I felt like making a list today, for no reason in particular. I thought about 10 songs I couldn't live without because of the memory and emotion they envoke at every listen. How was it possible to widdle it down to 10? Basically this list is a lie, because there are about 200 songs I couldn't live without being a play button's length away from. In the limited time I actually had to think about this today, I tried to choose songs that I knew immediately I had an emotional connection or reaction too. Everytime I hear it, the same thought process goes through my mind. So that is why they made the top 10 list. Music + memory + thought process, is a powerful thing.
Buffalo Springfield – Stop Children, What’s that Sound
Forest Gump may be one of my favorite movies for many reasons, but mostly because I am obsessed with the 60's and early 70's era. The politics, the angst, the rebellion, the passion and the sadness. Had I been around then I would have protested Vietnam and marched probably anywhere and for anything, just to have had my voice heard. To live through the assassination of JFK and Martin Luther King, to see first hand the civil right struggle, to have lived in a time when being a woman was not what it is today, to have fought for everything that I now could easily take no notice of. It was a powerful time, I feel like I should have experienced. This song always takes me back to the history I didn't live through, and makes me want to be very aware of the time I am living in now. We should never live our lives being content to be ignorant of what is going on around us. Even if you can't have a voice, and you are simply an observer of what this system is doing to people, being aware and prepared is so important, and I never want to forget that.
Billy Joel – Streelight Serenader
I have an odd lustful crush for this piano man. Every tinker of a key on his piano brings me home to Connecticut. His music IS home to me. I've seen him live twice, and the power of his voice and arthritic hands takes over me and I am convinced he is one of the greatest musicians, entertainers, and story tellers of my lifetime. This song specifically may not be known to many, it wasn't a radio hit, or even one he might perform at live shows, but it is one of my all time favorites. He takes me back to the simplicity of music and someone who loves it, perhaps where no one sees it. A troubadour perhaps, whose music lives in the background of our lives as the soundtrack, but never sees the fame and fortune as others do. I have no idea what this song is actually about, but when I am home alone, I shut off the lights, light a few candles and gently jam to this perfect track.
Bjork – Hyperballad
I was introduced to Bjork during the summer of 1996. This was the second Bjork song I ever heard, Army of Me, being the first. I was in love with it immediately, and Post became one of the most important albums of my life and still is. A summer of love, pain, deceit, transformation, and adolescence. Ms. Bjork was the soundtrack to my life that summer, and she will forever be a part of me.
Faith Evans – Soon as I get Home
Everyone needs a smooth sensual, love jam-thunderstorm. Faith Evans, girlfriend of one departed Notorious B.I.G, gave me such a slow jam in 1995. I can't explain the power yet simplicity of this song. All I can say is, its my go to slow jam.
Glen Hansard – Leave
See Glen Hansard before you die. Do it! Fly to Europe if you have to. This Irishman takes a small stage, with just his pure yet powerful voice (sometimes without a microphone) and makes your eyes fill with tears and the hair on any limb stand up. Need a break up song that makes you cry and then get irrationally angry and screaming at the end with tears down your face? This is the one. Glen makes you feel things so deeply tucked away, I warn you now, listen to him in private. He is also great for a therapeutic night time walk/run. (Warning, running with tears down your face may alarm onlookers).
Depeche Mode - It's No Good
It is a sad state of affairs when a broken heart can spawn such a musical catalog that fills up the cd sleeves of your past. My anthem of heartache is a song that I will always love, regardless of the fact that the first time I heard it, I sat on my bed and balled my eyes out uncontrollably. It wasn't enough to have just endured my first and deepest battle scar of love, but then to hear these lyrics escape my boom box speakers; it was too much for any girl to handle. A proclamation the that the person who left you will inevitably realize it was a mistake, and that you will be fine because eventually they will see the err of their ways and return to you. The overall musical tone of the song lends itself to the dark lie you know you are telling yourself. We tell ourselves, things will eventually correct themselves, that it is somehow fate. We pretend that this love was everlasting and real and so deeply connected in two people's souls that there is no way that things could go on broken. It's a lie we sing ourselves to sleep to stop the tears. At least I did. The first time I saw Depeche Mode live, they performed this song, and from the first three notes my eyes welled with tears. It took me back to that same place, over 10 years earlier. Somehow, reliving the pain just for a moment, becomes powerful and you appreciate the road you went down and all the wounds you have to show for it.
Neil Young – Old Man
Neil wrote this song about a man who was a foreman or caretaker at a ranch he purchased. There is something about this song that always makes me reflect on the girl I was and the woman I am today. More than likely that isn't the intention of it, but art is what it makes you feel. I see older women that have the qualities I aspire to. I see ones that have personalities I hope to never settle and grow into. It often just makes me think about age, and youth and as I grow maintaining the aspects about myself that I appreciate, while gracefully getting wiser. It' s a simple song of contemplation of age.
Washed Out – Feel it all Around
On a Friday afternoon, after a long week of work, windows down, hair blowing in the wind. That is just one of the times you will hear me listening to this song. The only adjectives I can describe it with may not make any sense to anyone else, even if they love the song the way I do. It's free. It's wavy. It makes you want to travel.It makes you want to jump off a cliff in Greece like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. It makes you want to lie on a beach all alone, it makes you want to drive through the mountains of Oregon and soak up the fresh air. This song makes you want to live, in the chillest, laid back way possible.
Post Modern Sleaze - Sneaker Pimps
Girls are tough. For as much as I want to be a feminist and back my sisters of the world, unite us with chats about our struggles for equality and fighting the mold the world wants us to fit, I struggle. Because I hate them. I didn't have many girlfriends growing up, because I couldn't stand most girls I knew. They were all the same vacuous cookie cut out of each other. There was always a leader, a Regina George if you will, and they followed in a straight line behind her every diabolical and manipulative scheme. Shallow pods of physical appearance, gossip, and transparency.
I fell in love with the Sneaker Pimps the same summer I discovered Bjork and this song painted a picture of many girls I knew.
She takes every scene they steal, She takes every pain they feel, She must be a thelma or louise, She must be a post-modern sleaze
I never wanted to be like the girls I grew up around. Let me grow old and be an old spinster women who talks to animals more than other females and I will gladly oblige. This song always take me back to the days of adolescent loneliness, where I watched the cloud of Aqua-net buzz all around me. I watched on the sidelines, observing, made to feel as an outcast in a world I was not good enough to be included in. Music like this solidified my feelings, and I knew even if people I never met saw what I saw, I wasn't really alone.
All for You - Sister Hazel
I am not the biggest Sister Hazel fan. In fact I doubt I could name more than a handful of songs they did. They were though, my first concert. If memory serves me correctly, I was 14, and was only allowed to go see them with a group of people because my older brother was going to be present. Back then, The Social, was The Sapphire Supper Club. Being in such a small intimate place, standing feet from the stage, seeing these people sing their hearts out, it had an impact on me. To go from being someone that locked herself in her room with tapes and CD's, who listened to the radio to record her favorite songs to make mixed tapes; to then see music being made live! To see crowd interaction! To get the goosebumps and highs of all that your senses were taken in! My parents probably didn't realize what they had allowed to enter into my life. I was hooked, and wanted to see as many live shows as possible. That is why 16 years later, I have been to over 100 concerts and will never have gotten my fill.