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My favorite time of year, when sundresses and flip-flops and sunshine prevail, is supposed to come to a screeching halt after Labor Day (which is also my 27th birthday, by the way…) That’s why late August is when I usually start sounding like a whiny child. “But, do we have to consider it late summer? I refuse!” My argument: Fall doesn’t start until September 23, which is more than a month away! So why can’t we devote a full 3 months to Summer? I mean, that cruel ice queen, Winter, practically gets 5!

Anyway, in an effort to savor the last little over 2 weeks of the “technical” summer, here are 5 cheesy-but-awesome songs and how to make the most of their feel-good power. They will make you smile, dance and hopefully, remember to do like Baby and Johnny and have the Time of Your Life. 😉

“(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes

Summer wouldn’t be the same without at least one dance to this. Quick how-to: Pretend your guy just defended you against your overprotective parents by saying that no one puts you in the corner. Imagine you’re wearing a flowy pink dress. Take the stage. Do not giggle when Patrick Swayze touches your armpit. Then sway in his muscular arms. And run to him and do the lift. Sigh.

“SexyBack” by Justin Timberlake (featuring Timbaland)

Around this date in 2006, we were all about to be seduced by a track that would change the direction of pop music…and make us hot and bothered! Quick how-to: Show up on your significant other’s doorstep after spending a night out with the guys/girls. Request that your S.O. put “SexyBack” on, so they can see what you’re “twerking with.” (Because it’s the last song you heard in the bar, of course.) Now, go ‘head. Be gone with it.

“Power of Love” by Huey Lewis & the News

In the summer of ’85, I was 2. Over the next 20 or so years later, I became a wee bit obsessed with the time-travel romantic comedy about the McFly fam. This upbeat pop track that scores Marty’s skateboard ride through downtown Hill Valley—just the icing. My infatuation somewhat reached its pinnacle, in the early fall of ’05, when I saw Huey Lewis perform the hit live in Burbank. Quick how-to: Wear cool shades. Play air guitar. Imagine going 88 mph. Now, that’s the power of love.

“Just Dance” by Lady Gaga

Two years ago, we really didn’t know who this Lady Gaga chick was. She was blonde and had a pop single, so she was probably just another Madonna/Britney incarnation, right? WRONG. We had another pop revolution on our hands here, people! And why not usher it in with a song that celebrates the joy of throwing your hands up and saying, “I’m too drunk to know what’s going on. I might as well just have fun. Everything’s gonna be OK!” Quick how-to: Turn your shirt inside out. (Optional: Wear a bra made from mirrorballs.) Splash around in a blow-up kiddie pool. Then, just dance.

“Jump In The Line” by Harry Belafonte

I realize that 3/5 of my songs were featured prominently in ’80s movies, but you know what? ’80s movies rocked. This song from Beetlejuice was the track of choice for my college roommates and I when we’d dance ontop of our desk chairs. We couldn’t float like Winona, so chairs would have to do. Quick how-to: It’s simple. Just shake, shake, shake, senora!

What is your favorite feel-good summer song?

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“Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you’ve never been hurt and live like it’s heaven on Earth.” -Mark Twain

Sounds good to me. A redheaded, pre-adolescent “Little Monster” named Timmy could probably also relate. If you haven’t already seen what I’m referring to, here he is in all of his banana mic glory:

As of late last week, this kid’s become a viral media darling. He’s been talked about on radio morning shows and blogged about on MTV.com. Maybe it’s the musical theater geek in me, but I think we could all learn something from Timmy. How to snap for over four minutes? No, not quite. More like how to how to unleash your inner diva! 

As I’ve mentioned before, one impetus for starting this blog was to put an end to holding back and to worrying about what other people would say or think or do. But, I’ve kinda gotta give myself credit for putting myself out there on a regular basis anyway. For instance, yesterday, despite being in a total “allergies or cold? I don’t know!” fog, I accompanied my boyfriend, Dan to the electronics store for a paper shredder. He got sidetracked by the speakers (one of his many Aquarian electronic fetishes), which were all in the “off” position and quiet until we began messing around with the various display controls. I pressed a glowing blue button next to one set of speakers, and Weezer’s “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” came blasting through. And I started to shake…shimmy…kick up my heels…etc. Yes, think all out Empire Records dancing-in-a-store scene. Why? Cuz I don’t care! Cuz I love that song! Some people may look at the nearest stranger and say, “Err, I’m not with this insane chick!” or try to steer me straight to the book section where I wouldn’t be able to cause any (ok, well, less) trouble. Not my Dan. He laughed and smirked at me, cuz that’s who I am.

"My daydream was always the same - that some day, I was going to get to Chicago, because that's where they make Dance TV..." (photo via Fanpop.com)

 

When I hear a song I love, I tend to dance. No, scratch that, I love to dance. (Ooh, here’s another opp for a late 20th century movie reference. Right there, I totally sounded like Sarah Jessica Parker’s goodie two-shoes turned dancing queen, Janie in the underrated classic, Girl Just Want to Have Fun.) Sometimes, I’ll even dance when there’s no music. But I’m realizing lately how completely necessary it is to give into that urge. How imperative it is to turn up the volume and bop around and twirl when “Heaven” by DJ Sammy comes on Pandora—even if, or especially when, I’m cleaning the apartment in my PJs. How crucial it is to accompany Newlywed Friend and Engaged Friend to the city, decked to the nines (even in heels!) to go clubbing because as Newlywed Friend noted, “We’re young, hot and child-less.” And also because dancing feels so good! Because it’s liberating. It makes you feel alive. We all know it’s not easy to be yourself, to not hold back 100% of the time, especially if you’re surrounded by people who would slink away should you spontaneously begin a one-woman show. (And believe me, while I feel so lucky to have a boyfriend of three years who delights in my public shenanigans, in the past, I’ve had close friends who begged me to please stop humming at a restaurant or dates who told me to “Shhh…” in a taxi cab.) One of the only things I’ve done my entire life without holding back and while always being myself has been dancing. Whether it was to James Brown’s “Living in America” in an aerobics class at the Palos Heights recreation department when I was 13, or at a gay club for my best friend Keith’s birthday sophomore year of college…I’ve always been myself on the dance floor. To quote Madonna, “Only when I’m dancing can I feel this free…” So dance I shall.

Thanks for the inspiration, Timmy. I hope you don’t ever stop dancing (and singing into bananas).
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