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  • Steve G

My 8th Grade iPod: Iris

This is a recurring segment, an exploration of my late middle school, early high school musical tastes.

In this segment we’ll be looking at my most-played songs from back in the day and asking a few questions: What is it about? Why did I like it? And how does it hold up over time? To get these songs I’m using my home desktop which I used between 2008-2012, the high school years. The first song we’re going to take a look at is “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls, which was my 6th most played song with 108 plays. Let’s get to it.

What is it about?

The lyrics are vague, but it’s basically about a man longing for an emotional connection with a woman. He wants to connect with her on an intimate, emotional level.

Why did I like it?

I liked this song almost solely for the chorus: And I don’t want the world to see me/Cause I don’t think that they’d understand/When everything’s made to be broken/I just want you to know who I am. That shit spoke to me. In 8th/9th grade I used to listen to this song every night before I went to sleep, and when John Rzeznik hit those notes, my head would turn hot as I imagined myself shoving my tongue down my crush’s throat. I’m not sure why I felt as though I didn’t want the world to see me or what they didn’t understand about me, I think in my mind I had connected those lyrics with my then-kissless existence and fear of grinding at school dances.

How does it old up over time?

This song was ten years old when I was blasting it nightly; it's now twenty years old. It holds up well. The vocals and guitar still sound great, and I still love the way the song builds to the final chorus. The lyrics I exalted in 8th grade don’t hit me quite as hard as they once did--maybe I'm just numb--but they still reflect a universal if inexplicable longing for intimacy that almost anybody can relate to. “Iris” is a damn good song–Billboard named it the “Top Pop Song” from 1992-2012, and it is one of the biggest crossover hits of all time.

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