If you have read our “About My Sister” page, which I sure hope you have, than you know I am an insurance agent and sell personal insurance across the country. I am in an inbound call center and in our office my company plays a different playlist of music on a daily basis. Most of it is generally good, although some days the sappy love songs of the 80’s and some 90’s are in rotation, which is a form of complete torture for me. I have no idea why that is, but I’ve got to be honest that song genre in general elicits feelings of utter disgust in me. As I sat there listening to “Cherish” from Kool in the Gang, with the waves crashing and the seagulls squawking… “Cherish the love we have, we should cherish the life we live, baby, yeah..” UGH, kill me now!
Please don’t get me wrong (and I am sorry if I have offended all “Cherish” fans), I love Kool in the Gang! Celebrate good times, c’mon! This song got me thinking about the amazing power of (good and “subjectively” bad) songs. The power to move us both emotionally and physically, like I literally have to turn it off or I am going to vomit or have to get on my feet now and move, kind of way. Songs are almost better than the actual pictures that we take in the hopes of lasting a lifetime. I hear certain songs and I am immediately transported back in time to the exact moment when that song moved me. In fact some songs have such a huge impact that I can feel like I am there, living it all over again:
Driving home from work, I change the station and hear it, “Endless Summer Nights” by Richard Marx. I am no longer in my car, I am on a Donzi speed boat heading home from Catalina Island (along the coast of Southern California). My dear friend, Jen, and I are at the helm and we are singing away to the song of our summer. I can almost feel the bouncing of the boat against the ocean waves and fight the longing to be back in that moment once more.
My only care in the world was if my summer crush even knew I was alive and being that I cannot carry a tune to save my life, I was probably a little concerned that I was seriously off key. Thank you, Richard Marx, and my friend, Jen, for creating a lasting memory. As the song says “Time was all we had until the day we said goodbye, I remember every moment of those endless summer nights.”
While walking in to the grocery store, my ears perk up and there it is, “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley. The aisles transform to the Las Vegas strip and the groceries lining the shelves are the thousands of tourists surrounding me. I am walking all cute in my heels (could not, would not, do that now by the way) with my good friends, Jodie and Leslie, to the next bar for more cocktails.
Singing and boogying along the way. Up and down stairs and over bridges, singing, laughing and moving to the music. It was the theme song of my late twenties, and I remember all the attention we were receiving from all onlookers as we strolled to the music. There I am right back there once more living it up and partying with my girls, Jod and Les. Like the song asks, “Does that make me crazy? Possibly.”
Sitting at Sunday breakfast with my Mom and son, Julian, and the tune comes over the speakers. Neil Diamond’s “Forever in Blue Jeans” is playing and I am no longer sitting at our table, I am definitely on board my grandparents motor home. We are traveling from Los Alamitos, CA to Scarborough, ME by way of several northern states. (More to come on this AMAZING trip of a lifetime!)
My Papa is driving, Grammy is riding shot gun, crocheting a blanket and singing along with Neil (and in perfect pitch I might add), while I am sitting back on the couch reading John Grisham’s awesome novel, The Firm. I can literally hear my Grammy singing and picture her sitting there belting out one of her favorite songs, all while my Papa is rocking his head to and fro, enjoying the moment.
Papa and Grammy are both in heaven now but in those few minutes, as Neil serenades, we are all together again and life feels complete. “And as long as I can have you hear with me I’d much rather be forever in blue jeans, babe.” Another precious moment brought back to life by Neil Diamond.
Sidebar: I am quite certain we all have Neil Diamond flashbacks. At the very least, we all know “Sweet Caroline” and can definitely sing along. Even you, Millennials, you know you love him too.
What an incredible influence these songs of our lives have on us. There are so many episodes in my life that I can recall just by hearing a lyric of a song. And even I cannot deny that I know every word to “Cherish” by Kool in the Gang, so love it or hate it, these songs of our lives make their mark for eternity. Music to our ears, like the memories of our mind and so are the Days of Our Lives. Ha! Told ya, totally 80’s girl.
