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Friday Mixtape

Back to School

by Wendy Lee Nentwig

Back to School

About this playlist

The store aisles are packed with shiny new pencils, crayons, notebooks and backpacks, which can only mean one thing: It's back-to-school time! (Seriously: I'm in Nashville, where kids are already back.) Whether you're heading off to college, herding offspring to class, or just feeling nostalgic for those days of lower learning and mandatory recess, this music mix has something for you.

Start out with the retro fun and funk of tracks like The Jackson 5's "ABC" or Paul Simon's "Me and Julio Down by the School Yard," along with The White Stripes' retro-sounding "We Are Going to Be Friends." Were you that kid who laid out your clothes the night before? If the thought of a new Trapper Keeper secretly gives you a little thrill, you'll be drawn to inspirational tunes like the Glee cast version of "Don't Stop Believin'" or the Beach Boys classic "Be True to Your School." For those who need a little more convincing that they're not, you know, too cool for all this, we also threw in The Ramones' "Rock 'N' Roll High School" and Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream." (who knows, maybe you'll finally be assigned that hot lab partner?). If that early-morning alarm clock still has you singing the blues, a little humor can help: Turn up "Lunchlady Land," Barenaked Ladies' "Grade 9" or Nada Surf's tongue-in-cheek "Popular."

Then again, sometimes nothing feels as good as wallowing with others who feel as crummy as you do. In that case, The Offspring, Beastie Boys, Kendall Payne and Taylor Swift are all on hand to commiserate right along with you. So tune in and let this custom mix help you pass the time until winter break, or that first snow day!