You’re Only Ever Who You Were

You were the popular one, the popular chick
It is what it is, now I’m popular-ish
Standing on the field with your pretty pompom
Now you’re working at the movie selling popular corn
I could have been a mess but I never went wrong
‘Cause I’m putting down my story in a popular song
I said I’m putting down my story in a popular song

I love everything about this video. From the exquisite collar on Mika’s shirt, to the Mini-Coop shout-out (even if the one I want is Ice Blue), to the surprise-twist ending. Based largely (entirely?) on ‘Popular’ from ‘Wicked’, it’s a nifty extension of that song’s themes, with a deeper rendering of issues like bullying and ostracism. Backed with an irresistible pop melody, it’s the perfect way to say fuck-off as politely as possible. That’s a calling card worth leaving if you’ve ever been treated badly.

My problem, I never was a model,
I never was a scholar,
But you were always popular,
You were singing all the songs I don’t know
Now you’re in the front row
‘Cause my song is popular
Popular, I know about popular
It’s not about who you are or your fancy car
You’re only ever who you were
Popular, I know about popular
And all that you have to do is be true to you
That’s all you ever need to know

It bring back memories of school. I wasn’t hugely picked on, but I certainly wasn’t popular. To this day, I wouldn’t say I’m popular. If you don’t feel that at the beginning – if you never feel like you belong – you can’t ever really feel it. Even if you are loved. (And in all honesty, I had my own Mean Girl moments or picking on others. I paid for those in my own way.)

As for my schoolmates, it’s been fun watching some of them progress in their own lives now that things like FaceBook and Twitter exist to illuminate those from our past. I won’t get catty about whether they’ve aged well or remained in shape or made something out of their lives – those stories are theirs. And the real bullies, the losers who were racist or homophobic or simply ignorant and hateful, well, I doubt they’re even on FaceBook.

Always on the lookout for someone to hate,
Picking on me like a dinner plate
You hid during classes, and in between
Dunked me in the toilets, now it’s you that cleans them
You tried to make me feel bad with the things you do
It ain’t so funny when the joke’s on you
Ooh, the joke’s on you
Got everyone laughing, got everyone clapping, asking,
“How come you look so cool?”
‘Cause that’s the only thing that I’ve learned at school, boy
I said that that’s the only thing that I’ve learned at school.

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