When J first suggested this topic to blog about I was super overwhelmed. There are just SO many songs and artists that I associate with very specific times or memories in my life. So because it was incredibly difficult for me to narrow down, I created categories and I’m only gonna share a few. So here we go…
Songs that Remind me of J
Anytime I hear the Gypsy Kings or The Beach Boys I’m immediately back in my Mom’s backyard laying out by the pool with J (and often our cousin Meghan)… and in the really early days we always each had a can of sprite with a red licorice straw.
*NOTE: J is responsible for all of my great taste in both Classic Rock and 80’s music. And Sublime…which will always remind me of driving around as as kid in J’s blue Honda civic during the summers.
Love Songs That Were Ruined for Me
‘Crash Into Me’. Dave Matthews Band. Good lord I can’t even count how many ex-boyfriends that little ditty reminds me of. I definitely still can’t listen to ‘Everlong’ by the Foo Fighters or any of Journey’s hits without thinking about an ex. Most of Billy Joel is ruined now too. And The Stone Roses. And Bryan Adams. *sigh*
Show Choir PTSD
My high school experience was basically the show Glee…minus the drug use and the whole chick getting pregnant thing. There are SO MANY SONGS that fire up some major PTSD when I hear them. The two main culprits? Any of the music from the musicals Wicked or Hairspray.
GO AHEAD AND DEFY GRAVITY B*TCHES, I DARE YOU!
Apologies for the outburst.
Inappropriate Music from my Childhood
When I was in 4th grade I remember knowing every word to Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill album as well as TLC’s Crazy Sexy Cool. Now at the ripe old age of 9 years old, I’m not saying I understood any of it conceptually… but I definitely remember swinging on the swing set with my bestie Caroline and belting out those catchy tunes. I mean, seriously? Imagine two little girls singing ‘You Oughta Know’. It’s a good thing we kept those CD’s hidden from our parents! 😉
When I was around 11 or 12 years old I had a CD with a compilation of Enya’s greatest hits. And my mom would come into my room as I was falling asleep and start dancing… like lyrical dance. It was hilarious. I also remember how hard we all laughed whenever mom did her rendition of ‘The Battle of New Orleans’ by Johnny Horton because her eyes would get all bugged out. And I can still remember sitting in the car with her anywhere we went and belting out Motown tunes, all of the music from Flashdance, John Cougar Mellencamp’s ‘Hurt So Good’, and so many others.
Dad and Zach
J and I don’t share the same father, which perhaps we’ll touch on a bit more in later posts. I lost both my brother Zach (my father’s son) when I was sixteen and then my father, John, just three years ago. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention them because there are three distinct songs that immediately take me back to moments spent with these men.
The first is ‘Typical Situation’ by Dave Matthews Band. I’ll always remember sitting in the outdoor bar area in my dad’s backyard drinking beer and playing darts with family while Zach tried to teach me how to play it on the guitar. And I’ll always remember hearing it at his memorial being played by two of his friends on acoustic guitars without any of the vocals, because they told us Zach was always on vocals.
I think of my father whenever I hear ‘Mr. Jones’ by Counting Crows… honestly I think it made him a bit nostalgic for his college/NFL football days. I know the lyrics spoke to him and perhaps his own insecurities.
When everybody loves you, You can never be lonely.
And then there’s ‘Solsbury Hill’ by Peter Gabriel. I’ll never be able to listen to that song without thinking of both of them. It’s the song that played at both memorials years apart. It’s a song about going ‘home’. I hope that whatever comes after this life, the two of them are together now.
My heart going boom, boom, boom. Son, he said, grab your things I’ve come to take you home.
I’ll never ever be able to listen to ‘What A Wonderful World’ without thinking of my grandfather. What a wonderful man.
SO…what songs take you back? What tracks do you loathe?
Which ones immediately give you goosebumps when you hear the first note?
What music ignites your soul?
(oh yeah, we went there)
Let us know! We’d love to reminisce with you.
Time After Time,
J & K.