I Shoulda Known Better
by Mike Wilson
To this author, the quintessential icon of peer pressure is that of pre-teens standing on the corner by the school, smoking cigarettes. Though this song does a fair job of bashing smoking in general, that is not the goal. And there is certainly no intent to bash the smoker's person. The primary purpose, rather, is to address peer pressure which, as teachers know best, comes in many and varied forms. Hopefully this song can open a candid forum to the impacts of negative peer pressure. Of course, positive peer pressure can become a part of the same conversation.
Now, the particulars. We took a rock 'n' roll setting and an edgy, in-your-face lyrical approach to emphasize a "fight back" attitude in answering those who would influence us negatively. It is the story of one who falls into peer pressure, realizes the poor choice, learns a lesson, takes a stand and fixes the problem… happy ending. As the bridge points out, there are consequences for our choices whether good or bad.
The melody line utilizes "blue notes" to create a sassy style. Observe the scoops and general personality of the demo group on the recording to pull it off. The tag line, especially, should be sung with a sense of brazenness.
There are a couple of ways to jazz it up if you want. One is an optional background part during the chorus. Very short and easy – mostly an echo. Another is with some light choreography. This might work if you have a small group off to the side leaning in as those background parts occur. Another movement idea (born out of our recording session) is to have the main group, or possibly the background section, simply wag their finger as they sing "I shoulda known better."
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.