For years, I have had a Sweet Valley High theme song lodged in my brain—not the song from the television show, but one I learned as a child, from a cassette whose provenance I could not recall. Because I had no recollection of where it came from, its melody burned into my memory, the only way I thought to find it was by googling the lyrics I remembered: “Elizabeth and Jessica/ Twins, though they are/ Jess has, a wicked smile/ and Liz has a heaaaaaarrrt.” In my mind, there was a harmonic guitar solo after that verse. But for years, I searched the internet, a supposedly infinite well of information, to no avail. I resigned myself to never hearing this glorious single again.
Today, it occurred to me that the cassette may not have been a cassingle I tween-shoplifted from a Sam Goody, but in fact an audiobook. And so, one YouTube search later, I have found the song on what I will now refer to as the most glorious day of my life. Here, I present to you the Sweet Valley High theme song for audiobook:
The song begins with a bright and lightly mischievous synthesizer, before a funkified bassline and guitar squeal skulk in. The vocals, sung by an unidentified woman who in my mind looks identical to the 1980s cover renderings of the Wakefield twins—making her the third Wakefield, now triplets—are bubblegummy but dramatic, as though she knows the gravity of the tale she’s been tasked with singing. “Elizabeth and Jessica,” she intones. “Close, but apart... Liz is an angel... and Jess plays a staaaarrrrrr.” Fuck! Francine Pascal could not have put it better.
Then... the chorus. “Sweet Valley Highhh,” she sings. “Sweet Valley Highh-ighihgihgihgh. Woo-oooh!” The vocalist launches into a lilting soprano that parallels Carly Rae Jepsen as interpreted by Grimes. Then, an octave lower: “Sweet Valley Highhhh.”
Passionately, after a small synth flourish, our narrator continues to portray the tension between our two Southern California, perfect-size-six (bleugh) heroines, delving deeper into the pathos than one might expect. “Unlike in all ways,” she sings profoundly, “except in their miiiinds.” She then goes on to slander Jessica: “Jess doesn’t play fair in affairs of the hearrrrrrt.” Slowly, the song fades out, our scene set and the curtain closing on this thrilling distillation of two of literature’s most beloved personalities.
The eager listener is prepared for the vibrant frisson and melodrama with which she will be presented, by the kindly tenor of the man voicing the audiobook. The human voice is potent. This is the greatest song that has ever been played in all of Sweet Valley, California.
The search is over.