Did you know that 87 percent of high schoolers are forever scarred by their prom experiences? Okay, I totally made that up. But I bet I'm in the taffeta-bedecked ballpark. Prom is up there with New Year's Eve and 21st b-days as high-pressure events that promise the goods — "the night of your life!" — but inevitably end up in sobs and/or a lonely chalupa run. In taking a peek at this year's highfalutin prom themes around Tampa Bay, I see that world-turning optimism and wild travel fantasies are still en vogue. Sigh. As your friendly neighborhood music critic, I can't alter your kids' chalupan fates. But I can recommend cool music to help enliven their overtly themed proms. When DJ Larry starts spinning The Cha-Cha Slide for the 12th time, tell him SD sent you with a request. Trust me …
Theme: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
Sean says: I don't have many fears in life. But I'm fairly certain that I'd soil my Rent-a-Tux if I were grazed by an Oompa Loompa at prom. Just sayin' …
Cool songs: I Want Candy, Bow Wow Wow; Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), Marilyn Manson; Pure Imagination, Maroon 5.
Blake, Leto, Sickles
Themes: A Whole New World, Arabian Nights, Arabian Nights.
Sean says: Wow, is this an Aladdin thing? That's really sweet and innocent. I'm suspicious. Is "Jafar" slang for vodka?
Cool songs: Rock the Casbah, the Clash; Wooly Bully, Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs; B.O.B., OutKast.
Middleton, Clearwter, Brooks-DeBartolo
Themes: A Summer Night in Paris, A Night in Paris, A Night in Paris.
Sean says: Why do I get the feeling these are going to look more like "A Thursday in Scranton"?
Cool songs: Lady Marmalade, Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya, Lil' Kim; Land of 1000 Dances, Wilson Pickett; Last of the American Girls, Green Day.
Palm Harbor, Plant
Themes: Grecian Gardens, Greek Gods.
Sean says: You can't fool me with your classy descriptions, Palm Harbor and Plant. I've seen Animal House. I know what you're getting at. Toga! Toga!
Cool songs: God Put a Smile Upon Your Face, Mark Ronson; God Don't Make Lonely Girls, the Wallflowers; Shout!, the Isley Brothers.
Theme: Journey to Atlantis.
Sean says: Okay, so maybe your night won't end at Taco Bell after all, crazy seafaring Atlantis people. But you should probably find out what time Long John Silver's is open 'til …
Cool songs: Shark in the Water, V.V. Brown; Keep Fishin', Weezer; Let's Get Away From It All, Frank Sinatra.
Sean Daly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By SEAN DALY | Times Pop Music Critic