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Songs That Take Us Back: Staff Picks, by RedHawk Radio Writers

RedHawk Radio Writers are taking a trip down memory lane and revisiting our favorite nostalgic songs. Some of these takes might be a bit cringe, but that’s okay! It makes us totally relatable, right? Well, cringy or not, these nostalgic songs are still worth sharing in the eyes of our writers at RedHawk Radio. So, let’s revisit songs that were a blast in the past, shall we? We shall!


Phantomby NateWantsToBattle 

Ethan K. Poole


An original pop-punk song from a musician who mostly performed covers of video games, anime, and cartoon music, “Phantom” has the sort of commitment to an edgy aesthetic that is a delightfully fun type of cringe.


Complicatedby Avril Lavigne 

Emma Schaefer 


This song takes me back to receiving a McDonald’s Happy Meal with a kid’s bop CD of this song and Get The Party Started by Pink. It’s a funny memory now because I used to sing this song and look out the window dramatically. I still listen to this song now and again because Avril Lavigne is so iconic; it’s just no longer the kid’s bop version.


Save Rock and Roll by Fall Out Boys ft. Elton John 

Megan Harrison 


This song is the epitome of my middle school days. Like...yes, society does deem Fall Out Boy as cringeworthy, and no one seems to have the emo phase I did in their early teens anymore, but this song and the album of the same name still carry. I can see the room I was sitting in when I heard the song for the first time, and it brings up my fondest middle school memories. “Save Rock and Roll” is the final track on the album and wraps up the story with its crescendos and vocal harmonies. 


I Am Not Okay (I Promise) by My Chemical Romance 

Rachel Foley 


I had an emo phase in middle school (that totally leaked into high school), and this song was always on repeat. Listening to it just reminds me of jamming out, and while the lyrics aren’t that positive, the memories are. If you can get past the angst that My Chemical Romance embodies, some of what they’re singing about is universal, and I could definitely still see myself rocking with this song. 


Car Radio by Twenty One Pilots 

Emma Rudkin 


As much as my peers and I have grown to cringe at our middle school selves, I could never scoff at Vessel, a Twenty One Pilots album containing absolute bangers like Ode to Sleep,” Migraine and most famously “Car Radio.” Even if I write off the time of my life when I listened to this album the most, I can’t help but belt every single word with my whole chest when I shuffle my liked songs. I remember going to a Twenty One Pilots concert and feeling so alive and connected to everyone around me during the breakdown at the end of the song. “Car Radio,” in particular, will always take me back there, and there’s nothing cringe about that. 



My Girls by Animal Collective 

Jocelyn Gale 


It’s a song my dad used to play when I was younger, and the moment it starts, I feel a lightness of summer warmth, grounded by memories of grass sticking between my toes. This song makes me miss a distant, feathery, youthful feeling of playing outside. At the same time, it reminds me of how loved I feel by my dad and how sweet those memories are. 


Gwen Engelhart 


When I was in the car as a kid, this song always played on the radio. I would pretend I was in a music video and act melodramatically for the entirety of this 4:14-minute banger. I still listen to this song, especially on a rainy drive. 


Heart Attack by One Direction

Ava Shaffer 


One Direction, in general, propels me back to the past. The moment the open chords to this song play, I am transported back to my middle school indoor recess, which I always spent in the library with my sister, pouring over One Direction fan update Instagram accounts on the clunky school computers. This song, in particular, reminds me of the fake One Direction Facts fans would post, such as the one that said Niall threatened to quit the band if he wasn’t allowed to sing the “OW” part in this song.


Ei Ei - Pick Me by Youth With You 

Karla Garcia


This track brings me back to 2018, the year I discovered Mando-pop and became addicted to Idol Producer, a music reality show. Ei Ei (Pick Me), its theme song, defined my high school years. I would listen to it nonstop and always play it when I needed motivation. Streaming this song now, I am reminded of all the time I spent fangirling about my favorite contestants and waiting for their debut in a boy group. 


If I Had You by Adam Lambert

Rachel Watkins 


By God! Adam Lambert can belt it! This man has unstoppable vocals that absolutely knocked my socks off as a middle schooler, and to this day, Lambert’s vocal range continues to amaze me. This song, in particular, takes me back to strutting around my living room, dancing and watching the singer compete live on American Idol (I was a die-hard Lambert fan, and rumor has it, I still am).  


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