I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. — Walt Whitman
I’ve been thinking alot today about the power of music. More specifically, the impact that songs have on our lives. I don’t even have to place a wager–I am certain beyond a shadow of a glimmer of a doubt that if you heard a song on the radio, you can probably trace that song back to a person, an experience, or a feeling you’ve had. Basically, your whole life can be told in song.
The catalyst for this post was (brace yourself) Whitesnake. Yes my friends, Whitesnake. See, I was driving home from work today when “Here I go Again” began to play. I immediately thought of my friend Shane from college. Shane loved all things power ballad and for that 4:34 I was back in Bernet Hall with the music cranking, Kyle air drumming, and Shane lip synching. Instinctively, I reached for my phone to text him before I realized that I don’t even have his phone number and haven’t been in touch with him since he returned from his tour in Iraq. Shane knows how to rock a power ballad like nobody I know.
Anyhow, this whole thing got me thinking about other songs in my life and the stories behind them. I’ll break down some of my favorites and most memorable here:
- Today by Smashing Pumpkins I bought Siamese Dream when I was vacationing in Maine the summer after 8th grade. I actually traded tapes for it at a music store. I don’t remember what I traded, but I’m pretty sure it involved Paula Abdul. A significant upgrade in my book. Anyhow, I love love love this album and I’ll never forget that for my birthday one year (15? 16? I can’t remember now.) my dear friend Aaron came to my party and sang that song for me for my present. It was cheesy and sentimental, but it was also a pretty sweet move and a moment I’ll never forget.
- Losing My Religion by REM The summer I turned 15, I went to Paris with my mother. It was a wonderful trip, but no amount of croissant was going to cure my teen angst. I wanted my friends. I wanted a cheeseburger, and I wanted to watch movies in a language I actually understood. After the 15th museum visit in 3 days, I heard the delicate strains of an acoustic guitar and look up just in time to see a street musician surrounded by a crowd singing this song…with the thickest french accent I’ve ever heard.
- My Sharona by The Knack Can you resist dancing to this song? Can you really?
- Turn the Beat Around by Gloria Estefan This song was a special favorite during an impromptu dance party when I was in high school. My friend Laurin and I were dancing furiously when my mother walked in on us and did the unthinkable…she joined us. I could have died right there…
- Let My Love Open the Door by Pete Townsend was our wedding song.
- Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison the first song that Kevin and I danced to, only he changed the lyrics for my benefit since we weren’t officially dating at the time. I believed the lyrics went something like “You’re my blue eyed female affiliate”. He’s a total goofball, I know.
- I Want it That Way by Backstreet Boys I know, right? In my defense, my girlfriends and I made what may be the most elaborate birthday video that anyone has ever seen involving a serious lip-synch to this song.
This is just a few of what I could dredge up if I took the time. It’s a pretty remarkable thing, to be able to chart your life and memories in song. What’s your soundtrack sound like?