Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Little ditty


I recently reread my post about introducing our son to music and musical legends. I am reminded of the importance music has played in my own life. And likely, my introduction began when I was his age. I grew up listening to the Beatles with my Dad, and Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson with my Mom. As I think of the music our munchkin is exposed to now from Billy Joel and Blondie to Junior Gong Marley and Death Cab for Cutie, it gave me the opportunity to view my personal history in vignettes.

We all have a soundtrack to our lives and most of us have a gargantuan playlist of our lives most memorable moments. And this playlist inevitably includes not just the marquis songs we sang and danced to but also the moments when we won. And inevitably, our life's playlist includes the songs we played for the breakup, the revenge, the "I wish I would have said this" moments.

Music for many people is a creative outlet, an uplift, and a memory marker. And it often conflates the past and present as you hear a song you haven't thought of in years and it immediately takes you back to that day, that game, that night, or that person. And it isn't simply that you remember a particular song, it is what that actual song invokes in your memory bank. These songs are the passageway to significant moments. This is all succinctly true for me, and oh what a playlist I have.

Let's overlook all the smarmy songs I slow danced to as well as the songs I attached to boys to whom I developed crushes. Although, I will confess I remember spending a disproportionate allotment of time listening to Richard Marx sing about Endless Summer nights when I was leaving for college and leaving a boy behind.

Although, during one of those summer nights as he and I had teenage make out party and talked about our feelings, Duran Duran, and who else knows what, I opted out of my established curfew and decided to come home in the wee hours of the morning. I can now attest that those summer nights were certainly not "endless" as I faced being grounded weeks before I moved away to start college. I don't recall any lyrics about "you still have to come home by midnight."

There were so many great songs attached to my cinematic moments then and nothing has changed. I was in early highs school when Salt and Pepa released "Push it" and we were thrilled with the scandalous lyrics. That song, at that time, was the most sassy and risque of songs to come out and we girls sang it with our whole hearts. Oh, such innocence. And I recall baying and wailing at other songs over that time frame like Steve Miller's Jet Airliner, You've Gotta Fight by the Beastie Boys, and Sweet Child O' Mine by G'nR. And didn't everyone want to Wang Chung that night? We had the Fast Car, the Pink Cadillac, and the Loco-Motion redux.

And college improved the medley thousand fold. I remember 50 pledges jammed in a room at the Lambda Chi house singing along with Rob Base about "Joy and Pain" as we all jumped in unison, and no, we actually could NOT be any louder when "Love Shack" came on.

And years later when Baby Got Back was released, I would be unconvinced that less than 80% of the 20 year olds in the US didn't know that song verbatim. I was at a bar five years ago and they were doing a 80s/90s throwback party. When Sir Mix A Lot teed up Baby Got Back, 500+ bar patrons sang that song word for word. What a great bass line beat back down memory lane.

And graduate school carried its own cache of soundtrack moments accompanied by Pour Some Sugar on Me, Santa Monica, Right Hand Man, Let Me Clear My Throat, Come on Ride the Train, Closer I am to Fine, and Where Its At. (And only because MarciaGarcia forced us, we do have a special place for a song like "Lump".)

I have a litany of songs that remind me of my brothers, road trips with my Mom, and the song I heard in a movie soundtrack when I was dating JohnnyMac and knew I wanted to marry him. (And by the way, it was Count on Me from The Family Stone. He also looks like Dermot Mulroney, and it was the very song that serenaded us as we first tripped the light fantastic as Mr. and Mrs.) And of course, the songs I share with our son have etched a permanent place on my dial. Although, I will note that Johnny Cash does need a bit of filtering with his songs about robbing men in Reno and bringing guns to town.

And some of the best songs on my life's playlist are those songs to which I will always get up and dance. I am that girl that will roll through the radio often exclaiming, "I love that song!" Which is also why my iPod has about 1600 songs I just had to have.

I am so thankful for the depth music is intertwined throughout my life, and I am so glad my mom and dad had those 8 tracks and LPs. This initial exposure to music is what laid an everlasting foundation for me. And I am so glad to be passing it along.

2 comments:

The Gausmans said...

"Lump sat alone in a boggy marsh
Totally motionless except for her heart
Mud flowed up into lump's pyjammas
She totally confused all the passing piranhas"

14 years later & I still don't know have a clue what it means! It sure does make me smile though! :)

Tumbleweed said...

"Your own personal Jesus..."

or

"It was the heat of the moment..."

or

"One way or another..."

bring back any more nostalgic moments???