In my formative years, I had a amount of tremendous respect for my sister. She was infallible. Because of this, she had a huge impact on my music taste.
My sister and I both grew up in the back half of the 90s, clinging to "Saved by the Bell" reruns and witnessing the undisputed golden age of Nickelodeon.
Some albums define a generation – The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” forever changed pop, Nirvana’s “Nevermind” ushered in the era of grunge. For those of us caught in between the Millennials and Gen Z, albums like Britney Spears’ “Oops!... I Did It Again” and *NSYNC’s “No Strings Attached” lived in our chunky Insignia Portable CD players.
Cut to middle school, aka the Dark Ages. In the 7th grade, I turned 13. Sure, I had braces and glasses that were too small for my face but, dammit, I was a man in the eyes of Jewish God.
While my mom spent days planning for an extravagant after party, I trained for my bar mitzvah by hitting the books, specifically, the Torah. Then, the big day arrived.
You see, although I had spent three hours that morning reciting Hebrew to an audience of supportive family members and bored teens, I apparently was not done performing.
Like every good, pale tweenager, I was in a band. We disbanded after our first gig, but vowed to reunite for one night only at my bar mitzvah. We played one song. It was by Green Day. It was "21 Guns."
I used to recoil at the thought of my bar mitzvah, but I have recently come to terms with my awkward teen years and the performance we put on that one fateful night.
That day, I became a man and played my heart out in a country club ballroom. These are the songs I remember from my bar mitzvah.
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