When I write, I get caught up in certain songs. It might seem obsessive or weird to an outsider, but I will listen to the same songs over and over while I’m hashing out a scene in order to stay in that same frame of mind. Re-live the scene. See it like I’m watching it in a movie. Even living it. You know, if life came with a soundtrack that spoke so well about what was going on emotionally? I’d be skipping a track here and there. Forget that cliche about the hard times making you stronger. That statement may very well be true, but the hard times…for lack of motivation to think up something less vulgar…well, they really suck.
Okay, got off-track. So for writing, I’ll get hooked onto a soundtrack. Same thing for life. I find certain music in different times of life really speaks to me. As a result, particular songs and artists tend to only fit for me in those times of my life. Either that or I attach the memory of that time and that person so intricately that I can’t listen to that music without a lump building in my throat, my heart quickening, or some other physical reaction.
Garth Brooks, Jimmy Buffett, Gloria Estefan and Hall & Oates are my childhood.
Stevie Nicks and the Beach Boys are my dad. Oh and certain Elvis songs. Something I was told about him in limited detail was that he would spontaneously sing, particularly when he got home from work.
Little details like that make me ache for my dad. To know him. To have the memories of him. To have him hug me and feel small in his arms. To have his support now. Decades have passed with him gone and I need him more than ever. Before it was a void and I accepted it because I didn’t have a choice to be upset. Now I have a choice, I know I’m entitled to my feelings so I’m finally saying it after all these years that it really hurts that I have grown up without a dad around. I know people have it much worse, but it has just really hit me lately (right between the eyes, followed by a closed fist punch to the gut) that I will never get that father/daughter bond. Bum deal on other circumstances aside, that just really gets me.
Forgive me. I’ve been repressing feelings for 29 years.
Music. Yes, I was talking about music.
Killing Me Softly will always be the sweet innocence that could have been something more had I not been afraid (see: spaz), like a deer in the headlights. Had all worked out, I might have married a pastor.
“Sometimes I give myself the creeps…” (Green Day) is my sister. As is Adam Sandler “Piece of $&%# car,” though hers wasn’t. Both blaring through the speakers of her green Tracker. Not simultaneously.
Third Eye Blind. Sublime. High school. Hiding out in my room. Privacy invaded.
Goo Goo Dolls “Broadway”. First day of senior year.
Wallflowers will always remind me of my first job, working with all guys. Delbert in particular.
Train (the old stuff) is the exhilaration of the unexpected. The hope. The sadness and uncertainty. The unrequited.
TOFOG. (Russell Crowe fronts the band. Yes, that Russell Crowe.) Flagstaff. 9/11.
SHeDAISY: Jerry. Part 1.
Phil Collins, strangely enough. Serenade. An awkward, wonderful, bizarre serenade. With the exception of the revitalized In the Air Tonight (thanks to the popularity of The Hangover), that distinct voice pulled me into believing the unrequited wasn’t unrequited after all. Then I got dropped on my head. So even his contribution to the Tarzan soundtrack stings a little.
Avril Lavigne. Transfer to ASU and the summer before. Loner. Rejected. That odd combination of hopeless romantic hoping for the romantic comedy ending…and the slap in the face reality of an indy film. Oh yes, and Matchbox Twenty. (Incidently, the albums with the number spelled out represent more difficult times than the earlier efforts with the number 20.)
Dishwalla, James Blunt: Florida. Overwhelmed. Uncertain about everything. Lost.
Barenaked Ladies. Quirkiness to try to pull me from the slump.
Anna Nalick, Michelle Branch: Jerry. Part 2.
“Beautiful Day” and “A New Day”: the build-up to meeting Brady. The drive from Florida.
The Day Before You, Rascal Flatts: Brady. This said it all for me for how I felt after I met him.
Pat Monahan. (His solo efforts.) The book.
There are more. It’s amazing and startling how much emotion seems to be contained in a song. Things I had long pushed from my mind. What does Trisha say about the song remembering?
So what songs speak to me now? I don’t know what will stick and I don’t know what the future holds, but if I had to choose:
“For the First Time” by the Script: This song has spoken to me for awhile. Things fall apart and it’s unclear how to put it all back together or if you can. Good times are easy. It’s the hard times when you really get to know someone.
“Tied Together With a Smile” by Taylor Swift: This reminds me of me when I was a teenager and then after high school. I had to be okay, or seem okay. I wanted to be loved more than anything. I wanted to belong with someone.
“Ships in the Night” by Mat Kearney: Again, finding a way through the hard times.
I’m trying to otherwise focus on positive and/or motivational music. Love songs I gushed over a few years ago make me feel dizzy and out of touch of what they’re about. I don’t have the enthusiasm or ear drums for rocking out to alternative tunes right now either. I’m floating out in lyrical space, which is appropriate, given how I feel these days.
Life is only certain in its uncertainty.