Song of Myself

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?


2 thoughts on “Song of Myself

  1. I have a thing where instead of having favorite songs, I have songs of my life…this is exactly what I'm talking about. Every song has meaning to me, but some way more than others. They can take you back to a specific point in time or to a specific feeling. It's amazing–the power of music.

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