I think I have mentioned my first boyfriend on here before. Yes, he was real.
We held hands and spent hours talking on the phone (there was a point in time where I was not only passable, but downright awesome on the phone and apparently that is a talent that can be lost without proper practice) and right after I found out that a girl in my class had slept with someone, I totally put out and let him kiss me. For hours. It was toe curlingly awesome. I was in ninth grade.
We had a song. One, by U2. I didn’t pick it and at the time I realized it wasn’t the cheesiest song ever (Richard Marx, you take that award) and so I agreed that it could be our song. These were the tough decisions we were making at the time. He was incredibly cute and wrote out all the lyrics on a one dollar bill. Anyway ….
That was the last time I had a “song” with someone. And while I don’t think they are incredibly lame, I do think it’s lame to squeal ohmygoditsoursong if you’re not in middle/high school, like I said, the last time I had a song with someone was in middle school. And having witnessed this recently, I got to thinking. Liking a song, feeling like the lyrics really speak to your situation … that’s all well and good. But it’s far more interesting how quickly the opening bars to certain songs can being you back in time to incredibly specific moments than it is to search out a song with appropriately cheese lyrics that you can hammer down as “yours”.
It’s amazing how music can define parts of our lives. Ie: that one song you identify with high school, the summer after you graduated from college, your first dance in grade school, jumping on the mattress with your best friend in high school while you both sung at the top of your lungs (were we too old for it? Sure. But that didn’t stop us from doing a lot of stuff that I look back on fondly). Steve Miller Band reminds me of mixes Daphne and I made in the early 90’s where Steve and his cohorts made up 65 – 75% of the mix, accompanied by some eye rolling on my brother’s part. Whenever once of their songs comes on, I’m 12, sitting in the back of her mom’s impossibly cool baby blue Rabbit and headed to the beach. Pearl Jam’s Jeremy off of Ten and Nirvana’s entire Nevermind album …. ah that was an awesome, awesome summer. Anything by Traffic, and I’m 18, cruising in my metallic purple ’73 beetle (that was back when cars still had tape players – I have a plethora of bootlegs all on cassette … what a waste). The winter after I graduated, I moved up to Vermont and spent the winter coaching skiing and practicing drinking. We listened to Ja Rule almost exclusively. I know that in a few years when I hear the Kings of Leon’s Only by the Night, I will think back to the summer of 2009.
And so, while not the finest sampling of artists, or songs, these are some of the songs that, when I hear them, make me leave the moment, be it only for a moment, and who knows why they stick in there so persistently, but I kind of love it that they do. They are, perhaps, my songs, even though I am slightly embarrassed at the poor selection (why couldn’t I have some more legendary artists in there to keep Eddie and Kurt company?). And while I share the memories with others, I have yet to make them commit to calling them ours.
I want to hear what music defined other people’s past…