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“You Can’t Stop The Beat!”

Updated: Jun 3, 2022

Note: this blog article was originally published on 8 July 2016 on the Mezzo, Legato! WordPress blog.

Times Square musical billboards

Today I sort of need to backtrack away from all the existential crises, radio hits, and other genres I recently threw myself into (all of which influence my songwriting nowadays), and get back to what really got this ball rolling.


2008 was the year where all the super awesome musicals came out into movie theaters and everyone was obsessed with Zac Efron and Corbin Bleu and totally loathed Sharpay Evans, plus your school decides to put on a remake of The Corny Collins Show for a school revue, and a day does not go by when you’re not belting “Good Morning Baltimore” completely off-key or pretending you’re in a hairspray commercial with James Marsden.

Yep, 2008 was the days. Also the days when your friends would happily sponsor the terribly written songs you scribbled down using hardly anything other than your 11-year-old copycat tendencies. And that first song you wrote and felt confident enough to present to them, they would belt every recess as if rehearsing for a concert until the teachers on duty stared at them.

I thought it was the whole world. My new song, “Lyrics”.

I’m serious. That’s the title.

And it came about simply because I was writing the storyline to some stupid fairytale-type-thing about a princess who wanted to escape the confines of royal living or whatever (the story ultimately never came to fruition). And that day I had the craving to write a song and other rather interesting ones for some fledgling musical that was forming in my head. I vaguely recall only bits and pieces of it:

At a small blow of dust

that rolls into view

And every time I take a bow

To the mew of the cat

or something like that?

It all started so long ago

The sound of the bird

And I’ve never heard that song

A song so sweet

A song so lovely

All at that same time

Give me a chance

Give me a sound

‘Cause all I wanna do

is listen to…lyrics!

That is all I am willing to conjure up right now. And it didn’t stop there.

The movie adaptation of Mamma Mia! came out later that same year. And one of my friends suggested we watch it for her birthday. And we were all obsessed with ABBA for what seemed like eternity that we even choreographed a snazzy dance routine for a Drama project, inspired by Donna and the Dynamites. Meanwhile I was crafting some bizarre thing to “Super Trouper”.

Yep, those were the days.

Musicals were the soundtrack to my middle school life. The songs I wrote. The stuff I attempted to sing.

That is, until High School Musical went out of fashion around 2010.

I recall someone overhearing me sing a series of homages to Sharpay with one of my friends, and they made a snide remark sounding like, “You guys are seriously still singing High School Musical?” (Mind you, this is coming from someone way younger than me.)

Newsflash, kid. People still request that I sing Sharpay’s rendition of “What I’ve Been Looking For” to this day. Love and Happiness.

Okay, maybe back then it was.

Enjoy your life!


P.S. I have seen the Hairspray movie seven times and (since I just happen to own the DVD too) counting.

#firstsong #HighSchoolMusical #MammaMia #music #lyrics #2008 #Hairspray #Musicals

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