a bar. This is the embodiment of every ‘90’s kid childhood.
Even better, Postmodern Jukebox did a slow jazz version of the song and it’s still rockin’! This jam goes into my all time favorite music playlist.
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