I’ve been thinking about music a lot lately. Part of it tracks back to my band-geek days in high school, but I feel like music – especially really BAD music – has formed the soundtrack to my life in so many ways. “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac will always remind me of the days right after my BFF Cassie and her big brother Justin moved out of the neighborhood while I was in elementary school (probably because I misheard / rewrote the lyrics “Yesterday’s gone” to “Justin is gone”). Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life will always be an 8 track that was played Saturday mornings while I was forced to perform odious chores around the house. I can’t hear Elton John’s “Benny and the Jets” without recalling my dad talking about how I used to run around as a wee one singing “D-D-D-Dani and the Jets,” because that’s how I roll.
Middle school brought an introduction to my band-geek days and a bizarre obsession with the Beach Boys. High school brought endless marching and concert band memories, especially I was fortunate enough to have a band director who loved to use pop music in our halftime shows. Whitney, Madonna, Miami Sound Machine, the Eurythmics, and – God help us – Eddie Murphy all took their place alongside more staid, traditional tunes. 27 years later, I still get a noticeable twitch when I hear “Stars and Stripes Forever.” Find a flute/piccolo player that doesn’t.
During a ridonkulously long car trip back from North Carolina last weekend, the podcast we were listening to raised the question of your favorite movie soundtrack. Then today, a book I was reading posed the perennial “What CDs would you have if stranded on desert island?” question. My responses to both topics are equally jumbled but I’ll give it a shot.
In no particular order:
- Four Seasons (Vivaldi): While Pachelbel’s Canon in D is probably my favorite classical piece (with Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony a close second), I’d have to go with Four Seasons for the overall feel.
- 1 (The Beatles): Yes, there are arguably better Beatles albums out there. No, I don’t own any of them.
- Immaculate Collection (Madonna): …because every desert island needs a dance party
- Under the Table and Dreaming (Dave Matthews Band): I could’ve just as easily gone with Crash or Before These Crowded Streets, but this was my first and it always has a special place. Mostly memories of me and Steph driving between Virginia and Ohio, trying to memorize the words to “Ants Marching”
- Forrest Gump Soundtrack: Oldies fix
- Sinatra Reprise (Frank Sinatra): Ol’ Blue Eyes. ‘Nuff said.
- In My Tribe (10,000 Maniacs): “Verdi Cries” alone drops my blood pressure 20 points
- 101 (Depeche Mode): I was going to go with Music for the Masses, but I want the live version of “Somebody”
…can’t even come up with ten. Sure, I could force it – Squeeze Singles, Best of Steve Miller Band, Thriller – but to a certain extent they’d just be filler.
You’ll note the vast majority of these CDs aren’t even from this millennium. I just don’t have the same relationship with music that I used to – at least not with entire CDs. Nowadays, I download individual songs that I know I love, rather than risk the entire disc. Not only that, but I don’t have the same sorts of associations. OMD’s Best of… CD will forever be playing rummy with Steph in her Manning dorm room. Nylon Curtain will always be hanging out at my middle school BFF’s house, where she played “Goodnight Saigon” for me for the first time (on vinyl, no less). Mighty, Mighty Bosstones & Alanis Morrissette will always be DC United’s first season, tailgating with the handful of Screaming Eagles that were around back in the day.
My friends Paul and Dave would be HORRIFIED by this list. I don’t have deep insightful comments about how musically significant any of these songs are; my choices and reactions are much more emotional. I’m okay with that.