John Hughes movies shaped my childhood and my teens. As did That 70's Show, Freaks and Geeks, Grease, and many other classics of the great teen discourse. Now, as an adult, these touchstones make me nostalgic for experiences I never had (if anyone is having a house party even remotely resembling the one in Sixteen Candles, please contact me), but also remind me of all the things I'm glad are over.
Teenagers are largely an American concept. A term and a culture prescribed to the limbo years that are full of contradictions. Like Hughes said, you're more serious than you'll ever be again, but you also have the most fun. You're at your most vulnerable, but you're also more willful than the beaten-down adults around you. You're treated like a child with much to learn, but the glimpses of the adult world that you are allowed, you see totally in focus, because you're experiencing it all for the very first time.
So here it is. My sendup to the teenager. A playlist filled with songs that teens have been listening to for decades. Rock n roll is for the young after all, so what better way to bring back all those teenage feelings. Play it at a house party, when you're in your room studying, writing love letters you will tear up and never send, making a collage of pictures of Leonardo DiCaprio for the cover of your binder--or to remind you of when you used to have the time and desire to do all those wonderful things.
Flip through the slideshow. Dig the tunes. Long live the American teen.