With Memorial Day right around the corner, you are bound to attend a barbecue or picnic or some kind of outdoor gathering this weekend. Lucas and I might even host our own gathering now that we have a YARD. (Did I mention we have a yard? WE HAVE A YARD.)
Along with all the important foods and beverages and vague patriotism you'll need to prepare (psst, here's a quick primer on what we're celebrating), you also need some baller tunes. If you're like me, you probably feel pressure to make a cool playlist, one that has a perfect mix of classic hip hop and classic rock with a smattering of new-ish top 40 hits. But why stress yourself? Instead, I'm going to propose something bold: just listen to one album, and make that album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
I first heard this album on April vacation of my sophomore year of high school in 1999. I went to DC with my family and my neighbor/childhood bestie Sam, who brought the album with her (thanks, Sam!). I can't remember if we listened to it straight from the CD, or if she had already recorded it onto a cassette, but I do remember that the album felt perfect from beginning to end, and that we listened to it over and over. Even better, I was experiencing it at the same time that spring was bursting into the city with cherry blossoms and open windows and college students in short sleeves. We spent a lot of time in and out of museums, which in retrospect was a weird, grand contrast to the constant soundtrack of such a personal album.
I now find myself reaching for The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill toward the end of spring every year. I still associate it with that exciting feeling of the world coming alive. (And yes, by "reaching" I mean "scrolling through some sort of digital music application," since I don't own any tangible copy of it... RIP cassette). We're more on the cusp of summer than spring this weekend, but think of this as your spring-summer soundtrack, which is that beautiful time from roughly the end of April to early June.
Now is also a great time to appreciate Miseducation, since it's nearly the album's 20th anniversary! And Lauryn Hill—ahem, sorry, Ms. Lauryn Hill—is doing an anniversary tour! Feel free to buy me some tickets. :D :D :D
Here, I did the reaching for you:
In my dreams, you and I will play this on repeat throughout any and all outdoor gatherings this weekend, whiners be damned. But if you've decided to be a nice host and move on to another playlist, at least play this all the way through one time to start off your spring-summer weekend right.
I leave you with this classic video, and this fun fact I learned from recent Gems guest Gastor Almonte: John Legend plays piano on this track, and it was his first album credit, when he was just a lil' baby college student! Makes me wonder what Chrissy Teigen was up to at the time... oh, I think just attending junior high.
Have a great weekend!