Courtesy of Michelle Sullivan
For all the messy emotions it can conjure, and for all the diverse experiences it can entail, prom night hits an awful lot of predictable signifiers, whether you cried in the boys' room during Beyonce's "Halo" in 2009 or cried in the girls' room during The Flamingos' version of "I Only Have Eyes for You" half a century earlier. Prom is constant, eternal — it's sweaty palms, fear of rejection, a rite of passage, a beginning and an ending, whether you attended it yourself or not.
But even if most proms are created equal — corny theme, chart-topping ballad for slow dances, trouble in the parking lot, chaperones to root out the mischief-makers — all prom-goers most certainly are not. With that in mind, NPR Music's staff picked these songs for wishful thinkers and other alternate-universe prom-goers. Feel free to claim them as your own, if only to replace your suppressed memories of throwing up in the punch bowl to the tune of Chris De Burgh's 1986 hit "The Lady in Red."