Brian McKnight – “Back at One”

When: Afternoon, September 1999
Where: The school bus
Who: Whoever was riding the school bus
Weather: Hot, dry

Though I’ve expressed my distaste for the direction R&B took in the ’90s, I understand what it’s for. R&B music is for sexing people up. But I can’t imaging anyone even trying to do that with this song. “Back at One” is a song for slow, vague swaying.

I was riding the bus home when the problem started. The bus driver Joe kept the radio on while he drove the long, unnecessarily circuitous route through the mostly black neighborhoods at the edge of which stood my house. This song came on the radio, and suddenly as if this had been planned for months, the driver pulled over, and five fifth graders in the front row started singing and dancing swaying along with it. This happened every time the song came on.

I continue to not understand why those five kids– all boys– would have such a vested interest in this song.

Next: The Pokémon craze reaches its logical conclusion.