I’m an extremely lucky woman. My life has been a roller coaster ride of people, places, and experiences that helped to form me into the woman I am.
Sometimes, when I am having a down day, I try to remember memories from those who have affected me in a lasting way, and a lot of times, these moments are associated in my mind with a particular song.
This post is a “playlist” of sorts; a mix tape to help me remember those blessed moments that keep my heart buoyant in otherwise frustrating and sad times.
10. “Go To Extremes” by Billy Joel.
This song has SERIOUS cheese factor. It is as goofy as your 80’s power ballad can get, and the Piano Man himself can’t make it more than what it is. But every time I listen to this song, I think of my Dad, singing it at the top of his lungs, and me, just sitting in the passenger seat of his car, watching him.
When my Dad sings in the car, he does the “White Man’s Overbite”, bangs on the steering wheel, and doesn’t care who’s watching. We had a rough patch for pretty much my entire childhood…. didn’t get along well, and couldn’t seem to find a way to agree on anything at all, except our common love of the Detroit Red Wings. Putting it mildly, we had our serious ups and downs.
But as I grow older, I value his input, and those moments in the car, where I felt like I connected with him, even without saying much. I think part of my love of performing came from watching him perform in the car for me, and knowing how much joy that brought me, even if it was just for a moment.
9. “Hands Down” by Dashboard Confessional
This song…. has too many memories attached to it. I remember zipping along in my best friend Lauren’s car on the back roads, on the way to church on Sunday mornings, singing this song at the top of my lungs. I remember having one of the best nights I ever had, just laying in the arms of my first love and talking all night, and listening to this song the next morning. And I remember listening to this song again, after meeting my husband, and realizing that he was “the one”.
I know Chris Carrabba tends to be a little on the whiny, sad side for most of you, and that’s okay. I was still a little in love with him in high school, and his music will always make me long for one of my bestie’s phenomenal harmonies and long road trips.
8. “Wildflowers” by Tom Petty
I will always associate this song with freedom. After breaking up with my first love, I had a spiral of sadness that one can only associate with the first realization that when you risk loving something, you also risk losing it, and the pain of that epiphany is something that can’t necessarily be put into words. You’re scared to love and lose again, and wonder what life will be like if/when it happens again. Is it something worth risking, if this is the potential outcome?
But when I realized that things weren’t all as they seemed with that relationship, I started to recount the “me” that I’d lost. The pieces of him that I’d collected and incorporated into myself over the years started to fall away, and I realized that I didn’t even recognize myself anymore!
As I backed away, I remember hearing this song, and a heavy burden was lifted from my shoulders, as Tom Petty sang to me,
You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
Far away from your trouble and worry
You belong somewhere you feel free
And then I was. I was free. I could be whoever I decided to be! I could make my own life decisions, become who I wanted, and love who I wanted, risk or no risk. And I was changed.
7. “Konstantine” by Something Corporate
This will always be attributed to me learning about theater. I used to work for my high school’s auditorium, and I learned about lights, sound, the curtain, and general maintenance from a dude who loved music. I may also *vaguely* recall said dude bringing a group of us into the auditorium to play the XBOX on the ginormous projector screen.
This, of course, makes me think of all the other shenanigans that took place there. The light saber battles I watched take place, the rehearsals that went to all hours of the morning, the extra credit projects that got filmed, and the audition tapes I recorded there that I had to submit to Indiana University before being accepted there. Oh, and the rock history concert that took place there once a year.
I truly believe that this is where my love of nerds came from. If a guy picks up a controller, talks to me about RPG’s, Harry Potter, LOTR, and Weird Al, I’m pretty guaranteed to love him. See above account of the light saber battles.
6. “Turtle Blues” by Janis Joplin
This is my song. I sing it to myself in the car when I’m pissed, upset, angry, or recovering from something incredibly frustrating. I dream of singing karaoke someday when this song is actually available.
It makes me feel strong. Janis reminds every woman, I think, of the true strength she has inside her, and about the influence she has on men. She wasn’t a “beauty” by popular standards, but that woman EXUDED strong sexuality.
Whenever I see the memes out there with random animal photos, saying, “And zero flips were given today” (you and I both know what it actually says), I think of Janis Joplin. Zero flips were given by her.
5. “Transatlantacism” by Death Cab for Cutie
This song makes me sad. This song *sounds* like the ocean to me. But it’s sad beauty is something that touches my soul in a unique way that nothing else can.
It makes me want to call my Mom, my Sisters, and my besties that live far away from me, and tell them I love them. It makes me want to snuggle my dogs, and it makes me want to kiss my husband. It reminds me to give the ones I love the time and energy they deserve.
4. “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel
The first time I really remember hearing this song was at my Aunt and Uncle’s wedding. I remember that it was their first dance, and how beautiful and in love they looked with the spotlight on them. I was probably seven years old, but I’ll never forget this moment.
I was asked to sing for a couple’s wedding a couple years ago, and this was one of the songs I chose, because I’ll always think of it as a timeless love song. It went well, and it was one of those times where I was right where I wanted to be…. getting paid to perform!
Coincidentally, the first time I ever got to dance with my husband on a dance floor was when we danced to this song. It is a treasured memory, as is the first time I heard it. I will always attribute it to couples who are truly in love.
3. “Mexico” by James Taylor
The azure ocean, the warm breeze, the icy-cold drinks, and the vacation mentality. This is personified in my sweet sister, Amanda, and our various trips to the beach as we grew up. I will never take a trip where there is sand involved without thinking of her, as her friendship has grown more dear to me each day, and I think if she had a choice, she would live as close to a warm beach as possible.
We went to Mexico with my Dad one Thanksgiving, and it was a wonderful trip! We had a beautiful view of the ocean from our balcony, and we slept at night with the doors open, listening to the waves crash on the shore.
This song also makes me think of the other times I’d gone to the beach with my sister…. we grew up in Michigan, and our Grandparents each had cabins on Lake Huron. I remember us each playing mermaids in the water, wearing water shoes to make sure we didn’t cut our feet on the mussels, and I even remember the taste of the water in my mouth as I talk about it. Cool Michigan breeze, wrapped in a blanket in a hammock for a nice afternoon nap, and how if the breeze got too chilly, you could just dig your feet into the warm sand. There’s nothing I can find today that gives me the feeling I had when I was a child on the beach with my family.
2. “Soco Amaretto Lime” by Brand New
I hear this song, and I am 18 again. It’s the summer after I’ve graduated high school, and I’ve been accepted to Indiana University. I’m excited, scared, and feeling so free.
When I hear it today, I miss my childhood. I miss the opportunity it held, the potential for anything to happen, and my own naivety. It was an easier way to live.
1. “My Best Friend” by Weezer
On the best day of my life, this triumphant song rang through my heart. I was married to the love of my life! Nothing could stop me, and we could conquer the world together!
As we recessed the aisle, I looked in the eyes of my husband, and felt like my heart could burst from happiness. As our attendants walked back, we all began to dance together to this song, and I was surrounded by the love and support of the ones most dear to me. There was never a happier moment in my life.
In case anyone would like a link to my psyche, feel free to listen to any of these awesome (or cheesy, in some cases) songs below.
My Heart Songs
Alright, your turn. I can’t wait to hear about YOUR heart songs!