The other night my husband and I were talking about how our lives – and the experience of living those lives – would be changed if we could do it with a soundtrack accenting our every move, every emotion, every experience. It’s a thought I’ve had before. How would our life be changed, for the better or possible for the worse, if we had someone hand picking music to go along with our every experience? The good ones, the bad, the exciting times and the mundane. And of course, everything in between.
My husband and I are always listening to music. Because our taste in music is varied and diverse, the type of music we play at home fluctuates with our mood, the season, and is dependent on our activity. We may not have some omniscient DJ skillfully laying down tracks to amplify the themes of our life, but without a doubt, I can think back over our life and recall certain songs that correlate with some of our biggest (or maybe just best) life moments. Here is the soundtrack I came up with:
Walkin’ After Midnight by Patsy Cline: This song always makes me think of being a kid, and remembering how happy my parents were. I feel like they would occasionally dance. Maybe I’m making that up. But we did listen to a lot of Pasty Cline and there were a lot of good vibes all around.
The Dummy Song by Louis Armstrong: When I was in junior high, I asked for the soundtrack to You’ve Got Mail for Christmas. I don’t remember if I was in 6th or 7th grade. I loved that movie. I loved Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. And I loved all the old songs on this album. This song will forever remind my of my little brother, Josh, though. I can see him, singing this in his crazy Armstrong impersonation. I love it.
No Diggity by Blackstreet/Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith/My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion: Eveeeery junior high dance. Some good memories. Some bad. Some absolutely terrible ones. So yea, your typical junior high memories.
All That She Wants by Ace of Base: the first cassette tape my mom threw out.
Last Kiss by Pearl Jam: This song. How many times did we listen to it the summer before my freshman year? 100 times? 200 times? Too many to count, that’s sure. One of my favorite memories of my life is of riding in my cousin Kate’s car along with my brother and my other cousin, Laurel — the windows rolled down, the beautiful summer Ohio landscape passing us by, and singing this song at the top of our lungs.
Adam’s Song/All the Small Things by Blink 182: high school…amiright?
Walkin on the Sun by Smashmouth/ Butterly by Crazy Town: yeah, more high school memories.
Fingerprints of God by Stevin Curtis Chapman: My dad would always play this in the car when we were driving somewhere together.
No Woman No Cry by Bob Marley: I love this song. I love this album by Bob Marley and the Wailers. This song instantly takes me back to rainy summer afternoons in high school. Man, life was so carefree back then, wasn’t it?
Ants Marching/41 by Dave Matthews Band: Whether through concerts or cds, I was constantly listening to DMB the summer I graduated high school.
Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix: The first afternoon in my new dorm, shortly after my parents had left, I heard Little Wing (one of my favorites) floating down the hall. It turned out the source was a girl named Mandy in the room directly across from mine. I went over just to say hi and we immediately struck up a friendship.
Where You Lead by Carol King: Similar story. Only a few days into my freshman year of college, I heard this song playing and complimented the player, a gorgeous little hippie named Laurie. I haven’t been able to get rid of her since ;-).
Hey Ya! by OutKast: This song reminds me of some really great road trips with really great people my during college.
Wrapped Around by Brad Paisley: Anyone who knows me will be surprised to find a country song on this list. But the summer I met Mike (on a blind date), one of the first things he told me was that he liked country music. I did not. I liked Bob Dylan, Pearl Jam and the Red Hot Chili Peppers (I still do). Even though he doesn’t listen to country much any more, songs like this always remind me of the summer we met. I love to think about Mike not as he is now, but as he was then – young, naive, and trying so hard to make me like him.
Dreams by Fleetwood Mac: I packed up my bedroom a few nights before I was to get married, listening to this album. This song was playing as the rain started and I remember feeling just so, so good.
Djonkana by Boubacar Traore and Give a Lei by Bryan Kessler: The first summer Mike and I were married, we spent a lot of time at our local public library taking advantage of the free materials. We had fun checking out the most random and bizarre movies and music. These two artists remain some of my favorite to this day, and we picked them up on a whim. The first, Traore, I remember blaring him on our stereo one hot day, taking a blanket and our chess board outside, and letting the music accent a blissful day of laying around outside. The second, from Slack Key, instantly takes me back to our little, first apartment. I can feel the heat of that summer. I can see us, young and in love, totally loving our new life together.
(Later, when Theodore was born and we had to leave him in the NICU, it was my copy of Slack Key Guitar that had brought me so much peace and happiness that I left playing beside his incubator. It was my way of not really leaving him alone. I’d like to think that someday, he will include the music from this album on his “soundtrack” of good memories from his life. )
Holiday by Greenday: Mike got me “American Idiot” for my first birthday we celebrated together after we were married (by 20th). We listened to this album a lot that year, and I remember listening to it as we closed the campus coffee shop that we worked at together most evenings. Some good and bad memories mix together there…working with your husband your first year of marriage…not an easy thing.
Albatross (The Pious Bird of Good Omen) by Fleetood Mac- This song, the most amazing song ever written, will always symbolize one particularly good year Mike and I spent together. It was the year we became us.
Anna Sun by Walk the Moon: There is a lyric in this song that goes, “We’ve got no money but we’ve got he-eart. We’re going to rattle this ghost town!” I’ll never forget the night we were sitting in our living room, completley depressed because in less than two weeks, our old gas boiler furnace and my car’s transmission died. It was an immediate expense of almost $10,000. It was winter, we had to have the heat. But we had just purchased our home that spring and were brrrrroke. I can still see Mike’s face as we listened to this album for the first time. We just laughed. (Ok, he laughed, I was still crying.) But this song says so much about that time, about who my husband is, and about our life together. Life has never been easy breezy, but we’ve always had each other. Through everything. And that has made all the difference.
I could go on and on here. There are so many favorite songs that correlated to favorite moments over my lifetime. So many great bands went unnamed. But I’ll stop here for now. It’s fun how a song can instantly take you back to a different time and a different place. It tells a fuller, truer version of the story of what was really happening. Music is a wonderful part of life, and I’m grateful for the soundtrack that has been a big part of mine.